Category Archives: News / Notices

Important Dates

  • Wednesday 3 June: School resumes 9.30 am
  • Wednesday 3 June, Thursday 4 June: Drama Production: Every Brilliant thing: 4pm & 6pm
  • Monday 15 June: Board of Trustees meeting

Important Information

Cafeteria using myKindo app

Since lockdown the WHS cafeteria has been using the myKindo app to take orders and work contactlessly with our students. If your student uses the cafeteria, we recommend downloading and taking advantage of the service offered by the app.

Instructions for registering for the service are available here.

What’s happening?

Year 13 Production – EVERY BRILLIANT THING by Duncan MacMillan

Year 13 Drama students perform this heart-wrenching and very funny play about … depression.

Riley Hall, Wednesday 3 June and Thursday 4 June, 4pm and 6pm shows, duration is 1hour

Bookings can be made through email, please note that as seating  must be allocated, places are limited.

Email:, listing your name, day and time of the performance you want tickets for. Entry is F R E E.



eDNA in Year 10 Science Enrichment

Prof. Michael Bunce, Chief Scientist at the EPA, and Dr. Shaun Wilkinson, Principal Scientist at Wilderlab held a workshop for Year 10 Science enrichment this week. Students have been learning the fundamentals of genetics in class and in Monday’s session they learned about ways that ancient DNA can be used to investigate ecosystems of the past. They now have an insight into the possibilities offered by modern technologies in investigating ecosystems using the DNA that can be found there. The students are taking samples from around the region, to add to Wilderlab’s Wai tūwhera o te Taiao wildlife database.

Update from He Kākano

He Kākano students have been involved in a wide range of activities since returning to campus. They have enjoyed time in Food Tech and time spent creatively on Art work.






Felix Barber (yr13 2008) finished his PhD at Harvard University MCB (Department of Molecular Biology) this month. Before going to Cambridge, Massachusetts, Felix completed a Masters in Mathematics and Theoretical Physics as a Gates Scholar to Cambridge University, England. He is now a postdoctoral Associate in Quantitative Microbiology at NYU Biology Department | Centre for Genomics + Systems research.



Isabelle Stewart (yr13 2010) finished her Dphil in March at the University of Oxford, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine. She had previously completed an honours degree in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Otago. Her Oxford studies were funded by the NDM prize studentship. Isabelle is now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Chicago’s Wilson Lab, researching how the immune system diversifies its antibody response against influenza in germinal centers.


From the Careers Desk

New course options available for Yr 12/13 students

Please contact Chuni Bhikha (Careers Adviser) for more information at   or  3858911 Extn: 827

  1. A second Papa Taiao course – Biodiversity Restoration Course (we already have one that runs on Friday afternoons with 11 WHS students) … (for Fri mornings starting ASAP 9.00 – 12.00)  5 places available. 19 Credits for Level 2 and 17 Credits for Level 3 on offer.
  2. Regenerative Urban Farming//Agriculture – Community Gardens (All day Wednesday starting ASAP. (10 places available). 25 Credits at Level 2 or 3 are available.
  3. Social Enterprise course – this course is about students creating their own Social Enterprise/business based around the idea of Urban Farming/Agriculture/Community Gardens (see Course 2 above). NOTE: Some of this can be done at home if you cannot attend all day on a Wednesday.

Level 2 or Level 3 Unit Standard credits available for both courses. Some Achievement Standards are also available.

Mid Year Polytech courses, starting soon…

This is something for students/families to think about NOW if they are not sure if school is still the best place to be. These courses mostly start in early July (always check with the organisation) and offer half year/full year courses at Levels 2-4 for students in a wide range of vocational areas. If you want to chat about what may be out there and look at the pro’s and cons of courses vs school, then, I would be very happy to meet and chat.

Chuni Bhikha (Careers Adviser)     3858911  Extn: 827

Important Dates

  • Friday 29 May: Teacher Only day
  • Monday 1 June: Queen’s birthday holiday
  • Tuesday 2 June: Half-term. School closed
  • Wednesday 3 June: School resumes (Wednesday late start at 9.30 am)
  • Monday 15 June: Board of Trustees meeting

Important Information

Principal’s message

In his mid-term principal’s message, Dominic talks about the return to campus and reflects on lockdown including a focus on achievements plus feedback from the remote learning survey.

To read Dominic’s full report, click here.

What’s happening?


As campus life resumed on WHS on Monday morning, RNZ’s John Gerritsen took the opportunity to visit, interviewing students and staff about their return to school. Principal Dominic Killalea, Head of Science Nicola Dow and students Lily Parkin, Willow Ashby, Xandi Gobbi and Sophie Leadbetter were interviewed.

