Principal's Message

Kia ora and welcome to the first newsletter of the 2023 academic year. An especially warm welcome to the parents and caregivers of students new to WHS. With more than 300 Year 9 students and more than 50 students from Year 10 - 13 newly enrolled, WHS continues to grow and now has well over 1300 students and more than 120 staff. 

It has been a busy and excellent week, as academic counselling and course confirmation was completed on Monday. Students should now have full timetables that support their engagement, learning, progress and achievement, though there may be a few teacher changes over the weekend as we do the final balancing of classes. 

It was lovely to see and meet so many of our Year 9 parents at the start of year Parent Information Afternoon on Tuesday, and it was great to see our new entrants smiling and happy to be at high school. If you weren’t able to attend, you can click here to see a copy of the presentation, and you will have received an email from Mrs Hiestand detailing lots of useful information to get you underway at WHS.  

On Wednesday, we held our first assemblies in our new gymnasium, which has been given the name Pouākai (the giant Haast eagle) due to its sheer size and magnitude. The completion of the new gymnasium marks the end of the phase 2 building construction at WHS and we are very much looking forward to settling into our completed campus and fully utilising its state of the art facilities. 

At the assemblies, I outlined the outstanding academic achievements of WHS students from 2022 (see below for details) and also talked about the importance of students striving to live the ‘Wakatipu Way’ - which is to embrace the school’s values of Excellence, Inclusion, Respect, Responsibility and Resilience and to have Pride in the school. I stated that we need to value people, make it ‘cool to be kind’ and that students should embrace the high expectations that we have of them when it comes to learning, progress and achievement.

2022 Academic Results - Despite the challenges of covid and the disruption associated with the completion of phase 2 buildings, WHS students bucked national trends and achieved outstanding academic results. As a school we work very hard to support students to achieve their ‘best possible qualification’ (BPQ) to give them as many options and opportunities as possible for their futures, and so we are very pleased that so many of them have done so well. Following are some key highlights:

  • NCEA Level 2 - is a nationally significant qualification which is considered important for young people and their futures, and accordingly it has considerable emphasis from the Ministry of Education (MoE), schools, students and parents and is a key goal for us as a school. While finalised results can improve slightly over the next few weeks, 205 students or 93% of our Year 12 cohort have currently achieved NCEA Level 2. This is an outstanding result, and my congratulations go to all of those students who achieved this important qualification. 

In addition we had 47 students achieve NCEA Level 2 with Excellence, which represents 21% of the cohort. Particularly for those with tertiary aspirations, this is an important achievement that can yield significant financial scholarships and support entry into courses and Halls of Residence. A great achievement, and the result of real commitment by those students.

  • NCEA Level 1 - another of our key goals is for our Year 11 students to achieve NCEA Level 1 Endorsed with Merit or Excellence. 159 students or 56% of the cohort achieved this important qualification.  
  • University Entrance (UE) - with many of our students typically going on to tertiary study, UE is an important qualification for those students and a key goal for us. While not all students necessarily want to go to university, it is still a very important qualification when striving to keep as many doors open as possible. In 2022, 140 or 78% of Year 13 students achieved UE and of those who had a UE capable course, 94% of them achieved UE. This was a remarkable result.   

Again, particularly due to the challenges of last year, these are excellent results with so many of our students achieving important qualifications for their futures. I do want to acknowledge our students and their efforts, and also thank our staff who often go above and beyond in their efforts to support our students to engage, learn, progress and achieve.

We have a very full and wonderful newsletter below, including important information regarding Buses, Awhi (financial support), Student Leadership opportunities, Uniform, Attendance and Inclusion (anti-bullying), plus some outstanding items regarding sports and arts achievements and much much more - be sure to have a read. 

A reminder to download the WHS App to your device, as it is a key communication channel for us, where you can do everything from read the newsletter to notify us of your student’s absence. (Please see below for details on how to download).

Once again, we hope that everyone has had a fantastic summer. We really value the relationship that we have with all of our students and parents, so please make sure that you keep in touch with us throughout the year. Hope everyone enjoys the long weekend with Waitangi Day on Monday, and we'll see students back at school on Tuesday of next week.

Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou,

Oded Nathan

Published on: 03 Feb 2023
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What to do if my child is being bullied

The most common reason students don’t report bullying is a fear of making it worse - being labelled as someone that tells. While this is a legitimate concern, it is really important that your students feel safe, which means dealing with any instances of bullying needs to be done very carefully and will be addressed confidentially. 

If you hear your child is being bullied please talk to the school. There are different ways to do this. You can contact your child’s Kaiārahi or Dean, or you can let us know by completing a bullying reporting form from our website (

If you complete the bullying reporting form, a Dean or Senior Leader will get in contact as soon as possible. The first step is to arrange a meeting to talk about what the student is experiencing. The meeting can be just with the student or with the student and family. Sometimes the student will bring a friend along for support. We can do this out of school hours if there is concern over being seen talking with staff. 

Once we have a picture of what is happening, the Dean or Senior Leader will talk through possible options. We will also talk through what to do if anything else occurs. There are many considerations depending on the circumstances. Often the student or family will take some time to think about what they want to do. Sometimes the student will want to take time to see if small changes have an impact, sometimes we head straight into talking with the alleged bully and looking at discipline. 

Whatever next steps are agreed, there will be a component for checking in with the student. This can be with one of our guidance team, or another staff member, or sometimes it is via email with the family. 

