Guest Post:


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins, MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis, MP for Tamaki Makaurau Peeni Henare and Associate Minister for Education Tracey Martin NZ First as well as Green Education Spokesperson Chloe Swarbrick.

Firstly, allow me to introduce myself and why I am emailing you five incredibly powerful individuals.

My name is Fele’Unga ‘I ha ‘angana Tupou, but please feel free to call me by the name that I am known by Victory.

I attended Vanguard Military School back in 2016 right up until I graduated last year in 2017 as Head Girl of Vanguard Military School.

Just picture, a shy, emotional and distant overweight Polynesian girl who ran head-on into a new environment not fully knowing what the outcome was going to be at the end of her journey as a Vanguard recruit.

Now looking back at what I have learned and experienced at Vanguard, I can easily tell you how the Staff members, school system and structure, as well as the educational support, saved me from doing something so stupid like ending my life.

Before Vanguard Military School, I attended Auckland Girl’s Grammar School (AGGS) for three years before deciding to leave in 2015 for a new Military structured school in North Shore. I have nothing against my experience at AGGS and the staff members as well as the structure of the school system but it wasn’t the type of environment I needed to be in every day.

In 2014, I lost a dear friend of mine to suicide and as much as I try not to allow myself to think back to how devasted and torn I felt, I know for one thing that support and love were all I needed at the time. And as much as I enjoyed my time at AGGS, I wasn’t coming to full terms of trying to understand something as dark as losing my friend from an act of self-hatred.

I just needed someone to tell me that it was going to be okay. I just needed somebody to hug me and tell me that I was going to come out of this dark era of my life with a better understanding of who I am as an individual.

And ironically, as cheesy as it sounds, Vanguard Military School was that somebody.

From day one, as soon as I walked through the front doors, the Staff who are now dear mentors and important parent figures to me today, greeted me with a sense of warmness that only genuine people that care can have. Despite my doubts about the intentions of all these welcoming and loving Staff members, I eventually found myself opening up and becoming the person I am now known as today.

Today, I stand proudly with NCEA Level 2, NCEA Level 3 achieved with Merit, UE and a 15k scholarship to attend and study at any University of my choosing, under my belt. They gave me a chance to become someone out in the real world.

I grew and evolved into a strong, proud brown Polynesian female with a voice that I am prepared to use in order to get my message across.

I ONLY became Head Girl because of Vanguard Military School.

I only became the person I am today because of the Vanguard Staff members.

I only became this involved and passionate about something because I believe Vanguard Military School changed my life.

I am only starting to love myself as an individual and a young adult because they are patient, loving and caring parents who welcomed me into their family with open arms and big hearts.

Vanguard Military School Students.
PHOTO- Vanguard Military School Facebook page

I’d give my life to keep this school open and running because they saved my life just as I was about to end it on my own.

I know I may be one of the millions of students and parents who have already sent their letters of experience to you men and women but I am part of the million who are willing to stand by something we believe will impact the next generations in a powerful and positive way.

I could’ve been one of the statistics to have committed a crime, I could’ve easily given up and added to the statistics of teenagers unemployed and wandering out on the streets instead of school but I stayed in school because I enjoyed every bit of it. They made going to school every day, enjoyable and life-changing.

They have seen me cry many times, break down and hit some of the lowest lows of my life as well as have witnessed some of the greatest moments of my life where I pushed myself to the finish line and overcome challenges that teenagers have to face every single day.

They have offered me help, love and endless support and will always continue to leave their doors open for me to come back and visit them because that is how close our family is. Even as I depart from the nest and step out into the world, I walk into the world with my head held high knowing that I have the support of the whole school behind me because that is just who they are, who we are.

We are Vanguard Military School and we deserve our lifeline to stay.

Are you really willing to cut the lifeline and end our hopes, dreams and support?

Vanguard is our future and we deserve at least a chance for us to show you who we really are.

We are not just a statistic, a stereotype, a perception of a common problem.

We are a family and we are willing to stand side by side to fight for our rights.

You are all willing to help the next generation and help the teenagers in NZ become the next leaders, politicians, prime ministers, soldiers, policemen, teachers etc and yet none of you have visited our school and have met our people, nor have spoken nor LISTEN to our stories, to our experiences.

Please do not assume we are a waste of resources and financial effort when it is your children’s lifeline on the line and children’s successes that are a loud and clear result of Vanguard Military School.

I am Victory Tupou and Vanguard Military School are my family and for those of who know me so well, I am willing to do anything and everything for my family.


God Bless,