Principal’s Blog

  • Queen’s birthday weekend 2022 (6/5/2022)

    Even more significant this year is the acknowledgment  of Queen Elizabeth’s 70 years on the throne. Images sent from the UK as the country celebrates this historic achievement bring many thoughts to mind.


    No matter where we sit in the monarchy debate, we must appreciate the incredible dedication and loyal service the Queen has shown. It is amazing to think of the momentous events she has seen as head of state during this time.


    It is fantastic to see the celebrations but sad that she could not participate in so many of the special events owing to her health which seems to be deteriorating.


    New Zealand’s connection to the empire and commonwealth has helped define who we are as a nation. I hope that some of the values and achievements of Great Britain remain in some way or adapted to our context. When Aotearoa New Zealand histories becomes part of our new curriculum, the challenge for teachers will be to ensure the right balance is found between an appreciation of the positive impact being a member of the commonwealth had on New Zealand as well developing a deeper understanding of the contribution of Māori and other nationalities who have made Aotearoa their home. 


    This will be a challenging time for many but one that if discussed respectfully will be healthy and strengthen us on our journey towards becoming one nation.

  • Rostering of classes – Memo 24/5/22 (5/24/2022)

    Dear parents/caregivers

    We were very fortunate in the first wave of Covid-19 cases earlier in the year that our school could continue as per normal.  However, a combination of winter colds and flu with Covid-19 cases and associated household contacts starting to increase within our community, we are beginning to see the impact of this at MHJC. 

    While our preference is to have all students onsite for face to face learning, it has become increasingly difficult to provide staff to cover classes owing to the shortage of relief teachers.  Therefore, to relieve some pressure on our staff we have decided to roster home the following year levels:

    Thursday 26th May –  Y9 distance learning

    Friday 27 May – normal school for all students

    Monday 30 May – Y7 distance learning

    Tuesday 31 May – Y8 distance learning

    Wednesday 1 June – Y9 distance learning

    Thursday 2 June – Y10 distance learning

    Friday 3 June – normal school for all students

    A decision will be made on Thursday 2 June as to whether we will continue to roster year levels the following week.  Parents and students will be notified of the decision on Thursday evening.  This system will continue until we feel that we can operate safely.

    As before, during lockdown last year, students will be supported during this, hopefully short disruption.  We already have well established routines including the use of digital platforms and work will be set by subject teachers and/or Whānau leaders.

    Our apologies for this urgent notification however it is a decision which balances the learning needs of our students and the need to maintain a safe learning and working environment for everyone.  Different days will be allocated to Year Levels to maximise their learning opportunities.

    We appreciate all your support getting through these challenging times.

    If your child cannot be supervised at home on the days specified above please complete the form herein. This will be updated every week if required.


    Ian Morrison


  • ANZAC Day message, April 2022 (4/23/2022)

    I wish everyone a day free of worry, a day free from considering the horrors of war. It is hard to imagine what it must be like to experience a reality which includes the imminent prospect of death and destruction when we have not personally witnessed it. That is why we must, at least for a moment, pause and reflect on what it must have been like for so many of our forefathers who paid the ultimate sacrifice to preserve peace and freedom for future generations. 


    It is also important to spare some time to consider those still affected by war. Refugees displaced by fighting, innocent civilians caught in the crossfire, and of course those who serve who continue to die or bear horrific wounds, seen and unseen.


    Finally it falls on our shoulders to ensure that war does not become the only option to settle differences. It is sad to witness the conflict in Ukraine and wonder how the world can still stumble into conflict with the horrifying consequences and geopolitical scars that might take generations to heal. An absence of genuine dialogue, understanding and respect leads to misinformation, mistrust and misunderstanding. These are the conditions for conflict and those we strive to avoid.


    We often recite the poem titled “Lest we forget”. These words could not be more appropriate today.



  • Happy Waitangi Day! (2/6/2022)

    Waitangi Day, the national day of New Zealand, marks the anniversary of the initial signing – on 6 February 1840 – of the Treaty of Waitangi, which is regarded as the founding document of the nation.
    The Treaty reminds us we are one people – in the words of William Hobson, Crown Representative, “He iwi tahi tatou” and to renew our commitment to the Treaty.

  • Supporting wellbeing – how to cope with feeling overwhelmed from schooltv (10/27/2021)

  • Māori language week – Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori (9/14/2021)

    Kia ora koutou

    Many thanks to Matua Anthony our Te Reo Māori teacher and Māori Students Coordinator who has in difficult circumstances organised various activities to celebrate Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori and submissions to the Māori Language Moment – Te Wā Tuku Reo Māori.

