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As our first Te Aratai end-of-year nears...

Richard Edmundson —

1954 Linwood High School, 1996 Linwood College, 2019 Linwood College at Ōtākaro, 2022 Te Aratai College.

Kia ora koutou. Talofa. Kia Orana. Malo e lelei. Bula. Fakaalofa atu. Namaste and Kumusta. Greetings to everyone at Te Aratai College and our wider Te Aratai community.

We acknowledge and honour mana whenua, Ngāi Tūāhuriri, kaitiaki of the whenua on which we stand as Te Aratai College.

Te Aratai College. The whenua remains the same but the pathway to sea - Ara, Tai - varies for us all, both for each individual and over the decades.

However, what is constant and remains at the heart of everything is community: whanaungatanga and manaakitanga. We all come to the final weeks of term with the events of our lives ranging from the everyday - Who left the fridge door open? - to the major - international affairs, the cost of living, and family circumstances. A lot can happen in a year and I acknowledge the gap of one specific person among the many in all our lives. I refer to Helen Mora, our former Head of Science, who took medical retirement last year but was present for the 2021 prizegiving. Our feisty Helen died of cancer in May this year and we remember her warmly.

So we are in our new Te Aratai College. However, this is Te Aratai, Stage 1. As many of us know, the school site is already master-planned for Stage 2 and for Stage 3, with 1200 and 1800 students respectively. Right now there is urgent discussion with the Ministry of Education to enact Stage 2 as, again, right now, we are over-capacity for this, our present Stage 1. And by the time Stage 2 is completed, we will be in similarly urgent need of Stage 3, so we are endeavouring to have Stages 2 and 3 planned together for coherency and at least overlapping. 

So in these complex times, I mihi to our Board who deeply understand the moral imperative of education and who are most certainly putting in those hard yards that come with the governance of any kura, but particularly a kura that is growing faster than had been forecasted.

To our senior award winners, I do hope that you have that quiet satisfaction of achievement – a job well done, success with integrity – and knowing that with every positive deed on your poutama you are honouring your whānau-family-aiga – those who are here and those who have gone before. Truly you are diamond; truly you are pounamu.

To our leaving staff, and those who left during the year, we are deeply grateful for all that you have done for our students. We thank you for your service. Our very best wishes for 2023 and beyond.

To our leaving students, you have the first-ever Te Aratai College leavers' hoodies. A designer collector’s piece! Go well in your next steps. We all outgrow school – that is the point of it – and now you move into the big wide world which is ready for you and you are ready for it. Get out there and knock your socks off! Go well. Farewell. Haere rā.

Ngā mihi nui

Richard Edmundson