A few things that we need to be really clear about

  • We can’t impose consequences for an alleged bully in any way without being specific about what they are accused of, and giving them a chance to put forward their side. 
  • If there is a safety concern, school will intervene even if the victim doesn’t want us to. Ideally we can agree on a path together and recent experience has been that the student and family are in agreement with the school. 
  • If bullying is occurring on the way to and from school, school can still intervene. It does not need to be within school hours or on school site. 
  • If there are significant social media posts/messages (in breach of the harmful digital communications act), or there is lower level but continual negative social media interaction, even if it is outside of school time, school can intervene if it is having an impact on a student’s ability to learn at school.  There have been instances of a formal consequence for breaches in the past.
  • School will work with the Police if appropriate. This includes putting the family in contact with the Police. School action does not stop if the Police are involved, both happen simultaneously. This is not common, but does occasionally happen.

There are clear definitions of what bullying is and isn't. Sometimes what we are dealing with is not technically bullying, but the student still needs support and some of the behaviours are still not OK. 

Good places for more information:

We can’t act if we don’t know. It is heartbreaking to hear a student is feeling intimidated or unsafe weeks or months after it began. There are always steps we can take to improve the situation. As much as staff try to look out for any bullying it can be hidden.

From surveying students multiple times last year we believe Wakatipu High School doesn’t have a particularly high rate of bullying compared to National data. However it is our view that any bullying is not acceptable and we are working to get our school bully free. There will be future newsletter articles to explain more about what we are doing for prevention, intervention, and monitoring. 

Please talk to us if you have any concerns.

Lee Hiestand
Deputy Principal

Published on: 03 Feb 2023
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STARS Peer Mentoring Kick Started

Our volunteer peer mentors received their first two days of induction and training (led by and thanks to Adi from the Graeme Dingle Foundation’s Auckland office). 

Here’s a list of some of the topics the PM’s have learnt so far:  

  • Overview of the STARS programme 
  • Expectations of everyone involved 
  • Established a kawa/contract to shape the group culture and identity
  • Some energiser, ice breakers and ABL games (adventure-based learning) 
  • Group and time management strategies in preparation for first session delivery

An impressive start from our Year 12’s and 13’s.  I am already blown away by the participation and positive mind set to learn and grow the programme at WHS.

I am super excited for our peer mentors to meet and deliver their first session to the Year 9’s on Friday 10th February.  Thank you in advance to all our WHS AKO teachers for supporting STARS this year.  

Check out this snippet from an email I received this morning from Jess Hudson in Year 12:

“I just wanted to say a quick thank you for running the two peer mentoring training sessions over the last few days.  I found them very helpful, and I definitely learnt a lot of skills, tips and tricks that will help me (and my group) once we begin the programme with the Year 9’s”. 

Melisse Haarer

Published on: 03 Feb 2023
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Extracurricular Expo

Wednesday 15th February, Break 2

At WHS extracurricular activities form an important part of the educational experience of our students. We have an ambitious goal of having 85% of Year 9 and new students involved in some form of extracurricular activity each year.  It helps our students to build connections, a sense of whanaungatanga and belonging. We strongly encourage all students to get involved in something either at, through or outside of school. At the expo students will be able to see what's on offer and sign up via Google Classroom. 

For more information, see the Arts and Sports sections below or visit our website:

Published on: 03 Feb 2023
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School Buses

WHS operates a 'mixed model' of school transport for Wakatipu High School students. This means some WHS students use public buses, (and must pay student fares to and from school),  and some use Ministry of Education-provided free bus transportation, depending on the area in which they live. The eligibility criteria used by the MOE can be found here.

Public Buses
Students living in the following areas are not eligible for a school bus, and must use the public bus transport system to get to and from school:

  • Fernhill
  • Sunshine Bay
  • Queenstown/Queenstown Hill
  • Kelvin Heights
  • Hanley's Farm
  • Jack's Point

Due to driver shortages, a reduced bus timetable is still in effect - at this stage until mid year. We have been in talks with the Otago Regional Council to ensure that morning and afternoon services are prioritised, but it is strongly suggested that all students who make use of the Orbus service have an alternative transportation plan in case of sudden cancellations. We also strongly recommend that all students monitor changes to services by accessing the Orbus website here.

NB: The ORC has added a “School Student Only” Public Bus that follows Route 1 from Sunshine Bay to Red Oaks Drive in the morning, and retraces its steps in the afternoon. While is is for school students, it is still a public bus service, so students must pay.

School Buses
As always, at the start of the year it does take some time to determine demand for the various buses, so we thank parents and students in anticipation of their patience while final allocations of students to bus routes are made. With respect to stops and various routes, the website is currently being updated in consultation with GoBus. We hope to publish final bus routes and then allocate students to them by the end of next week.

Justine Duncan
Deputy Principal 

Published on: 03 Feb 2023
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Head Students' Message

Kia Ora all, we hope that everyone’s feeling refreshed about coming back to school and that you're settling into your classes well. Luckily, we have a bit of a staggered start with some long weekends at the beginning of the term, so we can all ease into the year. 

We are quite fortunate not to have any Covid restrictions in place, so we really encourage you to get out there and be involved in ways that we might have missed out on in the past couple of years. School events such as Participation Day and House Touch are coming up which are a great chance for you to get in on some summer sports, and to develop some House spirit! 