John’s article and related coverage can be viewed at: (Image courtesy of RNZ).


International student’s lockdown vlog

International student, Anh stayed in New Zealand through lockdown. Her vlog has been posted on the International Department’s Facebook page and can be watched here:


Wellington Regional Debating Success

It is a sign of the times, that the Wellington Debating Regionals were recently held over Zoom. Over 50 of the best High School debaters in Wellington took part to determine who would represent Wellington in the upcoming National Competition. 

Four Senior WHS Students took part: Corwin Heath Cameron (Year 11), Julia Randerson (Year 12), Xandi Gobbi (Year 13), and Roman Barlow (Year 13). After a gruelling 9 hour Zoom call, and four debates, including two knockout rounds, Xandi and Julia made it through to the final twelve debaters.  Following on from a nail biting final debate,  Julia was selected for a Wellington regional team.  This is a huge achievement!

Congratulations to Julia and to all the WHS debaters who took part in the competition!  We wish Julia well in the Nationals.  

NZSA Youth Mentorship recipient announced

Congratulations Cadence! Cadence Chung (12MDJ) recently heard that she is a recipient of a NZ Society of Authors Youth Mentorship space, a fantastic opportunity for a talented and aspiring young writer. As one of four students to receive the award, Cadence will now have the opportunity to be mentored by one of New Zealand’s finest professional authors.

To read more about Cadence’s award and the mentorship programme, click here.

Cadence’s poem ‘Spill’ was recently published in the Fresh Avocado lockdown edition.  Click here to read it.

Wellington Technical College alumna celebrates her centenary

Former Technical College student, Nance Wareham celebrated her 100th birthday on 16 April, during level 4 lockdown. Nance attended the Technical College from 1933 to 1937 and, as far as we know, is the oldest former student still living.  While at the school, Nance Howard (her maiden name) took part in the school choir drama productions as well as playing netball for the school, at a time when the sport was still called outdoor basketball.

In 2016 Nancy was interviewed about her memories of the Technical College. To watch the video click here. 

The picture below shows the impressive size of the Wellington Technical College girls’ choir in 1935. Nance is the student at the very right of the front row.


I write at the end of the first school week at level 2. The key principles of level 2 are to:

  • reduce the risk of someone getting infected in the first place,
  • ensure we can identify and contact anyone who becomes infected,
  • understand that it is not business as usual.

We have extensively planned for the reopening of our school and early signs are that the students are all embracing, or should I say, adopting enthusiastically, the extra hygiene measures that we have put in place. The continual cleaning and hand sanitising is an ongoing reminder of how we can maintain good hygiene practices at a time when this is a particular imperative.

I must admit I have never experienced so many enthusiastic greetings from students as I have walked around the school in the first few days since reopening. I’m not saying that students aren’t normally cordial with me, but their exuberance and the enthusiasm to be back at school is wonderful to behold. Schools are places full of energy and creativity and I hope we are able to restore all of the opportunities that are normally available to students, soon.

While we were in our level 4 and level 3 lockdowns, and while students were adjusting to remote learning plans and online conferencing, there were still achievements in varying forms from current and ex students. Please take some time to click on some or all of the links below:

  • Sophie Mance (Year 13, 2019) was awarded the extremely prestigious Girdler’s scholarship.
  • Sky Gobbi (Year 10) became a finalist in the Doc Edge festival with his short film about Underwater Hockey.
  • Former student Matty Di Leva (2010 – 2016) made Stuff  as an essential services frontline worker at New World Newtown.
  • Former student Jack Buchanan’s (2005 – 2009) family lockdown boogie went viral (perhaps not the right expression at the moment!) and he was awarded a CBS Sunny!
  • Our Shakespeare Society, who were scheduled to be performing in term 2 but have now postponed to term 3, were rehearsing the Tempest online
  • And Fresh Avocado launched their lockdown edition with some wonderful writing – my favourite is a piece by Cadence Chung (Year 12) called ‘Spill’ where she ruminates: ‘People joke that this is the end of the world but I think it is simply the end of what we thought tomorrow might have been.’

Remote learning during the lockdowns brought challenges but I also know it created opportunities and learnings for teachers and students. Many parents and caregivers have written to me about how much their student enjoyed working remotely but I also know that this hasn’t worked well for many. However, there is a need to carefully analyse the work during this period and adopt some of the better practices that have emerged for future learning.

