Matariki signals the Māori New Year. It is a time of renewal and celebration in New Zealand.
Kia ora e te whānau
Tēnā koutou kātoa ngā whānau o te kura
It’s time to celebrate another outstanding term in the life of our College. As is captured in this newsletter, our students continue to use their gifts and talents across the dimensions of school life, and we are privileged to witness their successes, challenges and learnings.
On Friday 9th July, our Kapa Haka Roopu participated in the Te Haka a Toi regional Kapa Haka competition. This was the first time our kura has ever participated. We are most proud of our 23 rangatahi for being pioneers for Aquinas College. Our roopu received a great reception from the judges, audience and iwi following the performance of their bracket. I am most grateful for the tutelage of our tutor, Rawiri Henare. Our roopu has also been strongly supported by Matua Tuwharetoa and Whaea Michelle, Mr Smith and Mrs Kahle. Kia mau te wehi!
This year, our Year 7-10 learners began working towards their STAMSA (St. Thomas Aquinas Middle School Award), which focuses on holistic development, as is reflected in our Graduate Profile. Our students’ learning, contributions, and achievements across academia, sport, arts, culture and service are recognised in this award. 75% of the award requirements come from student academic learning, while 25% comes from wider school and community life through their Graduate Profile Progressions. This is an intentional decision to recognise holistic development, celebrating students’ personal successes in all their forms.
We hope that every family has now received a handout which details STAMSA, its achievement information and how to access your child’s learning profile through SchoolBridge. I strongly encourage you to familiarise yourself with this excellent new tool which profiles your child’s learning progress and achievement. These handouts were distributed at the Student-Led/Three-Way Learning Conversations and subsequently to students to bring home. We will also be emailing it home in the coming days to ensure complete coverage to all of our community.
I share with you two staffing updates:
Mr Kevin Edler is finishing with us at the end of the term. Mr Elder currently works in three positions at the College: Teacher Aide, Part-Time Physical Education Teacher and Assistant Sports Coordinator. We congratulate Mr Elder on his appointment to a teaching position as a Year 9/10 teacher at Te Kuiti High School. In the 12 months, Mr Elder has been with the College, he has been a valued and versatile member of staff. His commitment to our students has been appreciated and valued, including his willingness to undertake the additional opportunities as they arose. We offer our thanks and support to Mr Elder as he plans this next part of his professional journey.
Mr Thomas McBride has been appointed to a fixed-term Mathematics position until the end of the year. Mr McBride comes to our College from Te Puke High School, prior to which he was teaching Mathematics, Science, Health and Physical Education in Queensland, Australia. Fortunately, Mr McBride began with us in the week preceding Mrs Skelton’s departure, which enabled a smooth transition for our school community. We are fortunate to welcome a teacher of Mr McBride’s capability into our community!
Thank you to all of our community who attended on 30th June. These whānau-ākonga-kaiako (family-student-teacher) conferences are an opportunity for an in-depth discussion of academic progress and holistic development. We know that the strength of the partnership between teachers, students and whānau positively correlates with the level of success learners have in achieving their goals and aspirations, so these opportunities are precious.
The feedback we received on the day and subsequently by way of the community survey was very positive. Mr Kennedy has included the results of the survey in this newsletter. On this basis, we will continue to use this model of longer interview slots over the course of a full day.
Ko Matariki kei runga, ko te tohu tēnā o te tau!
Matariki signals the Māori New Year. It is a time of renewal and celebration in New Zealand that begins with the rising of the Matariki star cluster. Matariki appears in the night sky during mid-winter. According to the Maramataka (the Māori lunar calendar), the reappearance of Matariki brings the old lunar year to a close and marks the beginning of the new year. Hence, Matariki is associated with the Māori New Year.
The physical appearance of Matariki in the sky was traditionally used by a tohunga (spiritual experts) as a forecast of the year ahead. Clear and bright stars signalled warm and productive seasons, and hazy or shimmering clusters meant a cold winter was coming, and ground for crops was prepared accordingly.
Each iwi has their own stories and perspectives about Matariki and celebrates Matariki at different times. Some hold festivities when Matariki is first seen in the dawn sky; others celebrate after the full moon’s rise or at the beginning of the next new moon.
Today Matariki is generally seen as an important time to celebrate the earth and show respect for the land. It is also a time to acknowledge those who have passed away and plan for the year ahead. Matariki is a good opportunity for all New Zealanders to come together with Māori communities to learn their stories, culture, and language.
As is published on our school calendar, Wednesday 11th August will be an Accord Teacher Only Day. All of the Bay of Plenty High Schools share this Accord Day. The focus for our staff on this day will be unpacking the NCEA Level 1 changes in readiness for their implementation in 2023. The Tauranga High Schools are collaborating on this day, bringing learning areas together at the various High Schools to learn together.
Thank you to all of you for your continued support of your child(ren) ’s education this term. Education is a partnership, and we are all enriched by your active participation.
Ma te Atua tātou e manaaki
May God’s Blessings be upon us all.
M R Dalton