Tena koutou katoa. Nga mihi nui atawhai.
Last week, we warmly welcomed our new and our returning students with a range of activities that included our two formal rituals.
Haere mai – on our first day is our Powhiri where manuhiri, the new staff, students and their whanau, are called onto our site and into our community by a karanga from the tangata whenua (hosts). After whaikōrero (speeches) and waiata (song), the ritual concluded with hongi (press noses) and harirū (shaking of hands). This ritual makes everyone tangata whenua, one people.
‘The Lord be with you’ – on Thursday, we were all welcomed as we celebrated the Eucharist as a Catholic community with Father Marchellino. ‘Coming together, assembling, is at the heart of our worship ritual… The purpose of these rites is to bring us together into one body, ready to listen and to break bread together’.
After both of these formal rituals, some of our new students and their parents relayed that ‘this was a beautiful ceremony’ and ‘I asked my daughter how she felt after her first few days and she said ‘very welcomed’ and that she now felt that she belonged’.
Next week, we have some more informal events to continue to create this sense of belonging. On Tuesday, 11th February, we have our Meet the Atawhai teacher and deans, along with opportunities to meet the Year 7 Core Learning Teacher, a presentation for those new to NCEA, Year 8 camp meeting and we have our first Whanau hui.
‘We are ready, ready!!’ chants have been echoing through the corridors as the house leaders prepare their house groups for our colourful and competitive Athletics Day on Thursday, 13th February.
‘What God sends is welcome’. John Herschel