We surveyed the students a few weeks back about how they were feeling and we had a terrific response with over 500 students taking part. When we asked our students about the aspects of remote learning they enjoyed the most, there were 3 themes that emerged in their answers:

  • Flexibility in terms of pace, assessment and independence [62 comments],
  • Use of technology to rewind learning & have it in accessible formats [34 comments],
  • Having a big picture plan for learning [23 comments].

A selection of student comments:

“I enjoy the flexibility of it, if you don’t feel like, say, doing English, then you can do Mathematics instead, rather than spending an hour sitting around, feeling frustrated. You can also come back and do our work later if you are tired and aren’t getting anywhere.”

“Being able to take breaks when I’m feeling overwhelmed/stressed helps me to not fully lose engagement and means I can come back to my work with a clear head.”

“…it would be good to have one remote day a week when we’re back at school.”

“I have found all the videos helpful, I struggle to read and write so videos are helping my learning a lot.”

“I quite like being able to look at a slide show and take notes because in class we don’t get shared the slides and the teacher can go a bit fast sometimes…”

“I enjoy that in some classes you know all the work you have to do for the subject at the start of week so, you can manage your time better.”

In these comments and in many others, there is some clear guidance for what learning could look like in the future and we must build on some of the really innovative teaching practices that emerged during the lockdown periods. This week we gave our senior teachers autonomy to decide how best to use their senior ‘double’ at the end of the day which has allowed some students ‘catch up’ time associated with varying levels of engagement with remote learning. Although this won’t continue next week, we will factor in our learnings from this and other aspects of the lockdown learning for our future planning for courses in 2021. The sorts of changes that we will consider are:

  • getting a better balance between whole-class teaching and smaller group tutorials with a review of face to face hours per subject or course,
  • using technology to open up more independent and self-directed learning methodologies and also enable more 1 to 1 opportunities, and
  • examining how our timetable can more flexibly accommodate different needs of students.

We need to acknowledge these opportunities for change alongside the crucial relationships that exist between learners and teachers and the important socialisation aspects of schooling. It’s then about getting balance, coherence and rigour so that we can continue to provide all the best parts of being at Wellington High School and make future schooling an even more exciting experience than currently.

Mauri ora!

Dominic Killalea


Important Dates

  • Monday 18 May: School reopens to all students (see COVID-19 update 14.5.2020 for details)
  • Friday 29 May: Teacher Only day
  • Monday 1 June: Queen’s birthday holiday
  • Tuesday 2 June: Half-term. School closed
  • Wednesday 3 June: School resumes 9.30 am
  • Monday 15 June: Board of Trustees meeting

Important Information

COVID-19 update from the Principal

Please see the message, emailed to all parents and caregivers today on our COVID-19 page.

Public transport survey – responses sought

We are seeking clarification from Metlink with regards to school bus services. There will definitely be no standing allowed on any school buses and Metlink acknowledge that this means some services may be over capacity. They are looking at where additional services can be put in place but give no garantee of when these might be in place and whether WHS will benefit.

If you have alternative modes of transport for a student who would normally catch a bus or train, then this would be a good time to ‘exercise’ that option!

A reminder to please complete the public transport survey if you haven’t done already. This can be found at: We need this information for contact tracing to and from school.

Cafeteria adopts mykindo app

From Monday 18 May, our cafeteria will be operating a cashless system using the mykindo app and Orders can be placed through the app or website and the service is click and collect. More details can be found here. On Monday, EFTPOS machines will also be available in the cafeteria.

In addition, the cafeteria is implementing the following extra practices based on MPI guidelines:

  • There will be a register which records who handled/packaged what food.
  • Hand sanitiser is available at the counter for student use once they have received their food.
  • Queuing for food will happen in the marked lanes. Entry is by the car park entrance, exit is by the foyer entrance. There will be no dining in this area under alert Level 2.

What’s happening?

Instrumental Music lesson update

  • Instrument and Vocal lessons are running again on site from Monday 18 May.
  • Guitar and Bass lessons (Friday with Doug) will start after Queen’s birthday weekend, and remain online until then.
  • Timetables in usual places updated by this Sunday.




Money Jam competition success

Four year 9 Finance students each designed a social event for the Sorted in Schools ‘Money Jam Competition’ that occurred during the first week of lockdown. This was an optional activity that involved researching possible activities, venues and costs; describing the event and completing a budget. Thanks to their efforts, the school received a $500 Rebel Sports voucher to spend on sports equipment. Ka mau te wehi Yuki Doyle, Ritesh Ravji, Leonor Jackson-Oliver and Hazel Till. 

