New Mt Hutt College principal Jack Saxon has been welcomed with fanfare – and an assurance that if the budget had allowed, every student from Kaitaia College, his former school, would have come to the hand-over.
Manuhiri speakers said Mr Saxon was a leader, much loved in the community, and that, if he ever wished to leave Methven, Kaitaia would welcome him back.
Mr Saxon, family, several senior pupils and Kaitaia teachers were greeted with a stirring haka, a kaikaranga from Rana Staples, of Arowhenua Marae, and speeches from Darren Solomon, of Arowhenua, and Richard Fitzgerald, of Mt Hutt College board of trustees, and Colin Brodie.
Mr Saxon was also greeted by head boy Mitchell Baron and head girl Caitlin Smith and two Year 7 buddies.
Mr Saxon said he needed to listen to all voices, and through those voices the community would flourish.
“I want to take the time to listen.”
He said he would never forget his five years in Kaitaia.
“To students, whanau, teachers, treasure what you treasure most dearly.”
He urged students, teachers and the community to have high expectations of him.
He said he was one for collaboration, was excited about the future, and to continue to build on “the amazing foundation” at Mt Hutt College.
Kaitaia teacher Ray Subritzky said Mr Saxon took Kaitaia College and “shook it upside down” and urged Mt Hutt College to “look after him – or we will be back to get him”.
The whole school, he said, turned out to shake his hand.