by Steve Saville and Rebecca Thomas
Image, King Tawhiao, depicted by Gottfried Lindauer (1885)
Ki te kotahi te kākaho ka whati, ke te kāpuia e kore e whati.
When reeds stand alone they are vulnerable, but together they are unbreakable.
These words from Kīngi Tāwhiao seem fitting as we close this turbulent year for education.
Over 160 years later, the desire for justice and equity continues amidst storms from all directions.
Sill we persist.
Kia ora koutou e ngā kaiako, e ngā pou o tō tātou nei waka. As another tempestuous year ends, we send a heartfelt kia kaha to all who uplift and shield our tamariki daily.
The winds have raged loudly from Wellington in 2023. Curriculum upheavals, underfunding strains, industrial unrest, unsettling election headwinds, political cross-talks and now dissapointing reversals on progress...endless eddies swirl, swaying our education foundations.
But our children remain sheltered. For that we have you to thank.
While loud voices compete overhead, you filter the noise and continue nurturing young minds. You transform classrooms into havens of discovery and care. Your steadfast presence says “you are seen” to every student needing light or guidance.
To those leading schools through this stormy era with patience and wisdom - your strength inspires us; you care for both students and their whānau and all of your staff.
To teachers lighting sparks of passion despite increasing demands and fatigue – legends, heroes, icons; you are the lantern bearers and the soul of our schools.
To every TA, admin, caretaker, learning support and community worker whose behind-the-scenes work weaves whānau together; you make schools home and without you we would splinter.
Kia kaha e hoa mā. Be strong friends.
How ever the political gusts blow, our children find shelter in your hands. When lone reeds stand vulnerable, you bind together unable to be broken.
When winds roar and shake, the reed stands strong- you, the reeds, bind together unable to be broken. During storms that pass, you anchor growth. Your collective heart, the unwavering beat, beating strong.
Let dye run, dye fade - but our children thrive shielded by your dedication.
What remains lasting are the leaders, teachers and staff whose steady dedication nurtures and supports ākonga through things that will pass; difficult doesn't last forvever. It is your passion and dedication that ripples out in immeasurable ways that has the most impact on young people’s lives.
So beyond the headlines and controversies, know that all of you are seen: we see you.
Take pride at this year’s end, windswept but unbowed.
Mā te wā and endless thanks. You give our future hope!
Ngā mihi nui
Steve and Becca
What we need and hope for in 2024:
Shared solidarity and vision - lifting each other up and aligning our strengths as an education community in the year ahead.
Enduring hope and courage - kindling sparks of passion for justice and having the courage to empower this in our tamariki.
Servant leadership - demonstrate courageous leadership in a spirit of care and compassion.
Above all else the determination to Lead with Integrity; steer our schools with moral strength, holding fast to what is pono no matter which way the winds may blow.