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Had you been travelling on the bus with us to Tauranga yesterday for the Ra Whakangahau Festival at St Mary’s Primary, you would have had no doubt where we were headed.

Yes, our attendance there was important because it continues to give the school a positive profile in Tauranga, but more importantly it reflects the fact that we also have a cultural heritage to draw upon.

Te Reo is indigenous to New Zealand. It is a taonga recognised under the Treaty of Waitangi, and as such is a major source of self-knowledge and identity.

Significantly perhaps, for us as a school community, taking part in this festival gives us the opportunity to share with the wider community our own identity as the tangata whenua of Matahui. Our students performed with passion and pride as they represented not only their school, but also themselves and their families. Sharing the stage with them, albeit for a moment in time, I could sense what this meant to them. We were a whanau.

There is a whakatauki that says.. He waka eke noa (A canoe which we are all in, with no exception).

Never a truer word spoken.


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