Category Archives: Principal’s Blog

Armistice Day 2019

Sunday 11 November marks the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, the day world war one ended. Every year we acknowledge Anzac Day however the centenary of the day on which the “war that will end all wars” ended is not always observed as widely in New Zealand. It is an important day for us because while the sacrifice shown by the Anzac Forces in Gallipoli cannot be underestimated, New Zealand soldiers also contributed greatly to the Allied war effort on the Western Front in Europe. In total 16 697 New Zealanders were killed in the war, 2779 during the Gallipoli campaign.

Indeed a casualty rate of 58% was one of the highest of any countries involved in world war one. The impact on such a small country was significant and it took many years before the country recovered.

Again we are reminded of the courage of those men and women who served their country, too many giving the ultimate sacrifice. And we appreciate the relative safety and stability we enjoy here in New Zealand. Perhaps a relevant message is that we still need to have the courage to stand up for universal values which uphold and preserve our humanity.

I trust the students of MHJC never have to face the horrors of war but will be prepared to face the challenges of the future with confidence and compassion.

Growing greatness/Kia mana ake!  


Community Feedback Survey

My thanks to the almost 200 parents who have responded so far to my invitation to complete the survey. I also appreciate the many positive comments and constructive suggestions you have shared.


Owing to initial problems with connecting to the link I will keep it open for another few days – closing Wednesday 7th November – lets see if we can hit 300!

Growing greatness/Kia mana ake!

United Nations Day

Last Wednesday, 24 October was United Nations Day. I wish to highlight the day as many of our learning contexts this year have been linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) which were designed by the United Nations. The 17 goals range from eliminating poverty to climate action and provide our students with a strong focus or direction for their learning.

We believe at MHJC that learning should be authentic. This means it has purpose and be relevant to the student. Developing a strong community conscience and desire to make a difference within students are goals we hold dear hence my desire to bring the SDG’s to the attention of the community.

Global citizens – our travellers return

We extend a warm welcome to our international travellers. Our first group of students returned from a very enjoyable trip to China where they experienced a wonderful cultural experience at Xian Lin Intermediate School in Nanjing. We wish this new connection to grow and perhaps host students from this school next year. The opportunity to meet students from another country, visit important cultural and historic places and see another school system provides our students with valuable personal insights. We thank Mrs Dada and Mrs Gao who planned, arranged and supervised the trip for their time and efforts.


Our second group was the national Tournament of Minds winners who competed in the international competition in Darwin. To the group’s disappointment they did not place however they emerged with great credit and we are proud of their achievement in this the first time MHJC has entered the event. Thanks to Mrs Lal who entered the school in the competition and supported the team to achieve and achieve an amazing result. We also extend our appreciation to everyone who supported the trip as the last minute fund-raising efforts (which reached the goal of covering all costs) was as much a success as any other!


In both cases our students have grown and learnt valuable life lessons.


Growing greatness – Kia mana ake!

Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) at MHJC

One of the responsibilities of a Board of Trustees is to provide for the special needs of gifted and talented students. Recently I asked two members of our senior leadership team, Mrs Lal and Mrs Kilpatrick to attend a conference which provided new perspectives on this important area of our curriculum. As a result we will be reviewing our existing programmes in 2019 and introducing some modifications which will be trialled early next year.


The review will include:

  1. A shared definition and understanding of the phrase “gifted and talented”;
  2. A clear and comprehensive identification process of gifted and talented students;
  3. The modification of curriculum opportunities for gifted and talented students.


It is pleasing to note that we already have a well established programme for GATE students which include the accelerate class in year 9 and 10, a large number of extra curricular activities (4 Cornerstones) and a number of Extension courses within the DEEP programme which give students the opportunity to develop their gifts and talent in a number of areas.