At the same time, remember to put aside some time for yourself. The past few years has shown us all how important it is to slow down and to focus on your wellbeing amongst the rush of everyday life. Especially for those of you moving into or continuing with NCEA, the pressures of the academic year can take their toll, so try to allocate some time for yourself; that being said, don’t be afraid to sign up for new things as there is always the option to opt-out if your plate begins to fill up too quickly. 

As we kick off the year, set some goals about what you might want to achieve, and how this might challenge you to strive for your own personal level of excellence. Sometimes it really can be the smallest achievements that fill you with the most pride.

Also, remember that we are here to listen to your feedback and to offer our support. If there is anything that we can do to help 2023 be the best year for you, make sure to let us know. Whether it be in the hallway or an email- we are always willing to help and keen to know any suggestions you may have.

We’re happy to be back and hope that you’re looking forward to the year ahead the way that we are. 

Ngā Mihi,

Lachy Boniface and Annika Thornton
WHS Head Student of 2023

Published on: 03 Feb 2023
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Student Leadership Development Programme

Leadership. An action of mentoring a group, team or organisation, a role all of our student leaders stepped into for 2023. It's ironic that our cut-paste image of a “leader” is so often that of a military commander or a dictator; someone who values law, order and control. Yet this model provides one narrow scope of leadership, beneficial in some situations but just one example of a way to “lead”. Understanding true leadership comes in many forms and the first way to become great is to unlearn our pre-conceived notions surrounding what it is to be a leader; to develop our own agenda and follow it. This past weekend, our student leadership team explored ways in which we could do this, centralising on the key aspects of leadership required to excel in our roles this year. 

The Mule Queenstown was incredibly generous in supporting us during our time in Moke Lake, providing us with the training and resources necessary to instil a sense of teamwork within the group; challenging our communication, planning, motivation and overall sense of leadership by aiding us through multiple activities centralised on these topics. Perhaps the most invaluable aspect of leadership is the ability to give direction just as well as the ability to receive it. During our time at Moke Lake we were split into different groups to learn new skills, then teach those skills to the other members of the camp. Our three main mentors instructed us initially, however stepped back when it was time to teach the main activity- allowing us to experience leadership under challenging circumstances with no major guidance. Following the main group taught activities, there were a number of team building/leadership activities to undergo. Examples include the mud crawl, six-figure grid referencing, river crossing and wall climbing amongst many others. 

A huge thanks to the Mountain Club for sponsoring this great leadership opportunity.

To be a good and understanding leader, one must face challenges. To be challenged is to participate in a situation you wouldn't normally find yourself in, and after speaking to some of the other people on the camp about the biggest challenge they were forced to overcome, one common factor came up in every conversation - the heat. Sunday the 29th clocked in at around 29 degrees, pushing us to maintain motivation, positivity and energy through immense heat, challenging our personal growth as well as group morale. 

So why do this? Why challenge and push ourselves through tough situations? Knowing our weaknesses and areas of improvement as leaders is just as valuable as knowing our strengths. By working through these challenges we were able to identify any infirmity we faced by undergoing constant individual and group reflection following the day's activities. One of the most powerful parts of the weekend was coming to the realisation of what we each needed to work on in our own leadership endeavours. After recognizing our mistakes the group was able to plan more effectively and efficiently, skills that will undoubtedly transfer into our leadership roles for this year. 2023 is going to be hectic, and this past weekend was incredibly effective in showing us there are ways to deal with that methodically and confidently. Though we will (hopefully) not be crawling through mud during our council meetings or climbing eight foot walls to get to Participation Day practice, the skills we gained over the weekend enabled us to dive into this year with passion, confidence and unwavering excitement. Our first big event where we’ll be utilising these skills will be our upcoming Participation Day. Our student leadership team looks forward to supporting you through a happy and healthy 2023!

Zali Vaivers
(on behalf of the 2023 Student Leadership Team)

Published on: 03 Feb 2023
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Student Attendance

Kia ora koutou,

In August 2022, the Ministry of Education launched a national communications campaign aimed at promoting regular school attendance called ‘Every School Day is a Big Day’. Regular attendance at school is important for students' learning, wellbeing and their futures. In Aotearoa, all children under 16 years of age are required to attend a registered school every day, unless they are sick.

However, school attendance data across Aotearoa (and at Wakatipu High School) has shown a marked decline since 2015 for a variety of reasons even though COVID-19 has been a significant driver of non-attendance.  At Wakatipu High School we strive to maintain high levels of attendance and punctuality.

From an academic perspective, we know there is a direct correlation between regular attendance and NCEA achievement. A Year 11 student who attends school every day has about a 90% chance of achieving NCEA Level 1, but this drops to a 1-in-5 chance if they only attend school half of the time. Not only are rangatahi | teeangers missing out on important learning they need, but they miss out on friendship, connections, and fun moments.

The key measure of attendance is the proportion of our students who attend regularly, that is, the percentage of students who have attended more than 90% of the term or year-to-date. A more simplistic take on this is that students who attend regularly still miss up to one day a fortnight and even that adds up to one week of school time across a term and one month off school each year. 

If a student is absent for two or more days a fortnight they are considered irregularly absent and at this point we become concerned and interventions designed to support attendance may be put in place. A child who is irregularly absent misses 1-2 weeks of school across a term. Students with an attendance rate of 80% will miss the equivalent of one year of secondary school across the course of their five years with us and with an attendance rate of 75% you begin to miss the equivalent of one term per year. 

