WHS Newsletter | Issue 1.02 | 10 February 2023
Kia ora and welcome to the end of another short but great week at school. Wakatipu High School’s vision is to have Aotearoa’s best all-round education, and our motto is ‘Ad Alta’, ‘Reach for your Heights’, ‘Kā Mauka Whakatipu’, which means that we want each student to strive for their own level of personal excellence academically, socially and in their extra and co-curriculars.
This past Wednesday, the NCEA Scholarship Awards were announced with WHS students achieving 21 Scholarships across a range of subjects. Scholarship is optional and undertaken by our top scholars - and preparing for them often includes extra tutorials before and/or after school throughout the year. Achieving a scholarship is the pinnacle of academic achievement in a subject. We are really proud of all the students who attempted Scholarship subjects in 2022 and congratulate both the students and the teachers who supported the students to achieve to their heights (see below for full list of Scholarship award winners).
Also in terms of academic achievement, something that we tend to note at this time of year is the total value of tertiary scholarships gained by our students last year - which for 2022 was $505,000. This is a significant sum of money and of great assistance to students and families. The scholarships primarily recognise academic achievement but many also recognise the vocational pathways and all-round abilities of our students.
We are looking forward to celebrating the academic achievements of students who studied NCEA in 2022 at our ‘Pounamu’ assemblies, which are being held on Monday 13 February (see below for more details).
In addition to academic rigour and focus, WHS values students wellbeing and holistic development. Our wide range of extra and co-curricular activities offer students the opportunity to grow and develop into well-rounded citizens, who are connected and engaged. Next Wednesday, 15 February, we are holding our annual extracurricular expo which showcases everything WHS has on offer, and we strongly encourage all of our students to get involved by signing up for one or more extracurricular activities (see below for more details).
The WHS Ākonga Passport (see below for more details) has been given to all of our junior students and supports students engaging in WHS' great all-round education and embracing the Wakatipu Way.
School life is busy and dynamic and we know that many students also have other committments such as part-time jobs. While they are certainly enjoying this source of income (and helping families and businesses at the same time) some students seem to be working quite long hours, which can have an impact on both their schooling and their involvement with extracurricular activities. We ask that you support your student to try and find the right balance to ensure this is not having a negative impact on their school work and/or ability to engage in the wider life of school.
A few quick reminders:
- WHS App - a reminder that this is an absolutely key communication channel for us, where you can do everything from read the newsletter to notify student absence. Especially new parents, please ensure you’ve got the WHS SZ App on your device (and see below for more).
- Uniform - again, it is important that students are wearing the correct uniform correctly, including a blazer and tie to all formal assemblies (eg Pounamu assembly on Monday for Year 12 and Year 13 students). Please see Mr Gilbertson’s piece below. Thank you in anticipation of your support with the uniform.
- Awhi Fund - again, we are aware that starting the school year can be expensive, and we are able to support families financially through our ‘Awhi’ (Support) Fund. For more information or to apply please click here or contact one of our Guidance Counsellors.
- Year 9 Greenstone - Parent Meeting is on Tuesday 14 at 7 pm in the Theatre (see below for more details).
Another great newsletter follows with lots of interesting and important information, so please make sure to have a read.
WHS SZ App
All parents, caregivers and students should download the SZapp to your device as this is how we will communicate urgent and important school alerts and our weekly newsletter. The app also features an absence form, the online school cafe, a calendar and some handy links! See below information on how to download the WHS SZ app.
- On your device, open the App Store.
- Search the App Store for SZapp.
- Download and install SZapp.
- On your device, open the Play Store.
- Search the Play Store for SZapp.
- Download and install SZapp.
2022 Scholarship Results
Congratulations to our 15 scholarship recipients who achieved an amazing 21 scholarships in total! A special mention to Alissa Ibe who received a Japanese scholarship whilst in Year 12 and Jacob Wilkinson who achieved an outstanding scholarship in Physics.
On Monday next week we will be celebrating academic success of students who gained endorsements in NCEA Level 1 and NCEA Level 2 in 2022 along with Scholarship winners. Those involved will have received an email.
Both assemblies are in the theatre.
- Year 13 begins at 9.00am
- Year 12 begins at 9.45am
We look forward to recognising these achievements and welcoming whānau of those students who achieved these results last year.
Acting Assistant Principal
Break 2 at the Pouākai Gym and Theatre
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.
The Extracurricular Expo is a great opportunity for students new to WHS to see what is on offer and sign up! We encourage all students to be involved in some form of extracurricular activity at or outside of school.
Click below to see all the clubs and activities on offer and how to sign up via Google Classroom.
For more information visit: www.wakatipu.school.nz/extracurricular
The Ākonga Passport is for our juniors to support the all-round development of students and to recognise positive behaviour. It was developed with the Ākonga Profile at its heart. The passport system provides recognition for students who are living the Wakatipu Way.
