Cambridge Middle School normally treats students and their families to a traditional hangi feast at its Matariki open day – this year, thanks to Covid, it was a sausage sizzle.
But although bangers in bread weren’t quite the same as steaming meat and vegetables fresh from the earth oven, principal Daryl Gibbs, who spent hours manning the barbecue, was delighted to be able to host a celebration again.
“The main purpose of today is just opening school up for our community really, because it’s been a long time since we’ve been without so many restrictions,” he said at the event on Thursday.
“The kids have been learning quite a lot about Matariki with our kaiako, Kahurangi Heta, and they’ll be sharing that with their parents. But it’s also an opportunity for them to share other learning they’ve been doing and have a walk around the school with their parents.”
Leanne Cronin, whose daughter Mila is in year 7 at CMS, appreciated the chance.
“It’s been great; it’s the first time I’ve met my daughter’s teacher because of Covid, so it’s been really nice to be able to get into her classroom and meet the teacher and see all the art and stuff on the walls,” she said.
Mila enjoyed having her mum at school too – and her free sausage.
It was cooked by office administrator Paula Harvey’s husband Merv, who used one of his Westpac volunteer days to help the school. About 1000 free bangers were dished out on the day and the Cy-Co coffee cart also did a roaring trade outside the school library.
Daryl said it had been about a year since CMS had been able to have so many parents on site.
“Every time we had a big event planned there were major Covid restrictions so we didn’t have our normal open days and meet the teacher evenings,” he said.
“There’s a whole cohort of kids, being a mostly two-year school, that went through our school without getting the experience that we would normally offer them. So it’s really nice to be getting back to normal and doing the cool things we would normally do.”
He said it was also nice to recognise all the learning the students had done around Matariki and celebrate it.