A DETERMINATION TO DRIVE HIGH EDUCATIONAL OUTCOMES
If you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it,
that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward,
then you won't see why we go.
- Sir Edmund Hillary
Determination – being staunch - is part of the New Zealand character. It’s part of our warrior heritage and part of our settler heritage. Cultural icons like Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi, Nurse Maude and Ed Hillary, and sports icons like Richie MaCaw and Sophie Pascoe are part of the fabric of our daily lives. Their determination and commitment are characteristics we admire. We see the best of ourselves in them.
This determination to succeed at what is important is something we need to channel into our role as school boards of trustees. As Te Whiti and Tohu show us, our determination does not need to mean we become aggressive or seek conflict. Nor do we need to be born families with money and influence, or into have to have a great sense of our own importance. All we need is the courage to do what we believe needs to be done, and the determination to see it through.
But determination without a shared purpose is just a breeding ground for conflict. We need foresight, and vision – a sense of purpose, an understanding of why the things we are working for matter, and how our efforts will allow us to conquer our mountain.
As boards of trustees, part of our role is to harness that determination and the energy that fuels it in a way that pushes through the obstacles and challenges that our students and our communities face, to lift our children and our teens “upward and forever upward”. Like Sir Ed, it’s not just about talking and thinking. We need to plan, to collect the right gear and the right people around us, and go out to meet the challenge, one step at a time, until we have conquered it.
Most importantly, we need to bring our people with us: our students, their families, their teachers, and their wider community. Their successful lives are the outcome we seek. Educational outcomes are the tools we provide them for their journeys. They need to be good ones.
Ki te kahore he whakakitenga ka ngaro te iwi.
Without foresight or vision the people will be lost.
- Kingi Tawhiao Potatau te Wherowhero
Maori King, Waikato leader, prophet
Lorraine Kerr MNZM
New Zealand School Trustees Association
Te Whakaroputanga Kaitiaki Kura o Aotearoa