At the dawn ceremony on Tuesday morning, there was a very special feeling as the karakia were said and the sun crept up over the horizon – it was indeed the ‘first light’ for Ko Awatea.
The uniquely New Zealand opening was unforgettable and a totally new experience for me (as was my attempt at speaking Te Reo).
It was the start of a tremendous day, of sharing ideas and special moments with our partners, sponsors, staff and community. All those people who will help us bring about our objectives.
In particular, the school children who brought into Ko Awatea an amazing wealth of creativity and knowledge. As I listened to them demonstrate the skills they are developing, I knew that here in Counties-Manukau, we have a tremendous pool of talent that we have a responsibility to help nurture – they are our future leaders, innovators and workforce.
We heard our local stories from our staff which were inspiring, amusing, educational, and knowledgable. They exemplified the great talent and expertise upon which we will be building.
Pat Snedden reminded us of what is happening in the community with Maori and Pacific students using high-end technology. Then, Dr Glenn Colquhoun held us all in the palm of his hand as he read his own extremely personal perspective of Middlemore.
As Judge Ida Malosi reminded us, we are all in this together, no matter what sphere of the community we work in.
It was a magic day I won’t forget.