Otago University Junior Mathematics competition

The Otago University Junior Mathematics competition was unable to be held at school in April. Instead, students were provided with the opportunity to sit the competition at home under similar conditions on Wednesday the 13th May if they wished. The following students participated in the competition and submitted their entries via email. Ka pai rawe Jasper Barkett-Greenberg, Tom Bonert, Atom Gush, Tulip Kumar, AJ Leatigaga, Samantha McPherson, Lias Morris, Ruby Nicholson, Violet Patterson, Mila Van Stokkum and Carren Yan. 

Kia ora koutou

This email is to provide a little more detail about some of the services at school under alert level 2 and some information about Queen’s birthday weekend. A reminder that we are expecting to greet all of our year 9 and 10 students at 8.45am on Monday 18 May and all our year 11, 12 and 13 students at 9.30am on Monday 18 May.


Under alert level 2 we won’t be handling cash payments anywhere at school. All payments should be either through the portal or by Paywave at student services.

Visitors to school

If you need to attend school for any reason, you must sign in at student services. Reception has moved to student services for the alert level 2 period.

Queen’s birthday weekend arrangements

A lot of teachers and students have been working without much of a break since the start of lockdown. A number of parents have contacted me asking for a break for their student. We have decided that we will have a longer break over the Queen’s birthday weekend – Friday 29 May will be a teacher only day and Tuesday 2 June will be a mid term break. This is in line with a number of other Wellington schools and will give students 5 days continuously away from school work and hopefully allow many of them to recharge for the remainder of the term. Please note that in our original scheduling for the year, we already had Friday 29 May marked as a teacher only day.

Extra hygiene processes

We have installed packets of paper towels as an additional drying mechanism in all toilets (in addition to electric hand dryers). We need students to look after these so that stocks are not depleted quicker than they need to be. Students should use 2 towels to dry their hands for roughly 10 seconds each, or use the hand dryer for approximately 45 seconds. We will be giving this message to students but your help in talking to your student about this would be appreciated.

Public transport


Our cafeteria will be operating a cashless system using the mykindo app or through Orders can be placed through the app or website and the service is click and collect. More details can be found here. On Monday, EFTPOS machines will also be available in the cafeteria.

In addition, the cafeteria is implementing the following extra practices based on MPI guidelines:

  • There will be a register which records who handled/packaged what food.
  • Hand sanitiser is available at the counter for student use once they have received their food.
  • Queuing for food will happen in the marked lanes. Entry is by the car park entrance, exit is by the foyer entrance. There will be no dining in this area under ale

We have had difficulty getting information from Metlink but we have been told that there will definitely be no standing allowed on any school buses and they acknowledge this means some services may overfill. They are also looking at where they can put in additional services but cannot give any guarantees of when these might be in place. I suspect their capacity is limited in this regard and this will remain a problem under alert level 2. If you have alternative modes of transport for a student who would normally catch a bus or train, then this would be a good time to ‘exercise’ that option!

A reminder to please complete the public transport survey if you haven’t done already. This can be found at: We need this information for contact tracing to and from school.

Students displaying signs of cold, flu, COVID-19

If students are displaying symptoms of any of these, please keep them away from school. If students turn up to school displaying these symptoms, we will ask you to come and pick them up. If students are ill they will be able to continue with the remote learning plans that will continue under alert level 2.rt level 2, and all seating has been removed from this area.

Preparing to return to school under Alert Level 2

The Ministry of Education has compiled a list of resources to help prepare parents and students for alert level 2. These include:

  • A ‘checklist’ for preparing for the return to on-site learning
  • Translated versions of the information in te reo Māori and 10 Pacific languages (Note: we will be adding other language versions in the coming days).
  • Some helpful videos that may help with the situation

Our Learning Plan under alert level 2

As I mentioned in my previous email, we will be continuing with our remote learning plan to enable some students to continue to work from home. Our expectation is that all students will return to school but we realise there will be some exceptions. Could you please ensure that your student has all the equipment they need for learning, including:

  • A charged device (and their charger)
  • Headphones to use with their device.

Our alert level 2 planning

You can view our COVID-19 alert level 2 planning here. This plan has been completed with close reference to Ministry of Education guidelines in Managing Health and Safety in Schools at Alert Level 2.

We are looking forward to welcoming all of our students back to school on Monday.

Mauri ora!

Dominic Killalea, Principal

From Monday 18 May, WHS’s cafeteria will be using the mykindo app (or website 

Orders can be placed through the app or website and the service is click and collect. EFTPOS machines will also be available in the cafeteria for the week commencing 18 May.

