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School Crest


Following the naming of the school in 1965 after the then Governor General Sir Bernard Fergusson it was agreed by the school committee that the school have a crested type of letterhead paper. The principal (J.G. Sisley) and his clerical assistant discussed the matter and it was agreed that a shield with a cross would form the basis of the school’s crest.


The principal thought that four elements needed to be depicted and not in any ranked order either:


  • Learning

  • Something to represent the Governor General

  • The spiritual

  • Māoritanga


The original shield was in the form of the Roman shield i.e. rather more rectangular than its present form.


When the first sketches had been completed these were shown to an inspector (Harry Clark) who just happened to visit along with the Director of Education at the time (Brian Pinder). Clark suggested the modified shield, leaving Korotangi as is but adding the sea background to represent the voyage of Tainui waka and a slightly better balanced scotch thistle. The rest of the features were unchanged.


The actual lead cut of the letterhead was done by an Auckland firm. The features of the crest are as follows:


  1. The book represents learning by Pākehā ways;


  1. The scotch thistle is symbolic of the association of Sir Bernard Fergusson with the school;


  1. Korotangi is the oldest known treasure of Tainui waka and perhaps represents all things past, present and future that should be retained for the sustainability of the indigenous Māori culture;


  1. The tukutuku pattern (poutama) represents the spiritual and alludes to the stairway to heaven i.e. faith, hope and industriousness to succeed;


  1. The Christian cross separates the four elements while simultaneously embracing them;


  1. The Crown protects all by virtue of the acceptance of Queen Elizabeth II as the country’s sovereign power;


  1. The school’s name was only granted after quite a lengthy tussle with the South Auckland Education Board. Only with the formal acceptance by Sir Bernard Fergusson and his willingness to have the school named after him did the South Auckland Education Board acquiesce; and


  1. The school motto of ‘Kia Kaha Katoa’ means be strong together and reflected the mood at the time for Māori and Pākehā to work together for the benefit of all. It was apparently given by Piri Poutapu who was on the first school committee.


NB. The information herein was taken and amended slightly from photocopied notes and papers held on file in the principal’s office.