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Better together . . . Principals and teachers unleash their musical side during a Kahui Ako hui on Friday. PHOTO: FIONA ELLIS

A gathering ended on a musical note as principals and teachers were plucked from their comfort zones on Friday.

The 36 attendees from throughout Otago and Southland picked up ukuleles for a sing-along during the Kahui Ako Community of Learning hui at Willowbank’s Hawthorn Den Inn.

Pomahaka Kahui Ako lead principal Lindy Cavanagh-Monaghan said the musical interlude was in keeping with the day’s themes.

“We’re exploring communication themes through really interesting ways [and] taking people out of their comfort zone,” Mrs Cavanagh-Monaghan said.

“This includes learning ukulele at a moment’s notice.”

As Kahui Ako members, they were able to share resources and knowledge experience.

Other topics of the day included how to deal with cultural issues and how to help pupils who needed some extra support radar — ”25% fly under the radar”.

They also discussed schools working with the strengths of their community.

“For example, at Blue Mountain College, we have agriculture, forestry and the outdoors,” said Mrs Cavanagh-Monaghan, who is principal of the college.

Kahui Ako members from Otago and Southland had been meeting each term for about four years, she said.

“It’s grown into something special over time.”

The day had gone well.

“It’s our pleasure to be able to host people.”

Pomahaka Kahui Ako across-school teacher Jane Stuart said the day was about improving schools so pupils would benefit.

“We’re in this for the kids,” Mrs Stuart said.

“I love the fact that there is always something to learn off other people. We’re better together.”