Saint Kentigern Welcomes Maurice Nelson

February 05, 2019 at 1:40 PM

In a blaze of sunshine yesterday morning, we welcomed representatives from St Mary’s College to formally ‘hand over’ their former staff member, Matua Maurice Nelson, who joins the staff at Saint Kentigern as our Teacher in Charge of Te Reo Maori.

In a blend of traditions, staff and students from St Mary’s joined us for a Powhiri and piped welcome in Elliot Quad.

Selena Agaimalo (Year 12) sang the karanga, a formal, ceremonial call of welcome, accompanied by piper, Kate Pennycuick (Year 13), while the Cultural Group performed Te Waka, with great poise and energy, as Matua Nelson and the Saint Mary’s College students, staff and special guests were welcomed into the Quad.

Once seated, Year 12 student, Te Rama Rueben offered an opening prayer. Head of Saint Kentigern, Mr David Hodge formally welcomed the guests before Saint Kentigern representatives stood to sing the waiata, ‘Te Aroha.’

In response, St Mary’s College Principal, and in keeping with Maori protocol, Mrs Bernadette Stockman, gave a speech followed by a St Mary’s College waiata. Matua Maurice offered grateful thanks to his St Mary’s family, as he now sets out on his new journey at Saint Kentigern.

In acceptance of Matua Maurice’s transition, the St Mary’s College korowai (cloak) was removed from him, as he received the Saint Kentigern korowai from Mr Hodge; Principal of Senior College, Mrs Suzanne Winthrop and Principal of Middle College, Mr Duncan McQueen.

The ceremony concluded with the visitors and hosts greeting each other with a hongi, before moving into the Elliot Hall Foyer for refreshments. 

Te Reo Maori at Saint Kentigern

Te Reo Maori is one of six languages taught at Saint Kentigern: French, Spanish, Latin, Chinese, Japanese and Te Reo Maori.

The importance of studying another language has long been recognised at Saint Kentigern College, and in the Middle College, second language learning is offered from Year 7. For some students, this may well be the first time that they have encountered learning a language other than their own.

In Year 7, students undertake two different semester-length language courses as a foundation to second language learning. In Years 8 and 9, students select one language for a full year and from Year 10 onwards, languages are selected as an optional choice from a range of year-long courses.

Since Te Reo Maori was first offered as part of the language options in 2017, the numbers have steadily grown but until this year, it has not extended past the Middle College. With the introduction of a dedicated Te Reo Maori teacher in 2019, for the first time this year, Te Reo will be offered as an examinable NCEA Level 1 subject. This will continue to Levels 2 and 3 in subsequent years.

The Language classrooms at the College are adorned with a fantastic mural painted by former student, Elise Hinemoto. Above the large-scale artwork of iconic monuments from around the world are the words, ‘A second language is a passport to the world.’

The benefits that students gain as they learn a new language go well beyond the ability to communicate in another tongue. With another language, comes an appreciation of the central roles that language, culture, place and heritage play in shaping identity, enriching and broadening their global understanding. 

Students who select Te Reo Maori learn about the important role that our indigenous language and culture play in New Zealand and throughout the world. These understandings can lead students to think about their own cultural identity and their personal place in the world.


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