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

I have been very impressed with the way our students have finished this term, and what a term it has been. In amongst the wonderful work our staff and students have committed fully to, we have dealt with another sizeable lockdown. While the output of work from our students didn’t take any impact, I have been left feeling the overarching shadow of this pandemic has left those in our community fatigued with the constant change in the way we are asked to live our lives. I am sure once we hit a level of normality, whether that be due to a herd immunity or a 90% vaccination rate, the level of mental health concerns we are seeing, will decrease.

At assembly I spoke at length with our students about the importance of relationships, the importance in connection and the importance of belonging. 

This week was the anniversary of our dearly loved friend, Brad Milne. I spoke at Brad’s funeral a year ago about the beautiful space we encounter in relationships where there is a piece of you and a piece of the other person. This is where relationship happens, it can’t be one-sided and it has to respected. The relationship I had with Brad lives on forever, as does his legacy through the many relationships he had with so many in our community. I challenged our students to think about the contribution they make to the many relationships they are involved in – parents, friends, siblings, teachers. Are they contributing in a healthy, respectful way?

I know, personally, my mental health is deeply impacted in both positive and negative ways by the quality of the relationships I have, and the time and energy I put into these relationships. I feel very honoured that the relationships I encounter with your sons each day is a real gift that has such a wonderful effect on mental health. I hope I am able to return the same gift.