At 6.30am on Wednesday November 4 about 60 people from our extended Carmel Community gathered on the edge of Lake Pupuke for an early morning blessing.
Kaumatua, Andy Peters, reminded us of our connections to the land we stand on and responsibilities as kaitiaki for the future.
Two students, our Tu Wahine, Madi Kibblewhite, and one of the Head Girls, Caitlin Blewden, led us through prayer and a Gospel reading reminding us that we are in the hands of God. This message was endorsed by Fr Marchellino our Sacramental Chaplain as he blessed the facilities.
In dedicating the ramp, Frances Hague, Chair of Carmel College Auckland Limited, remembered the learning opportunities that the ramp had provided and will provide as we move forward, and dedicated the ramp and deck spaces to the girls at Carmel College.
This new boat ramp and deck has replaced a space that as best I can tell has been in place for more than 30 years. I can’t be more specific than that as, although I have searched through the archives and spoken with past staff, I have not been able to find an exact date that the first ramp was installed.
That said, when I first started teaching at Carmel the boat ramp was used for both the PE programme and for extra curricular activities such as rowing, sailing, kayaking and windsurfing – and the boat shed was just that – a storage facility for boats.
However over time the staff with passion and expertise in these areas left and the way in which we used the area changed.
In 1999 we received a grant from the Tindall Foundation to set up a weather station, camera and water testing site to gather scientific information about the lake.
The idea was to have an integrated information system that people could look up. However, we were a little ahead of our time – there were no cell phone Apps or wifi and although we worked with students from Massey University to write connecting scripts, the code was out of date almost before it was completed. Since then we have continued to monitor water quality in the Lake as part of the Waicare programme run first by the North Shore City Council and now by the Auckland City Council.
More recently, prior to the closure of the facilities, the ramp has been used by the school using outside providers for kayaking and windsurfing. This transition to outside providers reflects changes to Health and Safety regulations and the increasing costs of equipment.
Other outside groups such as Dragon Boating and Waka Ama have had Memoranda of Understandings with the school and have been able to use our facilities and assist school teams. They have been watching this space closely and are keen to return.
As a school we look forward to using this as an outdoor learning space that could be used for things such as water monitoring and retreats.
Whatever this space is used for, we are grateful to The McAuley Trust & Tiaki Manatu for upgrading these facilities and providing us with an amazing and special space at Carmel College.
Karen Mitchell, Associate Principal
Pictured above are from left: Ian Langley (Carmel College Auckland Ltd), Doc Godfrey (Tiaki Manatu), Ms Rosanna Fouhy, Kaumatua, Andy Peters, Mrs Karen Mitchell, Bruce Macdonald (Carmel College Auckland Ltd) and Fr Marchellino.