March 2011

To Proprietors, Interested Parties, Principals, Staff and Trustees of New Zealand Integrated Schools

The February 22nd Christchurch earthquake has been the focus of the nation this past month as recovery efforts have tangibly borne wonderful transformations in the Christchurch area. Unfortunately, the tragedy in Japan has made us all realize, even more, how vulnerable nations located on the Pacific Rim of Fire actually are to movements of the earth.

As of Wednesday 23rd March 2011, all of our Integrated schools in Christchurch were back in business in one form or another, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of principals, staff, trustees and parents along with Proprietors and the Ministry of Education.

The Minister of Education, Anne Tolley is to be strongly commended for her helpful leadership in a variety of ways, which has enabled solutions to be found to difficult challenges. The strong partnership between the Government and Integrated schools has not been found wanting. Thank you Minister!!

Each Integrated school community has had its share of challenges, some much more than others. As of today the following is occurring:

  • Marian College is operating on the St Bede’s College site via a twinning arrangement with morning and afternoon ‘shifts’.
  • Catholic Cathedral College is operating on the St Thomas of Canterbury College site via a similar twinning arrangement.
  • St Mary’s School, Manchester Street is operating in the Parish Hall on the St Theresa’s School, Riccarton site.
  • St Paul’s School, Dallington, relocated after the September earthquake to the Catholic Cathedral College site is now on a site in Champion Street, which the Minister of Education made available.
  • Part of Christ The King School in Burnside has relocated to one of its neighbouring school sites in Merrin Street.
  • Other schools are operating with the provision of mobile toilets and tanker water.

Many schools have sustained damage of one kind or another but thanks to the generosity and resilience of staff and Proprietors they are up and running.

Gratitude is expressed to many Integrated schools around the nation who took in students from our Christchurch schools when significant numbers of families evacuated the City.

The Ministry of Education and the Office of the Association of Proprietors of Integrated Schools (NZCEO) will soon be in touch with Principals and trustees of schools to put in place a simple process to regularize breaches of Integration Agreements following enrolment of Christchurch students, where such a situation exists.

Gratitude is expressed to the many schools who have made substantial donations to the appeals that have been set up to channel money to various schools in the Christchurch area. This generosity is deeply appreciated by the principals, staff and trustees. Thank you.

Clearly our Christchurch colleagues are resilient, however, they have endured six months of difficulty, which has left many of them fragile and anxious. They can be assured that the rest of the Integrated Schools community in New Zealand will not let them down as they slowly get back on their feet.

Wishing you all a very restful Easter Break and asking God’s blessing on you all.

Patrick J. Lynch