Home' Whangarei Leader : January 7th 2014 Contents 5
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Emotional farewell to principal
By STEPHANIE DAVIDSON
Respected man: Former Tikipunga High School principal Peter Garelja.
There is a saying pinned on the wall
of the Tikipunga High School work-
room that reads: Everyone you
meet is fighting a battle you know
nothing about. Be Kind. Always.''
The words were placed there by
outgoing principal Peter Garelja,
recently retired after nearly seven
years at the helm.
He has been quietly fighting his
own battle with Parkinson's disease
and has earned widespread com-
munity respect for his courage, his
kindness and his ability to transfer
power to Maori.
Tikipunga kuia and teacher
Ngawai Anaru sums up the com-
munity response: The community
love him to bits. He has that quality
of kindness and he listens.''
An emotional farewell, organised
by Komiti Maori to coincide with
the Maori Achievement Awards,
revealed the extent of gratitude felt
by the local Maori community.
Representatives from the school
community -- Whanaunga Aotearoa,
Pehiaweri marae and the well-
known kapa haka group Hatea --
met to celebrate student achieve-
ment and to pay tribute to Peter. A
whole evening was devoted to
feasting, speech making and per-
formance, and Peter and his wife
Raewyn were presented respect-
ively with a waka huia (especially
carved box) and greenstone pendant
Memories were set in stone as
senior student Te Huringa Totoro
played out a film in which students
held out a stone inscribed with the
value they selected to describe their
Grace Turuwhenua, spokes-
woman for Pehiaweri marae, ident-
ifies Peter's ability to form links
with the community.
He set up quite a few community
projects. The marae driveway was
dangerous; he found funding to
make our entrance safe.
He gained apprenticeships for
two Tikipunga students to work
with Fulton Hogan, the company in
charge of doing the alterations [at
Pehiaweri] and involved students
from the building academy in reno-
Peter was always interested in
what was going on there and had a
very visible presence -- turning up
for Anzac Day ceremonies and
attending other important com-
munity events,'' she says.
Grace describes him as very
respectful to whanau, always hum-
ble and a person who highly values
She, like many others in the
Maori community, is keenly aware
of the strong moves Peter made to
transfer power to Maori -- getting
Maori into positions of respons-
ibility, encouraging Maori staff
members to go on to become
principals. Ex-student Robert Dia-
mond believes part of Peter's intuit-
ive understanding of where Maori
are at as a people generates from
his Dalmatian heritage.
He is Ngati Tarara -- Dalmatian
-- and he is a man of staunch ident-
ity, a man who understands what it
is to be part of a minority culture,''
Peter agrees identity has been his
The most important thing you
take to a classroom is your cultural
identity. Identity matters. I have
always fought hard for Maori
students to have the absolute right
to learn as Maori and succeed as
If they can believe in themselves,
they can believe in their teachers.''
He described the evening put on
in his honour as quite simply the
most humbling experience of my
Most importantly, the evening
and its accolades sent a clear signal
to would-be educators about what
Maori want in terms of education.
We want what Peter began . . .
school that is built around com-
munity,'' Robert says.
In the spirit of a leader whose
compass was cultural identity,
Robert reserves the right to make
his final tribute to Peter Garleja in
his own language: Horekau he
tumuaki i tua atu i a Pita, nei ra te
rere o nga whakamiha ki a koe e te
rangatira e Pita. Nga manaa-
kitanga o te Atua ki runga ki a koe
me to huarahi hou kei mua i a koe.
Mauri ora e te rangatira.''
Fashion students put on show their own style
Imaginative combination: Pinia Lazarus-Spicer, centre,
with her 'Korowai' collection.
Impressive outcome: Emmaleigh Crompton-Powell, left,
with her 'Metaphor' collection.
Second year diploma in fashion
design students held their annual
end-of-year show where they dis-
played just how much they have
developed as young designers.
Pinia Lazarus-Spicer and Hannah
Nelson featured their creations in a
show titled Diversity' held at
NorthTec's Geoff Wilson Gallery.
We're just delighted with the
work and effort they put in. What
they produced quite simply
exceeded our expectations,'' North-
Tec fashion tutor Edele Macdonald
From when they started in
February 2012 to showcasing their
final collection at the end of 2013
shows just how much they have
achieved and benefited from doing
the NorthTec fashion course.
It was really impressive to see
how well the design modules
influenced and impacted on their
This, coupled with their commit-
ment to producing quality
garments, resulted in three
amazing mini collections.''
Hannah's works, titled Fusion',
were a mix of costume and fashion.
Inspired by period dress and futur-
istic designs she managed to suc-
cessfully infuse both.
She worked well throughout the
design process and showed clear
strengths in her decision making,''
Pinia's works, described as
Korowai' were based on her Maori
cultural background and birds.
Pinia was interested in modern-
ism and the traditional Maori
cloaks, but at the same time she has
a great appreciation for the femi-
nine form. Her dresses with vibrant
colours showed an interesting and
imaginative combination,'' Edele
Emmaleigh called her collection
Metaphor' based around the meta-
morphosis of evening wear into
street style. Her three outfits
showed her amazing ability to com-
bine and manipulate different
fabrics. It was a time consuming
process that had an impressive out-
Edele says the second-year
students had demonstrated their
fashion design skills and thinking
had grown exponentially.
We're really pleased with what
our students have achieved,'' Edele
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