Laying the foundations of College life

23 Feb 2024

Christ’s College has celebrated the culmination of a four-week foundation programme for Year 9 students with a special Te Whakatakoto te tūāpapa ceremony followed by a powerful mihi whakatau welcoming new students, families, and staff to the school community.

During a ceremony in the Chapel on Thursday, each Year 9 student has been formally awarded their blazer, symbolising his welcome into the school community while empowering each boy to be proud of the Black and White.

This service marks the end of Te Whakatakoto te tūāpapa – meaning laying the foundation - a programme designed to “guide each boy to grow into being their best”.

As Deputy Principal – Teaching & Learning Nicole Billante explains, “we want our Year 9 students to fully understand the values and virtues of being an integral part of the College community, alongside our expectations of those students”.

“By introducing Te Whakatakoto te tūāpapa this year, we are further encouraging all students to wear the Black and White with pride and have a true sense of belonging,” Ms Billante says.”This sets the foundation for the successful College Graduate – a young man who reflects our values and adheres to our principles”.

“Our College themes – led by our teachers – during these foundation weeks include understanding and fostering the spiritual essence of College, wellbeing education, biculturalism, character and leadership, and student care, in tandem with our academic and co-curricular programmes. Our foundation programme has ended with a special ceremony for our Year 9 students that mirrors their graduation ceremony in Year 13.”

During the ceremony, the Head of House has called each Year 9 student – carrying his blazer over his arm – to the front of the Chapel. Each boy has shaken hands with his Housemaster before standing with his House members and then donning his blazer. All Year 9 students have also been formally welcomed to the College community by Executive Principal Garth Wynne and Head Prefect Zinzan Bondarenko-Leatua.

Speaking to the boys, Zinzan has explained that “this is the end of the beginning of your time at College” and that by putting on your blazers, this “signifies the start of your dedication to College but also College’s dedication to you”.

Following the ceremony, the whole school has gathered for the mihi whakatau on the Quad. Wearing their korowai (cloak), Mr Wynne and Zinzan have welcomed all new members of the College community. All students – led by the kapa haka group – have performed a passionate haka and the sounds of the school waiata have also echoed across the Quad.