Important Announcement

St Mary's School Blenheim Friday 23rd September 2022

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Kia ora koutou beloved Te Kura O Hato Mere Whānau,

From the first day I came into the school office to enrol Madison and Lukas back in 2012 I knew that one day I would be a teacher at St Mary’s School. The soul of the school is the community and Te Kura O Hato Mere stood above all else. ‘In Christ’s Light’ means so much to so many however it is the feeling within the boundaries of this school, the true soul of the place that draws people in and makes them a part of this treasured whānau for life.

Walking through the school grounds for the first time I felt a sense of something quite comfortable and exciting about this amazing place. A school of opportunity, the hapori whānui opened their arms and welcomed me into a kura that has grown me as a person everyday. It has been a true blessing to be the Tumuaki of Te Kura O Hato Mere. I opened my heart to be present with you, the hapori whānui and the tamariki and you have opened your hearts in return. A trust that I will never forsake or forget.

I have grown as an individual and become a better human thanks to the lessons learnt here. The tamariki spin my wheels and continue to surprise me with their love and faith for each other. I have grown as the school has over the past 6 years and have been shaped by the critical work that takes place each and every day. Being able to grow young minds, to support all tamariki to walk in the ‘Light of Christ’ and become better human beings in all aspects of their lives is a true privilege.

I feel blessed to walk through the gates, I feel blessed to have won the role of Principal at Te Kura O Hato Mere. I feel blessed to be a part of something bigger than all of us and to have had the opportunity to grow and deepen my own faith journey surrounded by individuals who see each day as it is supposed to be seen - a gift from God and a blessing to be admired and celebrated.

I will leave my role as the Tumuaki of Te Kura O Hato Mere with a deep love for all that is offered to us in our lives. It will be a sad day when I finally walk through the gates for the final time as the Tumuaki. However, I will be able to hold my head high knowing that I have learnt as much as I have taught. My Heart and Soul is in a better place and I believe that of the school as well.

I have had amazing support from the Board of Trustees, the staff, all whānau and have been drawn to become a better person by the tamariki.

I have been blessed with many great thinkers here at school as I continue to dream, create, work through visionary eyes, mind and heart.

Resigning from this role has been a difficult decision to make for me personally as I love being here everyday. ‘Whānau first!’ Is something I say to everyone and this time I need to listen to my own advice, my heart and my mind. It is time to start a new and uncharted journey with my beautiful whānau. Hayley on a new adventure will work for a year then embark on a journey to The College of Education to become a primary teacher. Madison ventures into the grounds of her new school Villa Maria and Lukas will walk the faith filled halls of St Thomas of Canterbury College starting in 2023.

It was a difficult decision to make, but is the decision that has been made for them, their education and their future. Hayley and I are lucky and blessed to be in the education industry therefore allowing us to take up new positions in teaching while living in Christchurch. We will be back!

I will always have Te Kura O Hato Mere attached to my heart as I continue to grow in my own faith and l move forward with my personal life journey.

It is time for a new Principal to come to Te Kura O Hato Mere and find their place in this community, to let the community into their heart, mind and soul. To further add to the work that has been done by myself and my predecessors. To add their flavour and grow the school ‘In the Light of Christ’.

I will continue as Tumuaki of Te Kura O Hato Mere through till the 30th June 2023 (End of Term 2) to allow the Board of Trustees to employ the best person possible for this role.

The time that I have left with you all will be treasured as everyday has been to this point.

Yours ‘In Christ’s Light’

Paddy Dowling


Te Kura O Hato Mere

St Mary's School Board of Trustees

The St Mary’s Board of Trustees wish to acknowledge Paddy’s huge contribution in re-invigorating our school, we understand that this difficult decision is part of the natural cycle of life and wish him all the best for the future. But please remember that he is not leaving until after the big celebrations next year and we will have plenty of time to find another superhero to fill those big shoes.

Nigel Mitchell

Board Chairperson