June 2020

Stars Project Celebrates Matariki

Over the last two weeks students and staff have been working collaboratively to make nine paper stars that make up the Matariki cluster. Below are photos of students at work which include two of the nine stars that will find a home in Te Ringa Āwhina.

What is Matariki? Ko Matariki kei runga, ko te tohu tēnā o te tau!

Matariki signals the Māori New Year. It is a time of renewal and celebration in New Zealand that begins with the rising of the Matariki star cluster (the Pleiades or Seven Sisters).

Matariki is a star cluster which appears in the night sky during mid-winter. According to the Maramataka (the Māori lunar calendar), the reappearance of Matariki, brings the old lunar year to a close and marks the beginning of the new year. Hence, Matariki is associated with the Māori New Year.

Ka puta Matariki ka rere Whānui.
Ko te tohu tēnā o te tau e!
Matariki reappears, Vega starts its flight.
The new year begins!

Traditionally, festivities were conducted to celebrate Matariki, they followed the harvesting of crops when the pātaka food storehouses were full, freeing up time for family and leisure. These festivities included the lighting of ritual fires, the making of offerings, and celebrations of various kinds to farewell the dead, to honour ancestors, and to celebrate life.
Matariki definition credit to Te Papa Tongarewa | Museum of New Zealand

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Caring for Community Group: Knitting for Babies

This group is organised by Brian Tonks and Wendy Keir. Each year students are taught how to knit squares which are then made into blankets for charity. This year the charity chosen was ‘Give a Kid a Blanket’.

Mr Tonks and Mrs Keir chose Robert Tauhinu and Amy Crawford to present the finished blankets to Turtle Donna Sarten, the founder of the charity. Robert has been part of the group for two years and is a very good knitter. Amy attended this year and managed to produce two of the squares that were included in the blanket.

The statement below was posted on the Give a Kid a Blanket facebook site on 22 June 2020.

“Every year Year 9 and 10 students from Lynfield College are involved in groups supporting our Caring for the Community programme run every November. Last year Amy Crawford and Robert Tauhinu were part of the knitting group making squares for blankets for babies. Most of the students had never held a knitting needle before and in two days they learnt how to knit and produce the squares. Finally got them joined together and made into little blankets, and dropped them into us today, thanks guys they are amazing." Turtle Donna Sarten

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Raeefah Ahmed's Published Work

Raeefa Ahmed (Year 10), has been awarded a Highly Commended for her poetry: Last Month on Earth 

JUDGES NOTES: To tell a full story in a poem is a challenge, yet Raeefah accomplished it in this futuristic tale of hope, pain, and human survival. The choice of words and phrasing pulls the reader right in and strikes the core of the reader's heart. Anyone who reads this will instantly connect with the character. Put both the emotional response and personal connection together, and that is good storytelling. Great job, Raeefah!

Raeefah's English Teacher Mrs Christie is delighted Raeefah's writing has been recognised. Raeefah won a book and a copy of the anthology, but best of all she is now a published writer!


scary book reefah poem raeefah and book

Student Response to Black Lives Matter

Kia Ora Koutou

The Student Executive will be handed out black ribbons at all school gates on Wednesday morning to show solidarity for Black Lives Matter and the fight against racism.

A ‘Moment of Silence’ will be held outside the Library on Wednesday 23 June at 9.00 am. Come along to pay your respects to unfortunate victims of racist attacks. May they rest in peace and justice.

As a continuation of our discussions surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement and this idea of "We learn together", the Student Executive has organised a series of Hui, or public forums, where we can come to discuss any of the following topics.

  • Black Lives Matter
  • Systemic Racism
  • The importance of solidarity and activism
  • Racism in New Zealand and our communities.

A 'Hui' is any sort of public discussion, where a sense of mutual understanding and empathy can be built. These discussions will be conducted in a respectful, kind and inclusionary manner. Any students and staff members are invited to join us, if they want to listen, or participate. Come in with the expectation that your views may be challenged, however, engage with these challenges in a civil and rational way.

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Mohamud Mohamed's Assembly Speech

When I was asked to share my story with you, I was not honoured but humbled to do so at such a special occasion.

My journey is probably one that is somewhat familiar with many other former refugee youth. I am among those who resettled in New Zealand as young children and who hope to successfully contribute towards New Zealand’s vibrant multicultural society.