For more information, visit:

In addition, the cafeteria is implementing the following extra practices based on MPI guidelines:

  • There will be a register which records who handled/packaged what food.
  • Hand sanitiser is available at the counter for student use once they have received their food.
  • Queueing for food will happen in the marked lanes. Entry is by the car park entrance, exit is by the foyer entrance. There will be no dining in this area under alert level 2, and all seating has been removed from this area.

Important Dates

  • Monday 11 May: Board of Trustees meeting 4.30pm (online)
  • Monday 11-15 May: School open for Years 9 & 10 who have registered their intention only. Remote learning plan continues for all students. N.B. These dates are subject to change dependent on the Government’s announcement on 11 May.

Important Information

COVID-19 update from the Principal

(This message has also been posted on our responding to COVID-19 page.)

Kia ora koutou

Yesterday, the Prime Minister advised that in Alert Level 2 schools are safe environments for children, young people and staff and that additional public health control measures are in place to prevent the spread of disease and to support contact tracing. There will be a decision about moving between alert levels on Monday 11 May, based on public health information, in particular low or no community transmission. If the decision is made to move from level 3 to level 2 then, according to the Prime Minister, “… schools won’t open midweek – whenever the decision is made – they will open at the beginning of the following week.” This means that the earliest we would be reopening at level 2 would be from Monday 18 May.

The decision to reopen our site is an important one and the key Public Health approach is to minimise the risk that someone gets infected in the first place, and second to ensure we can identify and contact anyone who has been in close contact with a person, if someone in our school is infected.

As we have done in Alert Level 3, you can be assured that in Alert Level 2 we will know who is at school, who our staff and students have been in close contact with and take appropriate measures to keep everyone safe.

Physical distancing is a good precaution to prevent the spread of disease. However, we do know it is challenging in schools, so good hygiene practices and regular cleaning are even more important here. This includes staff and students coughing into their elbows, handwashing and drying and regular cleaning of commonly touched surfaces.

Under Alert Level 2, we advise any students and staff to stay at home if they are sick, and we will send anyone home immediately if they show any symptoms.

Our school has safe and sensible practices to maintain the health and safety of everyone on the school site. As described by Dr Payinda in his NZ Herald article, “Covid’s not measles or chickenpox, it doesn’t hang in the air for hours waiting to infect passers-by. It travels on invisible drops of spit. You don’t have to cross the street to avoid anyone. Just avoid getting in their ‘moist breath’ zone”. We all just need to remember to have some breathing space at Alert Level 2!

It’s important however that not just at school but at home, safe hygiene habits are practised by everyone, as this is essential to minimise the risk that someone gets infected with Covid-19.

For more information about the public health measures at Alert Level 2, you can visit the website:

We will be in touch again soon to update you on our plans.

Mauri ora

Dominic Killalea, Principal

Simply Dental update

We are still operating and are here for you! We may be operating a little differently under each level, of which we will keep yourselves, your school, and your families informed to ensure we are providing safe, healthy, and effective care.

What we can do for you under each alert level:

Level 3 – Urgent and emergency services

Level 2 – Back in Action (with some changes), working closely with your school and your family.

Concerned about your teeth or gums?

If you currently have any dental concerns, please click on the link below and we will be in contact.

Remember – no one should have to be in pain, and we are here to support you and to keep you happy and healthy!

What’s happening?

Resounding feedback from our learners

After twelve days of learning, we asked all our students for feedback on how the remote learning plan was going so far for them. We were keen to know where we had found a good balance, and whether there were areas that might need a tweak. 541 students replied, a huge response given the population size of the school, and very encouraging overall. They told us that:

  • many of our teachers were doing a great job and students felt supported, especially thorough rōpū
  • the workload was feeling overwhelming at times
  • most tasks were clear and emails largely manageable, although both could be improved
  • Google Meets could be great if scheduled and managed well, and were not too long
  • they wanted a weekly summary at the start of the week so they could manage their time flexibly

Our students also had great suggestions for useful approaches that could carry back into face-to-face learning. We have discussed the feedback across our faculties and used it to help us refine our remote learning plan.

Farewell and thanks to Lou Wycherley

Friday 1 May, the end of an era as Art teacher Lou Wycherley retired after 25 years of service at WHS. Even though we could not farewell her in person, in lockdown custom, the celebration went online.

Lou leaves a great legacy through her leadership and work on the refurbishment and renewal of Taraika and her documentation of the story of our marae. Students and colleagues have been greatly enriched through her vast knowledge and experience. We thank her and wish Lou every success.

Ina aro atu ana te oranga
ki ngā mea pai,
ka rere te wairua,
ka taea ngā mea katoa. 
When our lives and heart are attuned to good things, life is clear, the spirit flows freely.
Everything is possible. 
Dr. Maharaia Winiata (Ngati Ranginui Leader) teacher, scholar, anthropologist.