As parents, caregivers, and whānau you play the most important role in helping our students regularly attend school. We appreciate that for some, you may not think that missing a day at school is a big deal. However, it is a big deal and as you can see from the words above, it has a cumulative effect over time in all sorts of ways. 

We encourage parents, caregivers, and whānau to play their part by:

  • Ensuring that your son/daughter attends school on days that have significant school events associated with them. For example, Participation Day (which is coming up on Friday 24th February), Matatū, and Prizegivings. A reminder that attendance is still compulsory for these days.
  • Not taking your son/daughter out of school for holidays during term time. Yes, we know that cheaper accommodation and flights to the Gold Coast and Rarotonga are tempting either side of the school holidays in late June / early July but please avoid this.
  • Not sending your son/daughter to school if they are sick. Anyone who is sick should stay home until they are well. Please note that medical certificates are important to justify absence from school due to illness. We may require medical certificates for any absence longer than three days or more than 10 cumulative days during a school term. The exception to this is when a student is applying for an extension for an NCEA assessment - in this situation a medical certificate is always required. Also note that if your child misses a lot of school because of a serious illness you may be able to get help from the Southern Health School - please contact Ryan Gilbertson (Deputy Principal) if you want to know more about this service.
  • Explaining all absences of your son/daughter.  If students are going to be away from school a Parent or Guardian must contact the school. To report a student absence, please complete this form, use the form on our WHS Schoolzine app, call the school office at ​03 442 7370 or email 
  • Communicate with us if you are having difficulties with your son/daughter attending school. Don't let them have the day off just because they would rather be at home or want extra time to complete an assessment. Whether it’s mental health, bullying, anxiety about assessments, or something else that they won’t disclose details of. Talk to them about why they don’t want to go. And be supportive. Talk to us. Whatever the reason, you won’t be the first parent to talk to us about that type of situation. We have good advice, experience and insight - we’ll be able to work together to help your child. Please reach out to your students kaiārahi in the first instance if you are having a challenging time getting your son or daughter to attend school. We are here to help and support you. 
  • Regularly check the attendance of your son/daughter via the WHS Portal and encourage your child to do the same thing. 
  • Supporting students with good habits around school. Have they done their mahi for the next day? Do they need to take anything along tomorrow? Do they know which classes they have? Have they charged their laptop? Have they set their alarm?

    Our attendance procedures emphasise individual student responsibility, with clear consequences for persistent unexplained absence and/or lateness to school. We appreciate your support of this system which is designed to support quality learning. Taking responsibility for their own attendance and completing any consequences they may receive as a result of lateness or truancy is important to us. 

    Any absence or lateness not explained by a Parent or Guardian communicating with the school within 3 school days of the student returning will result in a fair and reasonable consequence being given. Students will receive an email to their school email address informing them of any consequences. They will have 2 school days to rectify any unexplained absence with prior to the consequence occurring

    More detailed information on many school policies and procedures such as attendance can be found at school docs. Please sign in using  username: 'wakatipu' and password 'Ad Alta' (please note 'Ad Alta' includes a space).

    Ryan Gilbertson
    Deputy Principal

    Published on: 03 Feb 2023
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    Return of external assessment material from 2022
    All NCEA material, including DVC/Technology portfolios and Scholarship booklets should have been returned to students or schools by mid-February. Please contact Mr Richards as soon as possible if material is missing so that we can endeavour to locate this. The return process has changed as most examination material is now submitted in a digital format or scanned. Details about the return of examination material can be found here.

    Review and Reconsideration applications for 2022 external exam results
    It is advisable for students to talk to their teachers prior to applying for a review or reconsideration. The closing date for Applications for Review and Reconsiderations for all NCEA externally assessed standards is 24 February and the closing date for Scholarship is 9 March. Instructions on how to do this are here  Reviews and Reconsiderations

    Cut scores have been released and may be found at the relevant subject link: These scores may assist students in their decision about whether to request a Review or Reconsideration. 

    In a Review, all sections of a booklet or portfolio are checked to make sure they have been marked and results correctly recorded and transferred. A review does not involve re-marking and there is no charge.  

    NZQA ERROR with blank scripts for PAPER external exams.
    If you have received an N grade for an external paper standard that you left blank or ticked to say that you did NOT want it marked, NZQA should have awarded you an SNA (standard not attempted). If you want to change the grade from N to SNA, you will need to do a review (no cost) through your student login. If you do not complete the review this N grade will appear on your Kamar portal but not on your Record of Achievement. All Digital exams should have been processed correctly.

    A Reconsideration involves re-marking all answers in the answer booklet and checking mechanical processes (such as transferring grades). NCEA Reconsiderations cost $20.40 for each standard. The fee for Design and Visual Communication (DVC) and Technology portfolios is $20.40 for each external achievement standard, not each portfolio. The fee for Scholarship Reconsiderations is $30.70 per standard (subject). NZQA will waive the fee for students meeting income criteria who wish to apply for a reconsideration of an NCEA or Scholarship result. Where the Reconsideration leads to a grade change, the fee is refunded. 

