28 Feb Nayland makes top of Dame Patsy’s list

Nayland College was fortunate to receive a visit from Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy on Friday 24th February.  It is the very first of Her Excellency’s visits in realising her goal to visit all regions around the country during her five year term.  The visit to Nayland was centred around two key school initiatives: a project by the school’s environmental group NEST (Nayland Environment and Sustainability Team), and a performance by students involved in the Nayland Music Trust.

In line with Dame Patsy’s interest in the environment, her first stop was to inspect the local stream which runs along the south border of the school’s field.  She was met there by students from NEST who explained to her about the Mahi Tahi project they have been involved with.  Nelson City Council provided the equipment and training for monitoring the quality of the stream water and students have been carrying this out regularly.  According to NEST teacher facilitator Karen Barks, Dame Patsy asked some knowledgeable questions about how the data from the project will be used.

Indigo presents Dame Patsy with stream monitoring information.


NEST members with Dame Patsy and husband Sir David Gascoigne.

Her Excellency also made a favourable impression on NEST members Indigo and Fynn.  Both students are committed to a number of environmental organisations and said that Dame Patsy’s enthusiasm was evident. “She’s a well-spoken lady,” Fynn said.  “She’s passionate about the environment and passionate about what’s going on in local communities especially.”

Also a keen supporter of the Arts, Dame Patsy’s second stop was the school’s hall where she was treated to a performance by a group of students from Stoke, Birchwood and Broadgreen Intermediate schools.  Nayland College Performing Arts Coordinator Sarah Luton was over the moon with the performance.  “Many of our young students have only been learning their instruments for 3 terms and yet they wowed our audience with beautiful tunes such as ‘Pokarekare Ana’ and ‘God Save the Queen’,” she said.

Proud performers pose with Dame Patsy and Sir David.

The new Governor General’s graciousness and warmth was a common theme to emerge from those involved with the visit. She seemed genuinely interested and engaged individually with people as much as she could.  “She was really warm and very nice,” student leader Indigo said.

Nayland College principal Daniel Wilson named two highlights from the day: “Our students being so articulate and engaging when talking about the stream restoration work they have been doing. (And) the primary students performing their musical items – very cute!”

Her Excellency discusses NEST work with BOT student representative Fynn.

Photos supplied by student photographer Oonagh.