Rau rangatira mā, e nga tamariki o tēnei kura, e huihui nei, tēnei aku mihi māhana ki a koutou, kia ora tātou katoa.
Distinguished guests and students of the school, who are gathered here, greetings to you all.
Thank you for inviting me. I’m pleased to be with you on such an important day in the life of your school.
All schools have a history and often that history can be read in its buildings. We can often trace the rise and fall of educational styles through the different types of buildings that make up our schools. We can see how small, dark classrooms have given way to open plan and then moved on to flexible spaces. Blackboards and inkwells have been superseded by whiteboards and smartboards. Exercise books and jotter pads have been joined by email and tablets.
All these innovations have been embraced with one aim in mind – to continue the provision of a truly great education.
The opening of the Upper Classroom Centre is another chapter in the life of St Matthew’s Collegiate. The redevelopment shows how it is possible to be true to both the history of the school, and to modern function and sustainability. Modernisation doesn’t have to be soulless and it’s wonderful to see heritage values guiding the design and build of 21st century facilities. I’m sure the students and teachers who utilise this teaching area will appreciate the improvements in useability and innovative features incorporated into the building.
Schools like St Matthew’s offer safe places for our young people to flourish. This safety relates not just to the built environment but to the emotional and intellectual environment cocooned around you. School is the platform for the journey to adulthood and it’s crucial to the development of the people we become.
My own memories of high school are that it was a voyage of discovery – about myself and about other people. What we learned was so much wider than what was on the curriculum – how to be good people, how to work collegially with others and how to aspire to bigger things. I think an ex-pupil of St Matthews, my ADC LT Holly Swallow, summed it up best when she said this school gave her the freedom to shape herself into the sort of woman she wanted to be.
To the school leadership team and board – I offer my congratulations on successfully completing this project and commend you for your vision and commitment to top-quality education. I’d also like to acknowledge the parents and other guests present today. Your continued support for the school and its educational mission is invaluable.
The philosopher Plato once said, “The direction in which education starts a person will determine their future in life”. I wish all the students of St Matthews the very best as you find your direction. This new Centre seems to me to be a wonderful launch pad for your academic and life ambitions.
Kia ora huihui tātou katoa.