Important Dates

Friday 24 August –  Thursday 30 August: Senior Practice Exams (Y11-13) — see notice below
Friday 31 August –  Mid-term break — School closed
Monday 3 September – Future Focus Evening

Principal’s Message

If you are a regular reader of our weekly wrap up you would know about the wide range of achievements of our students. Recently Heidi Coleman (year 11) was named as a U18 Wellington Rugby representative, Molly Doyle (Y12) was awarded a scholarship to be a global ambassador for Southern Cross and study in Norway for three months this year and Seth Robertson (Y13) placed 2nd at the senior level at the Confucius’ Institute Chinese Bridge speech competition for secondary schools. Aleia Spendiff (Y11) won her grade at the recent College Sport Wellington Squash Championships, our Senior Premier A debate team — Rilke Comer (Y12), Rusheen Draper (Y12) and Xandi Gobbi (Y11) —  have made the finals in the Wellington Speaking Union competition to be held at Parliament on 11 September against HIBS, and Anthony Cater (Y10) recently won the junior boys singles championship at the Wellington regional badminton championships. Christo Matheson and Josh Campbell (both Y13) were selected in the NZ U19 Mens Floorball team, our International Young Physicists representatives Ensai August, Zuni Preece and Luke Roeven (all Y13), who made up three fifths of the NZ national team, returned from China with bronze medals and a group of our Art students (Y11 to 13) co-created the Tony Fomison – Lost in the Dark exhibition at Te Papa.

As I pondered the breadth of achievement here, an email arrived in my Inbox mentioning the latest report from PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment). The focus of the report was “what kinds of activities are common among teenagers who work well with others?” The report states that “…schools are not just four walls inside of which students learn how to read, write and think. Schools provide a venue where young people meet each other, and where they develop relationships and friendships that may last for decades. At school, students socialise and hone the interpersonal skills that are required to function effectively in the workplace and in society at large. Employers value such skills more now than ever before: wages have risen more for jobs that demand a high level of social skills than for jobs that require only a low level of social skills.” The full report can be read here.

Working well with others is the foundation of our school values – it’s in our WERO – how we relate to Whānau, how we Respect each other and our own and other’s Ora – our physical and emotional well being.

My interest was particularly piqued by the finding that 15 year old students who are physically active, engage in social activities outside of school (including online social networks) and help out in their household have high collaboration skills and more positive attitudes towards their team members. It is no surprise that students in New Zealand scored very highly on this aspect as we have a very active culture embedded. Over the Wellington region secondary student participation in sport is about 60%. Unfortunately at High, only about 40% of our students participate in sport. For those who don’t participate I urge you to consider giving something a go this summer. A wonderful aspect of this school is we are not a place defined by a certain sport. We have a wide range of sports and a wide range of levels catering from beginners to more skillful players. The best part of the PISA report is it talks about moderate physical activity, not highly competitive win-at-all-costs. It is easy to believe that students working together in a team environment, giving something a go, and trying their best brings out and strengthens all of their best qualities.

I am mindful of the journey of our junior boys’ football team this year. Earlier in the season I went to watch them play a team from Hutt International Boys’ School (HIBS). We lost the game that day by 15-0 which is a substantial margin but what really impressed me about them is that throughout the game and at the end, they were happy and encouraging each other, despite the scoreline. I heard no put downs, no one arguing, and no one storming off on their own in frustration. Their wonderful coach, Mr Ben Roth-Shank, continued to encourage them, and they listened to him respectfully at all times. The same team played HIBS again a few weeks ago. This time we drew 3-3 and in a way that was no surprise because they are clearly a team who work well together. Through this sporting experience, they have learned to work well with others and develop high level social skills which will be transferable to a wide range of contexts over the rest of their lives. Their achievement sits well with the students I mentioned at the beginning of this message and further evidence of the final core value, the E in WERO, personal Excellence.

Important Information

Senior Exams begin today – Friday 24 August

Here is a reminder about the Senior Practice Exams, beginning on Friday 24 August for Years 11-13. Senior students will only attend school on these days for their exams. You are advised to check the timetable and instructions carefully.

What’s happening?

Roots and Shoots Zero Waste Awareness Week

Here at Wellington High School our Roots and Shoots environmental group have been working very hard to organise recycling and organic waste bins for the school. This week recycling and organic waste bins are going to go out in four locations around the school: the foyer, cafeteria, hospitality and foods rooms, and the staff room. To celebrate this momentous achievement and to raise awareness about sustainable waste management Roots and Shoots is organising a Zero Waste Awareness Week.

