Chris Jarnet's Speech at Te Whare Tuupara's Opening

Kia ora tatou, A very warm welcome to you all, especially to our dignitaries, on this, the opening of our new buildings. In 2023 we will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of our Kura...

Watch the speech here

Ka tangi te titi

Ka tangi te kaka

Tihei Mauri ora

Ka tangi hoki ko au

Ko te kupu tuatahi

Me tuku whakamoemiti ki te Matua i te Rangi

Ko ia te timatanga me te whakamutunga o ngaa mea katoa

Ko te kupu tuarua

Me whakahoonore te Kiingi Maaori, a Kiingi Tuheitia, Pootatau Te Wherowhero te tuawhitu, te makau ariki, me a raaua tamariki mokopuna.

Paimarire ki a raatou

Ko te kupu tuatoru

Me tuku mihi ki ngaa mate kua wehe atu,

Haere koutou, haere koutou, moe mai i roto i te ariki.

Ko te kupu whakamutunga ki a koutou katoa,

Nau mai, haere mai ki too tatou nei

Rā nui whakahirahira.

Kia ora tatou, 

A very warm welcome to you all, especially to our dignitaries, on this, the opening of our new buildings.  

In 2023 we will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of our Kura. 

Sixty years ago it was decided that a High school was needed in Ngaruawahia due to the large number of students in the area who at that time boarded the train each day to travel to Hamilton for their schooling.

Coincidentally, 1963 was also the year I started primary school. The education system in the 60’s was very different to the one we have today. On my first day of school I was strapped. That of course is another story and to this day I have stuck with the narrative that it wasn’t my fault.


I have been fortunate in my time at this Kura to have worked with some of the school’s foundation teachers and I count myself lucky to have learnt my teaching craft from many of them. Some of these teachers fought in the second world war and so their perspective was very different to my life experiences as a 25 year old just starting out. Most of these people have now passed but it is important to acknowledge the contribution that they have made to this school. 

As I have already surmised, the New Zealand Education system has changed significantly a number of times since 1963 and we are about to move into a new era of Education in 2023. So with our new buildings, a new curriculum and a new Principal, the school begins the next part of the journey of secondary education in this community. 

However, the one thing that won’t be changing is the way our teachers care about our students. They are our taonga, to nurture, guide, develop and prepare for a world that is constantly changing. We have a massive responsibility to them,  their whanau and to the wider community. We must constantly strive to acknowledge their mana. 

A very wise man recently gave me some advice. We were discussing the future of our education system and the discussion led to the Treaty of Waitangi and the model of Co Governance in our current western model and how this may work going forward. The concept of Manaaki was raised and the need for everyone to be open and honest with each other as well as being prepared to move out of our comfort zones. We all need to learn to compromise and to do this we must be prepared to pause and listen, without talking. Only then will we fully understand each other's point of view.

This very wise man also said we need to have a willingness to negotiate Mana. The ideal situation would then be one of recognising, acknowledging, and respecting the mana of the school, mana of the Board and our teachers, but most importantly the Mana of individuals.  

We all have work to do in this space and this shared responsibility will mean picking up the rakau and leading by example. 

I need to take this time to thank all of you for your contribution to this project. From the business cases, funding applications, design concepts and the building of our new facilities, this nine year project is now nearing completion. There are some people who cannot be here today but I acknowledge their contribution as well. I know that you will agree with me, that we have been blessed with what has been produced. It is truly wonderful. 

I also need to thank our community, because without them we would not have a school. Many parents took a calculated risk in 2014 to send their students to their old school and this faith meant that the roll began to grow again.

Thanks must also be acknowledged to our staff who have contributed significantly to the positive changes to our Kura through the culture, the curriculum and the new pedagogy. Their work and belief in our Kura is above and beyond what is normally expected.  

I wish to end my address today by paying tribute to a tongi from Kingi Tawhiao, when he found that he had to start again by rebuilding.

This tongi is relevant to this Kura in terms of the journey we have been on. 

“Māku anō e hanga tōku nei whare

Ko tōna tāhuhu, he hīnau.

Ōna pou he māhoe, he patatē.

Ko Te Atua toku piringa 

Ka puta ka ora”

I will build my house

Its ridge pole will be made of hīnau

Its posts will be made of māhoe (whiteywood) and patatē (seven-finger).

For God is my refuge.

“Māku anō e hanga tōku nei whare” is particularly relevant for us in terms of where we are currently at and where we are going. The outstanding school production in 2013 referenced this tongi and the whole school has learnt the haka that recognises its significance. Our Kura has been rebuilt, both in a practical sense but also in a cultural sense. Our students' understanding of Te Ao Maaori has significantly improved in recent times and the new curriculum can only further enhance this understanding.

Thank you all for attending our celebrations today, please continue to support our Kura going forward. Your investment will continue to pay dividends far into the future.

Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.

—Chris Jarnet, Principal

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