Hero photograph
Tara Kanji, Tumuaki / Principal
Photo by TGC

Tumuaki / Principal Pānui

Principal —

Nau mai haere mai and welcome to our first newsletter/pānui for 2021. There is quite a story behind the name of our newsletter which will be explained further on in this edition.

A warm welcome to new families/whānau to Tauranga Girls’ College. A school with its aspirations to be the ‘School of Choice’ for any girl in the Bay. A school in which no matter the talent, ability and passions of any student, endeavours to uphold an environment that is caring, supportive and supports success for all. We can only achieve this with the support of TGC families so thank you for the support we have been afforded.

My leadership journey has reflected the breadth of experiences that I have gained from others and in my own journey. As the whakatauki says - Ehara taku toa I te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini - My strength is not mine alone, it comes from many. I also know that I am seeking continuous improvements and I look forward to sharing this with you and welcome your input.

A powhiri to mark the start of the year
Last week we welcomed all new students, teachers, support staff and their whānau to the school. A powhiri was held for the 350+ new members to our school. Tangata whenua of staff and Year 13 students ensured that a warm welcome was received by those who began their TGC journey with us. Included in the staff welcome was our new Deputy Principal, Ms Ngawai Hooker and former Head Student and alumni Ms Jane Finnimore. We are also excited by the four first year teachers who have begun their teaching careers with us. Each of our new colleagues will be introduced to you in subsequent newsletters.

“Such a positive vibe out there”
How exciting to hear such words being spoken of the feel in the school as Year 9’s got under way with Year 13’s and then with a staggered start to other year levels. The house spirit was amazing and already I can hear the language change with Mansfield House which has traditionally always been yellow, being referred to as Gold! Let the competition and house spirit begin!!

Vertical whānau groups
One important change to this year has been the change from sameness to a valuing of diversity by having whānau time organised in a vertical social structure. So, an opportunity to walk alongside students from other year groups, to be supported and support them and to ensure that we strengthen the connections between year groups. Building empathy and the valuing of diversity are important traits not only for school but life itself. The College acknowledges change isn't always easy but a lot of work has been done and will continue to be undertaken for a smooth transition. Thank you to all our staff who worked tirelessly last year to disband horizontal groupings and recreate vertical ones. Whānau time is approx 80 mins per week and is separate to subject teaching time.

Thank you
To my amazing colleagues and in particular the SLT team for their huge commitment and mahi to get our college underway. It has indeed been a fabulous start to our year! It is wonderful to see the hugs, hear the laughter and the refocus from holiday and back into school mode.

Pastoral Support
All students belong to a vertical whānau group, a house and have a House Dean and Deputy Principal to support them. Along with the Careers Advisor, Guidance Staff, Learning Hub and the Director of International Students, our students are certainly well cared for. Year level assemblies (eg Year 10 assembly) and House assemblies will also continue along with formal full school assemblies. We acknowledge that there will be the need for cohort meetings as there will be things particular to that year level which will need to be discussed. If you require additional support for your daughter, contact her whānau teacher via email, or if it's a subject matter, her classroom teacher and then her House Dean.

Expectations of being a part of TGC
Our College values of Respect, Participation and Pride form the foundation of our expectations. This includes behaviour, uniform and everyday interactions. We value kindness and expect service (giving back to others). We encourage you to remind your daughter to be the ‘best version of herself’ and to support others to be the same. It is unfortunate when students engage in behaviour that does not allow us to have positive conversations as all choices have consequences.

If there is financial hardship, please let us know. We have an equity budget to ensure that students are not disadvantaged. Contact your daughter's House Dean (see details later in this newsletter) and or Ms Burr, our Guidance Counsellor.

Success and more
With a focus on pathways, ensuring priority learners' needs are met, and providing rigorous curriculum choices, has once again, seen us improve our NCEA results and a stronger sense of self in our students has emerged.

Both Literacy and Numeracy rates were over 90% and our NCEA Level 1-3 and UE were all up on previous years. Whilst we know that NCEA is not the only measure of our success, we also ensure that it is an important one. It is because of the commitment by our highly talented teaching staff that we are able to attain these results along with the $300K worth of scholarship offers to our students heading on to tertiary studies.

Mahi Tahi and opportunities for participation
Today, 11 February, marks Mahi Tahi Day, an opportunity to find out about all the wonderful opportunities beyond the subject class that students should be involved in. It is an expectation that every student attending TGC gets involved in a club, sport, cultural or arts activity. Some take place at lunchtime, others after school and some on the weekend. Sign ups are advertised in the Daily Notices too. Be a part of TGC by getting involved.

Oozing Talent and Service
As we farewelled the Head Girl and her Deputies from 2020, yesterday's assembly marked the handover to the new team. Head Girl Teia Kahura and her six deputies feature on our website and in this newsletter. All of these girls contribute to the school beyond their subject timetables, they have all given 30+ hours of service in 2020 and are here to support others on their journey to making TGC better than before. Wow, what talent to represent and lead the student body!

2020 and 2021 Student Leaders — Image by: Penny Arrowsmith