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NZPF Principal Matters 3, 22 February 2019

Kia ora e te whānau
It is not too early to be thinking about the NZPF conference, to be held at the Sky City Convention Centre in Auckland, July 3 - 5. You can visit the website to register now and save $100 by picking up the early bird rate.

This year we will be opening our conference at Orakei Marae, with a powhiri and the first keynote speaker, on Wednesday 3 July. I hope you will all make yourselves available to participate in this very special event. It will be the first time we have held a conference powhiri at Ngāti Whātua's Orakei Marae, which sits above Okahu Bay on the shores of the Waitematā Harbour, and is based on the site of Bastion Point. It is a place of huge historical significance and the ancestor the marae represents has connections to all major tribes throughout Aotearoa. It may be your first opportunity to participate in a powhiri at such a significant location, so ensure you attend.

You will also find a declaration on the conference registration form this year, regarding expected professional behaviour at all the conference events, including social events, whether they are on or off site. The vast majority of you need no reminder about behaving professionally at all times. You respect that in attending the NZPF conference, you are representing your own school and Board and of course conduct yourselves accordingly. This declaration ensures that we all conduct ourselves with professionalism.

This year is an incredibly important one for our sector. We will be tailoring the conference programme accordingly and intend to give you the best professional learning experience we possibly can.

We are on the cusp of what could be the biggest system change we have witnessed in decades. We have an opportunity to inject our professional knowledge, experience and aspirations into those changes. We are in the unique position of being invited to contribute to the future shape of education in Aotearoa for the foreseeable future. This is a position we have often dreamed of. For years we have argued that Government policies have lacked professional insight and at worst had a negative impact on the learning of young people in our schools.
We constantly called for a voice or opportunity to help shape policies that would enhance learning and teaching. That day is now here. Our voice is being invited to comment on the recommendations of the Tomorrow's Schools report.

Whilst it is a privilege to be involved in this high level work, it is also a challenge to reflect on the issues, sift through all the recommendations, think through what they mean, discuss them and draw your conclusions. I hope that the survey that we are constructing will assist you to focus and assist us to better understand where you sit on the different areas.

I had envisaged sending you the survey this week, but constructing the questions has taken longer than anticipated. Realistically I expect it will be with you next week.

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