    NCEA Parent/Student Information Evening - Save the Date
    On Tuesday 21 February at 7:00pm there will be an NCEA Information Evening in the Theatre where we will go through everything parents need to know about NCEA and how parents can best support their students. This is an essential evening for parents and students who are new to NCEA.

    Dax Richards
    Principal Nominee

    Published on: 03 Feb 2023
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    Community Notices

    NZ House & Garden Tours 2023 Dates

    Wānaka - Friday 24 & Saturday 25 February
    There are three shifts available -

    Morning - 8.30am to 12.30pm
    Afternoon - 12.15pm to 4.15pm
    All day - 8.30am to 4.15pm

    To say thanks for volunteering, you'll be able to spend your shift at one of the incredible homes on the tour, be given a 10% discount on your tour ticket, and a goodie bag from the tour sponsors.

    House Supervisors needed!

    We're also looking for House Supervisors, who are responsible for looking after the team of volunteers at the house they're stationed at, as well as being the point of contact at an assigned house. House Supervisors need to be available on the Thursday night prior to the tour for a meet and greet with the homeowners and to go over important health and safety information.

     To register to volunteer, please follow the link below

    Published on: 03 Feb 2023
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    WHS Foundation

    Published on: 03 Feb 2023
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    New WHS Careers website

    WHS now has a dedicated Careers website enabling both students and parents to keep up-to-date with the latest career news and events happening in Queenstown and around New Zealand. CareerWise is a one stop shop for sharing up-to-date information on student job vacancies, university open days, scholarships, career events and information evenings, workplace resources and more.

    All senior students and whanau are subscribed to the site which enables them to receive a fortnightly newsletter containing all the latest news and events posted. We encourage parents and guardians to keep up-to-date with career news and discuss opportunities with their children. If however you do not want to receive these emails you can unsubscribe.

    To access, click on the link below or visit the school's website and find CareerWise under the Careers tab.

    Published on: 02 Feb 2023
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    Sport and Active Recreation News

    Success for the Milburn Brothers
    What a summer it has been for Kai and Dan Milburn on the tennis court. The brothers competed at the National Individual Age Group Tennis Champs in December. Both had amazing results with Kai winning the U16 singles, U16 doubles and U18 doubles titles and Dan finishing runner up in the U14 singles and doubles events. Kai has also recently played in the ITF (International Tennis Federation) Junior U18 event where he won the doubles Wellington J60. Well done Kai and Dan!

    New Zealand U18 Women's Ice Hockey Team
    WHS has six current and one former student representing the New Zealand U18 Women's Ice Hockey team at the Division 2 Group B U18 Women's World Champs in Sofia, Bulgaria at the moment. The team celebrated their first ever win at a world champs earlier this week and it is only the second time that NZ has sent a team to the official IIHF U18 women's tournament. You can read the full story here: It is great to have so many students representing New Zealand! Well done to Aoife Orr, Inge Kemp, Jessie Strain, Lucy Boniface, Manuella Pedrosa, Polly Bennetts and former student Caitlin Hollyer who was also named captain.

    Cricket Successes
    Four WHS students represented Otago over the summer holidays at national tournaments. Congratulations to Abby Fookes and Sorcha Wilkinson who were selected into the Otago U19 Women’s team and to Hugo Bogue and Mason Clarke who represented the Otago U17 Men’s team. Mason also claimed a five wicket bag in a seven wicket win over Canterbury. It has been amazing to watch former pupil Paige Loggenberg represent the New Zealand U19 Women’s team at the recent T20 world cup in South Africa and to hear that another former student Toby Hart has been called up into the New Zealand Men’s Development team. Great stuff!

    The 7th annual Queenstown Cricket Carnival was held in mid January with teams from around the South Island including two from Australia were in attendance. This has always been a great week of cricket for our 1st XI team and provides the opportunity to play a range of schools at home. A huge thank you to our parents of the 1st XI team who helped to run this tournament with special thanks to Greg Trounce, Andy Langford, Matt Hollyer and Russell Mawhinney for all of their efforts.

    Kai and Dan Milburn

    WHS students in the NZ U18 Ice Hockey team

    WHS 1st XI competed in the Queenstown Schools Cricket Tournament

    Northern Hemisphere Alpine Skiing
    April Bentley, Finn McCaw and Hyugo Saunders are all training and competing overseas for the Northern Hemisphere winter. These three along with Charlotte Wiggins, took part in a Team Parallel race against 17 other nations and 21 other teams of 4 at the Alpe Cimbra race (children's international FIS race) in Folgaria, Italy. The team started in 18th place (start was in alphabetical order of nations) and finished 11th overall. This is the first time that NZ has been able to place a team at this event with three of the participants being from WHS. 39 countries compete at this event, the biggest children's race in Europe, Finn McCaw has had a standout result finishing 19th in the Slalom (and second out of the first year U16 racers).

    South Island Club Rowing Champs
    The Whakatipu Rowing Club had an awesome weekend at the South Island Club Champs recently with many WHS students winning medals. Congratulations to all those who competed. It is great to see the students beginning to ramp up towards the business end of the season. Keep up the great work!

