Rau rangatira mā, e kui mā, e koro mā, nga rangatahi o tēnei kura, e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou, kia ora tātou katoa. Distinguished guests ladies and gentlemen and students of the school, I extend warm greetings to you all.
I specifically acknowledge: Dr Bruce Goodfellow, Chairman of the Board and your fellow trustees; Stephen Cole, Headmaster of the College and your staff; Hon Maurice Williamson, Minister of the Crown and Member of Parliament for Pakuranga; Mrs Elizabeth MacFarlan and Dr Maitland MacFarlan, wife and son respectively of the late Reverend Doctor Adam MacFarlan; Reverend Kaio, Moderator for the Northern Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand.
I am delighted to be part of this special event today – the opening of the MacFarlan Centre - here at Saint Kentigern College.
In thinking about what I might say today, I did a little research of Saint Kentigern for whom the school is named. St Kentigern, the patron Saint of Glasgow and affectionately known as Saint Mungo in Scotland, lived in the closing years of the 5th Century and early 6th Century. I also researched the name Mungo, which reminded me of the 1970s rock band, Mungo Jerry to see if there was any connection. There was no connection, although I do remember the band’s most well-known song “In the Summertime” which was a global hit when I was at secondary school! However, apart from today, that is the only other occasion I can think of where Mungo and Jerry coincided!
More seriously, the opening of a new facility at a school is always a marvelous occasion because it reinforces our faith in the power of education to transform lives. It also represents a commitment to our young people - our greatest taonga – and our hope for a better future.
In a short time I will officially open the MacFarlan Centre and just before doing that, I want to speak on the significance of two milestones being celebrated both today, and this weekend. The opening of this Centre begins a weekend of celebrations in recognition of this School’s 60th Anniversary – its Diamond Jubilee. The 60th Anniversary and the completion of the MacFarlan Centre reinforce the importance of education more generally.
Saint Kentigern College was opened in the same year as the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen of New Zealand, in 1953. With just 92 foundation students, and four staff, this College was initially established for the education of young men. The introduction of young women to the campus, at the time of the 50th Jubilee in 2003, has seen the College grow exponentially. The roll now exceeds 1700 students and there are more than 200 staff. Today the school has an outstanding reputation as a world class co-educational facility. These are milestones that the foundation headmaster, the Reverend Adam MacFarlan would surely welcome.
The Saint Kentigern College motto, Fides Servanda Est - ‘the faith must be kept’ - and the spiritual values underpinning the school are important “anchor points” in these changing times. They guide teaching and learning here, and reinforce the College’s inheritance, its strong Christian ethic and its Scottish heritage. It seems to me these are things that make for a strong community in and around the school.
And the construction of the MacFarlan Centre will play an important part in continuing to develop that ethos. The new Centre with its administration and student services, as well as the student café, Year 13 common room and a health centre represent a significant commitment by the Board to ensuring that the College has designed for purpose facilities essential to support a school of this size and purpose. The senior students’ having their own space, to study and socialize, is an appropriate feature of a modern secondary school education.
I was fascinated by the statistics associated with the building - the half a million working hours, 142 tonnes of steel and almost 1,300 cubic metres of concrete poured to build it. However, the 20,000 metres of data cabling, 500 data outlets and the largest single-site wireless campus in Australasia impressed me more! These are things that the teacher and academic Adam MacFarlan would surely welcome in a building named after him.
This building and the anniversary that will be celebrated this coming weekend remind us of the value of investing in giving our young New Zealanders a sound modern education. A properly educated populace is the cornerstone of a lively and vibrant society. This is something the humanitarian Adam MacFarlan would have valued.
In conclusion, I want to congratulate everyone on the completion of the MacFarlan Centre, named in tribute to a man who laid the strong foundations of the College, and which will ensure that this College remains part of New Zealand’s educational landscape for many future generations. It is a fantastic facility and seems to me to be a fitting highpoint to start the College’s 60th Jubilee celebrations this weekend.
As Governor-General, it gives me great pleasure to declare the Saint Kentigern College MacFarlan Centre officially open.
Kia ora huihui tātou katoa.