I wish to signal a trial for Year 8 students next year. Current Year 7 students who will be identified as gifted or talented by teachers, themselves and parents will remain in their whānau in 2019 but come together for inquiry learning in 2 hour sessions with specially selected teachers. We wish to see the benefits of this model compared to our traditional model of moving identified students into one class within a whānau in Year 9 and 10.


Invitations to be considered for the 2019 Year 9 accelerate class have been sent to parents and this class will proceed as before. The class is rotated around the school and it will be Forest Whānau’s turn to accommodate the class next year. The Year 10 class will continue as before in Water Whānau.


Our gifted and talented students already enjoy a great deal of support and success at the school in a variety of ways ranging from Academic Competitions, STEM related challenges, cultural performances, sporting activities and leadership forums. Our intention is to broaden these opportunities so that even more students are able to experience this level of performance and involvement.


Growing greatness/Kia mana ake!


School haka – Kia mana ake

We are very excited about an important event at the school which will take place on Friday, 7 September at 2 o’clock on the tennis courts. For several weeks staff and students have been learning the school haka – Kia Mana Ake and it will be performed by each whānau and as a whole school on that day.

I have been delighted with the energy and enthusiasm the school has shown during the learning process. It was emphasised that the performances would not be a competition but a celebration and the spirit of the haka has shone through as a result. I have also been impressed by the leadership shown by our Māori students who have led the learning of the haka within their whānau.

It will be a most enjoyable and heart-warming celebration of Ti Kanga Māori; whānau and school unity and an excellent way to reinforce our commitment to and promotion of our bi-cultural heritage.

My thanks goes to Mr Jason Tuhaka, author of the school haka who has, along with his whānau, done so much to promote both Māori language and culture at our school and to our new Te Reo Māori teacher, Mr Brent Dunn who has worked tirelessly to teach the haka to our students.

For your interest the words and English translation appear below:

Kaea Kia rite, Kia rite, Kia mau Get ready!
Katoa Hi!
Kaea Torona Titaha Arms ready!
Katoa Titaha!
Kaea Ko wai e tū ake nei? Who is standing here?
Katoa Ngā taonga o tātou tipuna

E tū ana tātou i raro i te maru o Puke Ariki

Me te mana o Ngāi Tai e!

The treasures of our ancestors

We are standing under the protection/shelter of Puke Ariki and

The prestige of the people and land of the Ngāi Tai iwi!

Kaea Toia mai! Pull!
Katoa I Te waka The waka!
Kaea Toia mai! Pull!
Katoa I Te waka!

He waka takohanga

He waka matauranga e

He waka eke noa aue hi!

The waka!

A waka of responsibility

A waka of education

We are all in this together

Kaea Me takatū tātou So let us ready ourselves!
Katoa Me takatū tātou kia puāwai kia whakapakiri e

He waka kore hoe he tangata kore huarahi

Let us ready ourselves to blossom and mature

A waka without a paddle is like a person without purpose

Kaea Aue Kia kaha! Be strong
Katoa Hi!
Kaea Aue Kia māia! Be brave
Katoa Ha!

Aue Kia manawanui

I tēnei ao hurihuri

Ahakoa ngā tūātea, ngā paraawa

Koinei te ope haere ki Tawhiti

We will be courageous

In this ever changing world

No matter the challenges we face

We will go above and beyond

Kaea Kia mana ake Growing greatness
Katoa Aue hi!


What a week!!

Last week was one which highlighted so much of what we strive for at MHJC – providing opportunities for our students to display their talents, to compete against others or simply be the best they can be.


Finalists for the school Public Speaking competition impressed me with their confidence and assured delivery of a wide range of topics. How courageous to talk of issues which directly affect them commenting on issues ranging from race, religion, gender, sexual and cultural identity to genocide and the personal impact of civil war. The external judges reinforced the generally held view that our students show a maturity and honesty beyond their years.


Then passionate Mathematicians showed off their skill at our annual Mathex Competition. What an exciting evening this was as the energy built to a crescendo before the final buzzer sounded and put the cream on the top of Maths Week.


