Te Panui - 16 April 2021

Western Heights High School


This is the final Te Panui for Term 1. Thank you for your support this term, as we have coped with changes in Covid Alert Levels and the ongoing impact of this pandemic.

Yesterday we held a Celebration Assembly to recognise our student leadership team, as well as the successes of our sports teams, athletes and swimmers. It was excellent to see parents and caregivers there to enjoy the occasion with us, and again we congratulate on their achievements this term.

We have received some good news in the last week - we have been told that the "Lunches in Schools" programme will be extended until 2023, and we will be able to provide additional literacy and numeracy support to our NCEA students with funding from our successful Urgent Response Fund application.

As we move into Term 2, the demands on Year 11-13 students will increase as assessments for NCEA credits take place. We know that some of our students are not attending as regularly as they should. Our attendance team works hard to follow up on truants, and caregivers can track the attendance of their own children using the Kamar app. (Please contact us for log in details if you don't have them). Next term there will be consequences in place for students who are late to school or class without an acceptable explanation. School begins each day at 8.40 am. Year 12 and 13 students should be aware that if they wish to attend the school ball later in the year they will need to have a 90% attendance rate. We take a firm stance on this as we know how closely attendance and achievement are linked.

During the holidays maintenance work will be carried out at school, including work on the overhead power lines and asbestos removal. The public notice for the asbestos removal has been distributed to our nearby homes and is available here.

Today at school we farewelled three members of staff - Melissa Duncan, Mary Fagerlund and Lesley Setu-Galo. We thank them sincerely for their work here, and they leave knowing that they have made a positive change to the lives of our students. We wish them every success as they move on to new challenges.

Please enjoy this holiday break. We look forward to welcoming students back refreshed and ready for work on Monday 3 May.

James Bracefield



WHHS Hosts Spanish teachers workshop on “tapas making”

On Thursday 8 April, the WHHS Spanish Department had the honour of hosting Clara Jimeno Gomez, the Education Adviser from the Spanish Embassy in Wellington, who visited Heights to conduct a workshop on Tapas y Pinchos, the traditional Spanish appetizers. The workshop was attended by teachers from Te Kura o Te Koutu, John Paul College, and by a student teacher currently doing her placement at our school.

Prior to the workshop, Clara spent the day visiting the Spanish classroom and getting to know our students. She taught three classes, a Spanish action song and managed to get most students singing and dancing in no time. It was great for students to hear a proper Spanish pronunciation (Mr Renna’s Spanish pronunciation is Latin American) and to get to experience a different teacher. Clara in return was impressed with our students enthusiasm, confidence when using Spanish and their overall love for the language and the culture.

During the evening, teachers learnt different activities involving language, food, recipes and methods to prepare delicious Spanish Tapas and Pinchos. The evening concluded with a tasty degustation of all the tapas produced. It was a great experience to welcome fellow teachers from Rotorua and to spend time learning and strengthening our teaching and learning skills. We hope to pass all that learning to our students soon.

Gracias Clara for your generosity and your commitment to promote Spanish language and culture in New Zealand!

Race Unity Speech Awards 12th April 2021

This year two of our outstanding Year 13 students represented the school at the regional heats of the 21st Race Unity Speech Awards. Held at the Government Garden Tea Rooms, tackling the topic “Kia Kotahi Te Hoe” (Paddle As One), Ashton MacGarvie and Zach Jans explored a range of ideas about equality, equity and inclusion from economic, social and political points of view. They impressed the audience with their maturity and skill in speaking and in devising a response to this important question about our shared future. Ashton was declared runner-up and both of the students were commended for their speeches. It was a great opportunity to remind the public, from the mayor to the BOP Area Commander of the NZ Police Force to members of the organising committee, about the positive impact our teenagers have on our society.

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Sustainability and the Zorb

Some classes have been studying sustainability this term in Social Studies. These students recently had a blast at Zorb Rotorua learning more about the measures and steps this business is taking toward becoming more sustainable. Did you know that the Zorb generates its own electricity via solar panels that they use to power the togo (pulley for the Zorb balls) and their electric car? They also consider themselves ‘guardians of the land’ and have planted an extensive native bush on the hillside. Of course students had the opportunity to experience their product firsthand and thoroughly enjoyed rolling down the hill with their peers. Thank you to the staff at Zorb Rotorua for having us visit.


Secondary Schools Waka Ama Nationals

This year’s Waka Ama Secondary Schools nationals saw more than 1800 students from all over New Zealand come to Lake Tikitapu for four days of waka ama racing. Amongst them there was a junior and a senior girls WHHS team representing and competing for our school. The competition was fierce but our girls trained hard and all of them gave their best both onshore and in the water.

It was great to see new year 9 students embrace this sport, give it all they've got at paddling and being very successful during races. This was achieved thanks to their commitment to three training sessions a week, the support and guidance of students who had previous experience with waka ama, and the coaches and managers of the teams who worked tirelessly to get our teams ready for such a fierce competition.

After three days of competition, our junior team placed in both the 250m and 500m Plate finals, coming 6th place in both events with an outstanding performance. Our senior team also made it to the 250m Plate final, in which they came 9th, also an outstanding result.