Students gain points to acknowledge behaviours that exemplify the school values, Learning Engagement reports, extracurricular activities, service and leadership, and independent reading. Once each points threshold is achieved during the year, students receive a badge at a formal assembly.
- Bronze Passport = 15 Points
- Silver Passport = 30 Points
- Gold Passport = 50 Points
All Year 9 and 10 students should be striving for some form of recognition each year. They will have received their passports in Ako time this week to keep a record and collect stickers and to get their Values and Reading Cards signed by teachers. We track these electronically also.
There are also prize draws during the year with spot prizes for those students who have achieved a passport level.
We look forward to celebrating students’ achievements with their Ākonga Passports this year.
Acting Assistant Principal
Year 9 Greenstone Parent Meeting
Year 9 Greenstone Camp is the Outdoor Education experience that will be happening from the end of February and over the first 2 weeks of March. Students will be attending Greenstone Camp in their Houses. See below for the dates for each House:
- Camp 1: 28 Feb to 2 March - Arthur students
- Camp 2: 2 to 4 March - Duncan students
- Camp 3: 4 to 6 March - Fox students
- Camp 4: 6 to 8 March - Hay students
- Camp 5: 8 to 10 March - MacKenzie students
They will meet up at school on the morning of their allocated camp (9am), then travel by bus to the Greenstone farm (past Glenorchy and Kinloch). They will then set up a tent camp and then participate in a rostered programme:
2. River swimming
3. River Crossing
4. Lake Rere day walk
On the final day you will be picked up by bus and return to school by 3pm.
More information will be given via a parent information evening being held at WHS (in the Theatre) on Tuesday 14 February - 7-8.30pm. This will be of particular value for parents who are new to Wakatipu High School.
Wellbeing and Resilience
Wakatipu High School aims to keep student wellbeing at the forefront of what we do, believing that students cannot learn or achieve their potential without a strong sense of wellbeing. This commitment has resulted in wellbeing and resilience being established as a strategic priority of our kura, school in recent years.
While there are multiple ways to conceptualise wellbeing, we promote the idea that it’s about feeling good and functioning well. It is useful to note that this definition doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re happy all the time and doesn’t mean that we won’t experience tough times. Sometimes it’s about simply getting through and bouncing back from challenges that life and school throws at us.
Our rangatahi, teenagers face many challenges growing up today, and it’s important to acknowledge that New Zealand statistics for mental health, particularly for our teenagers, is concerning. Increasing awareness of mental health and pressures affecting young people and educators across New Zealand has resulted in interest in how hauora, health for students, staff and whānau can be promoted in schools. Simultaneously new findings from wellbeing and resilience research indicate that resilience can be learned and taught, and programmes that effectively promote and develop wellbeing have a raft of benefits for mental and physical health as well as academic achievement. Our goal is to enhance students’ sense of wellbeing so that they flourish at and beyond Wakatipu High School. We’re also aware that supporting the wellbeing of staff has a positive impact not only for them but for our students as well.
We focus on the concept of positive education by teaching skills that assist staff and students to build up their kete, basket of resources in order to strengthen their relationships, build positive emotions, adopt a strengths-based approach, enhance personal resilience, promote a growth mind-set and encourage a healthy lifestyle.
Keep an eye out on our newsletter over the course of the year for more tips and strategies about wellbeing but in the meantime:
- Consider creating your own personal wellbeing plan that incorporates the Five Ways to Wellbeing. Writing it down and sharing it with someone if you wish is a powerful way to embed it.
- Students, if you are struggling with your mental health and/or want some proactive tips and strategies then contact one of our Guidance Counsellors. Kaua e whakamā, speak up and ask for help if you need it.
If you’re interested in finding out more information about our wellbeing and resilience programme then please check out our website feature here or feel free to get in contact with me.
Ryan Gilbertson | Wellbeing Team Leader | Deputy Principal
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 | teenagers 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 student 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 student 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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 student. Please reach out to your student's 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 student 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).
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 student 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, email@example.com, or phone her through the school office on
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 this week, after which we will begin to enforce our uniform expectations with students. If there are ongoing issues or you're awaiting orders please give your student a note explaining this.
NCEA Parent Evening
The purpose of this information evening is to inform parents and students about NCEA, how NCEA works and how parents can best support their students. This is an essential evening for parents and students who are new to NCEA. Wakatipu High School has its own internal assessment policies, some of which will also be covered at the session and it is really important that students and parents are familiar with these.
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: https://www.nzqa.govt.
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.
After School Mathematics Hub
Mathematics help & study hub is available every Thursday after school
- Where: Brow Learning Common
- When: 3:15 - 4:30 pm
- Levels: Year 9 - Year 13
Note: Students who want to access these tutorials should know what it is they want to work on and come prepared to do so. This usually means bringing previous mathematics classwork they need help with or homework. In some cases, students can also have access to school textbooks for extension work, but it is helpful for the tutors if the students know what topics they want to work on prior to coming.
