Departing Napier Boys' High School principal Matt Bertram had some idea of what to expect today on one of his last days with his students – more than 1000 of them.
It came at an all-of-school farewell with thunderous performances of two haka – one of them the "new" school haka produced by former pupils Tauhe Kaweroa and Haeata Watson, developed by the school's head of Māori Studies and gifted to Hawke's Bay's biggest school about four years ago.
The other, performed twice by the whole school, was the obligatory Tika Tonu, the Hawke's Bay haka with its messages for the young males as they ascend to adulthood –challenge, struggle, perseverance and achievement.
Bertram said the farewell, with about 1050 students packed into Henderson Hall, was "very humbling to be honest".
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He had been at the school five and a half years, from the start of 2016 and succeeding retiring former headmaster Ross Brown, who had been at the helm for 18 years.
"I've been very privileged to have been here," said Bertram, who announced this year he would be heading back to Scots College, Wellington, from whence he came. "It's sad to be leaving."
Farewells during the special assembly were delivered by head prefect James Rawnsley and in te reo by Ben Shirley.
Bertram leaves the school at a time the rugby First XV prepares for Saturday's challenge for the Moascar Cup, the high schools equivalent of the Ranfurly Shield – hoping to win it back from Rotorua Boys' High School, which successfully challenged NBHS in Napier last year.
If the end-of-term challenge is successful it will be a big welcome for new principal Jarred Williams, a former Christchurch Boys' High School deputy principal most recently at Hillcrest High School, Hamilton, who takes charge when the third term starts on July 26.