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Nau mai, haere mai, talofa lava, malo e lelei, bula vinaka, kia orana, warm greetings

We started this week at assembly remembering and acknowledging the passing of a great New Zealander, Sir Brian Lochore. Sir Brian will be well known for his exploits as an All Black player, captain, coach and selector. Perhaps his greatest influence was in a simple statement he made when he was discussing a new direction with Wayne Smith, Graeme Henry and Steve Hansen after a series of losses and negative behaviour from the players, when he said very simply “good people make good All Blacks”. What he was describing in his way was to develop the person and their character first and the rugby second. It is this insight that led a deep cultural change in the way the All Blacks developed the young men in their environment and this has trickled down through all levels of New Zealand rugby and into many other sports, business and education sectors. What also reminds me of Sir Brian Lochore is his connections with his past. He never forgot what forged him into the person he became, he was always an advocate for heartland rugby and, in particular, his beloved Wairarapa–Bush province. It is perhaps these close community connections and his holistic view of the person that we can take from his legacy as a way forward to develop the young people in our care.

I had the very good fortune to attend the Kapahaka regionals on Saturday morning to watch our students perform. I was deeply moved by their performance. The hours and hours of preparation clearly shone through in the quality of their performance. There is nothing that fills you more with hope for the future than when you watch a group of young people connected deeply with their culture performing with pride and passion and, most importantly, with absolute looks of joy on their faces. I congratulate all of our students that formed our Kapahaka group, in particular, our whanau leader, Tahuora Himona-Burcher, and our staff that have been heavily involved, Mrs Marcelle Leo’o, Mr Daniel Kahura, Mrs Megan Heather and Mr Keri Campbell.

I spoke at length to our students at assembly how important the small things in life are, for example, their appearance. As our boys move into the next stage of their lives, having a pride in their appearance brings a confidence that will help them achieve their future goals. While in our school environment, and in public, how our students wear their uniform is very important in having a personal pride. It is very important we install this in our students. We have a clear uniform which includes a school jersey and jacket that can be worn during the cold months. Any St Thomas’ supporters clothing or sports clothing are not part of the daily uniform. To ensure we are consistent in our expectations, any hoodies or non-uniform items will be taken off the boys and returned at the end of the week.

I would like to congratulate our 1st XI football in securing the Canterbury Premiership for the third year running. Good luck for the knock out semi-final against Christs College at English Park.

I would like to acknowledge and congratulate Jarrod Gali for winning the New Zealand Year 11 Samoan Speech Competition in Auckland, a great reward for a lot of hard work.

Daniel Prescott completed an outstanding race in the Year 9 Cross Country National Championships by winning and gaining a national title. Well done Daniel on a fantastic result.