Freyberg High School principal Graeme Williams responds to students performing haka, spitting in front of David Seymour

  • 15/03/2024

The principal of Palmerston North's Freyberg High School has responded after a student spat at David Seymour's feet as he stood and watched an impromptu haka. 

Seymour, the Associate Education Minister, was at the school to chat to leaders about truancy on Thursday - with the haka and spitting happening as he was leaving. 

In a statement, Freyberg principal Graeme Williams said some of the students' behaviour at the end of their protest on Thursday was "totally unacceptable and contrary to the values and the high standards we hold ourselves to". 

"Upholding the mana of our young people recognises the reality of their world but also that we must respect and uphold the dignity of each other and all guests at our kura/school," Williams added. 

"The matter will be managed appropriately through our disciplinary process." 

Seymour, meanwhile, claimed he was happy to visit the school again despite the reception he received. 

He said he thought the haka was "good" and believed some students just got "over-excited". 

"The meeting with school leaders about the impressive work they're doing around attendance was... valuable," he said in a statement. 

"Some of the students got over-excited as I left, perhaps seeing a politician they recognised and egging each other on, but I thought their haka was actually good. 

"I've spoken to the principal and am happy to come back and visit the school again."