by SUE SECONI
St Mary of the Cross MacKillop’s dare to “Never see a need without trying to do something about it”, was not so much seen but heard by Cullinane College students.
The need came about 10,000 kilometres from Wanganui when college old boy Fr Frank Bird, SM, now based in the Ranong Marist Mission School on the Thailand-Burmese border, asked for financial help.
The students responded by organising an evening concert, raising $2500 on September 12. Parishioners and many parents involved in Sacred Heart, run by the Sisters of St Joseph
and the Marist Father’s College of St Augustine’s (which closed to form the co-educational Cullinane in 2002), got behind the initiative.
Head boy Daniel O’Sullivan and prefect Ruben Mars fronted the evening, held in St Mary’s Church, where Fr Frank was ordained in 2000.
Cullinane students not only showed talent but were as generous as they are gifted. The energetic Abu Dhabi hip-hop, jazz and salsa groups got the responsive audience toe-tapping and
clapping to the beat.
The soloists and music groups accompanied by either piano, electric guitars, pulsating and thumping bass drums or ukulele showcased the musical range during this 2 hour 45 minute
The school’s Te Ngakau O Te Awa (Kapa Haka group) came on stage to the sound of the putatara (shell trumpet).
They sang waiatas that they had performed at the National Secondary’s Schools Kapa Haka competitions in Gisborne in July. Applause sounded as soon as Just Like a Woman by Bob
Dylan, in Te Reo, began.
On the overhead, Fr Frank appeared in two video clips. He spoke of the Marist mission programme that provides education, health and other support to the people of the fishing village, and highlighted the poverty there. The daily pay of $8 keeps families powerless and unable to rise out of poverty.
“Imagine 100 children. Twenty start an education, but 90 per cent leave before they reach age 11 to work to support their families in this very dangerous industry,” he said. Education
provides an alternative and gives a sense of hope.
Cullinane College is a “partner school” with Ranong, and it’s a dream of principal Kevin Shore to invite two Ranong students to attend Cullinane College when arrangements are approved
“In the longer term, I would like to see if it was possible to send staff and students to Ranong for a short experience,” Mr Shore said.