From the Associate Principal, Karen Mitchell

Tena koutou katoa. Welcome back.

As we look forward to Term 4 we might be challenged, excited or nervous by all that is to come; Music Concerts, Whanau hui, Fono Nights, Sports Awards, Prize Givings, The Ball, Exams, Retreats, Year 10 Camp to name but a few. But just as we look forward it is also important to look backwards and reflect on what we have learned and accomplished.

At the end of last term we held a staff spirituality day to coincide with the Feast of Our Lady of Mercy. This day had been planned for earlier in the year but we took a little detour into Lockdown. It was an opportunity for all the staff to come together and acknowledge our Mercy traditions and heritage and the relevance of Mercy in a post COVID world. Richard Kerr-Bell and Ashleigh Latimer from the Tiaki Manatu Mercy Mission team led the sessions and at the end of the day, Ashleigh, asked us to think of a word that resonated or encapsulated Mercy today. I struggled to choose just one word as three interconnected values stood out. These are best represented in Te Reo as: Manaakitanga, Kaitiakitanga and Kotahitanga.

The Online Maori Dictionary defines Manaakitanga as hospitality, kindness, generosity and support. We see this often in our school community through our Service programme, the way in which students and staff are there to support one another, the way in which we seek to serve the marginalised and in the way the community responds so generously to collections. 

Kotahitanga is seen as unity, togetherness, solidarity and collective action. We saw this through the Lockdowns as “the team of 5 million” banded together to help each other and we also see this at school as school spirit and participation in events such as the Coin Trail, Culture Week and Carmel Day.

Similarly, Kaitiakitanga is seen as guardianship and stewardship to the sky, land and sea. We extend kaitiakitanga by respecting and conserving the earth, honouring our past and being mindful of the impact of our behaviours and giving back to the land.

During the holidays Tiaki Manatu (the trust for the incorporated ministries of the Sisters of Mercy) started on a project to honour our past through the restoration of the Convent – also known as the Shakespear Villa (and yes, the spelling of Shakespear is correct as that was the original name for the house). A heritage architect was engaged to develop a plan to restore the Convent site to the original villa, including the beautiful and very distinctive verandas. The plan includes demolition of the red brick wing and outbuildings, so do not be alarmed when you see bulldozers on the school grounds. The refurbishment of the original villa and chapel should be completed by March 2021. This is a very exciting project.

What does Mercy mean for you in 2020? I would be interested to hear your replies. So if you have a moment and a thought you  would like to share with me please do .

My email is