Woodford house


Giving back to the community

Servant leadership consciously focuses on the “growth and wellbeing of people and the communities to which they belong” and on Friday 16 June this intention was fully and positively realised here in Hawke’s Bay.

One hundred and forty-five Year 13 students from Woodford House, Lindisfarne College and Iona College worked together on their annual student-led Servant Leadership Day.

Thirty-eight Woodford House girls, and accompanying staff, gave back to our local community in a variety of ways.  The green fingered helped by planting at the Cape Kidnapper’s Sanctuary or at the Karamu Stream and by gardening at either the Flaxmere or Hohepa community gardens. Many volunteers assisted the Red Cross by delivering pamphlets and the energetic enjoyed helping with jobs in and outside of classrooms at Kimi Ora, Peterhead or Maraenui primary schools. It was heartening to hear the participating students say they got as much out of the day as the communities they served.

Academic Prefect Taj Padda at Maraenui Primary School


In the book Focus on Leadership: Servant-Leadership for the Twenty-First Century, author Larry C. Spears says, “Servant-leadership is humanity practiced outwardly”.

He goes on to explain that servant-leadership operates through increased service to others, a holistic approach to work, building a sense of community and the sharing of power in decision making. Through learning by doing, participants seek and take opportunities to serve and lead others to help raise the quality of life throughout society. It is a concept introduced by American thought leader and successful businessman Robert Greenleaf and was considered radical as it offered a framework, which aimed to invert the pyramid of traditional leadership. Instead, the servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.

Greenleaf saw it work admirably and sustainably in enterprise and has since prompted many in business to work this way.  It is valuable in education, and beyond school, for equipping young people for our global world.

Greenleaf’s central concepts of service to others and of fostering young leaders sit naturally at Woodford House as does the understanding that our positive actions can shape communities, locally, regionally and globally.

Focus on Leadership: Servant-Leadership for the Twenty-First Century. Larry C. Spears, Michele Lawrence, John Wiley & Sons, 12/03/2002

Mrs Stephanie Russell, Deputy Principal – Student Wellbeing