This will include education during our homeroom times, a fundraiser, and workshops and talks during lunchtimes for students. These events will take place from 10 to 14 September.  Speakers will include Sir Geoffrey Palmer, Kaicycle, the Wellington City Council and more.

We would like to take a moment to thank everyone who had kindly donated to our raffle. These organisations are all based in New Zealand, sustainable, and for the most part local Wellingtonians. We are very grateful for New Zealand Native Oils, Honey Wraps, Schoc chocolates, Penthouse Cinemas, La Boca Loca, The Lighthouse, Ideal Cups, Sweet Matilda Crafts and Elizabeth Jane Art.



Cloning up a storm – Sheep, Goats and Maize

Dr Peter Ritchie from VUW’s School of Biological Sciences joined WHS students and staff in the Clone Labon Wednesday for an hours discussion about Selective breeding and artificial evolution: How humans have become an Evolutionary Force that is changing nature.  Dr Ritchie teaches and researches evolutionary genetics at Victoria University. The 30 participants from Year 9 to 13 discovered what we understand about modern evolution, and how humans have altered species through selective breeding and become of world’s most powerful evolutionary force because of industrial-scale harvesting of the natural environment. Thanks to Dr Richie and Thom Adams for organizing this challenging and thought provoking event for our staff and students.



Tournament of Minds – Creative Incubator at WHS

With just 10 days to go the hardworking Tournament of Mind teams are creating an amazing panoply of innovative and strange new species as part of theri STEM presentation. Atom’s team has made the most of claymation, stop motion filming while Jeanne’s team (aka The Trials and Tribulations of the Communist Revolution) have written a sizzling script and are sketching a range of exciting extremophiles. We need 2 extra year 10 students (our reserves) to bring the teams to full strength – email if you are free on Sunday 2nd September for a few key hours of wild and spontaneous STEM based fun and 10 minutes of scripted presentations at Victoria University (of Wellington!!!) All parents, caregivers and teachers welcome to support our ToM teams from 11am – 2pm.


Mathswell Competition

Congratulations to both the Year 10 Maths enrichment team who placed 2nd in the plate final at the Mathswell competition on Tuesday 21st August and the Year 9 Maths enrichment team who also placed 2nd in the plate final on Thursday 23rd August. Both teams were amazing, tackled some challenging questions and worked really well as a team through a range of multi-choice and problem-solving questions. Congratulations to the hard work, dedication and preparation that the students have put in prior to this competition. Thank you also to the whānau who came to support and drove them in and out on the cold wet nights. Ka rawe!!!

Year 9 team:
Rata Petherick, Amie Sanson, Alex Buyck, Marcus Del Favero, Atom Gush,Otis Brown

Year 10 team:
Eli Martin, Ryan Bright, Thomas Stevenson, Alexa Lee, Zach Taylor, Peri Shaw





Future Focus

Monday 3 September 3.45pm to  5.45pm

To further support students and families make good subject/programme choices for 2019, there will also be a mini Careers Expo where there will be a good range of organisations available. They will be able to talk to about programmes and courses they offer, Apprenticeships info and processes and important subjects for planning particular pathways – University, Polytech, Apprenticeships/Industry Training and direct entry into the workplace.

The following organisations will be present

  • Victoria University of Wellington
  • Massey University z
  • Weltec and Whitireia (Wellington Trades Academy)
  • Yoobee (School of Design)   
  • Capital Training


Parents as Career Educators Seminar – Wellington (Lower Hutt)

Date: Monday 27 August 2018
Time: 7pm to 8.30pm

Location: Kelson Community Centre, 5a Timaru Grove, Kelson

Ticket: Free


Guiding teenagers through the various career and study options available to them in the modern world can be a challenge. They see so many choices and hear different views from peers and others – it can be hard to know how to decide what is right for them.

At this seminar, a University of Canterbury Career Consultant will talk with parents about how to support their children in making informed decisions about their futures. Parents and caregivers of secondary school-aged children (Years 9-13) are invited to attend this free seminar which will cover:

  • The world of work: looking forward
  • How to make informed career decisions now and in the future
  • How parents can assist
  • Career development resources

Light refreshments will be available after the seminar.

NOTE: This seminar is NOT about study options at the University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha (UC) – it is designed to help parents to help their teens consider ALL their options, whether this is work, university, polytechnic, an apprenticeship, private providers or other possibilities.