Important Dates

  • Friday 23 November (PM) — Paid Union Meeting (see below)
  • Monday 26 November – BoT meeting, 6pm
  • Monday 10 — Wednesday 12 December – Short Courses for Years 9 and 10
  • Thursday 13 December – Year 9 Picnic Day and Year 10 Rōpū Day
  • Friday 14 December – Junior Prizegiving, 10am, Final day of term. School closes at 12 noon

NOTE: There is a detailed list of Term 4 events on our website and you can access the school calendar on our website:


Principal’s Message – Mid Term 4

Kia ora koutou

We recently had our senior prizegiving and as I approached this event I was thinking about what our leaving students would be taking away with them from their time at High. Although it is easy to recognise various levels of academic achievement, there are less tangible skills or competencies that students acquire that are just as, if not more, important. The New Zealand Curriculum Document published in 2007 attempts to define these competencies and describes them as ‘critical to sustained learning and effective participation in society’. The 5 competencies are: thinking; using language, symbols and text; managing self; relating to others; and participating and contributing.

Thinking is acquiring the ability to critically appraise and make sense of information, experiences and ideas. It’s questioning doctrine, beliefs, social and political structures. Maybe it is discussing and arguing with friends, parents and teachers about beliefs. Or feeling uncomfortable at times as other points of view are considered as opinions are developed. Hopefully, our students won’t become too fixed in their beliefs and they’ll always remain flexible and open to other points of view.

Using language, symbols and text is about communication with others and the ability to make meaning out of the codes in which knowledge is expressed. This may mean learning another language and improving, as Mason Durie describes, one’s ‘cultural competence’ and the ability to empathise with others. Or perhaps it’s the way our students use language and the way they use ICT to engage and communicate with others.

Managing self is self-explanatory but it is about being resourceful, reliable and resilient. It’s about reflecting and setting standards. Whether that be achieving level 3 with excellence, or finishing with level 2. Maybe it was to be the best swimmer in the age group in NZ or to play a sport that is enjoyable. Managing self is the planning, the setting of goals, allowing us to reach the levels of personal excellence that we set ourselves.

Relating to others is about the interactions we have with a diverse range of people in a variety of contexts – it’s actively listening, and recognising other points of view and being open to how our actions affect others. I loved hearing at the year 13 leaving assembly how students talked so beautifully about the influence that various teachers had had on them throughout their time at High. The positive relationships that they have built with their teachers and other students in the school will help them as they approach university, polytech, and work situations.

Participating and contributing is about active involvement in communities – family, whānau, school, sports, and cultural. The key is in the words there because it’s not just about participating. One can run around a sporting field and participate. One can be a part of a club or a movement and participate just by being there. But what have they contributed? And this doesn’t just mean that they have to lead the movement or score the goals, it’s also a blend of the previous competency because it might be that they help create the nice environment that allows others to contribute meaningfully. Contribution can be in so many ways and students should never underestimate how they can contribute positively to a situation.

Sitting alongside these competencies are our own strategic priorities based around WERO (Whānau, Excellence Respect and Ora) and these have been strong implicit themes that we have tried to convey to all of our students. I have described these in more detail at other times but I hope our students have emerged from their time here with a stronger understanding of what it means to be a part of a whānau / community, to strive to achieve to one’s best, to build respectful relationships and to look after and embrace one’s wellbeing as a priority.

One of my predecessors, Turoa Royal, who was Principal of Wellington High School from 1975 to 1986, was writing about this very topic in 1986 and I feel his words quite eloquently sum up what we are still aiming to achieve at High.

“Firstly, if nothing else, pupils should leave the school with a sense of self-worth, a sense of self-esteem, and a sense of high expectations that life has beauty, and of truth. [Ralph Waldo] Emerson’s truism is worth quoting:

‘Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful,

We must carry it with us or we will find it not.’

“Secondly, whatever we teach, pupils should have the ability and skills to relate to others in a cordial, friendly and compassionate relationship.

‘Ko te mea hui – ko te aroha’

The most important thing is love and compassion

“Thirdly, students should have the widest and happiest experiences in schools so that on leaving, learning is seen as a continuing and enjoyable experience.

