Wishing you all a happy and safe holiday season!

Important Dates

For full information about the start of the year, go to: Start of the year arrangements 2019 on our site. Letters have also been sent to whānau.

Monday 28 — Tuesday 29 January 2019: Teacher-Only Days
Wednesday 30 January 2019: Year 9 and international students
Thursday 31 January 2019: Year 9, new Year 10—12 and international students
Friday 1 February 2019: Year 9 normal timetable; Years 10-13 assemblies and rōpū

NOTE: You can access the school calendar on our website: http://www.whs.school.nz/whs-calendar


Principal’s Message

End of term 4 2018

I went to watch our junior cricket team playing last weekend. After the game I was having a chat with one of our teachers and a parent about tradition. The point being made seemed to be that Wellington High School doesn’t really stand for tradition. And it’s true that we don’t sell that part of ourselves so explicitly yet we are a part of an ever-evolving institution that has been around for 132 years. I think sometimes we associate tradition with conservatism and that becomes a strong selling point for some schools because it protects a sense that things were better in the old days and if we only adhered to what we used to believe in then we’d be better off.

I don’t believe that and I don’t believe this school has ever stood for that sense of tradition but there is rich tradition in ideas and ideas have been a strong part of our school throughout its history. We have always been a school that has listened to the needs of the community and acted accordingly. This is why we were once a technical college and why we led the free secondary education movement in the early 1900s. This is also why we were the first school in the country to identify career planning as important and therefore appoint a careers advisor in the 1920s. This is why after World War II, in a period of intense rebuilding of the economy, we supported almost 3000 students until we split to become a polytechnic, an evening institute and a high school in the early 1960s. This is why we were the first school to have a bilingual unit in the 1970s and this is why we were one of the first schools in the country to introduce Bring Your Own Device in 2010. Finally, this is why we are coeducational, why we wear no uniform, and why we have a special needs unit and put as a priority supporting all of our learners with as much intensive support as we can give them. Our tradition is founded in assessing what our community needs us to do and then acting appropriately.

In this vein, this year at year 9, almost all of our students studied 2 languages, as well as English. Te Reo Māori was compulsory and students all chose another language to study from Chinese, Japanese and Spanish. As well as learning these languages, students had cultural experiences which have allowed them to learn a bit more about others and how they live. This is a part of building empathy, that ability to understand and share the feelings of one another. I also note that more than half of our current year 9 have chosen to continue to study a language next year. Of this language study, the most popular choice is Te Reo Māori. If this school is a microcosm of our larger society then those decisions are helping us build a better future where, because we understand each other better, we are more likely to be caring and compassionate towards each other.

Next year we will be making a few changes to the timetable. We are doing this mainly to support the attendance of our senior students and to provide greater flexibility with our timetabling of classes. School will start and end at the same time as this year but breaks will be a little later in the day and we will only have one period after lunch. In addition, the later start day is going to change from Tuesday to Wednesday. On a Wednesday, school will start at 9.30am for students in years 9 & 10 and at 10.20am for students in other years. I have summarised these changes below.

Timing (except Wednesdays)

8.45 – Period 1
9.40 – Rōpū
10.00 – Period 2
11.00 – Interval
11.20 – Period 3
12.20 – Period 4
1.20 – Lunch
2.20 – Period 5

Wednesday timing

8.30 – Staff PD
9.30 – Period 1 – year 9 & 10 only
10.20 – Period 2 – all years
11.10 – Interval
11.30 – Period 3
12.20 – Period 4
1.20 – Lunch
2.20 – Period 5

We expect that the new timetable will take some time to get used to but I hope it will make school a little better for all of our students.

Finally, I hope you and your young person have a wonderful summer break and that you are able to spend valuable time with family and friends.

Ngā mihi nui
Dominic Killalea

What's happening?

Short Courses and Rōpū Days

The last week of term has seen a flurry of exciting courses for our Year 9 and 10 students. From Chinese lessons and Spanish cooking, to walking tours of Wellington and sports, the students have been engaged in a rich variety of activities to celebrate the end of the year.

We have also had the traditional picnic for Year 9 and Scorching Bay and the Year 10 rōpū days out. Below you can see a selection of photos from this week:


Below: Short course group “Stop, Drop ,Draw! ”This group walked the hills, walked the zoo and Te Papa, dropping and stopping to draw what they saw. A great effort by the students.


New cushions for Taraika

Every Year 9 student who studied Fashion this year participated in the WHS community project of making a panel (printed and stitched) of their design inspired by cultural motifs, WHS Taraika Heke, and ex- WHS Alumni, artist Gordon Walters.  Staff members Ruth Jeffery and Kylie Merrick, who teach the Year 9 programme, curated the panels into themes and and sewed them together to form big cushions to use as back supports with the couches in Taraika.




Bee creative!

Next time you come to the school grounds, have a wander through the Sculpture Walk and enjoy the new addition from the Year 10 Industrial Arts collaboration project — our giant Buzzy Bee! It joins several other enormous creations now on display. Well done to Paul McDougall and the Year 10 students who have created this wonderful Kiwi icon for our school.


Senior Ball Committee present donation to the MAKE Foundation

In this photo, Annie Dancer, of the 2018 WHS Ball Committee, presents a donation to Micha Carlile-Alkhouri of the MAKE Foundation. This Wellington based foundation supports arts education for displaced Syrian youth, in Lebanon. The foundation has  just started their second project in Beirut. Six young Syrians will receive 10 hours of private music tuition each either in oud, piano or singing. The WHS Ball Committee is pleased to support such a worthwhile endeavour, to the tune of $360.

A huge thank you to the staff and students who gave their time and expertise, so that the ball could generate funds to support this māhi. Titiro i muri i te iwi e nui nga iwi!  


Great Maths results

The following students achieved outstanding results in the Maths competitions that have been held this year:

Australian Mathematics Competition

Atom Gush – Top 3% of year 9 international entrants
Otis Brown – Top 6% of year 9 international entrants
Tama Martelletti – Top 9% of year 9 international entrants
Thomas Stevenson – Top 14% of year 10 international entrants
Joe Sumner – Top 16% of year 9 international entrants
Jeanne Dransfield – Top 18% of year 9 international entrants

Kiwi Maths Competition

Jeb Dudfield – Top 4% of year 9 NZ entrants
Thomas Stevenson – Top 11% of year 10 NZ entrants
Alexa Lee – Top 14% of year 10 NZ entrants
Atom Gush – Top 15% of year 10 NZ entrants
Peregrin Shaw – Top 17% of year 10 NZ entrants

Otago University Junior Maths competition

Atom Gush – Top 100 out of 3026 year 9 NZ entrants
Thomas Stevenson – Top 100 out of 2243 year 10 NZ entrants
Marcus Del Favero – Top 200 out of 3026 year 9 NZ entrants
Otis Brown – Top 200 out of 3026 year 9 NZ entrants
Joseph Sushames – Top 200 out of 3026 year 9 NZ entrants
Jeanne Dransfield – Top 15% of year 9 NZ entrants

Ka rawe katoa!


Support for Women’s Refuge

We were delighted to receive this message of thanks from the Wellington Women’s Refuge via their Facebook page: “We are loving these gorgeous handmade Christmas crackers & cards for the parcels we are making up for families we have been supporting. Kia ora rawa atu to the creative students (Year 9, Kelly Whanau) at Wellington High School.” Thanks to the students in Year 9 Kelly whanau for spreading Christmas cheer!