On the same evening and following day several groups competed in a technology competition, hosted at the school – EPro8 Challenge which presents groups with a series of tasks to complete within a time limit. Again our students stepped up and showed how well equipped they are to take on the technological challenges of the future.

Early on Thursday morning our guest speaker at the Man Up breakfast spoke of the importance of finding a sense of purpose and living a life of integrity to our boys accompanied by significant male role models in their lives.

And on the sporting front, our senior boys competed in the Auckland Regional Basketball Championship, top Cross Country runners qualified for Auckland Championships and our weekend warriors – senior netball and football teams emerged victorious in their league games.


Then on Friday I witnessed something magical. At the end of the day during Learning Advisor time, one whānau rehearsed the school haka under the bike shelter, another heard it and could not resist responding and before we knew it, student led renditions were threatening to cause structural damage to the buildings!


On Wednesday I met graduating teachers who are interested in teaching at MHJC – none of them could believe what we do and the opportunities we provide our students to grow their greatness. None of this would have been possible though without passionate, committed teachers and parents – thank you for your continued support.


Growing greatness – Kia mana ake!

Back to the 80’s

Once again Ms Shields and her team have produced a musical of outstanding quality. I am sure you have read publicity surrounding the event but I wanted to encourage you all to take a trip down memory lane and join us next week to celebrate the wonderful singing, dancing and acting students of our talented students (and staff!)

Here is the You Tube link for the show:

Growing greatness – Kia mana ake!


Please be advised of some changes to Prize Giving 2018 which will give more formal recognition of participation, improvement and our values but continue to acknowledge academic excellence:

Academic improvement

2 awards per year level per whānau (8 per Year Level).

Qualities and values (Kia Mana Ake Award)

 One extra award per year level per whānau (total 8 per Year Level)

Participation – 4 cornerstones

The top 10 students in every year level based on e-badges (across all four cornerstones)

In order to keep the Prize Giving to a reasonable time the Academic Achievement Awards (excellence in individual subjects) will be presented at whānau assemblies however Academic Excellence (the top 10%) will still be recognised at Prize Givings.

As can be seen the Prize Givings will provide a more balanced and holistic forum for recognition.

Growing greatness – Kia mana ake!


During term 3 students will be learning about the risks and benefits associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV radiation). In New Zealand the peak summer ultraviolet radiation (UV radiation) levels are 40% higher compared with corresponding latitudes in the northern hemisphere (eg. Southern Europe, mid USA). Excessive exposure to UV radiation from the sun can cause sunburn, skin damage and increase the risk of skin cancer. Skin cancers are the most common cancers in New Zealand, and there is evidence they are increasing in incidence. With these sobering facts we feel it is important that our students are both protected and well informed about this danger. The threat is made more difficult because UV radiation is invisible and the impact on a person’s health relatively slow to manifest.


We are working within guidelines recommended by the SunSmart Schools Accreditation Programme which is run by the Cancer Society of New Zealand and our intention is to become an accredited school which has developed and implemented a sun protection policy for Terms 1 and 4. The policy must meet minimum criteria that ensure students and teachers are protected in a sun-safe environment.


I wish to signal that we have started working with staff and students, and Mission Heights Primary School. The Board of Trustees supports this important initiative as one of its responsibilities to maintain and promote a culture of health and safety. Some progress has been made already:


  • Students have given feedback about the hats or caps they would like to wear which will be available at John Russell the official uniform stockist. It must be noted that while caps are not ideal they are a step in the right direction and students will  be required to wear either caps or hats in term 1 or 4 during any outdoor activity starting in term 4 this year;
  • Sunblock stations have been placed in whanau for students to use if they do not bring their own to school;
  • The provision of shade is being included in the school’s long term property plan.


I trust that the conversation about sun safety is reinforced at home and thank our community in advance for their support. The following web site can give you more information:


Growing greatness – Kia mana ake!