This is my speech from the pou ceremony today - Thursday 9 May.
Thank you all so much for coming to our ceremony today.
Welcome to our friends from Kokiri Marae
Welcome to our distinguished guests – Whanua Roopu
To our artists – Kirsten, Raihania, Hayden
To our Board of Trustees members and our parents of the school
To our children – who always remain at the centre of everything we do here at Muritai Kura.
It is so exciting to see the pou back in the ground. Nearly 12 years ago we started to create the pou. They were the dream and vision of a group of parents to enhance the strength of the culture of the tangata whenua in Aotearoa, the Maori people.
This group had to be strong and resolute in realising their dream. They had some opposition, not all parents in this community were supportive of the concept, but through courage, determination and resilience, hard work and a lot of fundraising they realised the dream.
What was so powerful once the pou arrived was how the children reacted to the opportunity working alongside the artist Phil Waddington.
I remember children spread in the hall, drawing together, coming up with designs for Phil to carve. Then the children all mosaicked a section and they were stuck onto the pou and concreted in. Some children loved the process worked through their lunchtimes helping Phil finish the project. It took a whole term to complete.
Sadly the mosaics have come off over time. The elements are rough out here by the sea and the tiling became brittle and they looked a little worse for wear. But the pou stood still, like a sentinel, guarding the children, watching everything we did and making us safe.
Recently we took them down, to give them a rest and breathe some new life back in and here they are.
We were able to reuse the tiles from the mosaics in the ground that now surround the pou.
A huge thanks to Kirsten, Hayden and Raihania for their hard work, dedication and aroha in reviving the pou.
So here they are, standing tall and making a difference to our school. See how strong they are. They are silent but powerful.
When I stand and look at them, I see real strength. They go deep into the ground and reach up to the sky. They stand between Ranganui and Papatuanuku. You can see them from the front, from the side, from the back.
Everyday you will work past them on your way to learn, or to play, to be with your friends, to have fun. Everyday the pou will stand, give strength to and represent the children and friends of Muritai School.
They are a treasure, something that we have at Muritai, that many, many other children across New Zealand don’t have.
We must always treat these pou with the dignity and respect that they deserve. We need to look after them, and they will look after us for many years to come.