Category Archives: Weekly Wrap Up

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.


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

Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced that New Zealand will move into Alert Level 2 from Thursday 14 May. The Government will be reviewing this decision in two weeks time. In light of this announcement, our school will be reopening for all students from Monday 18 May and we will be making preparations for the return of students over the coming days. The key messages from the Prime Minister in relation to schools reopening at level 2 are below.

“Schools … are safe environments for children, young people and staff. Additional public health control measures are in place to prevent the spread of disease and to support contact tracing.”

“If a school has a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, they must close on an individual or group basis for 72 hours, to allow contact tracing, and then potentially for a further 14 days.”

“The two key public health principles we’re talking to the sector about are one: to reduce the risk of someone getting infected in the first place and two: to ensure we can identify and contact anyone who becomes infected.”

“So keeping kids at home if they’re sick, and good hygiene such as hand washing are so important.”

“In schools, physical distancing means children, young people and staff maintaining enough distance so that they are not breathing on or touching each other. And maintaining good hygiene practices, and regular cleaning. As is regular cleaning of equipment.”

Returning to school

If your student is in years 9 & 10, we will be expecting them to return to school at 8.45am on Monday 18 May when they will immediately go to their rōpū class. If your student is in years 11, 12 & 13, we will be expecting them at 9.30am on Monday 18 May when they will also immediately go to their rōpū class. In both cases, this will be an opportunity for students to reconnect with their peers, be briefed on health and safety procedures for level 2 and set up contact tracing registers for each student.

As we have been doing at Alert Level 3, we will continue to focus on:

  • enabling good hygiene practices – regular washing and drying of hands and good cough and sneeze etiquette remain fundamental to preventing spread of illness such as colds, flu and COVID-19,
  • ensuring people with COVID-19 symptoms stay away from school,
  • maintaining physical distancing where practicable – in schools at Alert Level 2 this means young people and staff maintaining a physical distance so that they are not breathing on or touching each other,
  • keeping track of people who enter our school.

Additionally, at level 2, we will ask students to:

  • Use hand sanitiser upon entering class and clean surfaces at the end of each class,
  • Keep a contact register for break times and study periods,
  • Bring a bottle from home for water, as water fountains have been disabled except filling taps,
  • Not share class equipment eg books, pens, pencils, etc, at this time.

In light of the return to school, I have asked staff not to set any new work over the next 3 days – Wednesday to Friday. This will give students a bit of a breather or catch up time before returning to school full-time next week. Note that teachers will still be available in lesson times on Wednesday and Thursday. No staff will be available on Friday as they will be preparing on site for the return of students on Monday.

Timetable changes

As you know, we have been struggling with space and overcrowding in more recent times. To mitigate against this we have decided to put junior students (years 9-10) and senior students (years 11-13) on different timetables for breaks during the school day. The altered timings are attached and will be in place for level 2 and be reviewed at the end of this period.

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday Wednesday
Junior timetable (9-10) Senior timetable (11-13) Junior timetable (9-10) Senior timetable (11-13)
8.45 – Period 1 8.45 – Period 1 Staff PD Staff PD
9.40 – Rōpū 9.40 – Interval 9.30 – Period 1
10.00 – Period 2 10.00 – Period 2 10.20 – Period 2 No period 1
11.00 – Interval 11.00 – Rōpū 11.10 – Interval 10.40 – Period 2
11.20 – Period 3 11.20 – Period 3 11.30 – Period 3 11.30 – Period 3
12.20 – Period 4 12.20 – Lunch 12.20 – Period 4 12.20 – Lunch
1.20 – Lunch 1.20 – Period 4 1.20 – Lunch 1.20 – Period 4
2.20 – Period 5 2.20 – Period 5 2.20 – Period 5 2.20 – Period 5

School Learning Plans

Our remote learning plans during the level 4 and level 3 lockdowns have provided a level of flexibility that we would like to be able to maintain in our normal school routines. At level 2 we will continue with our remote plan, but teachers will obviously not be available for online meetings, as they will be physically in class. If a student needs to be at home, they will be able to follow the work using their google classroom as they have done over the past 5-7 weeks.

Our priority at this point is to look after all of our students and help them through the next period of transition. There will be students who are anxious about assessment and qualifications and we are currently working through planning to ensure there is no ‘tsunami’ of assessment upon their return. If you are concerned about the wellbeing of your student, do not hesitate to get in touch and use your student’s rōpū teacher as the first point of contact. 