    • Gold - Womens U19 Coxed Quad - Neve Bates, Olivia Key, Phoebe Cavanagh, Mia Pagan & Emily Howick
    • Gold - Mens Intermediate Coxed Quad - McKellar Thornton, Harry Lightfoot, Seb Watson, Toby Tregidga & Cameron Hall
    • Gold - Mens Senior Double -  Xavier Small & Marley King Smith
    • Gold - Girls U15 Double - Sasha Key & Amy Patterson
    • Gold - Boys U15 Coxed Quad - Charlie Manser, Jasper Crawford, Max Davis, Hagan Brown & Cameron Hall
    • Silver - Mens Premier Single - Marley King Smith
    • Silver - Boys U15 Coxed Octuple Sculls - McKellar Thornton, Charlie Manser, Jasper Crawford, Max Davis, Hagan Brown, Harry McNay, Finlay Woods, Mike Perry & Oli Watson
    • Silver - Mens U19 Coxed Quad - Ashton White, Marley King Smith, Xavier Small, Toby Rorrison & Emily Howick
    • Silver - Womens Senior Double - Neve Bates & Olivia Key
    • Silver - Mens Novice Double - Hagan Brown & Toby Tregidga
    • Bronze - Womens Novice Double - Sasha Key & Amy Patterson
    • Bronze - Women's Senior Single - Olivia Key
    • Bronze - Girls U16 Coxed Quad - Molly Shuttleworth, Lucy Clark, Pippa McAtamney, Emma Andrew & Katie Battrick
    • Bronze - Boys U17 Double - Toby Rorrison & Keegan Green
    • Bronze - Mens Intermediate Double - Toby Tregidga & Seb Watson

    April, Hyugo and Finn (from the left) currently in Italy

    U15 Boys Octuple Sculls win silver

    Girls Quad in action at the South Island Club Champs

    2023 Participation Goals
    Last year 59% of students at WHS were involved in structured sports or active recreation activities that are counted as part of the annual sports census, a requirement for all secondary schools to complete. This year we are aiming for 60% participation. That will mean 810 students out of 1350 will need to be involved in a sport or physical activity opportunity that lasts six weeks or more for us to achieve our goal. An increase of nearly 100 students from 2022. An exciting challenge for us as a sports department. Each year we set goals as a school around extracurricular participation  (arts, sports, academic etc) as this is an important aspect of a great all round education.

    In 2023 we are aiming for;

    • 85% of all Year 9’s and new students at WHS to be involved in an EC activity
    • 80% of all senior students at WHS to be involved in an EC activity

    Extracurricular activities help to connect students and build relationships with their peers, staff members and volunteer members from our community through a shared passion and/or area of interest. Students involved in these activities are generally more engaged in school and have a positive educational experience that has a flow on effect to academic results and learning engagement reports. There are many, many benefits from being involved in EC activities and they provide a great opportunity for holistic development and improving wellbeing. We are grateful to be able to offer our student body a wide range of opportunities. Below are the details for how to get involved in EC activities at WHS.

    Extracurricular Expo 
    The Extracurricular Expo is our annual clubs day where we showcase the wide range of activities available to students at WHS. These activities take place before, during and after school. If you signed up to a sport last year, you do NOT need to sign up again, only to those sports/activities you are keen to find out more about in 2023. If you are Year 9 or new to WHS we encourage you to come along to the expo in Gym 1 on Wednesday 15th February at Break 2 to check out the various sports or alternatively join the google classrooms through the sports website here:

    Sports Website
    If you have just recently joined Wakatipu High School and keen to find out more information about sport and active recreation opportunities please visit our website to see what is on offer and join the google classrooms of those activities you are keen to find out more about:

    Coaches, Managers and Referees - We Need You!
    Like many sports clubs in New Zealand we rely solely on volunteer coaches, managers and referees. We do have a few awesome teachers who coach teams but the majority of our sports teams are still coached by parents and/or community volunteers. We are on the hunt for coaches, managers and referees for the upcoming season for:

    • Basketball
    • Football
    • Hockey
    • Netball
    • Rugby

    If you have any knowledge, skills and passion in one of these areas and are keen to join the WHS sports community by helping coach or manage one of our sports teams, please reach out to me for further details. We have an awesome group of passionate volunteers on board and plenty of support available. Please email me if you are interested; or check out our sports website.

    Term 1 Athletic Development Programme
    The Wakatipu High School Athletic Development Programme (ADP) is an opportunity for students to gain further knowledge and support to improve fundamental movement skills and personal athletic performance. ADP is strength and conditioning training based on long term athletic development models and aims to ensure all students are capable and proficient to operate in a performance training environment. This opportunity is open to students in Year 10-13 who seek to improve their personal performance and outcomes in sport and physical activity. It is run each term for six to eight weeks, on site at WHS, two mornings a week. In Term 1 sessions will run from 7am- 8:15am Tuesday and Thursday mornings from Week 4 to 10 this term (7 weeks). Please complete this Expression of Interest form by Monday 13th February to be sent further details and information regarding the programme in early Week 3.

    The Jennian Homes Junior Trail Run
    - 4km

    The Motatapu team are thrilled to announce the Jennian Homes Junior Trail Run is back on Saturday 4th March 2023. The Jennian Homes Junior Trail Run is open to children between 7 - 15 years old and will have a limited entry of 150, so is expected to sell out fast. For more information on the Jennian Homes Junior Trail Run here and to enter your little trail runner here. Come join Aotearoa's largest off-road sporting event for all the family!

