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New direction for Mikae Tuu'u

Regulus // Issue 1 // May 2023

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Mikae upwraps leaving gift from the College.As a passionate educator, and Head of Middle School for the last five years, Mikae Tuu’u (OC 2003) has inspired hundreds of students since he joined the College in 2015.

On Friday 31 March, Mikae left to inspire another group of young people, taking up a new position at Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu as Kaiārahi Toiora. His role will involve leading the South Island team as part of a nationwide initiative to re-engage disengaged students.

St Andrew’s is in Mikae’s blood. He is a former scholarship student, proud Old Collegian, and staff member. Although excited by the challenges of his new role, Mikae says there is an element of sadness at leaving St Andrew’s. “There are so many things I will miss, from the students and people I’ve formed relationships with, to the experiences I’ve had. Overall, I feel extremely grateful for everything the College has done for me, both professionally as a staff member, and personally as a student.”

Mikae has made a positive impact on the Middle School, implementing programmes and systems to enrich the student experience. As someone who fully embraced the sporting and cultural opportunities on offer during his time as a student, Mikae has enjoyed supporting students in their various co-curricular pursuits. He has also played a key role in the volleyball programme and enjoyed coaching the 1st XV for three years. “Winning the title in 2020 was a massive highlight.”

At his official farewell on Founders’ Day, Rector, Christine Leighton, said Mikae also taught the Te Waka programme and introduced what is now known as the Athlete Development programme to the College curriculum. “It is in his leadership role as Head of Middle School that Mikae leaves a significant mark on hundreds of students.

Mikae is celebrated at the St Andrew's College Fiafia Night.With the ability to engage with students, reason with parents, and manage and inspire staff, Mikae has juggled the many roles required of his position. He has been an advocate for students, responsible for their pastoral care, at the same time passionate about making St Andrew’s College a positive learning environment for all. He has spent countless hours getting to know students as individuals, recognising the talents and passions of all.”

Head of Secondary School, Evert van Florenstein, says Mikae earned enormous respect from staff, students, and parents through his passion and enthusiasm and never giving up on any student who needed some extra help.

Mikae gave the Old Collegians’ Address at the Founders’ Day Assembly, leaving students with one final inspirational message, based on the words of Maya Angelou, “I've learnt that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

He encouraged students to think about how they would like to be remembered, and what St Andrew’s meant to them. “This is an incredible place, built on the foundations of those who have gone before. I hope you do your best to add to the legacy that is ‘StAC’. Make the most of what happens here. Get involved, meet others, and embrace St Andrew’s, which is a place to shine in whatever area you wish. St Andrew’s College has played a huge part in my life. I hope that when you look back on your time here, you can say the same thing.”

Head of Middle School, Mikae Tuu'u, bids farewell to the College after inspiring hundreds of ākonga and enriching their experiences.