Tadiwa Masiyakurima loves ACG Tauranga. His only wish? That he’d come here sooner!
The sporty 18-year-old moved to New Zealand from South Africa last November, joining ACG’s Year 12 cohort in March 2020. From his very first day on campus, Tadiwa says he has felt “right at home”.
“My first day at ACG was such a highlight. My classmates showed me round and helped me settle in, and even made sure I found the right bus stop to get home after school,” he says.
“I haven’t had any problems making new friends here, because literally everybody is so friendly.”
Originally from Zimbabwe, Tadiwa has spent the past 13 years living in Gauteng, South Africa, most recently as a boarder at the International School of South Africa.
“Moving from a boarding school to a day school has been a bit of an adjustment, but ACG has so many kind teachers and students who are willing to help you out, so overcoming this challenge has been relatively easy.
“One day I was an hour late for school because I missed the school bus, so I had to take a public bus and then walk for 45 minutes. I was upset but Principal Kilian assured me that everything was going to be alright. She told me ‘At this school we are a family and we look out for each other’. That really moved me and made me love being here even more.”
Tadiwa and his family moved to New Zealand for greater opportunities and a better, safer life. While starting out in a new country can’t be easy, the positive teen has taken it in all his stride.
“My family have been here for quite a while, but I stayed on in South Africa to complete my IGCSE exams. Although it was sad saying goodbye to so many friends and family members back home, I’m glad to be here. Plus, I’d already been doing Cambridge curriculum at my old school, which helped with the transition.”
A passionate and talented footballer, Tadiwa plays for Tauranga City AFC and last year was named Junior Soccer Player of the Year at his school. But his commitment to the sport doesn’t stop him jumping in, boots and all, to everything ACG Tauranga has to offer.
Not only is he thriving in maths and science, but he is an Instep Young Leaders representative, he’s part of the Chess Gang, and he also plays basketball and futsal for the school.
With so many extracurricular activities on offer and such a friendly, family vibe, it’s not surprising Tadiwa has found his tribe.
“I love how everybody is so motivated. You can sense the determination in teachers and students to do their best to achieve excellence. That really makes me feel motivated too.
“The facilities at ACG are amazing and so advanced, and the teachers are clear, helpful and love engaging with students. It’s so great and unfortunately I’ve only got two years here before I’m off to university. I just wish I could have arrived here sooner.”