Principal's Blog

In discovering Marsden this year, I’ve become acquainted with a nurturing, intentional, inclusive and very spirited community.  It lives up to the fitting, beautiful image of a nest that supports a bird in its quest to develop and take flight.  I continue to be energised and inspired by the notion of Manu Rere Ao; of preparing birds that fly the world. Our motto: Ad Summa, aim for the highest, fits so well in light of it.
The spirit of our community and the way its members are nurtured and encouraged was prominently on display this week through the House Music competition.  House systems have long been a feature in many independent schools around the world (and have been brought to the attention of the broader population recently through the Harry Potter series!).  Being a member of a House helps to provide students with a sense of identity and pride in a supportive environment.  A well-run House provides valuable teamwork and leadership experiences as students of all ages come together, bringing their diverse talents and abilities, and united in their desire for their House to come out on top.  We saw team spirit and camaraderie at its best this week with students of all ages investing in each other’s success and looking out for each other.  Congratulations to all of our House leaders for putting on such wonderful performances, and to the winner, Hadfield-Beere, for taking out their first House Music title since 2011.
A wonderful feature of the House Music competition this year was the inclusion of our school waiata, Hamuera Matene (Samuel Marsden), written in 2017 by Year 10 student Araraina Takuira-Mita.  As both adjudicators commented, we are blessed as a school to have received such a beautiful gift.  I was so proud of the way that all of the girls took on the challenge of learning Hamuera Matene.  It was definitely a step up in length and language complexity from previous House Music waiatas, but everyone worked hard to honour Araraina’s gift to us, and all six renditions of Hamuera Matene were beautiful and moving.  The waiata tells the school’s history, talks of the Houses as the ‘6 beating hearts’ of the school and urges the students of Samuel Marsden to   

Take hold of these treasures that are taught to you and store them within yourself for your wellbeing and health. 
So you can stand strong and independent in this ever evolving world.
It was also wonderful to read from our focus group feedback that there was unanimous support for the further deep, meaningful integration of Māori culture, values and language across the school.  A clear understanding of local culture and history was seen by all of our stakeholders as key preparation for the success of our students as both New Zealanders and as global citizens.  Being culturally responsive to people of Pacific and global cultures was a natural extrapolation of this as was embracing minorities including those with disabilities. 

Narelle Umbers