Kia ora te whanau o te Kura a Rohe o Whaingaroa,
We have been given the pleasure of contributing a few introductory words about our new Deputy Principal, Aroha Hohepa. Aroha has written a letter to the community which we provide for you below and we also wanted to give you a brief overview of our response to her during the selection process.
We interviewed a good number of candidates for this position and had several strong contenders. The whole interview panel unanimously agreed to offering the position to Aroha, noting her warmth, strengths, experience, and strong connections to the strategic objectives that we have recently set for the school and our vision for the future. For instance our key objectives include “Maori achievement” and a “cuturally-responsive curriculum”, (this is in fact a key directive by the Ministry of Education for all schools and it is especially important in our context with around 60% of our students identifying as being Maori), alongside excellent outcomes for all students.
Aroha was also able to very clearly articulate for us her vision on using innovative and practical ways of teaching to engage students and to keep them excited about being at school. This included a strong focus on student-led learning. Aroha explains that her mission is to “illuminate” each student. To make each of them and their whanau feel proud and confident of who they are. This was another element that excited us because it also aligns with our vision.
We also felt, very strongly, that Aroha has the skills to be fully inclusive on this journey in a manner that is respectful of students, staff, whanau and community.
We look forward to having her join the leadership team. Aroha will relocate from Christchurch and start at our kura in Term 2.
Tara Wrigley and Malcolm
Letter from Aroha:
Ngā Puhikōwhaorau, Ngā Puhikaiariki, Ngā Puhitaniwharau.
Tiheiwa mauri ora!
Tēnā koutou e te whānau o te Kura a Rohe o Raglan!
Nō te wharetapu ō Ngāpuhi ahau. Ko Aroha Hohepa tōku ingoa. And this is a little about me.
My heart in education is for our moko to see the magic that sits inside them. I come to you with a very clear agenda, to uplift and illuminate the uniqueness of each moko through the culture of care and mana enhancing practise, alongside and with you. I feel privileged to be placed in your whare and look forward to working collaboratively with you all.
For the past year and a half I have worked at Haeata Community Campus in Aranui, Ōtautahi where as a team we have established the first NZ urban area school. My role as Kaiārahi Whakaako has been to develop game changing teaching and learning programmes through student focused, passion based learning, dispositional and value informed learning whilst promoting personalised pathways for each moko and their whānau. Prior to this position I was part of the Senior Leadership Team at Nelson Intermediate School. And before that a kaiako for many years.
Historically education has often failed our moko, so it has been a real privilege to collaborate with community and iwi in creating learning pathways with and for their moko. Something I am hoping we can develop as a community at Te Kura a Rohe o Raglan where we will seek to advance our moko in a holistic way recognising hauora as much as teaching and learning programmes impacting on outcomes.
Your environment is rich with opportunities and so with you, our moko and the kaimahi at kura, I would seek to capitalise on this with innovative and creative ways to drive excellence in education for all our moko.
Your vision, “Celebrating education in a bi-cultural environment” spoke to me. Quality engagement with iwi, whānau, moko, school staff and senior leadership can allow best practise to be the responsibility of all key stakeholders with the goal to ensure each moko can shine in their own uniqueness.
On a personal note, I am the second youngest of four. We grew up in central Christchurch and in the 80’s we were a little different to our neighbours who would question the hangi pit in our backyard, the tuna hanging on the clothesline, the old fridge smoker sitting in our māra kai filled with kamokamo, riwai, etc. My father speaks fluent Māori but we do not. I often feel inadequate in my inability to kōrero fluently. I never want our moko to feel this. I was also raised as an Irish Catholic, a very strong influence from my mother’s side. I have raised my two boys, Nikau and Kaleb, for the past 17 years as a single parent. Today I stand very proud as they both live in Wellington pursuing their own dreams through further education.
Oh and I have never in my life surfed. Just a heads up. See you all in term two.
Be bold. Be kind. Be relentless.
Mā te tauihu o tōu waka, e ū te waiora. Kia mahue atu, ngā mea whakahirahira i roto i te koriporipo.
May the prow of your canoe cleave the waters of life and leave in its wake, mighty deeds.