Your support

In addition, although students are coming to a safe place, this isn’t business as usual and it is important that we continue to stress the need for good hygiene practices. To this end, could you help us by making sure your student brings the following from home:

  • Bottled water – these can be refilled at school but drinking taps have been disabled,
  • Equipment for classes – pens, pencils, books, devices – so there is no need to share others’ equipment.

In addition, if your student is using public transport with a snapper card, getting the snapper registered will help with contact tracing, in the event of any further outbreak of COVID-19 in the wider community.


The cafeteria at school will be available for students. They are currently working on plans for what the delivery of their service looks like under alert level 2. I will forward you more advice on this in coming days.

School transport survey

Please complete the accompanying survey so that we are able to help with any contact tracing, should it be required in the event of a further outbreak of COVID-19. The survey can be accessed at:

We are really looking forward to welcoming all of our students back to school. I know that these have been challenging circumstances for all of our community and I thank you for your efforts in supporting and guiding your young person through the particular challenges of remote learning and these quite surreal times.

Mauri ora!

Dominic Killalea, Principal

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.

Important Dates

  • 10-14 April: Easter weekend (including the Tuesday after Easter)
  • 15 April: Term 2 begins (through online learning)
  • 27 April: ANZAC Day

Important Information

Principal’s message

To read Dominic’s end of term message, including his reflection on the first days of lockdown and what it might mean for the future, click here.

Reports available for download

Term 1 reports are now available for download from the Parent Portal.

What’s happening?

Lockdown messages

As students left the WHS campus at short notice on Monday afternoon, some took the opportunity to leave messages for their peers and friends.

From the garden

Horticulture teacher, Claire Neiman shared photos of the school garden at its peak in recent weeks, with raspberries fruiting, poppies in flower and seedlings newly planted. Many Horticulture students took seedlings, succulents and other plants home with them to look after during the lockdown.



Over the next few weeks, you may find that your student might need a little distraction from online learning, video games, social media etc.

Students at WHS now have the opportunity to log in from home and do a range of Career education related activities. Most Year 9 students have started this and a couple of Year 10 classes have also started. Some senior rōpū teachers may have asked students to also make a start.

It’s really easy … students log in to the

Find the tab for Career Central and follow the prompts for logging in to their personal Career Central account. Each level has a range of activities that are appropriate for their levels to do – juniors have 4 activities and Year 13 have about 12. It would be a great opportunity for students and parents to collaborate on these activities and to have some conversations about what you see. Another good website for general careers research is Students should Sign In/Sign Up/Create an account … so that their searches and quiz results can be saved.

For seniors thinking and looking at next steps, things may seem uncertain, however those looking at Polytechs and Universities should keep a regular eye on provider websites and sign up for alerts so you are up with the play. NOTE that the following Universities have people based in Wellington and you can contact them for info and interviews – University of Otago, University of Canterbury and University of Auckland. If you want contact details for these people, get in touch with me or look up Schools Liaison on their websites.

If you need to check in with me, I am happy to have email chats, phone calls or Google Meet video chats. Take care, be kind and look after each other – see you soon.

CHUNI BHIKHA (Careers Advisor – WHS)

Important Dates

  • Monday 6 April: Board of Trustees meeting (5pm)
  • Thursday 8 April: Term ends

Please note:

  • Friday 27 March: Learning Conversations have been cancelled. This will now be a normal school day.
  • Thursday 9 April: This day reverts to being a Teacher Only day.
  • To track changes to our calendar, please visit:

Important Information

Use SchoolAppsNZ to report absences

  • This is the quickest way to ensure that your student’s rōpū teacher is aware of their absence.
  • SchoolAppsNZ is available for both Apple and Android devices.
  • When you open the app for the first time, type in our school’s name.
  • Use the absentee button to enter your student’s name and details.



The following information may be useful in keeping track of the current situation.

What’s happening?

Unity Picnic

One year on from the Christchurch mosque attacks, WHS students took the opportunity to  remember events in Christchurch and to come together as a community that promotes diversity and unity. During a sunny lunch break, students took the opportunity to get together, playing guitar, frisbee and enjoying each others’ company.


Property Planning workshop

Thank you to the parents and caregivers, staff and students who attended the two property planning workshops this week. The two consultation workshops gave the community the opportunity to discuss aspirations for the WHS of the future focusing on the school’s physical environment and infrastructure, teaching and learning, and culture.

