Prin­ci­pal leaves a last­ing legacy

Sur­prise bash to say fond farewell

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By TERESA HAT­TAN

Not many schools would hold a birth­day party the size of Mar­ion Hen­rik­sen’s, but the cel­e­bra­tion was also a fit­ting farewell for the much-loved In­ter­me­di­ate school prin­ci­pal.

A tal­ent quest last Tues­day was the guise for the cel­e­bra­tion held in Hen­rik­sen’s hon­our as she farewells a teach­ing ca­reer span­ning decades.

A num­ber of those years have been spent at Mata­mata In­ter­me­di­ate, the last 11 as prin­ci­pal.

The evening kicked off with the school kapa haka group per­form­ing a wa­iata and haka. It was then time for the spe­cial guests to ar­rive and the true mean­ing be­hind the con­cert was re­vealed.

Mem­bers of Hen­rik­sen’s fam­ily, friends, for­mer col­leagues and mem­bers of the Mata­mata com­mu­nity were led into the school hall by a piper. Hen­rik­sen had no idea and had been to­tally sur­prised.

In the days lead­ing up to the ‘‘tal­ent quest’’ she’d said to deputy prin­ci­pal Lor­raine Stiles the pro­gramme ‘‘looked a bit light’’. ‘‘Is this all we can do for the arts,’’ she had said. But re­ally, the con­cert was all for her. From the drum band, the rock band and singers to the po­etry, the school con­cert band and rock n roll danc­ing, Hen­rik­sen was farewelled in style.

The con­cert, which was a trip down mem­ory lane for the firm but fair prin­ci­pal, cul­mi­nated in the singing of happy birth­day, birth­day cake and presents.

Hen­rik­sen said she wasn’t a per­son for fuss. Be­com­ing emo­tional, she said the con­cert made her feel ‘‘re­ally hum­ble inside’’.

She was blown away and said it was re­ally nice to know she was leav­ing with such great mem­o­ries.

‘‘I’ve got 40 years of teach­ing mem­o­ries to take with me.’’

Hen­rik­sen said it was ex­cit­ing to re­tire. ‘‘When you look back on it you have in­flu­enced a lot of peo­ple’s lives, for bet­ter or worse I sup­pose. You’d like to think for the bet­ter.’’

‘‘I will re­tire a happy per­son. The com­mu­nity in Mata­mata has just been won­der­ful, I feel like we’ve had re­ally good parental support with what we try and do and achieve here,’’ she said.

Hen­rik­sen said ‘‘ you get out what you put in’’ when it comes to teach­ing and be­ing in­volved in young peo­ple’s lives. ‘‘In my heart, I feel blessed. Tonight has been re­ally spe­cial. I will al­ways trea­sure this, no mat­ter where my fu­ture takes me.’’

The trib­ute con­cert shows that Hen­rik­sen will leave be­hind a won­der­ful legacy upon her re­tire­ment.

Photo: TERESA HAT­TAN

SUR­PRISED: Mata­mata In­ter­me­di­ate school prin­ci­pal Mar­ion Hen­rik­sen was thrown a sur­prise birth­day and farewell con­cert last week. For more pho­tos from the spe­cial cel­e­bra­tion, see our Face­book page.

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