    Keep Us Informed
    The sports department would love to hear from you if you know of any awesome achievements from our students so that we can celebrate these as a school. Please send through details and photos to

    Support Sport at WHS
    Jump on board and support the team by liking or following the Wakatipu High School Sports Facebook page. This is the best way to stay informed and up to date with the successes of our athletes and teams and help celebrate their great achievements: 

    Laura Nathan
    Director of Sport

    Published on: 02 Feb 2023
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    Arts Department News

    Welcome to 2023 and we hit the ground running with the Musical practices already underway. This will be a strong focus for this term but there will be plenty of other activities starting up in the next few weeks. 

    2023 Musical "Rock Apocalypse" Crews: 
    Sign-up for the 2023 musical crews is now open. There is a range of opportunities to pick from to get involved. If you have any questions, please let contact Mr Hansen ( This form will close on Friday, the 17th of February. 

    Extracurricular Expo
    The Extracurricular Expo will take place on Wed Feb 15 and the Arts will be situated in the Theatre. This is a great opportunity for students to see what is on offer at WHS and indicate their interest. After the Expo, information about these and other Arts activities will be communicated through students classrooms, newsletters and meetings. Additionally, the following teachers can also be contacted for further information:
    Alison Price (Music)
    Jake Hansen (Drama)
    Gen Foster (Dance/Drama)
    Abbey Brown (Visual Art)

    A link for the Performing Arts is in the following Classroom code link which will highlight anything related to these areas throughout the year: Please encourage your child to join this Google Classroom, Code: sijw2gw.

    Play It Strange
    The Play It Strange songwriting album for 2022 has now been released. Congratulations to Billie Carey who once again features on this finalists album. You can hear her song "Replaceable" on the following link:
    Information on this year's competitions can be found on the Play it Strange website:

    We have also started the process for Showquest and have selected the student leaders. Further information on this will be forthcoming.

    Alison Price
    Director of Arts and Head of Arts Learning Area

    Published on: 02 Feb 2023
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    Lockers are available for hire, the annual fees are $25 for a Small Locker, $50 for Medium and $75 for a Large.

    If your child would like a locker please click on the link below to complete the form. Once you have requested the locker, the charge will show up on your child's account. When the payment has been received students will be able to collect their lock and allocated locker number from Student Services during the following designated times: Monday - Arthur, Tuesday - Duncan, Wednesday - Hay, Thursday -  Fox, and Friday - Mackenzie.

    Published on: 01 Feb 2023
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    WHS Vacancy - Teacher Aide

    We are seeking a a teacher aide for a permanent position starting as soon as possible in Term 1. The position is 08:45 to 15:30, Monday to Friday, term-time only and requires an outgoing, caring individual who is happy to work with students (in one-to-one situation or in small groups) within or alongside the mainstream class.

    The ideal candidate will have excellent interpersonal and communication skills and the ability to work with students of all high school ages calmly and efficiently, especially those with behavioural and/or learning difficulties. 

    For more information regarding this role and to submit your application please see the vacancies page of our website:

    Published on: 01 Feb 2023
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    We believe that wearing the school uniform correctly is an important way in which students can represent our school with pride, and is an expectation of students attending WHS. Accordingly this week we carried out a school-wide audit of basic items of the uniform (socks, shoes, skirts/shorts and shirts) during Ako Time. A number of students were identified as having either missing or non-regulation uniform items - in particular non-polishable shoes, hi-top boots and black socks. Please click here for uniform requirements, and Uniform Shop hours.

    We would appreciate you please taking the time to check that your child has the full correct complement of uniform items. If you wish to seek financial support through our Awhi Fund for uniform items please see our website or contact our Guidance Counsellor Ms Vicki Patton,, or phone her through the school office on 03-442 7370.

    We know that there may be legitimate reasons for students to be in non-regulation uniform items. In such cases however, students should bring a note from parents which they can provide to their Kaiārahi for a Uniform Pass.

    Our expectation is that all uniform issues are resolved by the end of next week, after which we will begin to enforce our uniform expectations with students. We appreciate that people are still waiting on orders and that people may be sourcing items over the long weekend - as above, if there are issues please give your student a note explaining this.

    Ryan Gilbertson
    Deputy Principal

    Published on: 01 Feb 2023
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    School Operations - important information for parents

    Welcome to the 2023 school year. This section contains some important information about school operations. Parents of new students in particular need to review, but there's some good reminder information for everyone.

    Parents should not park in the staff and student car parks at any time during school hours (9.00am - 3.30pm) as these parks are for permit holders only. Parking enforcement applies and unauthorised vehicles will be ticketed. There are approx 25 visitor parks available at the front entrance to the school.  There are a number of public car parks available within a 1 block radius of the school with 2 hours free parking, if you are coming to the school for an event - these should be where you park.

    There is very limited parking for students on site at school. The available student parks are offered to Student Leaders.  Remarkables Park Limited have very generously given staff and students a heavily discounted parking rate ($2 per day instead of $2 per hour) at the Red Barn public car park near Game Over. As there is limited on street parking in the vicinity we strongly encourage students who may drive to register for the discounted parking. Remarkables Park Limited will clamp vehicles parking illegally in adjacent paddocks and business car parking areas.

    BYOD Devices
    Students need to bring their devices to school fully charged ready for the school day.  The school will assist students with connecting to the school network but does not repair student devices. We have a limited number of spare devices that students can borrow on a short term (day by day) basis if their devices are away getting repaired.

