Newsletter #7 2023 / Pānui #7 2023 (10/5/2023)

Kia orāna kōtou kātoatoa i te āro’a ma’ata ō tō tātou Atua,

For those that aren’t aware, my father (our caretaker) passed away last week.  He fell pretty unwell nearer the end of last year with cancer and although he was receiving treatment and seeing improvements, unfortunately it wasn’t to be.  He was a real fighter and has always managed to overcome previous health issues, so when I received the call on Saturday night from hospital, saying he was losing the fight, I was a bit shocked and didn’t believe it, as he was looking not too bad a few hours prior when I was there.  Mum, my sister and I spent the next 30 hours by his side.  Whilst smiling when I see people, Dad’s death has left a hole in my heart and I thank everyone for their patience and understanding with the possible slower or lesser quality work I may be producing at present.  I have been struggling since last year but have been overwhelmed with the support I have received. One thing I have learnt from this is we need to tell people we appreciate them more.  To hear so many people say how proud Dad was of me has been almost as difficult as I suppose I wasn’t really aware of it and vice versa.

Nā reira, thanks so much for all of the kind messages, offers of support, flowers, hugs etc. We had a lovely service at St Annes.  Fr Dan was amazing and we were so lucky to have him. The parish and my staff ran around making sure everything was perfect.  I am so grateful to all involved.
If you knew Steve or are interested, you are more than welcome to watch the service.  Click here
I will add a few photos of his influence at school after the tribute.

Tribute to our caretaker, Steve Wichman
Dad, for the last 8 years, has been our caretaker/groundsman/Mr Fixit. I would like to include the last section of my Eulogy from Saturday so you are aware of his input at St Annes. Some might not make sense because it has a bit of a theme to it about people and their ancestors.

…When I started at St Anne’s, the school was two tone green on the outside, the inside of some rooms was banana coloured, things were breaking all over the show.  We had 90 students. Dad was called in,  an SOS.  He quickly became on call groundsman/Mr Fixit/Mr everything at St Anne’s.  He is a big part  of the success it is today.  I definitely credit his influence having a big part on where we are today.  Dad painted the whole school for a fraction of other quotes saving us thousands, he painted the entire external, including the hall, the internal of all rooms, entrance, office, staff room, he figured out how to paint the games on the courts and made lots of them like twister, gutter board areas, 4 square and hopscotch. I invite you to spend some time walking around the school following the service today and look around. The main painting was done years ago, but has lasted so well as it always had to be perfect. He would love you seeing it all. You’ll notice a few weeds around the place and the chairs and buildings didn’t get their Christmas touch ups as he usually did. Unfortunately things went pear shaped when he was diagnosed with cancer late last year and then went down to operating on one lung. He didn’t approve of anyone coming to St Annes to cover as he said he will fight this and be back to help the school. We are now full with 180 students and as of the day he last worked here, we looked amazing. I think you see the goer of Tinomana Enuarurutini here. He has made the land here amazing and he helped bring the multitudes. Dad, you’re not the best caretaker/mr everything in the world, definitely top 5 though. Thanks for making me look good Dad.

Tinomana Enuarurutini embraced the gospel. Dad told me a few months back, he really wanted to get back to St Annes, it was his motivation, and he had been praying a lot. Not a word I had heard dad say before. He had faith, just a layer or two of toughness around it. Dad always did things for people. Acts of charity. For the last 6 years, he spent so much of his time volunteering at St Vincent de Paul on Stanmore, this makes me so proud. I hope at my funeral, people don’t talk about how ridiculously talented I was at everything I did, or how highly I achieved in all endeavors. Life’s not about that, it’s how much love you showed. Plus it would take too long. (please note the bit about me was a joke)

Tinomana Enuarurutini loved his culture and language. I was super chuffed that after years of wanting to, I led the creation of a pe’e for the school. A pe’e is a chant or song with meaning. We made it for those taking a big step in life. Whilst it could be appropriate today, I am more happy that Dad came to the first presentation of it at the cultural festival at CCC late last year just before he fell really unwell. I led the school kids and had Theo, who blew the pū moana earlier, Steve’s grandson, at the front giving it everything. I’m pretty sure he was stoked. 

That’s me team, you are your ancestors.
E moe rā pāpā, moe mai rā, ‘oki atu rā ki te Atua. Ki tō’ou au tupuna. Ma’ata te aro’a nō’ou.
(Sleep now Dad, return to God, to your ancestors. The love for you is huge-Cook Island Māori)

Dad painted the seats as almost the first thing done. Here is the green school prior to upgrade.
Entrance just before Dad got into it.Room 6 just before it was tidied up.Our entrance before being changed by Dad.
The rest are games and post painting pictures.
Dad had COPD or lung disease the whole time he worked at St Annes. Talk about carrying your cross. He must have been tired! Rest now Dad!
E moe rā Pāpā, moe mai rā, ‘oki atu rā ki te Atua. Ki tō’ou au tupuna. Ma’ata te aro’a nō’ou.

Property Update
Rooms 1 and 2 are looking great. We don’t have the exact date but it is not far now!!! Rooms 7 and 8 had their final touches over the last few days with the proper railing being installed. We are only a few weeks from normality.

Losing our Mr Fixit, do you have talents you would give to the school?
We luckily have Blair Forrester from Forrester Electrical, a father at the school, who drops everything to help us with electrical work, does an amazing job and saves us hundreds. Please let me know. Painting, fixing, wood, gardening. We promise not to take advantage (too much).

Although I have mentioned before, we would like to acknowledge the efforts of Caitlin Barnes and Josh Halkett. They have both achieved the Certificate in Religious Studies. This is literally 100s of hours of study. I managed to find this photo of the service. Caitlin having just received it and Josh in the process. Many of our other teachers who are working towards their certificates have been away yesterday afternoon and last week in their work. It shows their commitment to Catholic education and making sure our children have teachers with a strong knowledge of our history, traditions and faith. Well done Caitlin and Josh, we are proud of you!

Life Education
Last year some of the children thought the real Harold was just Mr Wichman dressed up. Mr Wichman was at a meeting last year, this year he was at school and proved it wasn’t him. Now they are saying it is Mr Drummond, it never ends. Mr Drummond unfortunately missed the real Harold as he had an appointment he couldn’t change.

Anyway, thanks Harold for coming, and a big thanks to Ange for her work and teaching of our students. Until next time!
Life Education Bus Reflection –  Written by Room 6
To say we were excited, was an understatement. We remembered Harold from last year and we knew he would have some great jokes and teach us exciting new things.  This time Harold was teaching us about our feelings and empathy.  Ange asked us how we would feel if we had to speak in front of the whole school.  Some of the different feelings we felt were anger, nerves, anxiety, embarrassment, excitement and happiness. This made us see and learn that different events in our lives, all make us feel a different way and that’s ok.  Our feelings are ours and they can’t be wrong.
Harold also taught us about empathy. This is the ability to feel what someone else is feeling.  We watched an interesting video about a boy starting at a new school.  We watched and discussed in class all the feelings he could be feeling and how we could help.
Not only did we get to learn so many new things we also got to have a party on the bus.  The bus turned into a disco with lots of different lights and we all got to dance with Harold. We danced so hard that the bus was wriggling.  We ended the lessons with some jokes from Harold which made us all laugh.  We are already counting down till Harold comes back next year. 

 Thanks everyone! Keep showing your love for one another!

Dallas Wichman
Pū ‘Āpi’i Ma’ata (Principal)