First Address From Our New Principal, Mr Alastair Fairley.

Kei aku nui, kei aku rahi, kei aku whakatamarahi ki te rangi. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa. 

Never in my years at Massey High School has a week gone by so quickly.

It was a truly humbling experience to receive the news from John Garelja that the Board of Trustees had placed their faith in me to lead our school following the departure of Mr Denham.

To become only the fifth Principal of our school in over 50 years brings with it the weight of expectation – not only from our students and staff, but also our alumni and community who proudly see this as their school.

I am truly honoured to be entrusted with the leadership of Massey High School.

My thoughts turned to Mr Denham this week and the support he has provided to us all here at Massey. Although the nature of my relationship with staff and students changed with the announcement of my appointment on Monday, I was blessed with being in a community that I know well, with staff who are supportive (and understanding), and students who are aware of my love and respect for our school. Mr Denham began his journey at Wellington College this week, and once our Massey whānau that were present for his pōwhiri had departed, he was left with staff and students who do not yet know him as we do. We know he will travel well, drawing on his vast experience and the authenticity of his love and care for his students. 

Despite his hectic first day, he still found time to ‘come up for air’ and offer his congratulations. He knows that we will continue to celebrate who we are at Massey, to build upon his work while continuing to ask each other ‘how can we get better’.

Indeed, the most overwhelming aspect of this week has been the level of support and encouragement provided by all – whether it be our students during the course of a day, or by members of our wider community. Familiar names from the past carried real significance for me and provided opportunities to hear of their success beyond our school gates.

Of note was a call from Bruce Ritchie, under whose leadership I started my journey at Massey High School. I mentioned to him that it was my hope that I could continue to improve our school while preserving and respecting his legacy as well as those of the other three Principals who precede me.

Starting here as a new teacher 16 years ago it was apparent that I would always be made to feel welcome and included – not just by staff, but more so by our students. Having grown up in West Auckland, it felt like home. 

At the end of my first week as Principal – that feeling is stronger than ever.

Monday gave me the opportunity to meet all our students through the course of the day at our special assemblies. I emphasised to them my commitment to ensure that they graduate not only having achieved the highest qualification possible in their chosen pathway, but also having developed into young adults who are articulate communicators, who think critically, who are open minded and accept diversity, who understand respectful relationships, and who have had a rounded experience and enjoyed success. Furthermore, to realising the core principle of Te Tiriti o Waitangi which is partnership, and that everyone, student, staff, whānau, Māori and non-Māori alike, can walk confidently in two worlds.   

Most importantly, our students should be able to celebrate who they are as individuals. 

This week I have reached out to our contributing schools with a view to refreshing and strengthening our relationships with them. Together we must provide a coherent 13-year educational journey.

Our work to improve outcomes for our students continues, both academically and pastorally. This work, combined with ensuring that our physical environment is improved to match the quality of the people within underpins the wellbeing of our students and staff. Our students are blessed to have the array of opportunities that Massey High School provides.

It is our diversity at Massey High School that has always been our greatest asset. Our collective strengths and expertise coupled with our wealth of different perspectives is what underpins our culture here. It is this diversity that I know I can draw on as I begin my journey serving Massey High School as Principal.

My commitment is to ensuring that Massey High School is the outstanding school that our students, staff, and community deserve and that our students live our values of Manaakitanga, Rangatiratanga, and Whanaungatanga.

Tangata akona ki te kura tuarua o Tiriwā, tū ana ki te ao, tau ana.

(A person, taught, grown, nurtured in Massey High, will go out into the world prepared and ready.)


Alastair Fairley