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The start of an historic tradition to celebrate mahi and leadership

15 Oct 2020

Ma te huruhuru ka rere te manu
It is the feathers that enable the bird to fly 

The presentation of two beautiful handmade korowai cloaks to Executive Principal Garth Wynne, and Head Prefect Dominic Edmond marked an historic milestone in Christ’s College’s 170 year history.

The korowai recognise Garth’s leadership over the past five years and the contribution of Dominic in his 2020 role.

Speaking to the school community at the korowai blessing and presentation, Kaiakao i Te Reo Maori Mike Field, said the gifting of the korowai cloaks marked a special day for Christ’s College.

“The korowai honour the work done by both Garth and Dom. It is a pleasure to celebrate this special day, which is another step forward for our school and the way in which we celebrate our two cultures.

“This is huge. It’s taken 170 years to get to this point and marks the start of a new tradition that will be handed down through the next 100 and more years to the Executive Principal and Head Prefect of Christ’s College every year.”

During the ceremony, the korowai were blessed by Bishop Richard Wallace, the Māori Bishop of Te Wai Pounamu.

Deeply moved by the occasion, Garth said he was overwhelmed and humbled as the first wearer. 

“I’m extremely mindful of the importance of this honour and I want to acknowledge the expectations of us all as a community as we move forward.”

The idea of the korowai was mooted by parents Janine Morrell-Gunn and Rebecca Stewart. 

“The idea was borne from the newly-established Christ’s College Maori/Pasifika parents rōpū – the group wanted to acknowledge the mahi and leadership of Garth to tikanga (customs and traditional values) and te reo Maori,” Janine said.

“As well, today marks the beginning of the next chapter of Christ’s College’s journey and commitment to weaving and embedding Te Ao Maori into the fabric of everyday College life. The korowai gives mana and respect to every Executive Principal and Head Prefect who wear them from this day forward.” 

Janine paid tribute to the korowai creators, Jared and Merenia Riwai-Couch and to weaver Heni Cook.

The top row of black feathers signifies the mantle of leadership and mana carried by the Executive Principal, the black and white feathers represent every boy currently at College, the large black area of feathers represents the school faculty, and every teacher and member of staff giving service.

The black and white feathers at the bottom represent our Old Boys – the foundation on which Christ’s College was built.

The top row of feathers in the Head Prefect’s korowai signifies the mantle of leadership and mana carried in the role. The rest of the cloak is adorned with feathers representing every boy at College, past and present, who the Head Prefect serves.

Special thanks to our Parents’ Association, represented by Catherine McClean, and the Old Boys’ Association, represented by Richard Polson and some of the committee members, for their generosity in donating the korowai to Garth and Dom respectively. Our thanks also to Julius Housemaster and Bicultural coordinator Mike Field and Alumni Manager Lizzie Dyer for their tireless work to ensure the presentation was such a success.

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