Among our school’s chief values is kotahitanga, which essentially means unity. Last week, we tried to establish an annual tradition of unity week, a concept created by the Sakinah community trust in Christchurch, a group of women all affected by the March 15 mosque shootings four years ago, whose goal is to establish Unity Week as a nationwide celebration of what makes all of us one people.
As the son of one of the Sakinah trustees, I should very much like my legacy at this school to be adding Unity Week to the calendar. Last year we planted a kowhai tree as a memorial to the mosque attacks, and now we intend to incorporate the planting of trees as part of Unity Week. This year, we’ve chosen a NZ native beech tree, which also supports our goal to plant more natives in our school.
I’d like to thank our international students for attending this ceremony. Welcoming students from a number of countries is an important part of our school’s commitment to our diversity.
I’d also like to thank the Māori students for being there. Tangata whenua are the original New Zealanders and have embraced the diversity of all our new cultures.