    With over 1300 students onsite, the cafe queues can be long at times. Students can fast track the queue by pre-ordering online at

    If you don't like sending your student with cash to school for the cafe there is also the option to buy lunch tickets which the students can present at the cafe (although they will still have to queue).  See our website for menu options and more information.

    Picking up and dropping off your student(s)
    QLDC have CCTV monitoring the bike lane/bus stop outside the school on Red Oaks Drive directly in front of the school. QLDC advises: “The cameras have been installed to monitor the area for vehicles that stop, stand or park on broken yellow lines or in bus stops, vehicles that double park and other offences under the Land Transport Act 1998.” We would therefore encourage you to continue to use the drop-off areas within the school site for dropping off and picking up students.

    School hours and school security
    The school building is open from 7.45am - 4.00pm on school days. Any students arriving before or after these times must only be at school for a supervised activity. Any unsupervised students remaining in the building at 4.00pm will be requested to leave when the onsite facility team do their daily lock up. Students cannot stay at school waiting for other activities (eg Kip McGrath) after 4.00pm unless they are participating in a supervised activity.

    Options available to students include the QLDC Frankton Library at Remarkables House which is open until 5.30pm and "The Loft" at the Wakatipu Youth Trust across the road on Red Oaks Drive . The Youth Trust Drop-In is open from 3.00pm - 5.30pm Monday to Thursday and 3.00pm - 5.00pm on Fridays.

    Andrea Wilton-Connell

    Published on: 01 Feb 2023
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    Principal's Message

    Kia ora - Happy New Year, and a very warm welcome to new and existing Wakatipu High School parents and students! Today is not a normal newsletter but a ‘pre-newsletter’ with some key information particularly regarding the start of the school year. Next week will be a normal newsletter, which will include lots more information, including our 2022 Results (which are excellent :).

    Year Start - please see the table below for key dates. Please also ensure you see the email sent to students and caregivers by myself (Mr Nathan) or Mrs Hiestand last week, which includes 2023 subjects. Included were also some start of year details for senior students wishing or needing to change their classes. 

    Year 9s - start school at 9 am on Tuesday 31 January with students going to the theatre. There will be staff on-hand guiding students in the right direction. This is for students only and students are expected to be in full school uniform, including blazer and tie. Parents are invited to a presentation from our Principal, Oded Nathan, in the theatre starting at 2:10pm. This will be followed by an opportunity to meet your student's Dean and Kaiārahi. We strongly encourage parents and caregivers to come along from 2:10 pm on Tuesday 31 January.

    Students in Year 10 - 13  who are new to WHS will have an orientation on Tuesday 31 January and will receive an email from Mrs Duncan with further details regarding this day.  

    Uniform - all students must be in the correct uniform from the start of the year. Please click here for uniform requirements and Uniform Shop hours. 

    Attendance - If your child is going to be away from school you should let the school know as soon as possible. To report a student absence, you can complete this form, call the school office at ​03 442 7370 or email The WHS SZ app also features an absence form (see below for information on how to download the WHS SZ app).

    Stationery - 2023 Stationery requirements are available for ordering online via the stationery link on our website. This is a quick, easy and affordable way of ordering your student's stationery with convenient delivery to your home.

    School Buses - are operated by the Ministry of Education (MoE) and will be running from Monday 30 January with the exception of the Kingston and Glenorchy routes. The full school bus service will be in operation from Tuesday 31 January.

    As always, at the start of the year it does take some time to determine demand for the various buses. We thank parents and students for their patience while final allocations of students to bus routes are made. The website has the most up to date information regarding Ministry of Education (MOE) provided bus routes, which can be accessed here.

    Public Buses - due to driver shortages, a reduced bus timetable is still in effect, at this stage until mid-year. While we are in talks with the Otago Regional Council to establish what can be done to support our students to arrive at school on time, it is strongly suggested that all students who make use of the Orbus service have an alternative transportation plan in case of sudden cancellations. We also strongly recommend that all students monitor changes to services by accessing the Orbus website here.

    Awhi Fund - we are aware that starting and setting up for the school year can be expensive, and we are able to support families financially through our ‘Awhi’ (Support) Fund. If you would like to discuss this please click here or contact one of our Guidance Counsellors by email

    Lockers - There are still lockers available for hire. Students can fill out this form 2023 locker request to book a locker.

    We look forward to getting the 2023 year underway. Parents and caregivers can look out for a more normal  and comprehensive newsletter next Friday. 

    Ngā mihi nui,
    Oded Nathan

    Published on: 27 Jan 2023
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    Helpful Information for the Start of 2023

    We look forward to welcoming our students to WHS in 2023.  Please read the information below to prepare for the start of the school year.

    Key Dates

    Monday 30 Jan

    Buses run
    Year 12 Academic Counselling & Course Confirmation - 9:00am
    Year 13 Academic Counselling & Course Confirmation - 10:30am

    Tuesday 31 JanAll Year 9's 1st day of school - 9:00am
    New enrolment (non Yr 9s) orientation - 9:00-10:30am
    Wednesday 1 FebAll students at school - 9:10am
    Monday  6 FebWaitangi Day (Public Holiday)
    Tuesday  7 FebNormal school resumes

    Useful Links

    Uniform Requirements:
    Uniform Shop:
    Stationery :
    Financial Support (Awhi):
    Digital Devices BYOD:
    School Cafe:
    Staff Contact Directory:

    Published on: 26 Jan 2023
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