Welcomed with aroha

31 Jan 2019

Wednesday 30 January, 8.30am, new staff and students gathered outside the Assembly Hall listening for the call to join the tangata whenua assembled on the Quad. They didn’t have long to wait. A powerful rendition of the College haka, led by Head Prefect Zach Gallagher, invited them to move forward, signalling the start of the mihi whakatau to welcome them to the College community.

The ceremony started with a karakia from Rev. Bosco Peters, before Assistant Principal – Curriculum Joe Eccleton gave the whaikōrero, after which current students and staff sang “Ka Waiata”. College Counsellor Wiremu Gray responded on behalf of the manuhiri, who then sang “Te Aroha”. Executive Principal Garth Wynne welcomed the new staff and students and thanked them for choosing College, reminding them they were now part of something much bigger than themselves, asking them to respect and support each other, aspire to live College virtues and appreciate College history and traditions. Students and staff sang “He Honore” as representatives of the two groups greeted one another with a hongi. Finally, the Chapel Choir and whole community came together as one to sing College waiata “Te Whakapono”, before moving into Chapel.

At the year’s first assembly later in the morning, Zach chose to elaborate further on respect, describing it as one of the most significant virtues we can cultivate and essential in the development of interpersonal skills, compassion and empathy. “We all have our differences and that should be encouraged, we should celebrate difference instead of discriminating against it. Be yourself, bring your difference. We need to show more respect and tolerance towards others, encourage diversity, stand up for what’s right – and, in doing so, we can all do our bit to make College a better place and a better environment to be in.”