To read Lou’s account of the refurbishment and renewal of Taraika, including the design of the heke panels within it, click here or on the image of Taraika to the right.

Shakespeare Society – Rehearsing The Tempest – Online

This lockdown period initially put a bit of a damper on this year’s production as we were due to perform this week – but we’ve done what we can to make it worthwhile. Virtual rehearsals are almost every day so we’ve been able to read through and discuss scenes in depth, and the cast has been working very hard at learning lines. We’ve also been keeping the energy level up by also having weekly Netflix Parties! 

48 Hour Film Festival

This competition is usually enthusiastically entered by WHS students who study Media. This year, with people at home, it has been a little different. We have enjoyed viewing two ‘whodunnit’ entries created by students who were recently at WHS, Jack and Lani Buchanan, and Ruby Arahanga, together with their whānau. Enjoy!

Jack Buchanan awarded a CBS News ‘Sunny’

You’ve heard of the Oscars, the Emmys and the Grammys. COVID-19 has also given life to the Sunnys, with WHS alumnus Jack Buchanan a worthy recipient. CBS News, awarded Sunnys to a number of quarantine / lockdown videos.  To view their coverage go to Lockdown Boogie is featured about 5 minutes in. Congratulations to Jack and his family.

Fresh Avocado – lockdown edition!

Soon we will feel nostalgic for these strange times (maybe). Don’t worry – WHS students have immortalised the quarantine experience in prose and poetry. Check out the ‘lockdown edition’ of Fresh Avocado (the online home for WHS poetry and creative writing).

Featuring: Cadence Chung, Bodhi Brooke-White, Millie Crowe and Tulip Kamar.

International Update

As the lockdown continues we have 59 international students still with us but we were really sad to say goodbye to the 19 students who left just before or during the early days of lockdown. Many of these students were due to leave by the end of Term 1 but for 10 students from Europe it was a rushed early departure on repatriation flights. 

Overall we farewelled students from China, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Switzerland and Thailand! We hope they will have the opportunity to visit NZ again in the future.


Photos L-R: Luna (Germany) and Essi (Finland) about to board their flights. International students outdoors in pre-lockdown times.

Year 10 Japanese pikelet challenge

Students were challenged to make a pikelet in the shape of their favourite Japanese Hiragana symbol. Riley Kelly went above and beyond making symbols to spell out adjectives from our current unit of work that describe her feelings during lockdown:
tanoshii ( fun/enjoyable)
hen ( strange/weird)

Instrumental music lessons online

Instrumental music lessons are available online during lockdown.
If required please get in touch with Fritz will put you in touch with your student’s teacher.


College Sport Wellington launch eSport competition 

In partnership with eSports provider Victory Up and League of Legends game developer Riot Games, CSW is launching its inaugural esports competition, the Wellington Secondary School League (WSSL).

Entries can be made via Liam Good, Sports Coordinator until Wednesday 13 June. Late entries will not be accepted.

There will be two divisions: Senior Open (Years 11-13) and Junior Open (Years 9-10).

Games will be played on Wednesdays at 4pm from Wednesday 20 May. The aim is that sutdents will be able to play at school once lockdown restrictions are lifted.

To find out more go to or click here to read the information sheets for parents and students

Sports on Instagram

If you are looking for inspiration for sports, look no further than the WHS Sports Instagram page. Updated daily by our Sports captains this includes videos uploaded by students during lockdown and creative ideas for exercise. If Instagram is not your thing, then why not check out the three strength and conditioning programmes that have been shared with us.

Strength and conditioning 1

Strength and conditioning 2

Strength and conditioning 3

Important Dates

  • 28 April: Teacher only day
  • 29 April: School open for Years 9 & 10 who have registered their intention only. Remote learning plan continues for all students.

Important Information

Wellbeing support

Our counsellors are available to work with students during lockdown. Students should email either Maeve Stevenson or Lloyd Ward who will contact them and make appointment arrangements to suit.
If you are looking for resources that can help support your and your student’s wellbeing, the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand’s website and (with the Mentemia app available for download for Apple and Android) are worth checking out.
Alternatively, books such as Helping your Anxious Child or Rewire your Anxious Brain are available through Compass also has a range of books to support younger children who may be experienced heightened anxiety at the moment.

Covid-19 and Remote Learning

As  a reminder, the school’s remote learning plan and our regular updates can be found on the front of our website

You can see the most recent update from the Principal, here

Board of Trustees by-election notice

A casual vacancy has occurred on the Board of Trustees for an elected parent representative. The board has resolved to hold a by-election and Canterbury Education Services will conduct the election on the school’s behalf.

