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Te Ao Māori at Marsden

Te Ao Māori at Marsden

Samuel Marsden Collegiate School is fostering a growing relationship with local iwi and the connection to the local Karori environment, with its native flora and fauna and proximity to Zealandia.

Marsden particularly wants to thank designer Jared Riwai-Couch for both designing the Marsden School korowai (feather cloak) and sharing his knowledge about the significance of the korowai with the Marsden family.

The korowai symbolises the connection between the students and staff, the Management and Trust Boards, Old girls, whānau and other community.

The Marsden korowai is worn as an honour on significant ceremonial occasions. Riwai-Couch said:

“Traditionally, the korowai has deep and poignant meaning. Aho and whenu, descriptive words associated with making the korowai, are concepts which illustrate this. Aho is the horizontal thread or weft and is another name for connection. Whenu is the vertical thread or, warp. Whenu comes from the word whenua (earth) from where we draw strength and sustenance after birth. Whenua also means placenta, from where we drew strength before birth. Whenu is also a very old term meaning ‘Io’ the omnipotent one (God); aho connects with the whenua and our local surroundings and the achievement of higher things.”

There are three types of feather in the Marsden korowai featherwork: three rows of short light brown feathers, one row of ginger brown feathers and the remaining ten rows of natural brown feathers with natural green and blue tinge.

“The taniko (woven band) sewn into the top of the korowai represents the values and colours of the school, with its colours of green, blue and white. The triangles across the taniko design suggest God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Symbolically, the mountain-like shapes point heavenward and typify the Marsden pillars of excellence, resilience, creativity and giving. They give shape to the school motto ‘Ad Summa’ – Aim for the Highest.”

The Marsden korowai has been blessed as part of a Chaplain’s assembly and its first wearer was the 2017 Samuel Marsden Collegiate School Dux Alexandra McKendry. The second wearer was Principal Narelle Umbers at her commissioning ceremony, which included a powhiri that also welcomed new students and staff. Marsden’s 2018 Head Girl Bella O’Meeghan was the most recent wearer of the korowai at the school’s Year 13 Induction service. The korowai is displayed in the foyer of ‘Te Manawa o te Kura’, ‘The Heart of the School’.

Samuel Marsden Collegiate School has been providing quality independent education for more than 135 years. Today it has two campuses. The Marsden School Karori campus provides Preschool education for boys and girls, and education for girls from Years 1 to 13. Marsden Whitby provides education for boys and girls Years 7 – 13. As a not-for-profit organisation Marsden School expresses its vision in terms of what it ultimately wants to achieve for its students. That is to lay the foundation for lives of meaning, accomplishment and happiness, in a rapidly changing world. marsden.school.nz


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