    At MHJC we believe it is important that we integrate Te Reo (the language), Te Ao and Ti Kanga (customs) and the Māori World View (beliefs and values) into what we learn and do. We do this not only as part of our obligation to honour the Treaty of Waitangi – Te Tiriti o Waitangi, but also because we believe that as citizens of New Zealand – Aotearoa we can all benefit from learning, understanding and celebrating a language and culture which is precious and unique.

    I believe we are at an important stage in nation building with a surge of interest in Te Reo Māori and soon the introduction of a new perspective to the teaching of Aotearoa New Zealand Histories in schools. This title deliberately acknowledges the role all communities played in building this nation. In a sense a diluted Euro-centric focus may challenge some, but this should be seen as a healthy realignment which can be compared to a whānau welcoming a long lost son or daughter. Naturally, at first, there will be more time and energy spent catching up with him/her and others may feel neglected. However in time, the wheel will turn and a balance restored as the family returns to its normal lives enriched by their return.

    Nation building is like a marriage. A healthy marriage needs to develop and grow and cannot be sustained simply by the signing of the marriage vows. So to, the Treaty of Waitangi may signal the birth of our nation which every generation must help to develop and our time has come.

    This week we urge our community to practice their Te Reo. Have a go, because the more we try, the more we build connections and the more we show a desire to be one nation.

    Kia mana ake – growing greatness!



  • Lockdown update 10 September. (9/10/2021)

    As we finish another week of lockdown I thought it important to reach out to our community and express my appreciation to you all. We are conscious that distance learning is not easy which is why our teachers have been asked not to put too much pressure on our students. We always say that for educational success support from home is critical and this is particularly relevant during this period where parent’s interest, encouragement and connection with their child/ren’s learning can make a massive difference.

    Thanks for your support so far. Please reach out to your child/ren’s Whānau Leaders and teachers if needed. And rest assured if we fall behind a bit we will allocate time to catch up when we return.

    We are planning for a shift to Alert Level 3 in due course and ask that whānau discuss how they may supervise our tamariki in advance of a possible relaxation. The requirements are the same as last year – only students may come to school of parents who are essential workers and who cannot supervise their children at home. The Delta variant poses significant health risks and we must be vigilant.

    Stay safe – kia kaha!

  • Memo re: Level 4 lockdown – distance learning explained (9/1/2021)

    As the alert level 4 lockdown status has been extended in Auckland for two weeks and we can anticipate a probable return to level 1 and “normal”  school either late in Term 3 or at the start of term 4, I feel it is important that parents and caregivers understand what our plan is during this period of distance learning.


    Our priority continues to be the wellbeing of our community. We acknowledge that it is not easy working from home as well as supervising your child/ren’s learning.


    We also learnt several lessons from last year which have informed and guided our actions this time. We strive to:

    1. Balance academic progress with hauora/wellbeing;
    2. Limit screen time and promote active learning;
    3. Provide students with a degree of autonomy over their learning – similar to Focus Friday with teachers outlining the expectations for the week and students managing their time to complete tasks given;
    4. Minimise the number of emails being sent to parents (apologies for this one!)


    The partnership between home and school is of critical importance for student success so if you know what we are trying to do you will be better able to support us and your child/ren:


    1. Learning Advisors will check in with their students at least once a week, in case support is needed. We check on-line activity and/or entry to google classroom and other online platforms like Reading Plus, Maths Buddy or Education Perfect.
    2.  Subject teachers will connect with classes using at least one collaborative tool a week like google classroom – this may not last the whole hour but is another useful check in for us to see students are OK, explain new work or the tasks for the week.
    3. As a general rule teachers will not set more than 2 hours a week/per subject for Year 9 and 10 and 1 hour a week for Year 7 and 8 (and options). We do not want students to feel overwhelmed but it is also important to maintain routines and some academic progress.
    4. We have asked our teachers to set work which does not involve too much screen time.


    It is worth showing an active interest in what your child/ren are doing, making sure they are balancing work with their own wellbeing and that they are following the government’s guidelines about staying in our bubbles.


    I thank you for your patience and ongoing support.


    Stay connected, stay well.


    Ian Morrison



  • Nice to be back! (8/4/2021)

    As indicated in the Term 1 newsletter I was granted a sabbatical by the Ministry of Education for Term 2 which is available to Principal’s after 5 years of service (mine was delayed by a year). I wish to thank the Board of Trustees for supporting my application and our Associate Principal for stepping into my position while I was away. The topic I was investigating, was “Principal’s Wellbeing” which together with student and teacher wellbeing is becoming a very important consideration for Boards of Trustees and the Ministry of Education.