“Fourthly, to be able to analyse problems, no matter how complex, so that if career tracks are changing more frequently, they are able to make wise choices.

“Fifthly, students should, through school practices be concerned for people and for mother earth. Mother earth is our past and our future.”


Ngā mihi nui

Dominic Killalea


Important Notices

Reminder: Paid Union Meeting — Friday 23 November (PM)

The Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) has advised the Wellington High School Board of Trustees that teachers who are members of the PPTA will be attending a regional paid union meeting at 1.30pm on Friday 23 November 2018. A letter was sent home this week: PUM letter November 2018

The school will remain open during this time but there will be minimal supervision as most teachers will be attending the meeting. In these circumstances, it would assist the Board if students are able to leave at 12.20pm on this day or if you are able to make alternative arrangements for care. If you are unable to make alternative arrangements for this time please let us know by returning the slip below or contacting Jude at reception. Students who are remaining at school for the afternoon will need to meet with Jude at reception at 1.20pm when they will then be taken for supervised study from there.

NCEA revision workshop: Mathematics 

  • Level 1 Monday 19th Nov 10am-12pm
  • Level 3 Statistics Monday 19th Nov 10am-12pm

Bring your revision notes and questions. Come to Level 3 and look at the note on the door to see where it is.

What's Happening?

Visit from Kaveh Akbar

Last Friday, visiting American poet Kaveh Akbar ran a workshop for students with an interest in poetry. For three hours his dynamic nature and fun activities energised our library, with a workshop built around Horace’s idea that poetry should ‘delight and instruct’. Kaveh was in New Zealand as part of the ‘LitCrawl’ festival, and we are grateful that he could come and spend some time with our students.



Victoria University Outreach Programme – Nanotechnology 

A group of Year 10 students with an interest in science attended “From Nanomaterials to Nanotechnology” at the School of Chemical and Physical Science, VUW. The aim of this day was to engage students in some cutting edge science experiments related to the chemistry and physics. The programme included a nanotechnology component and the science behind mobile phones. Students worked in two laboratories, saw presentations from people working in related areas, and toured research facilities at Victoria University. Throughout the programme students learned about the process of science, saw the relevance of science to their own lives and the potential of science to solve some of the big issues that face the world today.


Junior Volleyball Regional Competition

Ten year 9 and 10 students hit the courts at the ASB Kilbirnie Center last Friday 9th and Saturday 10th November to have their first experience at a volleyball tournament. Led by captain Alice Markwell and assisted by Coach Kirby the girls showed resilience, spirit and skill in the seven games played across two days. The team included Hannah Priest, Aquila Gibbs, Alexa Lee, Jazz Toomey, Alice Markwell, Amelia Carey, Amiria Tumoana, Eve Ashby, Mary Maughan and Sofia Delich. Kai pai, gals!



Junior career planning

During this time of the year, we engage with Junior students and do some Careers Education/Awareness sessions. We run two sessions per class and this is noted below. The sessions are around the idea of “Know Yourself” which is the first stage of a Career Planning journey whilst they are still at school. Students will do some activities that will encourage them to look at themselves and then identify some job/career ideas that interest them and that they feel that are a good fit with them at the moment. We will also be encouraging students to email the results of their activities to their family and rōpū teacher – ask and look out for this.

Year 9

  • Activity A – Registration on DreamCatcher details AND introduction to This website is an official Government Careers information website which schools use for all levels.
  • Activity B – Complete CareerQuest (Interests and job ideas related to their interests)

Year 10

  • Activity A – Update details AND complete Career Plan Ideas – identifying 5 ideas of current interest (and to identify the important/useful/recommended subjects needed for those ideas)
  • Activity B – Complete Subject Matcher AND Skill Matcher – which will present further job ideas based on favourite subjects and good skills that students have.



Apprenticeship Opportunity

There is an Apprenticeship available with Motorcycle Inspection Services in Martin Square for a school leaver who has sound Maths skills.

Applicants will need a CV as well as a reference letter from someone supporting that they have good technical skills and a good attitude. Applications can be sent to