Canterbury Education Services will ask for nominees from our school community as soon as they are able to return to work. This will be followed by an election on 19 June if one is necessary.

Thank you all for your patience through the pandemic and particularly as the school works through the process of partial reopening for Alert Level 3.  Please, if you have any concerns at all, do get in touch with your student’s rōpū teacher or usual first point of contact at school.

Annette Atkins, Board of Trustees Chairperson

Instrumental music lessons online

Instrumental music lessons are available online during lockdown.
If required please get in touch with Fritz will put you in touch with your student’s teacher.

What’s happening?

A message to all Wellington students

This is a wonderful message from amazing student leaders across Wellington’s schools to all our young people. You can spot some of our WHS senior leaders in here too. Ka rawe!

Year 10 Fashion – the McQueen flower challenge

Creative thinking and making have been the focus for lockdown learning this term. British Fashion designer McQueen has been an inspiration with social media posts around decoration and the use of flowers throughout fashion history. The lockdown learning? To make a 3D flower out of whatever materials and tools Year 10 fashion students had at home. It’s about creativity, dexterity, thinking outside of the box, and using materials. Tin foil, paper mache, polymer clay, crochet, tin cans, egg cartons, wool, wooden skewers, buttons, kitting, gouache, watercolours, toilet rolls, wire, paper vegetable  bags, recycled material scraps were all fashioned into flowers cut, shaped, and formed to create beautiful masterpieces.

The teacher learning lockdown challenge was making a time sequence demonstration movie with soundtrack: a new skill and no Oscars will be won, there was a moment of under pressure in post production … but it was fun!  Whatever the challenge we undertook, we all had a lot of fun!

Fresh Avocado – special lockdown edition!

Calling all poets and writers: submit a short piece of writing relating to life in lockdown.

It can be uplifting, inspiring, funny, sad, or all of these things!

Send your writing to

We will publish five pieces and release the new edition on Friday 8 May. Successful writers will receive a $20 book voucher each (once we are back in Level 2!).

Term 1 update from our Kāhui Ako

Wellington High is part of the Capital City Kāhui Ako with six primary and intermediate schools in our community. Teachers work together around areas of importance for all our young people. Here is the Term 1 newsletter from the team: Kāhui Ako Pānui for T1

International Update

The International Department has been providing ongoing support for our students and homestays. It can be difficult enough to be locked down with natural family members so potentially even more difficult to be locked down with a homestay family.

The great news is that these extraordinary times result in extraordinary responses. Our exceptional whānau of homestays have responded and continue to provide the best care and support for our international kids. Thank you.

Bubble Positivity Project

The International Department is running a Bubble Positivity Project with each week having a different theme.  This week is physical challenge week. Please note: all these pictures are within individual bubbles – no bubbles have been burst!

Other positivity challenges resulted in this beautiful plate of Easter treats for one homestay and an Easter picnic for another. Students have also been helping with DIY and household projects. Ka rawe!


Year 10 animation

Rory Maher shared his stop-motion animation “Chateau of the beast’ with staff this week. Rory created it for Art and we thought you would enjoy it as much as we did.


From the garden

In preparation for Level 3, some staff have been back on site in the past 24 hours to check that all is in order. As these pictures show, the garden has grown well in our absence.



Sophie Mance awarded prestigious 2020 Girdlers’ Scholarship

Alumna Sophie Mance has been awarded the 2020 Girdlers’ Scholarship which will enable her to study Natural Sciences at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University.  Sophie completed Year 13 in 2019 and was awarded a number of prizes, including Hankin’s Bequest (Proxime Accessit to the Dux). This is the only scholarship of this nature awarded in New Zealand in a year.

Read the full article here.

Doc Edge schools student short documentary finalist

Year 9 Sky Gobbi was asked to make a film about the junior open underwater hockey players and their quest to win the national title. The purpose? To produce a 3 minute film to demonstrate the sport to the school community and convey the significance to the players of making the national tournament.

Sky had previously produced short films.  He followed the team to practices and games, even getting into the pool to get better footage. Sky did the camera work, the interviewing, editing, score… everything. The result was 5 minutes long and impressed everyone who viewed it. He entered the film in the Doc Edge festival in the secondary students category, knowing that he would be up against senior students and groups. Three entries from around the country have made the final, with the winner to be announced at the documentary screening on 12 June. We hope to share the film with you after the final but in the meantime here is a still from Sky’s documentary.

Former student is featured on Stuff

Former WHS student, Matty di Leva made the headlines this week. Matty is an essential frontline worker, based at Newtown’s New World where he has worked for the past three years. WHS staff were delighted to see Matty featured in the article which can be read in full here.

Family Lockdown Boogie goes viral

It’s now been viewed by more than 9 million people worldwide. Lockdown Boogie, is the brainchild of another former WHS student. Jack Buchanan’s isolation tribute caught the interest of many in recent weeks, with the NZ Herald, the BBC and many sites overseas picking up the story. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can watch it here.

Kia ora koutou

We hope that Term 2 and our remote learning programme has been a success for your student(s) so far. We know that this has been a challenging time for all but it has been heartening to hear a lot of positive feedback in relation to what we have been offering and we thank you for all your support.

Yesterday the Government decided that we will move into Alert Level 3 from midnight Tuesday 28 April.  That means we will be open to receive students from Wednesday 29 April. We will be starting to prepare our site this week.

The PM’s announcement in relation to level 3 was very clear:

  1. Stay home. If you are not at work, school, exercising or getting essentials, then you must be at home, the same as at Level 4.
  2. Work and learn from home if you can. We still want the vast majority of people working from home, and children and young people learning from home. At-risk students and staff should also stay at home, and they will be supported to do so. Early learning centres and schools will physically be open for up to Year 10 for families that need them.”

The key message for you is that if you can, you should keep your child at home. You should only physically send your child to school if you need to. If your child has a health condition that means they are at a greater risk of a severe illness you must keep them at home.  If your child is sick please also ensure you keep them at home.

In order for us to plan the next stage we need to know of your intentions with your student. Please fill in this Google form as soon as possible. On the basis of this information, we will be establishing a level 3 lockdown school roll and we will only accept students at school who are on this expected roll.

Students who are at school will be following the remote learning plan, the same as students who are at home. We will be providing supervision for groups of up to 10 students in one place, but in order to ensure the safety of those children and our staff who do come to school, we will be operating with strict enforcement of health and safety measures. We will provide more details of these measures in a further communication.

I want to assure you that we will continue to support your child’s learning at home.

The Ministry of Education has advised that they are working closely with health to develop clear guidance that will support schools to safely re-open their premises to students and staff. This will help us work through the public health requirements that we all need to meet. As you will be doing, we want to be sure that what we do will keep our community as safe as possible.

For now, we will continue to support your child’s learning by distance while we progress our planning for what Alert Level 3 will mean for you and for our school. We will be in touch again soon with more information. As you have been doing, please keep connecting with your teachers with any questions you might have.

Mauri ora

Dominic Killalea, Principal

The following email has gone to all Year 9 families:

Term 1 was a chance for students to get a ‘taste’ of other languages. It is now time for students to select the language that they will continue studying for the rest of the year. 

Students will continue to study English and Te Reo Māori throughout the year, unless students are enrolled in a literacy class. All year 9’s need to choose a third language to continue with for the rest of the year for 2 hours a week. At the moment, every year 9 student is studying a language during period 1 either:

  • on Monday and Thursday mornings (Line 81) OR
  • on Tuesday and Friday mornings (Line 82).

Please discuss language selection with your child and help them make the choice over the next few days. We realise that due to the change in circumstances at the end of last term that not all taster courses were completed.  This means that there will be a flexible approach, if class sizes permit, to changing courses if your child feels that they would prefer to study another language.

  • You will be able to make your selection on the portal from Wednesday 15 April.
  • The deadline for selection will be the end of Monday 20 April.
  • The new language course will be delayed slightly and now start on  Tuesday 28 April. This, of course, will be an online course if the school is closed due to the lockdown.

There may need to do some balancing of the groups before the course starts on Tuesday 28 April, which may result in students not getting their first choice. The sooner students make their selection, the greater the likelihood of getting their first choice. 

How to make your selection

To select their language for the rest of the year, students can

  • log in to the student portal and make their choice from Chinese (9CHI), Japanese (9JAP) or Spanish (9SPA). 
  • Alternatively, you can choose by logging onto the parent portal using your portal login.

To help make an informed choice please read through the attached Year 9 Languages pamphlet: Year 9 international Language choice pamphlet

Students are required to choose from the line associated with their current study pattern i.e. if they study a language on Monday and Thursday mornings, they choose their language from the Line 81 option, Tuesday/Friday mornings should be chosen from the Line 82 option.

They also need to choose a second choice language from the Alternate column, in case they cannot get into their first choice. (Please see the image below)

When they click ‘Save’ it will save their course selection into the timetable.