Annette Joyce - Part 2
Annette Joyce: “I would like to remember Kristy Rae Ruri Gardner who Elizabeth talked about the trials of their school, was our amazing Year 13 Prefect, by July she already had level 3, brilliant attendance, over 95% attendance up to that stage and in the week of our ball, she and a few of her friends decided they’d have a girls day out. And they went out and she drove perfectly but the, her tyre blew out in the, in the rain and there happened to be a big car coming towards her at that, you know, it’s all that thing about timing isn’t it. Kristy died and it’s had an enormous impact on our school. But like Elizabeth it was amazing to me what happened. The following afternoon when I told all our senior girls that Kristy's life support had been turned off, a group of our senior Māori girls got up, and it was a fairly grief stricken room, as you can imagine, students and teachers. And our Māori girls, five of them stood there and sang quietly for forty minutes until ultimately parents came to take their students away. And those moments and those times are incredible, and to me that is what Te Kotahitanga is all about. It’s about the relationships that we can form in our schools and out of those relationships grow amazing things.
“The data shows us that we’ve improved academically; our girls have year after year. I would like to acknowledge also the fact that in our, from 2003 to 2005 we had eleven Māori girls who achieved level 3. In that last three years we’ve had fifty eight, that’s the sort of difference that Te Kotahitanga makes. It’s just about numbers. In 2003 we had twelve Māori girls in Year 13, we thought that was pretty good, this year we had a hundred and two. Now, we’ve got, we’re a school that I think has been quite different as what’s happened in the last few years, is that because our Māori achievement has changed so much, it has created a feeling amongst Māori, not just in Rotorua, but outside Rotorua, to send their students to our school to get what is happening there.
“But suffice to say that in the seven years that we’ve had Te Kotahitanga in the school I would love to be able to say to Russell and the Te Kotahitanga school we have faithfully followed the programme that you give us, we’re done all the things that you asked us to do but we haven’t. Like the others we have had, and I acknowledge Claudene Waiteri here in the front row who was our Head of Maori Language who picked up happily the role of Te Kotahitanga facilitator when we went into it. And Claudene was with us for three years as, as Te Kotahitanga facilitator but when she went we had a time where we were appointing facilitators sometimes twice a year. And all those, all sorts of things happened for us. I’m telling you that not as a sad story but as a joyful story. If you can, we’re not a school, I don’t know if there’s any school that sailed through this programme, everyone has their ups and downs. You know if you have an up one year you don’t crow about it too much because next year it’s probably going to be a down. I think, I think we have all only learnt, I’ve honestly only learnt in this last twelve months to really stand up and say the data of, of what has happened in our school, because I was always a bit scared that you know, this was probably just this year. But when you suddenly look back on five years or six years and you think, ‘My god look at what is happening,’ and it just gets too joyful not to talk about. So please don’t think I’m just one eyed about our school I’m not, and there are lots and lots of things that we have to learn from Te Kotahitanga just as much as those of you who have just come in this year. You’re always learners and there are always new things happening.”