Sunday, September 21, 2008

Aotearoa

This post should come with a warning: 100% Pure New Zealand Advert following....
For the past week or more as I worked in my office at Pt England School I have been hearing the kids down the corridors rehearsing for the big cultural event happening on Tuesday night this week. As well as performances from all the culture groups in the schools there are a couple of whole school items. One of them has been a bit tricky to learn and Max (music teacher) has put technology to work and created an 'iKaraoke' style video which Andrea (ICT teacher) plays on the television network,P.E.N.N. , everyday so the kids can sing along and practice in their classrooms. The cool thing is that you hear it up and down the corridors as everyone in their classes is singing along while it is on their TVs. So I have had 'Aotearoa - New Zealand, the place I want to be..." rattling around in my head all week - as you do- thanks to the kids from PES.

Thursday morning Russell and I took 2 plane flights and a hire car ride to travel from Auckland to Franz Josef on the West Coast of the South Island. We had been invited to speak at the annual West Coast Principals' Conference. We flew out of a sunny Auckland day into miserable cold drizzle in Christchurch then got in a tiny plane to cross to Hokitika on the west coast. The nasty weather behind us we drove further
south for 2 hours in glorious spring late afternoon sun. The scenery was amazing with sea and surf on one side and the lakes and bush scenes from Lord of the Rings on the other. Around every corner was another photo op. And that song kept on buzzing in my head - " Aotearoa - New Zealand our home, from forests to the sea...." We live in an awesome place! We eventually arrived at Franz Josef as the sun was setting on the glacier with the snow on the southern alps. We have travelled to some pretty special places around the world but this quick journey brought back those old ads that showed on TV in the 1980s - “Don’t leave home till you’ve seen the country”. So many of us don't get out and about this amazing place we live often enough.

And the conference was great too. There are a whole bunch of dedicated and talented people working in the schools on the West Coast and doing a great job. We reckon they keep a low profile because they have got something pretty special going on down there and they are happy to keep it that way! As long as they keep inviting us back each year when the whitebait are running we will be happy to keep their secret - sort of :)

PS Will post a video of the kids singing Aotearoa later in the week as it doen't appear to be online to link to...
NEW - an excerpt of the students singing Aotearoa at the end of the Pasifika - some very tired kids in this clip!