Year 13 Business - Starting with Teamwork
Last week, Year 13 Business Studies students started the year with a team building and innovation marshmallow tower challenge. Some groups reached as high as 54cm with the limited resources they had. In the coming weeks students will be in the planning phases for running their own business. Part of this involves presenting to a Dragons Den in Term 2 and selling a unique and innovative product of their own creation with consultation of a mentor.
If you are interested in being on the panel or being a business mentor please get in touch.
Nicola Proffit, Gemma Boel, Marcus Matamua
Teachers of 8BUS
Wanted: Reading Material for Lilliput Libraries
"Wakatipu Reads and Writes" is a key element of the Wakatipu High School Literacy Strategy, and 2023 is the year that we really want to shine a light on reading for enjoyment and pleasure. The links between reading, wellbeing and academic achievement are undeniable and with the NCEA co-requisites in place from 2024, now more than ever we need to encourage our young people to read.
We are wanting to set up Lilliput Libraries around the school, so that sudents can browse and borrow a book to read before school, after school or even during Ako Time. This is where our fantastic community comes in: we are looking for donations of any suitable reading material in good condition. Books, Comics, Graphic Novels or even magazines would all be gratefully accepted, so feel free to clear out some space in your bookshelf or hall cupboard. We will have a box at reception ready for any drop offs, and we hope to have the libraries up and running in time for the start of Term 2.
Arts Departments News
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org). This form will close on Friday, the 17 of February.
Play It Strange Entries to two of the Play it Strange songwriting competitions are now open. Details can be found on the following website: https://www.playitstrange.org.
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 email@example.com.
Jake Hansen jhansen@wakatipu.
Gen Foster gfoster@wakatipu.
Abbey Brown firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 student to join this Google Classroom, Code: sijw2gw
2023 Gigs on the Green
Once again Rockformation is supporting youth in the area with concerts on the green in Queenstown on Feb 17 and Feb 24. Featuring current bands from WHS and Mt Aspiring as well as ex WHS students, the events run from 5pm until 8pm and will a great evening entertainment.
Subscribers to the ODT may have seen an article on ex WHS band Haven who are currently touring the country. Gaining a NZ Music Commission grant has been invaluable in supporting the band on their first tour and it's great to see them performing in a variety of places around the country.
Itinerant Music Lessons
The process for the Itinerant Music lessons is underway. Over the next two weeks we hope to place all the students who have requested Music lessons. These are limited to students in the current Music classes.
Students in the Semester 2 classes will have this opportunity when their courses get underway in July. The exceptions are Saxophone, Trumpet and Trombone where students in any of the Music classes can enrol now.
Students/Parents of Y9 students enrolled in Music will soon receive an email that outlines how the Music department operates. This should provide most of the information needed but any questions can be directed to Alison Price at email@example.com
Director of Arts
Sport and Active Recreation News
Ben McAuliffe Heads to Las Vegas
Year 13 student Ben McAuliffe is set to depart to Las Vegas this weekend as a member of the Waikato University Football team to compete in the Mayor's Cup Tournament. This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for Ben and an awesome chance to play other teams from around the globe. We wish him all the very best for this experience of a lifetime.
Coast to Coast Team
We wish the WHS Coast to Coast team of Josh Watson, Pete Davis and Tom Schenk all the very best as they compete in the two day schools event this weekend. The team started out early this morning in Kumara on the West Coast and will be completing their epic journey at New Brighton Beach in Christchurch tomorrow afternoon. You can follow their progress through the link here: https://c2c23.maprogress.com/?bib=945
Senior A Girls Volleyball Team Named
Congratulations to the students named in the Senior A Girls Volleyball team this season. The team has a very busy Term 1 with a number of tournaments including Southland, South Island and National Secondary School Champs. The team is coached by Steve Henderson and managed by Mrs Panapa. Go well girls!
The Extracurricular Expo is taking place this coming Wednesday 15 February. Specific details on how to sign up online or in person will be sent out in the weekly email on Sunday night. We encourage all students at WHS to be involved in some form of extracurricular activity at or outside of school.
Expo Details Related to sport:
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 you are welcome to come along to the expo in Pouākai on Wednesday at Break 2 to check out the various sports or alternatively join the google classrooms through the sports website below. This is also where you will find detailed information on each sport; https://www.sporty.co.nz/wakatipu
Southland Waterski Champs
The 14th Otago-Southland Secondary School Water Ski Champs will be held at Perkins Pond on Sunday 19 February 2023. Students are able to enter directly through the Facebook event, linked below. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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 winter sports coaches for the upcoming season for:
If you have any knowledge, skills and passion in this area 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 support available. Please email me if you are interested: email@example.com or check out our sports website, the link can be found below.
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 13 February to be sent further details and information regarding the programme in early Week 3.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. https://www.facebook.com/WakatipuHighSchoolSports/
Director of Sport
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 students. 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.
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