• Jim Bolger
Prime Minister


Bishop Pat Dunn, Principal Brendan Schollum, Old Boys of Sacred Heart, ladies and gentlemen.

Thank you for the invitation to help celebrate the opening of this truly impressive Marist Brothers Sports Centre.

It seems to me very appropriate that the Marist Order which has traditionally been associated with both scholarship and sporting achievement should now be the focus of what I am sure will be an important and regionally significant multi-purpose sporting centre.

Sacred Heart has every qualification in the book to play such a role.

The College name has been at the forefront of hard fought competition in Auckland since before the turn of the century and Old Boys have always excelled in national and international competition.

Even in terms of the sport I enjoy most, there's been few All Black teams that haven't had a connection with the Marist Brothers and Sacred Heart.

I don't believe it's any coincidence the most successful All Black Captain ever claims a Sacred Heart heritage.

But, College sporting endeavour has always covered the spectrum.

From cycling to water polo, rowing to soccer, the Brothers and the College have achieved results you can all take pride in.

So this is more than a building and more than a sporting centre.

It stands as a memorial to all those Marist Brothers and young men who together, here, and earlier in Richmond Road, struggled and sweated and trained to do their best in whatever sport they worked on.

The Brothers were equally dedicated in their school room efforts.

In a world that is often struggling to define values and beliefs to underpin daily life, the clear views and enduring values that underpin schools associated with Christian faith up and down New Zealand provide a welcome addition to our education options.

I know I won't be popular with the PPTA when I state firmly that diversity is an essential component of a dynamic education system.

And a dynamic education system is an essential part of a successful society.

There are other requirements for successful schools.

Clearly leadership by the Principal supported by an excellent staff is of the highest priority.

There is another that the Catholic School system survived on, and that is parental and community support.

In those circumstances the school was an integral part of the community it served.

I want to see that community involvement for all schools which is why I strongly support the direct resourcing of schools.

The reason is simple, I trust the Principal and school board to make wiser decisions on what is important for a school and how it is achieved at a particular school than a central bureaucracy.

I have spoken often in recent weeks on the need to build the social capital as well as the economic capital of New Zealand.

In seeking to build the social capital of New Zealand, I am committed to devolving more decision making back to the community.

I want people like you to be much more involved in the life of the community you live in.

I am not sure in all quarters it would be considered a successful outcome but in my own field Sacred Heart College has its fair share of representation.

Right at this moment three Old Boys are in Parliament.

Associate Education Minister Brian Donnelly, who regrets a last minute trip to Korea prevented him being here today, Hamilton's Bob Simcock and New Zealand First's Neil Kirton are all making their mark in politics.

For some reason Sacred Heart has also had long time representation on my staff which probably means something!

It's heartening to hear of the enormous support the Sports Centre project has generated.

It's heartening, and tells us something about the culture of Sacred Heart, that so many of the community of Old Boys across the country are prepared to support the alma mater.

I understand the success of the sports development has allowed the College to extend efforts into a new Science and Technology Wing, refurbished facilities in the hostel, and lecture and information centres.

In that sense, it seems to me this project ideally reflects the vision of the Marist Brothers.

A healthy mind in a healthy body - sport and scholarship.

Congratulations to all involved.

Thank you.