Newlands College
Newlands College
Newlands College

News from the Desk of the Principal

19 May 2017

Kia Ora Tatou

Last week I attended the production camp to see the progress that the students were making towards getting ready for opening night. While I do not possess any musical skills I was very impressed with what I saw. I believe that the school production “Rock of Ages” will certainly be up there with some of our best. The music also allowed me to revisit my younger years as it is set in the 1980s and I knew all the songs! Tickets are selling out quickly, Friday night is approaching the “wait list” stage so if you are planning on attending I would encourage you to purchase your tickets from cast members of the show and the office as soon as possible.

On a more sombre note, there has been a lot of discussion in the media about the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. This series addresses difficult issues such as bullying, shaming, drunk driving, substance and alcohol abuse, sexual assaults and rape. The lead character, Hannah has her suicide graphically depicted.

The New Zealand Office of Film and Literature created a new Censorship category RP18 to address concerns over the series, issuing an immediate restriction on the show to those under 18 unless they were accompanied by an adult. The authority felt that previous classification distinctions were not appropriate as 16 and 17 were prime ages for teenage suicide.

While many young people are able to distinguish between TV drama and real life, engaging in thoughtful conversations about suicide is vital. Ask your son/daughter if they have seen the series, it will take a while for them to process it, and ask if they have any questions about it. Listen to your children's comments without judgement. This will require you to put aside your own agenda and listen very carefully. If they start to exhibit warning signs such as suicide threats, do not be afraid to ask them about it. Raising the issue of suicide does not increase the risk or plant the idea.

Unfortunately the series does not talk to the underlying causative factors that may lead a teenager to think about taking their life, like depression and anxiety, and a great question for parents to ask of their teenagers is, “where is your mood at the moment on a 1 to 10 scale?” Scaling questions such as these give you an excellent snapshot of where their current mood is at which can be an excellent spring-board to start these sorts of conversations.

If you have any concerns our Guidance Counsellor is available for comment, or there are a variety of specialist agencies that can be contacted and these are listed below. I understand that there is a second series being filmed.

  • Suicide Prevention Helpline: 0508 TAUTOKO (0508 828 865)
  • Lifeline New Zealand 0800 543 354
  • Youthline 0800 376 633
  • Rape Crisis 0800 883 300
  • Depression Helpline 0800 111 757

The winter sports programme is now well underway. I have discussed with our Sports Director, Mr Graham Witts several important aspects of our sports practice and procedures, which you will need to be aware of.

The Annual Report to the Community from the Board of Trustees is also available here to see.

I look forward to seeing you at the production.

Nga Mihi Nui

Grant Jones

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