On Monday morning, we had a small memorial service for Mr Sinclair and blessed the rather large totara bench seat by the flagpole and five kwila benches under the pohutukawas by the school entrance.
Dene Waters crafted the bench seat with the help of his daughter Sophie, and the totara in it is over 40 years old. The Rangitaawa whanau donated the plaques, and the seats under the pohutukawa trees were built by my son Troy Johnson. The original idea for the chairs came from our former head boy Alex Calder- so all in all, it has been a real community effort.
Monday morning was a time of reflection and inclusion - Ross's friends, wife, two daughters, and son joined us.
Māori legend tells us that the Pohutukawa red flower represents the blood of a young warrior who perished while trying to avenge his father's death. The Matariki star - Pohutukawa is the star associated with those that have passed on.
So it is appropriate that our totara (tane of the forest) sized principal has benches built in honour of his passing located where pohutukawa trees shade them.
The final karakia Mataua Mike shared was about Hiwa-i-te-rangi, which is the star associated with granting our wishes and realising our aspirations for the coming year.
I hope you enjoy the comfort of the benches and help me care and look after them.