Issue 1 - 10 February 2022


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E ngā reo, e ngā mana, rau rangatira mā, ngā matā waka, tēnei te mihi nui atu ki ā koutou katoa. Ko te wawata me te tumanako ka noho ora mai koutou katoa.

Dear parents, whanau and community,

Welcome back to all students, Whānau and the wider community to Whakatāne High School for 2022. Our focus for the first week has been around our school goal of strengthening relationships and belonging at school. We know that when we have strong relationships, together we are strengthened individually and as a school. We are, as the Māori proverb below describes, like Kahikatea.

E tu kahikatea, hei whakapae ururoa. Awhi mai, awhi atu, tatou, tatou e.

Kahikatea stand together, their roots intertwine, strengthening each other. We all help one another and together we will be strong.

We welcomed over 240 new year 9 students to the school. New students were supported with a great orientation program which will enable them to develop connections with their teachers, peers and our prefects, and also feel safe and secure so they are ready to learn for the exciting year ahead. I have been really impressed with how our new year 9’s have conducted themselves so far, their attitude to learning and behaviours have been excellent.

Our Prefects for 2022 and staff have led by example, our prefects supporting our new students as buddy prefects in a variety of team building activities and our teachers encouraging our new students to connect with each other and develop new friendships.

Left: Our Year 9 Te Aka Matua students having fun in a team building activity with their new Kaiawhina Johnny Ratema.

Below: Our staff reconnecting and playing games at our Teacher Only Day.

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Prefects for 2022

Our prefects are important people in our school life. They are here to be role models for our students, they are here to be your big brothers and sisters and help new students transition into our school so that they feel welcome, relaxed about being here and are able to make the most in the classroom and in our school. Last week they were recognised in front of our year 9‘s and their Whānau. Click here to check them all out and see what roles and responsibilities each prefect has this year.

New staff for 2022

We have a number of new staff starting at WHS in 2022. We are lucky to be able to recruit well qualified and committed new staff (Teaching and Support Staff) to our school. Here's a list of our new staff for 2022:

  • Dwayne Hudson - Te Reo Maori and Year 12 Dean
  • Laura Abbott - English and Year 9 Dean
  • Aimee Ratana - Visual Art
  • Magguy Newman - French
  • Julie Drabble - Executive Officer
  • Teresa Hoskins - Performing Arts and Music Tutor
  • Nancy Vercoe - Mathematics
  • Whaiora Korewha - Te Reo Maori and Literacy
  • Johnny Ratema - Te Reo Maori and Kaiawhina
  • Megan Youngman - English and Social Studies
  • Louise Taylor - Staffroom Attendant
  • Lisa Hay - Library Manager
  • Jenna Wharewera - Attendance Officer
  • Maraea Porter - Attendance Officer
  • Brendan Stevens - Attendance Officer
  • Sam Kora - ECE and Technology
  • Bevan Porter - Teacher Aide

NCEA results

Looking back at 2021 I am proud of how our staff, students and community dealt with the circumstances outside of our control. Despite a disrupted year in 2021 with Covid, our interim results show us that our year 11,12 and 13 NCEA results are better than National averages and we are outperforming schools of a similar decile. We are still working with a few students and we will share a more detailed analysis later on this term. Well done to all those students in their academic success.

Sports at WHS

Last year we saw a huge amount of participation in Sports at WHS. All of this is down to the staff, students and community who make it happen. Whether that be coaching, managing, administration, ferrying our young people to games or standing on the sideline cheering everyone on. Pivotal to the success of Sport has been the role of the Director of Sport (Ben Sexton), and the Sports coordinator. We acknowledge the work of the previous coordinator Susi Peterson and we welcome Renske Forsyth as our new coordinator for 2022.

The sport BOP calendar has been updated and events have been cancelled, postponed or are implementing restrictions so they can run. The new calendar is HERE. Our Sport Covid Policy has been updated HERE.

Covid Red setting of the Covid Protection Framework

Where to access information

We have developed this site which includes all the important information about how we operate as a school under the Red setting.

Click on the ‘students and Whānau’ section. If you have any questions about any of this information please contact the school.

Face coverings

I am pleased to report that we have had no major concerns regarding staff and students wearing face masks indoors. A reminder that public health advice is that an appropriate face covering will fit snugly and seal well around facial contours. This can include single use, disposable masks (medical masks) and re-usable fabric masks with three layers. That means no scarves, bandannas, or t-shirts pulled up over the face, for example.

School continuity plan

We have been working on our planning for running the school with increasing cases of Covid and increasing staff absenteeism. Throughout the school year, we will always do our best to run the school and keep it open. Our ability to do this will be influenced by staff being absent. We have 4 approaches and this short video describes our strategy. Here is the overview. At all times when we transition from one approach to another we will communicate via all channels (email/ social media).

We thank all our families for their continued support of our school and encourage all to keep a strong link with the school and keep in touch with what your sons or daughters are currently doing in their school programme. You too are Kahikatea standing with us, our teachers and students strengthening who we are and what we do.

Ngā mihinui

Martyn Knapton


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Uniform reminder

Please ensure your child comes to school in the correct uniform. Shoes must be all black and hats can only be black and/or white.