Year 12 visit to VUW

This Wednesday, Year 12 English with Religion students visited Victoria University, and were fortunate to listen to Pádraig Ó Tuama – visiting poet, theologian, and conflict mediator. He was one of several speakers on a day organised by the Victoria University Religious Studies department. Pádraig spoke about the difficulty and importance of peace, and the need to aim for something greater than just tolerance. Our students made up one fifth of the audience and asked two thirds of the questions, and were a credit to to our school. 



Dance with Me

Monday was the first day of the dance lunchtime classes at WHS. A big bunch of  students enjoyed an energetic workout of dance moves instructed by dancer Chloe Bishop from the RNZB. There are still a few places available if students still want to join.




Science Enrichment trip 

On Wednesday the first science enrichment event of the year was a trip to space place for the Year 9 group. The students spent the afternoon with one of Space Place’s educators, learning to program robots. Afterwards they had a chance to explore the galleries and enjoy a planetarium show.



Congratulations to our rowers: Jessie Davidson, Indiana Ford, Georgia Savage, Lola Crocker and Emma Thirkell. This group made it to the C Final of the women’s under 18 novice squad at the NZ Secondary Rowing Championships last weekend, a phenomenal achievement for a group at the end of their first season.


Waka Ama

Congratulations to our four fabulous Waka Ama teams who competed last weekend for CSW Waka Ama championships in Porirua. All four crews competed exceptionally, with phenomenal results as shown below. Our teams were up against crews who will represent NZ at the world championships and really held their own.

Whatonga (J16 Boys) Hineakau (J16 Girls)
Long, Daniel 2nd – Plate Final 250m sprint Murdoch, Maddy 5th – Plate Final 250m sprint
Gray, Wharo 1st – Plate Final 500m turn Hillyer Magoffin, Lillian 4th – Plate Final 500m turn
Maher, Rory Wiertsema, Janne
Wairau-Timu, Anaru Henry, Ruby
McDonald, James Mitra Pattavi, Eshika
Bellamy, David Beaglehole, Vidthia
Legge, Polly
Hata, Honey-Jayde
Taraika (J19 Boys) Pukeahu (J19 Boys)
Broughton, Jonah 1st – Plate Final 250m sprint Rillstone, Riley 2nd – Plate Final 250m Sprint
Newton, Noah 4th – Championship Final 500m turn Henningsen, Thies 1st – Plate Final 500m turn
Calderon, Diego Hape, Kereama
Bellamy, Ben Abdust, Orlando
McCormack, Thomas Lewise, Leo
Shanks, Bryn Coppard, Perran
Keizer, Jelle


Important Dates

  • Tuesday 17 March: Property consultation workshop 1 (3.20-5.30pm)
  • Wednesday 18 March: Property consultation workshop (3.20-5.30pm)
  • Friday 27 March: Learning Conversations
  • Monday 6 April: Board of Trustees meeting 6pm
  • Wednesday 8 April: Term ends

Important Information

Property consultation workshops 17 and 18 March

Thanks to the parents and caregivers, students and staff who have signed up for the property consultation workshops on Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 March. If you are interested in being involved, please email, we have had great feedback but may be able to accommodate one or two more.

Learning Conversations – 27 March

An email has been sent to all caregivers this afternoon about our first Learning Conversations of the year.  Please note:

  • Bookings can be made at using code uesak
  • Bookings are made by choosing the year level then the rōpū teacher. Please note that we are only able to run one learning conversation per student.

What’s happening?

Year 12 Zealandia visit

This week the year 12 Biology and Science students went on the annual Zealandia trip to observe the Takahe. Despite the weather it was a great day with many sightings of New Zealand’s endemic birds.  A highlight for all was the giant cave weta and the many tuatara basking in what little sun could be found. The students were fantastic, asking many insightful questions.






Year 11 watercolour workshop

Swedish artist, Adrienne Riseley, visited a Year 11 art class to show the students her artwork and demonstrate how she works as an artist, focusing particularly on her watercolour skills. Adrienne,  who is on a five month sabbatical to New Zealand, inspired the students, who in turn produced great work. 


The Totara Flats tramp

Thanks to Scarlett Connolly (Year 10) for this account of the recent Totara Flats tramp.

The tramp started off easy-going and enjoyable. While walking I thought to myself “this might not as hard as I thought it would be”. Boy, was I wrong. After 3 hours of walking, I was lagging and it felt like I was going to be walking down this hill for days before I even found a glimpse of the Hut.  But we got there, and it was all worth it. 

The memory of this tramp will stay with me for a long time. Walking through the trees with the sun shining through as I talked the hours away with my friends, walking over the swing bridges, having hot chocolate with my friends after the long day tramping, listening to music in a circle with everyone on the top bunk, playing cards till 9:30 at night, and watching the Elon Musk satellites go past in the clear night sky.

When we got back to the car park the next day after another long four and a half hours, I felt exhausted and relieved but also happy and proud of myself for what I had accomplished and the memories I had made.  


Wellington Young Physicists’ Tournament medalists

Held at VUW last weekend, WHS’s two teams competed against teams from Onslow College and were rewarded with silver and bronze medals. Congratulations to bronze medalists Alexa Lee, Julia Randerson and Hannah du Toit and to silver medalists Ryan Bright, Lydia Acton and David Lindsay. The silver medalists will travel to Auckland for the national finals on Saturday 21 March. From this, they may be selected to represent New Zealand in the International Young Physicists’ Tournament (IYPT) later this year.




Young Women in Leadership

Congratulations to Year 12 students, Ash Dearnley and Cadence Chung who have been selected for the Young Women in Leadership programme. This programme takes place at Massey University in April and June. Each year the programme brings together around 200 Year 12 students who learn about leadership and build their confidence and networks. Students focus on developing projects that will make a difference to their local community. We congratulate Ash and Cadence and look forward to hearing how this opportunity helps them drive their initiatives forward.


The year started exceptionally well, with a number of records being broken at the WHS Athletics Carnival. Following this, a number of students competed at the Western Zone Athletics on 4 March and were rewarded with some further exceptional performances. Congratulations go to all our record-breakers.

Name Age  Event Old Record New Record Notes
Ari Koed-Chang (Year 12) U16 B Long Jump 5.87m 5.95m Ari broke the record he set in 2019 then jumped a phenomenal 6.12m at Western Zone Athletics
Frankie Coup (Year 10) U16 G Javelin 24.49m 28.99m Broke the record set in 2009 and won event at Western Zone Athletics
Henry Chapman (Year 12) U16 B Javelin 33.44m 41.22m Broke the record set in 2009 and placed 3rd at Western Zone Athletics
Tiopira Mulholland (Year 12)  U16B High Jump 1.66m 1.73m Tiopira broke the record he set in 2019
Niamh Fyfe (Year 10) U14G Long jump 4.33m 4.52m Niamh broke the record she set in 2019
Ella Blakely (Year 13) U19G 400m 1:20.69 1:03.51 Broke the record set in 2010
Ella Blakely (Year 13) U19G 200m 29.3s 27.37s Broke the record set in 2014
Ella Blakely (Year 13) U19G 100m 13.69s 13.39s Broke the record set in 2014
Ella Blakely (Year 13) U19G Long Jump 4.44m 4.79m Broke the record set in 2012

CSW Champions Tennis Tournament success

Congratulations to Anthony Cater (Year 12) who was runner up in the CSW Tennis Tournament held earlier this week. Seeded 8, and out of a field of 40, Anthony won his first four matches. He reached the final and played Tom Bolton (the number 1 seed). A fantastic effort Anthony, congratulations!

Student Dragon boat 2020

Sunday 8 March was a memorable day for the students representing WHS at Dragon Boating. The students were the first recipients of a trophy celebrating the fastest time raced during the entire 2020 Youth Festival.

Congratulations go to our team: Fabi Abromeit, Emma Allen, Ella Blakely, Riley Cherian (captain), Heidi Coleman, Seba Corte Ruiz, Hendrick Easton, Leandra Hoevelberndt, Nele Hollopp, Andre La Rooij, Kayla Lander (captain), Marjorie Ledru, Lily Parkin, Caitlin Peirse, Ben Reick, Leo Richter, Emily Rosemergy, Hiwarau Scanlan, Toshiyuki Shiga, Isobel Smith, Noah Taylor, Shoko Ueshima.


To appreciate just how fast the team tackled the race, the Mixed A Final can be watched on the Wellington Dragon Boat Facebook page. 

Welly High Warriors 2020

WHS has had a staff Dragon Boat team for 8 years now. Along the way, the team has won a few medals, but had not reached the Corporate A finals – until now. This year, supported by huge levels of support along the shoreline, the team placed 3rd in the Corporate A Finals. Congratulations!


Rowing regatta 

As this week’s Wrap Up goes live, our rowers are competing under sunny skies in Cambridge. There are no pictures from the course as yet, but these pictures show the glorious conditions that greeted our rowers as they prepared to take to the water this morning.


Important Dates

  • Monday 9 March: Board of Trustees meeting 6pm
  • Friday 27 March: Learning Conversations
  • Monday 6 April: Board of Trustees meeting 6pm
  • Wednesday 8 April: Term ends

Important Information

Principal’s message and community consultation for property planning 

his mid-term Principal’s message, Dominic talks of the school’s roll growth, the Education Growth Plan for Wellington Central, and the opportunity to be involved in the first stages of consultation as we work with master planners to develop our facilities and site.

To read the Principal’s message, click here.

One of the first steps in planning for our future is to consult the school community to talk about aspirations and vision for a future school. The first consultation sessions are on Tuesday 17 March and Wednesday 18 March and will involve groups of students, whānau and staff.

To sign up to be involved in the future planning consultation meetings on 17 and 18 March, click here.

Student safety

The Police have advised us of incidents in the Webb Street area where members of the public have been threatened. If your student walks through this area, please advise them to be safe and walk with friends where possible.

Metlink bus service information

You may be aware that a number of Metlink bus services start at or near WHS. To see the full list of services for Term 1, 2020, click here.

What’s happening?


This weekend our staff and student teams will be out on the water. If you are in the city at the following times, head down to the waterfront to support them.

Staff teams will be on the water on Saturday 7 March at 10.00am, 10.40am, 12.20am, 1.50pm and 3.50pm.

On Sunday 8 March, it is our students’ term. Their races will take place at 10.20am, 11.00am, 11.50am with the time for the finals to be confirmed.

Drama Camp 2020 

Year 13 Drama students travelled to Featherston this week for a three day rehearsal intensive. Isolated from distraction we took the scripted word and forged this into physical action. Hard work, focus and commitment by the students means we are now looking good for opening night on Monday 23rd March.  While Wairarapa sunshine demanded intervals of bush walks and river swims we still ploughed through an extraordinary amount of material. 

We look forward to sharing with you the fruits of our labour as follows:

  • Every Brilliant Thing by Duncan MacMillan
  • Monday 23rd – Wednesday 25th March, 4pm and 6pm on the Riley Hall stage
  • Girls Like That by Evan Placey
  • Tuesday 31st March at 6pm, Wednesday 1st March at 4pm and 7pm

Year 12 visit City Gallery

Photography students had a treat this week listening to Shaun Waugh talk about his passion and inspiration for creating his work . Students were then taken through a workshop on developing their own cyanotype based on cubism. The students really enjoyed the opportunity to meet an artist and get involved in a hands on workshop. 

Te Papa workshop

Te Papa  has developed some new provocations to get audiences and in particular young adults thinking about art in the galleries in new ways. Te papa has invited a group of WHS students to trial these ideas. Last Monday,the students went into the galleries trying out and giving feedback on the provocations,  and what worked for them. The students feedback will definitely feed into what Te Papa is planning to produce in coming exhibitions. Thanks to Samson Bodkin, Eve Ashby, Dillon Parker and Molly Henry who took part in this workshop.

He Kākano supported by Year 11 PE

The He Kākano students were supported by a YR11 PE class during their mainstream in practice-integrated, interactive adapted involvement with peers session in the gym this week.




Gateway opportunity with Chorus Telecommunications

The Chorus Gateway program is run one day per week over eight weeks and is made up of two unit standards totaling 21 credits at Levels 2 and 3. The course is run by iskills, a Category One NZQA private training establishment that offers the only telecommunications technician apprenticeship in New Zealand. This course will include classroom-based learning, hands-on network lab activities, and in-field observation. Students may be introduced to industry contacts regarding employment and recruiting opportunities following successful completion of the course.

They are looking for students who:

  • Show an interest in the future of technology
  • Enjoy learning about modern tech devices such as mobile, tablet, and device applications 
  • Have a natural curiosity of how technologies work 
  • Are innovative and enjoy new challenges
  • Work well with teams 

This Gateway placement is by application, applications close Friday 13 March, to apply please email and complete a Gateway Expression of Interest form available from Student Services or on the school website, the form must be signed by a parent or caregiver.

Successful applicants would start in Term 2, 2020.

For more information on the Chorus Gateway programme visit