Nau mai haere mai ki te Kura Tuatahi o Whakatu
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to Nelson Central School - you will find us in Nile Street to the east of Nelson Cathedral. We are ‘home’ to 450 enthusiastic children aged 5 to 11 years. A mixture of old and new buildings are complemented by several beautiful, mature trees. We are fortunate that our school grounds feature two large playing fields and two adventure playgrounds. While being highly regarded by our community we do our best to achieve constant and never ending improvement. For further information, please contact the school office.
Dr Paul Potaka
E rere kau mai te awa nui nei
Mai i te kāhui maunga ki Tangaroa
Ko au te awa
Ko te awa ko au.
The river flows
From the mountains to the sea
I am the river
The river is me.
Today is the 1st of April and to avoid the risk of being seen as an April Fools' joke I will be retiring tomorrow, the 2nd April!
I have thoroughly enjoyed my 18 ½ years at Nelson Central School and will take away many wonderful memories. One of the very clear memories I have is of a very supportive community with a strong interest in family and learning. Another concerns the really wonderful people I have worked with during my time as principal. In your different ways you have made it easier to cope with the relentless demands for bureaucracy for 'accountability' and I have to say that I have never had any difficulty getting up every morning to come to the best job in the world!
Lynne and I intend remaining in Nelson although we will spend time visiting family and friends in Singapore, China, Thailand, Whanganui and other places.
Ka pū te ruha, ka hao te rangatahi
As an old net withers another is remade
I couldn't think of a better way to go out than with the following piece of writing by Camryn Bruce, a Year 6 student in Room 1:
I stare up at the dark, jagged peaks looming above me like giants, ready to stomp on me as if I am no more than a cockroach. The chilly breeze nibbles at my toes and fingers, painting them black and blue. A cold mountain stream trickles beside me, dragging frosted branches to their deaths. I trudge on, my boots crunching in the mixture of crisp, white snow and rocky ground. A small artic hare darts in front of me, trying to escape from the cruel, cold fingers of wind grabbing at it. With every tired, wary step the journey through this frozen, barren wasteland grows longer. My breath comes out as sparkling white mist. The very few flowers that were growing could only just survive the gnawing cold. Struggling, the sun's faint rays are too weak to even melt the tiny snowflakes falling on my clothes.
Kia ora koutou,
It seems like the last week we have with Dr. Potaka at the helm is too soon upon us. Once the shock of his resignation had subsided and the panic over how on earth we could ever replace this treasure had diminished, time seemed to both stand still and pass at a phenomenal rate. And now the day is upon us and it is with a sense of loss that I now write.
Quite simply, Dr. Potaka cannot be replaced, replicated, or even recycled. It is hard to imagine Nelson Central School without Dr. Potaka. But it is easy to remember how important he has been to who we are as a school and as a community. Dr. Potaka has watched over our success and has expected us to do well, and has always seen the best in who we are and what we have to give. That is why he is he taonga nui ki te manawa o mātou kura; a great treasure at the heart of our school.
But change is the one thing that does not change. And now is the time that we have to put our own sense of loss aside and wish Dr. Potaka all the best of luck and prosperity on the next step in his journey. Just as we are always learning and growing, Dr. Potaka will continue to grow and learn. So it is our job to wish him all the best as he moves forward into the new adventure.
On a personal note Dr. Potaka is someone that I look up to as a leader and as wise council. He is greatly respected by educators and educationalists in Nelson and in the wider educational community, and his project of human rights education is both timely and necessary in a world where these things can be forgotten amongst the clamour of meeting National Standards, whatever that may mean. I have appreciated the finesse with which Paul circumnavigates a flawed system and has maintained a focus on those things that are more important – how we act toward each other, and how we can use our own freedoms to understand and embrace difference to find our community.
On behalf of the Board of Trustees I thank Paul for his magnificent contribution to Nelson Central School and to educational leadership throughout Nelson and Aotearoa New Zealand. Thank you for your quiet wisdom, for your hope, and for your endless commitment to doing the best for our children and our community. You will be greatly missed, but we can find strength in wishing the the very best in the next part of your journey. He totara koe, he manawa toa o ngā tangata o te Ao. Haere, haere, haere te pai o ōu hikoi. Tino arohanunui ki a koe!
Dr. Bradley Hannigan, Chair of Nelson Central Board of Trustees.