I was originally born in Somalia and arrived in New Zealand at the age of 8 years. My migration journey to NZ was not your typical voluntarily migration journey. My family and I were basically put in a situation where we were forced to migrate elsewhere. In January 1991 tribal militia’s succeeded in overthrowing the Somali government but plunged the country into anarchy and chaos as each rebel movement was based on clan affiliations resulting in the failure of forming a unified Somali government. As a result, my family and I fled to Ethiopia and were lucky enough to be offered by the NZ government an opportunity to be reunited with family members that were already settled here.

To date the civil war is on-going and has made Somalia one of the highest ranking source of refugees in the world. I was among the millions of refugees created by the civil war. However I was fortunate enough to come to this country which has in essence become my adoptive country.

When I arrived I did not know a single word of English. I started school in year four, and not only did I had to learn simple things like the alphabets, I was also put in a situation where I was playing ‘catch up’ in regards to the other lessons that fellow class mates had already mastered. I also had teachers undermine my abilities and sometimes discourage me from aiming for university because in their minds I wasn’t up to the standard.  It was indeed an uphill challenge; however everything good in this world is surrounded by hardships and education is no exception. However, the greatest skill that allowed me to overcome these tough times were based on having resilience, something that I believe is instilled in all former New Zealand refugee communities. I believe that patience and perseverance coupled with resilience and a determination to succeed are vital ingredients to long-term success

In addition to learning to speak English, I also had to make a new group of friends. As you can imagine it must be difficult making friends with a group of people you can’t understand. However as kids the more we ran around the playground and the more time we spent together, it became easier because our commonalities meant that language was no longer a barrier to fitting in.

I also had to accustom myself with a new environment and I eventually got used to the cold weather and Auckland’s four seasons in one day. Because my parents did not speak much English, I along with my siblings had to adapt fast to our new lives here. My new life here resulted in new challenges, which many kids from a refugee background can relate to. We had experienced to what academics refer to as the reversal of roles. This basically refers to a situation in which two people have been forced to exchange their duties and responsibilities, so that each is doing what the other used to do. For example, I would often translate for my parents at the doctors and at parent – teacher interviews at school.

Thinking back on my background and where I have come since then makes me feel proud of all that I have accomplished since then. In August 2014, I graduated with a B.A degree in Conflict Resolution and Social Sciences from AUT University. In 2018, I also completed a Master’s degree in Public Policy and today work as a Policy Advisor for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

I know many people here especially students will be going through their own personal difficulties through their educational endeavours or life in general. My advice to you is to keep going, keep hoping and keep believing because success will be coming your way.

Today, as we observe World Refugee Day, we are recognising the plight of millions of people who may not be aware that on this day the world stops to reflect and remembers them. But today we are also acknowledging the invaluable contribution that refugee communities and individuals make to our globe. For example the history of psychology and psychiatry would be very different without Sigmund Freud, who fled Nazi Germany in search of a life free from persecution. Familiar names such as Albert Einstein who has led scientific innovation and changed our understanding of gravity as well as Madeleine Albright who has changed the dynamics of world diplomacy are among those who hailed from refugee backgrounds but went on to change the landscape of our world for the better. Delicacies such as fish and chips were brought to Britain and its colonies by Jewish refugees who were expelled from Portugal in the 17th century. Refugees bring with them innate skills such as their resilience and adaption skills which became handy in turbulent times. In New Zealand I believe that we should continue to empower former refugees because they will use these skills to the service of their host communities. I believe that many former refugees like myself know that living in New Zealand means knowing that we live in a country where human rights are not only valued, but also cherished. Although there is still some work to be done, New Zealand is a country where diversity is not only welcomed but it is embraced. To me New Zealand is a place in which a multi-cultural society is not only accepted but it also respected by the vast majority of New Zealanders, a place in which people from different cultures, races and religions can live amongst one another in peace and harmony. As a welcoming society we need to give asylum seekers and refugee communities the tools they need to grow and flourish. What is inspiring most about former refugee individuals is the resilience they radiate and if we continue to water their seed of growth, then New Zealand would become a garden of strength.

In light of the recent events around the world surrounding racism and movements like Black Lives Matter, we all have a duty in combating the ugly face of racism because we know that hate starts small. But what gives me confidence is that hope also starts small. So, we all have a role in building bridges and creating a society which respects and accepts all people regardless of their background, because as Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks said “It is in this face to face interactions that we realize that people who are not like us are just people like us”. I would like to conclude with one of my favourite quotes by the great Nelson Mandela who once said “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."

Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

Mohamud Mohamed was born in Somalia and immigrated to New Zealand in 2000 as an eight-year-old with no understanding of English. Today he works as a Policy Advisor for the Government and holds a Master of Arts (Hons) in Policy Studies, 2018, AUT, Auckland and a Bachelor of Arts with a double Major in Social Sciences and Conflict Resolution, 2014, AUT, Auckland

He was a finalist of the 2018 New Zealander of the Year Awards: New Zealand Local Hero Award category; a recipient of 2017 AUT Faculty of Culture and Society Masterate Fee Scholarship; held an internship with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in the Durable Solutions Unit Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Among many other accomplishments he was also one of 14 people selected to participate in the Office of Ethnic Affairs Young Leaders Programme in Auckland. The programme aims to build potential leaders and improve their knowledge on how to succeed within Government.

mohamud visit
Sofia Hameed (Year 11 Dean), Gabrielle Clark (Deputy Principal), Sanat Singh (Year 12), Cath Knell (Principal) and Mohamud Mohamed

Message from the Principal

Recently there has been an incident when a teacher read the ‘n…..’ word in delivering a piece of educational material. We understand that these actions were not intended to be harmful. However, we recognise that racist acts are defined by their impacts, not by their intentions. An historically violent and racist word used by a person who cannot reclaim it holds pain and violence no matter the context. As a school, we give nothing to racism. What used to go unchallenged is no longer accepted. The staff of Lynfield College have been advised to verbally censure racial slurs should they appear in educational material.

Some may think that it has more impact and delivers a stronger message of the educational material if we do not censor the word. However, we need to consider that even if censorship might reduce some of the educational impact, the wellbeing of students is paramount. What may be felt as educational impact to you, is condensed generations of pain to others. Our school values the wellbeing of our students and staff immensely, which is why we are creating this change.

We are continuing to support the student and staff member involved.

On that note, we would like to remind everyone to continue to be anti-racist. Speak up against injustice, and do not let your actions contribute to oppression.

This statement has been prepared by representatives from the students, SLT and BOT.

Cath Knell, Tumuaki | Principal

Scholarship 2020 Information Evening

A large group of students and their parents attended an information evening on Wednesday 17 June to find to find out more about the process of attaining a scholarship for tertiary education.

Scholarships are an external examination that provides a financially reward those students who are achieving at the top level in a subject.

If you were unable to attend, this link takes you to our 2020 Scholarship Presentation

If you have any further queries, please contact Mr Neil Waddington, Academic Advisor

schol pic 2020

Lynfield Debating

Lynfield Debating is back in action with the resumption of the 2020 season online, using Yaatly. Teams compete against other schools as a team from Lynfield, which is working well. We are hoping that Term 3 may resume in person should we remain at Level 1. Here is an update on our teams' early success.

Five teams competed in their first round of the Auckland Schools Debating Junior Open Monday 8 June at Lynfield College. This was a prepared debate, meaning that the debaters could prepare their speeches in advance of the debate, with no preparation time needed on the night. The motion was, "This house would require all school students to play a team sport."

We were impressed by how well prepared teams were and the mature conduct that they showed during the debates.

Well done to Lynfield 1 and Lynfield 3 for winning their debates. Lynfield 4 had a default win, too. Well done to Lynfield 2 for their high speaker points and to Kenan Egene of Lynfield 5 for being named Best Speaker in the debate despite their loss.


LYNFIELD 1: Bill Li, Keagan Menenzes, Juhee Uday, Riya Patel, Siddhi Bobba (Year 10s)
LYNFIELD 2: Neel Kumar, Nitya Kumar, Tammy Bi, Ailis Su (Year 10s)
LYNFIELD 3: Millie Ashley, Kirat Kaur, Ella Pracy, Aza Wilson (Year 9s)
LYNFIELD 4: Raeefa Ahmed, Savitri Satyavarapu, Nuha Wadhwania, Disha Devia and Sandhini Kamble (Year 9/10 girls)
LYNFIELD 5: Jaidev Bhikha, Keenan Egene, Aayush Karanwal, Vir (Year 9/10 boys)

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Juhee Uday, Keagan Menenzes, Bill Li, Siddhi Bobba
and Riya Patel
Ailis Su, Tammy Bi, Neel Kumar and Nitya Kumar

