From the Principal

By Mr Simon Coleman | Posted: Thursday September 17, 2020

Tena koutou,

We have had a challenging Term 3 as we have negotiated the COVID situation which has not been an easy one for schools. As a school we are looking forward to the change to Level 1 today and this will bring greater normality to operating as a school. The first such event will be a full School Assembly which has not occurred since Term 1.

We have had to modify, postpone and cancel a number of events which is very difficult when there are so many aspects to consider and work through. However one event which we were able to continue with is our renamed and reformatted ‘Vibes’ which has evolved from our previous ‘Choice’ and prior to that ‘Lip Sync’ shows.


This occurred last week and was a fabulous event. So much talent was on show from students and staff with many highlights throughout the evening. Congratulations to all the place-getters but also to everyone who went out of their comfort zone to be involved in this.

This event was also live streamed and the feedback we have received has been very positive for this and we hope to be able to do something similar for other important events in our school calendar. I would like to acknowledge the efforts of our Arts Leader, Brooke Dwyer, along with Mrs Andrea Hornsby, our Arts Coordinator; Mr Cameron Love, HOD of Music, and Ms Eliza Williams, HOD Drama, for enabling this event to happen. There was also a number of staff and students who were involved both nights from running the lights, backstage, front of house and managing the Library where the students were based. Thank you to all involved and we all look forward to the next ‘Vibes’ in 2021.

Please read the details of Vibes 2020 later in this newsletter.

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori

Last week was Māori Language week and I want to recognise the large contribution of our Rangitahi Leader, Lydia Burnett. Lydia not only organised the activities for Māori Language week but has also done an amazing job over this year by being key to the revitalisation of Te Reo for us as a school.

Why a week? Why not a year? Why not a decade? A century?

Because New Zealand is revitalising the Māori language and a part of that is celebration of our success and promoting te reo Māori. Māori language week is an opportunity for concentrated celebration, promotion and encouragement. And every minute of every hour of every day is a Māori language minute – we can choose to use te reo – every time we do, even just a ‘Kia ora!’ contributes to revitalisation.

The chosen theme for 2020 is again 'Kia Kaha te Reo Māori’.

‘Kia Kaha’ is well understood in New Zealand English with its meaning of ‘be strong’. We often talk about languages as if they are people – talking about language health, strength and revitalisation. So when we say ‘Kia Kaha te Reo Māori’ we’re saying - ‘Let’s make the Māori language strong'.

Strength for an endangered language comes from its status, people being aware of how to support revitalisation, people acquiring and using it and from the language having the right words and terms to be used well for any purpose.

Te Reo Māori is a taonga of Māori, guaranteed under the Treaty of Waitangi. But the Māori Language Act 2016 also makes clear it is for every New Zealander and a valued part of our national identity.

The link below is full of resources and readings that will assist all of us in the focus of the country to have 1 million speakers of Te Reo by 2040.

Courses for 2021

We have over the last few weeks had both conferencing and students making subject choices in readiness for next year. As parents and caregivers, it is important that you are very involved in these choices and decisions regarding the subjects your son or daughter may take. These are important considerations especially for NCEA so that your son or daughter along with yourselves are well informed and aware of both interests and possibly career pathways that exist from these choices. Please contact the HOD and/or Dean if you would like to discuss further these options.

Student Leaders

Every year, we have so many outstanding Yr 12 students who take the bold step of putting themselves forward for a School Leadership position. Also, every year we have a number of students who do not gain one of the thirteen positions. Each year, I meet with these students to discuss that the leadership of the school does not function solely with these thirteen roles but requires energy, support and a willingness to seize other leadership opportunities as they arise from every member of Yr 13.

Over this week, we will interview 19 Yr 12 students for these roles and it is always a pleasure hearing the ideas and passion for their school that they have when we go through this process.


The Board of Trustees, through the recent closing of the tender process, were informed of the pricing for the Gym redevelopment. The prices have come in much higher than what was expected which has now meant a delay as we revisit the scope of this. Unfortunately, it now means that the work on this will not begin until sometime next year. We will inform our school community as we continue the progress in this area.

Upgraded Year 7 and 8 Playground

We are fortunate to now have the funds to proceed with the new Year 7 and 8 playground. It is exciting to be able to provide our students with a new resource that will sit alongside the existing playground. This will complete this area where there has been a gear shed, new basketball backboards along with marked lines to play games added for our students in these year groups.

I wish to acknowledge the Geraldine High School PTA, the Geraldine High School Foundation and The Southern Trust who have contributed significant funds to this new playground.

New and Departing Staff

It is difficult to thank staff who have given their teaching careers to Geraldine High School and the many aspects of school life but we know that our students have been better for having these staff be part of their holistic education. At the end of this year we will farewell two long serving staff who are finishing at our school after considerable years of service and commitment to their respective curriculum areas of English and Visual Art.

Mr David Hay

Mr Hay will be finishing up at the end of this year after leading our English department for a significant part of his teaching career. He has been involved in so many aspects of school life one of which was his role as Staff Representative on the Geraldine High School and Carew Peel Forest Board of Trustees.

Mr Mike Deavoll

Mr Deavoll has been involved in the arts field for over 30 years. He has always been committed to doing the best he can for every student and, in more recent years, has been the inspiration and leader of ‘No Laughing Me’ publications in conjunction with our Te Whare Ako students.

The Board, Staff, Students and wider community thank them both for their significant efforts and contributions over such a long time.

We also have Ms Annabel Duffield, taking maternity leave at the end of week 1 next term. Annabel has been a great addition to Drama and our Homeroom area. We wish her all the best as she embarks on this new adventure and look forward to having her back. To cover Annabel's leave we have Miss Jess Adcock. She comes from Christchurch with a Primary Teacher training background.

Finally, I wish our students and their families a well deserved holiday break given the demanding and complex term we have had during Covid-19. I wish you all an enjoyable time with family and friends and look forward to seeing our students at the start of Term 4.

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa