New Māngere Bridge principal ready to create her village 2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
She credits a village for where she is today, and it’s a philosophy that new principal of Māngere Bridge School, Bernice Mata’utia, wants to bring to her new role – for the community, staff and students to support each other and work together for the collective good.
Bernice began her new role with the start of the school year this week, welcoming students and the school community back to Māngere Bridge School for a year where student and staff wellbeing will be a priority, after a challenging two years.
“I’m looking forward to getting to know the staff, students, whānau, and building strong relationships with the wider school community,” says Bernice.
“I’m inspired by the community here, it’s one of the things that drew me to the school.”
She’s also inspired by the school values of kotahitanga, manaakitanga, kaitiakitanga and rangatiratanga; in basic terms – unity, kindness, guardianship, and leadership, and deeply guided by her own Samoan culture, and a passion for Pasifika and Māori student success.
“A big part of cultural responsiveness and understanding is knowing your learners, allowing them to be confident in their culture and identity, and celebrating this.Knowing your community and what their needs are, is vital.”
Bernice knows these needs are even greater right now, with the disruption of the last two years.
“I want to strengthen and sustain what’s already successful at the school, and most of all, look after the welfare and wellbeing of the staff, students and whānau.”
Bernice comes from Three Kings School, where she was deputy principal for four years, and before that, she was head teacher at Rise UP Academy School, a Pasifika charter school in Māngere, following a long career teaching in South Auckland.
She is guided by her upbringing in a home that prioritised and celebrated education and supported her to achieve her dreams and now has the same support from her husband and six children.
“This principal role hasn’t been a dream of one person, it’s been a dream for all of us, we’ve done this together.”
Bernice Mata’utia is the new principal of Māngere Bridge School