A HUGE thank you to Jasmine Pickston, Michael Jury, Sanat Singh and Isha Ramanlal, our Lynfield senior debaters, who are accredited ASD adjudicators able help judge Junior Debates for other schools in the tournament. Without their assistance, Lynfield would not be able to field as many teams in the as we need to offer an adjudicator for each junior team.

debate c debate d
Kirat Kaur, Millie Ashley and Ella Pracy Disha Devia, Raeefa Ahmed and Sandhini Kamble
debate e debate f
Keenan Egene, Jaidev Bhikha and Aayush Karanwal Jasmine Pickston adjudicating

This is the first year Lynfield has fielded three Premier Junior Teams. This is due, in part, to the talent of Year 11 debaters taking part and the strength of Lynfield Debating as a whole where we are seeing more teams moving into the Premier stream and fewer into the Open. In fact this is the first of many years where Lynfield has not had a single Senior open team.

Congratulations to Premier Junior Lynfield 1 and Lynfield 3 for winning their second round debate (ONLINE) on Wednesday 10th June. They successfully negating the moot "This house would ban alternate medicines (e.g. herbalism, crystal healing, homeopathy and Traditional Chinese medicine)" Lynfield 1 were up against Dio 1- the same team who they went up against in last year's Junior Champs Grand Final. Commiserations to Lynfield 2 who lost narrowly to St Kent's.


LYNFIELD 1: Leigh Hine, Eesha Mahimkar, Sarka Ludvigovia and Uday Jain (Year 11s) - two wins
LYNFIELD 2: Sophie Yang (Year 11), Heather Mitchenson (Year 10) and Zoya Quershi (Year 11) - one win
LYNFIELD 3: Vishway Jayswal, Jessie Chen and Teesha Sharma (Year 11s) - one win.

Congratulations to Eliana Competente, Jasmine Pickston and Michael Jury for winning their debate, negated against ACG Parnell 1.

Three Advanced Open teams are competing this year. The 1st Round of the Advanced Open took place on Tuesday 2 June. The moot was: "That people who witness crimes should be legally required to report them."
Commiserations to Harsh Sharma, Rahul D'Souza and Sourav Shastri of Lynfield 3 who affirmed the moot and were defeated by Rosmini College. Lynfield 1 won their debate by default.

And congratulations to both teams who helped overcome the significant technical issues that suddenly arose in what was our very first online debate from school.

Isha Ramanlal, Sanat Singh, Dev Dixit (all Year 12s) and Kendall D'Souza (Year 13) have performed extremely well, despite losing their first two rounds in the very competitive Premier Advanced.

We'd like to congratulate Isha Ramanlal who was selected to compete at a very select Regionals Competition back in March while we were at Level 3 Lockdown. Although she was not selected for a Regional team, this was perhaps the best year to miss out given that Nationals and Worlds has been cancelled due to Covid-19. We look forward to seeing how she will get on in Year 13 next year.

Lynfield College Road Race 2020

There was an excellent turnout for the annual Lynfield College Road Race took place Monday 8 June.

Staff spend a considerable amount of time preparing for this event to meet the health and safety requirements that ensure the public and especially our students are safe while this event is being held. Entry into this race is entirely voluntary for students. Juniors completed a 3.3km course while a keen group of seniors ran 5.4km, within strict time limits.

Great to see so many of you out there working hard to earn house points and individual honours. Well done especially to the winners of each race! Neel Kumar broke the Year 10 Boys record (which had stood for eight years) by 19 seconds when he finished the 3.3 km race in 12.21 minutes.

Check out the Lynfield College Sports facebook page for more detail and photos: 


Year 9 Girls
Year 9 Boys
Year 10 Girls
Year 10 Boys
Year 11 Girls
Year 11 Boys
Senior Girls
Senior Boys
Lily Andrews
Jack Jia
Ailis Su
Neel Kumar
Mia Powell
Kartik Malik
Shreeya Prasad
Jacob Penney
Brianna Mc Cready
Romeo Curle
Xindi Xue
Otis Wilson
Sarka Ludvigova
Stanley Long
Winona Lee
Atticus Waddington
Vajra Patel
Callum Bint
Charlotte Lai
Tom Christie
Esther Rouse

Danielle Hewett
Ankur Chakraborty


Zoricich (70)
Reid (67.5)
Faumuina (55)
Fatialofa (52.5)
Bray (47.5)
Lewis (45)
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