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Education

Whenuakite big plans for school environment

Gari Veysi took up his new position at Whenuakite School on 30th April. The children call him ‘Mister V.’
 |  The Informer  | 

‘Mister V.’ Whenuakite School Principal Gary Veysi (right) with the Vision Map for the school, and some of the senior students whom he calls ‘future leaders’.

Gari Veysi took up his new position at Whenuakite School on 30th April. The children call him ‘Mister V.’

For the past 10 years he has been the Principal at Mamaku School, Rotorua. His wife Angelina and family are currently still in Rotorua, where Angelina is also a teacher. Gary says while it was a wrench to leave Rotorua, he is looking forward to the new life with the Whenuakite community.

“For years we have been visiting the Coromandel area and staying at Hahei,” Gary says. “About 18 years ago I had a look around Whenuakite School, and I told Angelina, I want to work here one day.”

His teaching experience has taken him to city schools but they were not for him.

Gary loves the natural environment and he believes education happens just as effectively in the outdoors as it does in the classroom. As Principal at Horahora School near Cambridge, Gary was able to connect with high sporting achievers in the horse world and in rowing. “These are inspiring role models for young people, helping them to build ambitions.” At Te Ranga School, Te Puke the children helped with the possum hunts, raising $25,000 per year for the school.  At Horahora and Mamaku Schools, the children helped to eradicate pests and protect native bush areas.

Gary and his wife Angelina also believe very strongly in the performance arts and every kind of artistic activity which encourages self – expression.  On Mothers’ Day this year, Mister V. invited mothers, aunts and grandmothers to a barbecue breakfast at school. The guest speaker was former rugby seven’s coach Sir Gordon Tietjens and each class presented an item. “This was my first introduction to the school community, and I was blown away by the attendance.  We had 80 women here. It was very heartening,” Gary says.

“Already I can see we have some very high academic achievers here at Whenuakite, but not all are academically minded.  We have to make opportunities for our children to excel at whatever they most enjoy doing, and you can’t always do that in the classroom.”

Gary says there are plans afoot to improve the school grounds, some of which have been in place for a while. “We have Ministry funds to extend the office, but on the back of that I have canvassed the families of the school community for their ideas on what we need in the future, and how we can design a better environment for our school. We are now working on our ‘Vision Map’ to incorporate as many ideas as possible.”