Special mention goes to Waimarie Hopa-Jackson (Year 10) who competed in the W1 races and Senior students Maringi James and Darnique Te Aonui-Whare, both Year 13, who showed leadership, manaakintanga and guidance to all students while in their last year of paddling for WHHS.

The management and coaching team cannot be more proud of all the young paddlers who worked and competed hard to represent Heights.

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Senior A Boys Volleyball

After winning Bay Champs, the Senior A Boys Volleyball team headed to Palmerston North at the end of March to compete in the New Zealand Secondary Schools Volleyball Championships. The team, captained by Cole Gillespie, went through pool play unbeaten and then into crossovers. They finished crossovers at the top of their pool, which put them into the quarter final against Orewa College. Orewa took them to 5 sets, but the boys picked up their game to take it out. They then played Rangitoto in the semi final, and lost 3-0. This led them to a playoff for the bronze medal against Manurewa College which they won 3-2.

This was another successful season for HVB - 1st in the Bay and 3rd in the country - and the school can be proud of the way the boys conducted themselves on and off the court. Congratulations to Cole Gillespie for making the tournament team at Nationals.

Finally, we are grateful for all the support from whanau, staff and students and look forward to the 2022 season.

The team is as follows:

Cole Gillespie (Captain)

Minseok Park (Vice Captain)

Riley Marsters

Pounamu Stephens

Phillip Sparrow

Jacob Watson

Charlie Apperley

Cole Walker

Noah Wineti

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Rotorua Careers Expo 2021

Monday, May 10th, 9:15am to Tuesday, May 11th, 2pm

Energy Events Centre, Queens Drive, Rotorua

The Rotorua Careers Expo will be held over two days at the Event Centre. All senior students will attend this valuable learning experience. It is a great opportunity to talk with providers, universities and employers to help start the planning and transition process from school to employment or further training.

Year 13 students will be visiting the Expo on Monday 10 May period 2

Year 12 students will be visiting the Expo on Monday 10 May period 4

Year 11 students will be visiting the Expo on Monday 10 May period 3

Buses have been arranged to transport the students to the Rotorua Energy Event Centre. There will be no cost to the students as this activity will be funded by the Careers Department. Staff will be travelling on the buses to accompany the students.

Parents are welcome to attend but are advised to go on the Monday afternoon/evening session as it will be very crowded with school students during school hours.

If students are intending to return to the Careers Expo during school time then the regular absentee procedure applies.

Strengthening Teens Against Anxiety

Wednesday, May 12th, 7pm

John Paul College, Whitworth Road, Utuhina, Rotorua

An evening for Parents and Whanau of Adolescents with child, educational and community Psychologist Dr Emma Woodward.

Her transformation sessions will provide parents and whanau with the essential information and powerful, practical strategies to help their teens thrive through anxiety.

This event is open to the wider Rotorua community, koha to help cover costs.

Mastering the Art of Sports Parenting - Free Webinar

Wednesday, April 21st, 7:30-8:30pm

This is an online event.

What does it take to become a great sports parent? Join Sport NZ and special guest, Professor Camilla Knight, for this upcoming webinar. You will learn the six key skills that can help parents and caregivers be involved in their child’s sport in the best possible way.

We will also discuss how you can help your child/ren to:

  • Grow and develop through sport, and attain the maximum holistic benefits
  • Reach their sporting potential
  • Enjoy sport, fall in love with sport and stay involved in sport for life.
  • If you are a coach or volunteer you will also benefit from tuning in.

Who is this for?
Parents – whether your child or children are at primary, intermediate or secondary school, parents of all ages will benefit from this webinar.
Coaches – learn some of the key messages that you can relay to your parents and ultimately get them to help you make the waka go faster.

Presenters - Professor Camilla Knight

Camilla Knight is a Professor of Sport Psychology and Youth Sport at Swansea University, UK. She is also the Youth Sport lead for the Welsh Institute of Performance Science and a member of the Welsh Safeguarding in Sport Strategy group. Camilla’s research interests are concerned with understanding and enhancing the psychosocial experiences of children in sport, with a particular focus upon the influence of parents. Camilla is co-author of “Parenting in youth sport: From Research to Practice” (Routledge, 2014) and co-editor of “Sport Psychology for Young Athletes” (Routledge, 2017). She has published over 25 book chapters on topics related to parental involvement in sport, as well as 50 peer reviewed journal articles. She also consults widely with a range of national and international sports organisations on parental involvement and youth sport participation more broadly.


Rotorua Awa Sports Club - Kayaking Open Day

The open day will be held on Saturday 17 April at Boyes Beach, Lake Okareka. Everything will be provided and all the participants need are some togs and a towel. Anyone is welcome to come along for an afternoon of kayaking, games and a BBQ.

Attention Rugby Players

Ngongotaha Sports and Community Association Inc is inviting all new and returning Junior Rugby players to register NOW for the 2021 season. Registration is easy and can be completed online at www.sporty.co.nz/nsca (click 'junior rugby' tab). $40 per player which includes a mouthguard and boot bag. Playing a team sport helps to build confidence, learn new skills, and make friendships in a fun environment. For more information email nscajab@gmail.com.