New dawn for Hukarere Girls’ College

It was a new dawn for Hukarere Girls’ College earlier this month as a Pōwhiri was held to welcome new principal Shona West, and incoming students.

The karanga (call) rung through the school grounds as its tangata whenua welcomed manuhiri (visitors) into the hall. Waiata, Whaikōrero, and karakia marked the poignant occasion.

More than 200 staff, students, whānau and friends gathered, including Ms West’s older brother and Hastings District Councillor Henare O’Keefe, former Hastings Girls’ High School’s principal and current Hastings District Councillor Geraldine Travers, as well as other notable leaders in the community.

Ms West, of Ngātiporou and Ngātikahungunu descent, was appointed late last year to the position and has been charged with the responsibility of leading the school in a new direction.

Addressing the crowd, she said she will lead the school as a collective “because it is up to each and everyone of us to shift us to another place”.

She acknowledged the tūāpapa of the school which has a strong Te Ao Māori character and Anglican tradition. “They must be intrinsic in everything we do.”

She thanked the girls’ whānau for trusting them with the responsibility of nurturing their tamariki. “I promise you we will do our utmost to do that.”

The school’s Board of Trustee’s Chairpersons Heke Huata and The Most Reverend Don Tamihere said they are excited for what the future holds and pleased to have Shona at the helm.

“As we enter our 146th year, 2021 signals a fresh beginning for Hukarere,” Heke Huata said.

This year has seen a “significant” intake of new students, bringing the roll to just under 90, up from last year’s 71.

Deputy Principal Stephanie Clifton, and five other staff members have also been welcomed.

Most Rev Tamihere, Bishop of Te Tairāwhiti, Bishop of Aotearoa, and Archbishop and Primate of Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia, said he is excited by the renewed support, and new appointments.

“Hukarere is an incredibly important school with a deep history and it still retains immense value not only to Māori but to Aotearoa as a whole.”

“Really pleased to have been there to support Shona, but most of all we are really looking forward to the wonderful young woman that have started here this year and watching them flourish.

“I am excited about what the future holds.”