Kia ora e te whanau
It is good to contemplate our sense of place in the cosmos. From the earliest humans and still today, people have always taken a keen interest in the starry skies. The constellations have been, and even though we know so much more about them now, still are, a source of wonder. From Psalm 8 we hear, “When I behold your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you set in place, what is humanity that you should be mindful of us? Who are we that you should care for us?”
It is difficult to be outside on a starlit night and not be captured by a sense of wonder. The stars have practical uses too, having been used as an aid to navigation and as an indicator of the seasons. At this time of year, the cluster Matariki, also known as Pleiades, The Seven Sisters or M45 reappears above the horizon, after having dipped below the horizon for some weeks. When this cluster, Matariki, reappeared in the very early morning sky, it signified the beginning of the New Year and people knew it was time to prepare the soil and plant crops. Other meanings were also signified in the setting and rising of this star cluster. As the star cluster set, it was a time to remember those who had died during the past year. As the star cluster rose, it was time to consider the rising of the dead who were now joining the stars of the night sky. It was a time to plan for the future, a time to look forward in hopefulness, a time to be with whanau and friends. The advent of the New Year holds an important place in the Māori calendar and is rich with meaning. Customs vary among different iwi. While all celebrate the New Year, some iwi use the rising of the star Puanga (Rigel), rather than the Matariki cluster, to signify the beginning of the New Year, as the Matariki cluster cannot be easily seen from all localities.
As a school and community, we come together in aroha to celebrate, be drawn into, and pray over the wonder of this time. Some weeks ago, the star cluster Matariki set. It did not rise again the next evening. There are people we love, whose lives have set, who have died, and who we miss deeply. We particularly acknowledge this week the very sad passing of past pupil Stephen Allison last week.
The new light of Matariki has risen!
May it be to you a sign of resurrection and new life.
May it be to you a sign of hope in times of darkness.
May it be to you a sign of the wondrous mystery of Atua who loves you.
May it be to you a sign that the eyes of the Eternal One are ever upon you
and that the presence of the Holy One is ever with you.
And may this be the cause of your rejoicing. Go in peace.
As we head into the last two weeks of term two there are many exciting activities taking place with short school weeks, assessments due and holiday plans to be made. We must not lose sight that first and foremost we are a learning institution with a special Catholic character. It is a privilege to be able to attend school events like the school ball this evening. The Year 13 and some Year 12 students have worked hard to pull this event off and have learnt a lot along the way about event management. This is their ball, but it is still a school event. This means it is strictly alcohol and drug free. You would not have a drink before or during a rugby or hockey game and the school ball is no different. The NZ police and parent organised after ball is not a school event. Information and permission slips have gone home to all students attending and the party would not be possible without the generous support of our parent community. Many schools no longer have these types of after balls and I leave it over to the community to decide if this is something you still want to organise, supervise and be responsible for in the future. My huge thanks go out to the netball committee for organising the ball walkthrough and the PTFA for organising carparking and ball supervision. Without parent volunteers and support events like these would not be possible.