    Following an analysis of responses by over 50 school leaders in Auckland and meetings with a selected number I was able to summarise some broad generalisations which I have shared with colleagues and Principal organisations. Some of the reasons why Principal’s indicate they are thriving in their role, rather than surviving, is due to the support they receive from their Boards and their Board Chair in particular; their Senior Leaders and the community generally. I am pleased to say I fit in that category and wish again to thank everyone who has contributed in some way to my feelings of wellbeing. I realise this is a personal statement which I am unused to sharing, however a school leader faces numerous complex issues on a daily basis and this can be draining unless there are other factors which help to “refill the bucket”.

    Being back at school and reconnecting with our wonderful staff, student and parent community has been a most enjoyable experience. It is often true to say that when we are away or leave a place we tend to appreciate things more and this was true for me when I was away and witnessed through facebook and emails the amazing efforts of our staff to maintain our mission of helping students to find and grow their greatness.

    I trust everyone is well and like me, feels blessed that we are able to enjoy personal freedoms that many in other countries are denied owing to the pandemic. I look forward to sharing with you all the events and celebrations we have become used to in term 3 and beyond.

    Growing greatness – Kia mana ake!

  • Dangers of vaping (3/31/2021)

    I feel it is important for our community to be as well informed as possible about a dangerous new trend which is potentially very harmful to the health of our students. I believe we all need to send the same message to our children to keep them safe as there may be some mixed messages coming from a number of sources which confuse the situation. 


    In essence while vaping may be a useful, short-term method to stop smoking it is dangerous for young people to try and some students may think that if it is advertised or if it is used for that purpose it is OK or safe for them to use. The short answer is, it is not and a growing number of young people, ironically, are becoming addicted to nicotine after using e-cigarettes.


    Vaping (and smoking) is not permitted in schools in New Zealand. The school views vaping in a negative light and deals with students who bring a vaping device to school severely as it may cause a risk to other students’ health and safety. 


    Please ensure if you, or members of your household use e-cigarettes that your children get a clear message of the risks of using them and cannot have access to them.

    Here is a simple message from the Ministry of Health website:

    Children, young people and non-smokers should not vape (use e-cigarettes)

    • people who do not smoke should not vape
    • vaping products are not risk-free 
    • the long-term health effects of vaping are unknown 
    • vaping products contain nicotine which is highly addictive.

    More detailed information can be found from an article published online from the John Hopkins Medicine website entitled “5 Vaping Facts You Need to Know” by Michael Blaha.


    1: Vaping Is Less Harmful Than Smoking, but It’s Still Not Safe

    Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes, vape pens, and other vaping devices) are being used by adults who are trying to give up smoking. However e-cigarettes contain nicotine, flavourings and other chemicals, many of which are toxic. Vaping products may also be modified to contain tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which is the harmful ingredient in marijuana.

    2: Research Suggests Vaping Is Bad for Your Heart and Lungs

    Nicotine is the primary agent in both regular cigarettes and e-cigarettes, and it is highly addictive. It causes you to crave a smoke and suffer withdrawal symptoms if you ignore the craving. Nicotine is also a toxic substance. It raises your blood pressure and spikes your adrenaline, which increases your heart rate and the likelihood of having a heart attack.

    In addition many of the chemicals used in e-cigarettes have not been tested properly yet to understand their long term effect or damage.

    3: Electronic Cigarettes Are Just As Addictive As Traditional Ones

    Both e-cigarettes and regular cigarettes contain nicotine, which research suggests may be as addictive as heroin and cocaine. What’s worse, says Blaha, many e-cigarette users get even more nicotine than they would from a tobacco product — you can buy extra-strength cartridges, which have a higher concentration of nicotine, or you can increase the e-cigarette’s voltage to get a greater “hit” of the substance.

    4: Electronic Cigarettes Aren’t the Best Smoking Cessation Tool

    Although they’ve been marketed as an aid to help you quit smoking, e-cigarettes have not received Food and Drug Administration approval as smoking cessation devices. A recent study found that most people who intended to use e-cigarettes to kick the nicotine habit ended up continuing to smoke both traditional and e-cigarettes.

    5: A New Generation Is Getting Hooked on Nicotine

    “What I find most concerning about the rise of vaping is that people who would’ve never smoked otherwise, especially youth, are taking up the habit,” says Blaha. “It’s one thing if you convert from cigarette smoking to vaping. It’s quite another thing to start up nicotine use with vaping. And, it often leads to using traditional tobacco products down the road.”


    I trust this information will help you to address this potentially dangerous and harmful issue. A similar message will be provided to our students by Whānau Leaders and the topic will be addressed in our Health and PE classes as it can affect students’ hauora.

    Kia kaha


    Ian Morrison



The home of Mission Heights Junior College, Auckland, New Zealand