Kai ora e te whanau
This week all around the motu (country) we celebrated Maori language week, and the theme was ‘Te Kupu o te Wiki’ – “The Word of the Week.’ We have had many opportunities this week to broaden our horizons and cherish the language and we will continue to work towards a more equal partnership and relationship with Mana Whenua.
Each week all teachers commit to a professional learning session that we call ‘tikanga time’ and this is led by Mrs Victoria Kelly with assistance from our Kaiawhina, Whaea Vanessa. Almost all teachers are now able to recite their pepeha without reading from a piece of paper and we enjoy incorporating our Catholic traditions with Maori history. We had a particularly special session this week run by Mrs Bridget Ryan on Bishop Pompallier’s arrival to Aotearoa’s shores in the Hokianga, our Catholic birthplace in New Zealand.
It was timely then this week that we welcomed the Catholic special character review team to St Peter’s College. The team consisted of retired principal, Mr Paul Richardson, Catholic schools’ manager, Mr Callan Goodall and Director of Religious Studies from Kavanagh College, Mr Pesamino Tili. Our Kapa Haka group welcomed the team on Monday in a Mihi Whakatau with haka and waiata. The review team praised us for the bi-cultural strength and flavour in the school.
We will receive their full report and recommendations in due course, but some highlights fed back to us already include:
- “Inspired by the student executive team. Excellent engagement from the servant leadership council”
- “A community of volunteers- that’s just what we do”
- “Strengths come through from St Mary’s”
- “Emphasis on the whole person. Excellent pastoral care.”
I am very proud of the way the students have returned to school from lockdown, happy to see each other and re-engage with their teachers. Seniors are committed to achieving enough credits to pass this year and move on to their next goals in life. With this type of disruption and uncertainty however, there is more room for the dangers of anxiety and depression creeping in for our young people. Their sense of hope for the future has been rocked again and it can be easy to dwell on the terrible statistics we see coming out of many countries around the world in relation to Covid deaths and so forth, not to mention the worrying trends of climate change and other natural disasters around the world.
There is no doubt that depression and anxiety abound in most young people’s lives. The WHO reports that "by 2023 depression will be the second most common cause of premature death world wide..." We know that depression and feelings of helplessness are real and all-consuming to our young people.
+ Being a little stressed is healthy
+ Being a little anxious is ok
+ Being depressed is NOT ok
There is a reason why the phrase
“Be Not afraid”
occurs 365 times in the scriptures! Fear is a daily activity.