Woman in Engineering

Back in Year 11 I saw a poster for this amazing opportunity to travel down to Christchurch to the University of Canterbury for a program called ‘ Woman in Engineering '. It is a free program that lets the attendees experience the full range of engineering and technological engineering. Unfortunately at the time I was too young but following this goal, I watched out and applied as a Year 12. With the help of my teachers for references, I received the email of acceptance just before exams!

For a duration of 5 days and 4 nights I was able to meet roughly 60 other amazing young women from different schools around New Zealand, with some women already studying a form of engineering at the university. During the course, we were able to experience interactive workshops:

  • from creating a Solar cell and seeing the change in voltage as the amount of sunlight varied (chemical engineering),

  • coding for a microbit which is a pocket sized computer that shows how software and hardware work together and programming a solar car (electrical engineering),

    • building and coding for exoskeletons that could help in bone and muscle recovery (mechanical and mechatronics engineering),

    • how to fell a tree and transport it environmentally friendly (forestry engineering) to building structures that withstand the shaking of an earthquake (civil engineering).

Alongside interactive workshops, team challenges were also played a big part. One of our challenges as a team was coding mechanical fingers to play a music piece and inspiring our problem thinking skills in an entrepreneur challenge, really emphasized the importance of teamwork. The ability to think outside of the box and to work with other people was really essential and I believe this is one of the best abilities to have.

Put yourself out there to follow those dreams and look for those opportunities as there are awesome people out there who are willing to help. All in all, I would like to say a big thank you to my teachers & the University of Canterbury for such an incredible time and still making it work through our Covid time.

Best luck
Lara Longney, Year 13

The English Department Need You... look under your bed, to check your bookshelf, to rifle through your junk drawer, in order to relocate any novels you may have forgotten to return to your English teachers over the past few years. Or perhaps you know where to find that English novel an older sibling forgot to return before heading off into the big wide world - we want them all back! We have done a stocktake and have found that many of our novels have not been returned - so if you know you have a book at home, please put it in your bag and return it to any English teacher you come in contact with. You will not be scorned for your forgetfulness, instead, you will be rewarded with chocolate for returning our precious goods! Any queries, please see Mrs. Garner in B3.

If you have an English novel stashed away somewhere at home, please return it to your/an English teacher and you will be rewarded with chocolate. To receive your reward, please have returned any books by Friday, February 18th.

Career News

University Recruiter Visits

Usually, we have recruiters from the Universities visit us this term and early in Term Two. This will still happen, but they might be via a Zoom presentation. Details will be on our Facebook page and in the student notices.

Armed Forces

The Armed Forces recruiters will host a virtual information evening on Wednesday 2 March from 6-7 pm. Contact Ms Stuart for the link.


The Gateway Programme allows students to experience an industry while still at school. We appreciate local employers for their support of hosting students and sharing their industry knowledge. A huge thank you to Mark Bonne Builders and Ash and Oak Arborists who are already hosting students this year. If any of our school whanau and supporters are interested in working with us, please contact us at school.

Futures Academy

Unfortunately, we were unable to have a powhiri for Futures Academy this year. Most students will begin their Trade course next week.

Jo-Anne Stuart and Julie Ball

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Sports Uniform Return

Can all students that still have any sports uniforms from the 2021 season please return these to the student office as soon as possible so they can be distributed to our 2022 teams.

Athletics Day 2022

Athletics Day is set to go ahead on 25 February. There are a number of rules and regulations we will need to follow to ensure our day is able to go ahead. These will be communicated to families in the next couple of weeks.
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Term 1 House Competition Calendar

From a van push and tug-o-war, to carnival games and ultimate frisbee, Term 1 has it all! Click here to check out the calendar of house events to look forward to this Term.


Below is a small list of events coming up.

For the full calendar of events, check out this link:

  • Year 9 Big Day Out - Friday 11 February
  • TAM Camp - 15-17 February
  • BOPSS Volleyball Champs - 19-20 February
  • Inquiry Camp - 21-22 February
  • Student ID Photos - 22 February
  • BOPSS Triathlon - 22 February
  • Year 9 BBQ - POSTPONED
  • Athletics Day - Friday 25 February
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Student Health Notice

Health services provided FREE in school:

  • School Nurse: daily except Wednesday morning
  • School Doctor: Tuesdays P2
Visit the Student Office to make an appointment.

School bus information

If you require information about your student/s bus route or timetable for any in-zone routes, please contact Go Bus directly on: 07 846 8796. If you're wanting information for out-of-zone bus routes, please contact Uzabus on 07 308 6169.

Science Department Requests

This Term our Science department is after a number of small things you may have lying around at home. If you can spare any of the following items, we'd greatly appreciate it:

  • 1.5 - 2L fizzy drink bottles
  • cardboard tubes - long - eg. gladwrap, tinfoil tubes
  • small pieces/blocks of polystyrene
  • ice cream containers
  • small quantities of paint for identifying rocks - even a centimetre left in test pot is enough (any colours)

Rangiatea Whakatane School For Young Parents

Check out the Rangiatea Facebook page and see what our fantastic teachers have been up with with our young parents: