Important Dates

  • Monday 11 June — Open Evening, 6pm
  • Monday 18 June — BoT meeting
  • Tuesday 3 July — Music Evening, 7pm
  • Friday 6 July — Last day of Term 2


Principal’s Message – Mid Term 2 2018

We are currently spending time marketing ourselves to our community. We have had two feeder school visits and we are about to run our annual Open Evening on Monday 11 June. It is interesting to be running these events at a time when a lot in education is under review.

Tomorrow’s Schools was a reform to the education system in 1989 that essentially established schools to act autonomously with broad goals of improving educational opportunity across the system and reducing disparity between various socio-economic sectors. One way of doing this was to give students the option to attend their school of choice. Schools became managers of their own finances and funding became increasingly based upon student numbers. Equity was seen as being created by choice and schools would survive if they attracted students and were perceived to be doing a good job. However, this model meant that some schools continued to receive more and more funding as student numbers grew while other schools lost funding and therefore did not have the resourcing to enable them to address their declining student numbers.

It is quite obvious that a school can only cater for a certain number of students before it becomes overcrowded so some schools implemented enrolment zones, and because they were self managing, boards determined their enrolment zone with reference to ministry guidelines. This meant that students could not necessarily attend the school of their choice anymore and the ideal of improving educational opportunity actually led to schools in low socio-economic areas and with high Māori populations losing funding and losing their ability to be able to supply a good educational ‘product’.

I arrived at Wellington High School at the end of 2005 as a new Deputy Principal. I remember that when Prue Kelly, who was the Principal of Wellington High School from 1995 to 2011, retired she told me that the one thing she wouldn’t miss was the ongoing job of trying to get people to see the great work that was occurring in the school and convincing the community to look at us as an educational option. In Prue’s time the school roll varied between 900 students and 1200 students. Wellington High School had to implement an enrolment zone in Prue’s time because 1200 was becoming seriously overcrowded. We are faced with the same reality at present. Our school roll is sitting at around 1250 students and almost every space is being used at all times. We have spoken to the ministry who project that ‘in zone’ enrolments will continue to increase in coming years. Since 2012, numbers across Wellington city schools have increased by about 500 students. At Wellington High, our population has increased by about 250 students in this time. In other words, we have taken on about half of the extra ‘in zone’ enrolments in this time. This is a good position for the school to be in. It means our marketing has shifted from focusing on why students should come here to why students do come here. It has also allowed us to strengthen our links with our city feeder schools and tighten our community which is becoming increasingly Wellington city based.

I spoke to our feeder school students about opportunity, and educational opportunity should be the same for everyone regardless of where they live. Our success should not be at the expense of other schools. If we want a more equitable society, we need to invest in equal educational opportunities for all. This has been one of the great challenges of Tomorrow’s Schools and where it has fallen short. The competitive model that was created ended up creating greater disparity in many of the areas it was trying to address.

Equitable outcomes for all has always been the strongest characteristic of Wellington High School. We are frequently consulted by the Ministry and the Education Review Office in areas such as bullying, gender diversity, restorative practices, and sex education. This is not the sum total but a part of who we are. Despite the challenges of a changing demographic, we will continue to lead our community in such areas because it is the right thing to do, particularly in a competitive environment.

Ngā mihi nui

Dominic Killalea

What’s happening?

GrowingNZ Innovation Challenge

 The GrowingNZ Innovation Challenge (GNZiC ) is designed to introduce year 10 science, technology and commerce students to the primary sectors and to apply their skills and talents to solve real-life challenges faced by our sector.

Working in teams of four, our students (Stella, Maatai, Ash and Alice) consulted a wide range of industry experts and technologists, to plan and create a tech prototype which was judged as a prize winning entry, by a panel of experts – all in a single day!

The GNZiC is organized by the Young Enterprise Trust, on behalf of GrowingNZ, sponsored by DairyNZ & Beef + Lamb New Zealand


Amnesty International meets the Mayor

Here are our very own Rata Petherick (y9) and Emily Brooke (y10) who were part of a delegation of Amnesty International NZ representatives that met with Wellington mayor, Justin Lester, this afternoon to inform him about the pilot programme of community sponsorship of refugees in NZ. He was extremely supportive, and could hardly wait for us to finish before asking how he could pledge his support publicly. The girls spoke beautifully about the open and welcoming community of Wellington, and what they hope for as young people with regards to NZ’s contribution to creating a safe and welcoming place for refugees seeking safety.


Roots & Shoots present to 60 teachers at LoopEd

Roots and Shoots (R&S) students shared WHS’s student lead conservation, sustainability and climate challenge work with 60 teachers from all the Wellington LoopEd Schools on June 1st. They were led by the dynamic duo of sisters Gwen and Ursula Palmer-Steeds, with able assistance form Aidan Lynch (WHS’s Predator Pest Control Coordinator) and Alexa Lee and other students (CCC leaders)

Miriam Sherratt from Papa Taiao Earthcare also came to talk to the Commerce, Sustainability and Biology Teachers at lunchtime at LoopED and at the R&S Panel Discussion. Miriam is also working with our Sustainability and Biology Students ; she is discussing the potential and problems of CRISPR and the need to eradicate problem pests in New Zealand.

Another hot topic covered by the R&S Students was the successful return of Boomerang Bags. Dedicated groups of R&S, crafters, fashion and tech students are making these recyclable, lined, linen bags for supermarket shoppers to save on plastic bag waste (and recycle a great range of vibrant, discarded fabrics.)

Many students from the Roots and Shoots groups attended the Climate Change Challenge Conference at Victoria University on the 19th and 20th May. The CCC was established by WHS alumni including Anya Buckholt-Payne. Several of the CCC students also attended the United National Association’s Speech competitions on Climate Change and The New Zealand Environment last week.


Rotorua Field Trip — Year 12 Geography

Year 13 Geographers could not resist stopping on the Desert Road to enjoy the brisk morning weather on their way to an engaging and successful Geography field trip to Rotorua.


Tararua Tramping Club – Youth tramp to Kime Hut

Wellington High School students took the TTC van from their clubroom in Mt Victoria and headed to Otaki forks for a tramp to Kime Hut. There were 11 students and 2 instructors and the intention was to stay at Kime Hut. After a couple of hours we stopped at Fields hut had a bite to eat, rest and were soon on our way again but adverse weather stopped us at the Penn Creek turnoff so we returned to Field Hut for the night. 

In the morning it was a bluebird day so most of the crew headed up through the snow to Kime Hut for a snack, angels in the snow,  snow fights, snowmen, etc. There were blisters to be taped up on many a foot. There was a lot of laughing and the students shared a few good stories and lots and lots of lollies were eaten. All the students wanted to stay in the bush for more than the weekend. Thanks Nina Sawicki for helping me and the ‘yummy’ baking! — Stu Hudson (TTC Youth Coordinator)


Professor Paul Ballantine speaks to Year 12 Business Studies group

On Tuesday this week Year 12 Business Studies students enjoyed a presentation from Professor Paul Ballantine, Head of the Business School at Canterbury University and Professor of Marketing. Paul spoke on the market research practices that Netflix and other entertainment companies use, the weaknesses of consumer surveys and how those weaknesses can be overcome. The Q and A session provided the opportunity for students to get valuable ideas to help with their own business enterprises.




Our Senior Girls were first up against Wellington Girls College and we came away with our first win 54-33.  Congratulations to the team and Mr Johnson!

Photos below: Last Friday night, both of our Senior Boys and Senior Girls had a home game. 


Next up were the Senior Boys’ team.  They had a hard fought match against Mana College but unfortunately the boys lost 85-87.  



Our Netball team is having a fantastic start to the season: some wins, some draws and some very close finishes.  All the preseason training is starting to pay off – so keep up the great work, and thank you to all the coaches for your time and expertise. The girls are also looking very professional in their new netball uniform.



The Boys’ Football teams are just about finished with their grading games, and are coming along nicely. They are all starting to gel as a team and we look forward to seeing some great results.  

The Girls’ are also improving from week to week and growing as a team. They range from Year 9s to Year 13s so they are doing extremely well considering they are in a grade playing against teams who have a majority of senior players.


Hockey — and new players welcome!

This year we have both a Wellington High School Boys’ and Girls’ team.  Mr Pinckney is the coach of the boys’ hockey team and they are playing some great hockey and really enjoying playing as a school again.  They have some very good wins and a hard fought draw. Keep up the good work, boys.

The girls’ hockey team have been struggling for numbers this season, but the team has a positive attitude and give it their all when they play.  If there is anyone wanting to play girls hockey please come and see Ms McIntyre in the Sports office, I know they would love to have you in the team.


From the Careers' Desk

Thinking of leaving school? Are you a parent talking to your student about next steps? Here’s some great advice from Welby Ings, University of Auckland, about how to talk with your students about leaving school and broadening our concepts of success:

Watch the video via this link:


The future of work

Find out where the jobs will be in the future, and what skills and knowledge you’ll need to do them on the Links below to Careers NZ.