A Home Away From Home – Rangi Ruru Girls’ School
The Boarding House at Rangi is more than a house – it is a home. A safe and special place for our girls who come from other areas across the country or even overseas. It’s not often that a Senior Leadership role runs in the family, however, for Roberta and Emma Schroder, this Mother/Daughter duo have a particularly special shared experience. Roberta took on the role of Head of Boarding in 1987 and Emma this year, 2020. We caught up with both Roberta and Emma to hear a little bit more about their experience of Boarding in the “same house” albeit different years…
Could you tell us about your time at Rangi and your experiences as a Boarder and Head of Boarding in your final year?
It was a privilege to be at Rangi and a massive privilege to be Head of Boarding. The most special occasion during my role as Head of Boarding was to speak at the opening of St Andrew’s Church at Rangi Ruru. My grandmother had been married in the same church where it was previously situated at the hospital. It was a very auspicious occasion. Te Koraha was our Boarding House for the first two years with its ancient corridors and all the different shaped rooms. Some terms we would be in a room with nine other girls and sometimes only with two. I remember being very homesick. We were only allowed home every third weekend when the boarding house closed and had limited other leave to use throughout the year. The oldest part of the current Boarding House was built during our time at Rangi and boy was it flash! We had to do duties; with the least favourite being breakfast duty, where we had to get up early, cook the toast and lay everything out. We had so much fun, we shared clothes, sunbathed on the roof of Te Koraha, played sport, walked together to church on Sundays, boarders haka practice, rowing on the Avon, boarders dances, boarders favourite and so much more.
Coming back to campus with Emma, has anything changed? What has it been like to see the school over the last five years?
So much has changed, but with Te Koraha still as the centre of the school it feels the same. The school has provided such a supportive and welcoming environment for us as parents and especially for Emma.
Roberta, if you could give any advice to a parent thinking about Boarding at Rangi for their daughter, what would it be?
Don’t hesitate! The family of the Boarding House has been amazing. The staff promote a supportive and happy environment, which the girls thrive on.
Cast your mind back to just before you were about to start at Rangi, are there any stories or advice from your Mum that made you look forward to becoming a Rangi Boarder?
Before coming to Rangi, my mum had lots of stories to tell me from her own boarding experience, when back then, they were living in Te Koraha. Her biggest advice to the small farm girl who was about to live in Central Christchurch was to be open minded with every opportunity you get and with anything you do.
Moving away from home and boarding is a big change, how has your experience been in the Boarding House over the past five years and as the 2020 Head of Boarding?
Coming to Rangi in 2016 was a big change from the small-town school I used to attend. Years 9 and 10 were a bit of a blur for me as I spent most of the time crying and wanting to go home. After a bit of a reality check, the tears stopped and the 24/7 sleepover with all my friends begun. Over the past five years I’ve gained many life lessons and created lifelong memories along the way. With a huge switch in perspective towards boarding since 2016, my mum now has to try and convince me to come home for the weekend. Throughout this unusual and unpredictable year, I’ve been lucky to have consistent support and guidance from all the boarding staff, which has created a smooth sailing and enjoyable year for me as Head of Boarding.
Coming to the end of your Rangi journey, what have been some of the highlights from your time here?
A highlight from over the five years in the Boarding House is the annual Boarders’ Concert we have. It’s a very entertaining night to say the least, with girls stepping out of their comfort zones and showing some hidden talents. Another highlight of being a Year 13 boarder are the flats. The flats are something every Boarder looks forward to, finally being in a single room and being able to have cooking facilities to use at your own convienience. It creates a good insight into having a sense of independence for future university flatting years.
Emma, if you could give any advice to young girls who are about to come to Rangi as a Boarder, what would it be?
Be grateful for the opportunities you’ve been given. I was lucky enough to go to the New Zealand Boarding Schools’ Associations conference earlier in the year and it gave me a huge appreciation for the facilities and food we have here, in comparison to other Boarding Schools around the country. Coming into the “Big City” (Christchurch) was a bit of a shock to the system for me, especially not knowing anyone. Making an effort in the first term to get to know people will make the Boarding House a more homely environment, because if you ever need help or are feeling low, you will always have someone to go to.