Lynda Stuart

Lynda Stuart

Reflections of a president

When asked to share some reflections on my three years as NZEI Te Riu Roa President, I was prompted to think back to the very beginning of this journey.

I have attended many annual meetings over the years and seen many presidents presiding over them. I would watch them weave their magic over debates and questions, and manage tense moments. I used to marvel at their skill and wisdom. In those early years, not once did I think it would one day be me in that place.

The last three years have been an absolute rollercoaster ride. It wasn’t easy, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. The opportunity to represent and advocate for our members and our tamariki locally, nationally and internationally is a great privilege.

The last three years have been an absolute rollercoaster ride. It wasn’t easy, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

The dumping of National Standards and charter schools brought us hope of change from a neoliberal and market-driven “one-size-fits-all” approach to education. The conversations about a 30-year vision for education with the review of Tomorrow’s Schools and a 10-year strategic plan for early childhood education, a focus on those children who have additional needs and the valuing of language, culture and identity all rang resoundingly true for me and gave me hope.

The time was absolutely right for change – the undervaluing of teachers, principals and support staff, alongside those professionals who work with children with special needs, whether they be in schools or early childhood centres, could not continue.

I am so proud of all the NZEI Te Riu Roa members and staff who have worked tirelessly towards the change that is needed.

I am so proud of all the NZEI Te Riu Roa members and staff who have worked tirelessly towards the change that is needed.

Of course, we have not yet achieved everything. We are still working hard to replace broken systems. We’re still working hard to achieve pay equity and pay parity, to ensure there is job security and that privatisation does not undermine quality public education, and to make sure we attract and retain excellent people in the profession. This will take absolutely all of us working together. It will also require us to continue working with our allies, communities and politicians to achieve our goals. 

This is not simply for us as individuals – this is for our tamariki and our colleagues, both now and in the future.

He waka eke noa.
We are all in this together.

Thank you all for the part you have played in my journey as President. I look forward to continuing to work with many of you as we move forward, albeit in a different role. Kia kaha.

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