Te Panui - 4 June 2021

Western Heights High School


We often use "Heights through Opportunity" in our advertising and publicity material and the opportunities offered here are evident in this newsletter. Earlier in the year students were challenged to become involved in co-curricular activities and their enthusiasm has led to many new groups being established and existing groups growing in numbers. I would like to thank the large number of staff and whanau who have put their hand up to support our co-curricular groups. This allows our students to develop a sense of belonging and pride.

Our prefect team has developed a structure of committees to develop specific areas of interest in the school - cultural, academic, arts, sport and communications. This week the student leaders ran assemblies to introduce these committees to the junior school. They outlined their purpose of growing student-centred activities and asked students to approach them with further ideas. This provides another avenue for students to become involved and engaged, leading to better outcomes in both academic achievement and well-being.

James Bracefield



EPro8 Challenge

The EPro8 Challenge is an inter-school science and engineering competition. Every year over 10,000 students from 800 schools from throughout New Zealand take part. Students take part in a series of competitions and events designed to promote science and engineering. On Thursday 27 May WHHS took three teams of four students to the year 9-10 Rotorua qualifying round of this competition. Ten teams from different schools around the area competed for a place in the semi-finals. The top 4 teams were invited to the semi-finals in Hamilton, which will be on Tuesday 6 July. The team “Such a Buzz” which included Cassie Ward, Dayna Schmidt, Harriet Johnston and Isaiah Hiva came third on the evening and will now be attending the semi-finals. Well done to the other teams also, team “5441” and team “Bill Nye” on completing a challenging event.

Chinese Success

Congratulations to Year 12 student Tyra Harrison for gaining a Merit Award in the Wellington Regional Chinese Bridge Speech Competition! Trya submitted a video of her speech and song.

She sang a very popular Chinese love song “yuèliàng dàibiǎo wǒde xīn”月亮代表我的心” - the moon represents my heart. We are so proud of her efforts.

Laytee George


Year 10 students happily making mince pasties for their international unit in Food Technology.

Artist of the Week

Sophie May Level 2 Painting student.

Sophie May has been selected as our Artist of the week. She is currently working on her 2.2/2.3 Internal looking closely at her new Artist model to inform work.

Her chosen artist model is Kelogloops.

His work blends abstract and surreal art styles with anime influences from his upbringing. He paints with the intention of capturing fleeting and intangible feelings, portraying his figures suspended in time.

Congratulations to Sophie May.

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9 Mātauranga Māori STEM Class

Western Heights High School introduced Mātauranga Māori STEM as an option class for the first time this year. This programme is delivered by Dr Manuel and plays an important role of highlighting the significant knowledge and skills embedded in Māori ways of knowing and, Māori knowledge. Although new to most secondary schools, learning and research at the interface of Mātauranga Māori and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics/Medicine) is a powerful and well known practice among Māori academics such as Dr Kepa Morgan (Ngāti Pikiao), Dr Daniel Hikuroa (Ngāti Maniapoto) and, Dr Michael Walker (Te Whānau Apanui).

“The interface of science and Indigenous knowledge is an obvious area where Aotearoa NZ is genuinely unrivalled. Mātauranga Māori – defined as Māori knowledge, Māori methods of knowledge creation and Māori ways of knowing (Mercier & Jackson, this issue) – is the Indigenous knowledge system of this land. Mātauranga has survived and evolved as a dynamic and generative knowledge system despite extensive efforts to expunge it through legal, social and political means (Simon & Smith, 2001; Smith, 1999; Ward, 1995).

We need multiple ways of thinking, knowledge systems and approaches to understand and respond to complex challenges including climate change, food insecurity, biosecurity, health inequities, poverty and the disruptive impacts of digitalisation. This means investing in our comparative advantages, making the most of the opportunities that they present, and enabling communities to contribute to solutions.” (Office of the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, 2019)

In Term 1 our students learnt about the Maramataka (Māori calendar) with an emphasis on observing the interconnectedness of our environment (the lunar phases) and our people. Students undertook outside-experimental work growing plants, from seed, on different lunar phases. Those lunar phases were known to be either excellent, not recommended or simply okay for planting food. In addition to planting their seeds and monitoring their growth, students also voluntarily tidied up the small stream that runs along the back of Karekare block. The stream that was choked with weeds and littered with plastic wrappers was carefully cleaned up by our students. Today the stream runs clear and free of obstruction.

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Spanish Immersion Camp 2021

Hola familia de WHHS!

From Thursday 27 to Saturday 29 May, 15 WHHS students attended the Spanish Immersion Camp which was held in Rotorua. This year at camp there were more than 150 students from 13 different schools from the North Shore to Wellington. The camp was super fun and totally packed with very cool and interactive activities! We had three great days of speaking Spanish, visiting the Tree Walk in the Redwoods, taking salsa, sumba and cha cha cha dance lessons, cooking lessons, doing escape rooms, playing games, piñata making workshops and putting together a talent show. We also went to the Poly Spa for an evening of well deserved relaxation. It was great to see so many students from so many different schools come together and bond around their love for Spanish and their interest in learning more of the language and culture.

The highlight of the three days was the Tree Walk and treasure hunt in the Redwoods. The talent show also provided a unique opportunity to showcase all the language talent our students have when it comes to dancing, singing and performing in Spanish. Everyone had a great time and everyone contributed to the success and enjoyment of the camp. Thank you Señora Mary for accompanying us too! Our WHHS students were recognised as amongst the friendliest and most outgoing students in the camp, and this was great. We all look forward to the next Spanish Immersion Camp! Muchas Gracias!

Señor Tomás

Censor for a Day

Stay Classy, Heights

On Thursday 27th of May, a group of 70 Heights students and teachers spent the day at Reading Cinema with Te Mana Whakaatu, The NZ Classification Office (OFLC) learning about what goes into being a censor for the day. The team led us through the process of what classification meant and how they viewed things that could be censored, reinforcing their motto “Watch carefully. Think critically.” They don’t just do film, tv and print media. Internet and streaming are big focus areas, but also they will look at things like tee shirts and even vans - remember the Jucy campers?

There are five ‘gateway’ markers for viewing with potential social harm and potential social worthiness being considered in everything. We were taken through some exercises looking at film clips, discussing these areas and ranking them in relation to the gateway criteria. Then we watched a film after stocking up on popcorn, icecreams and huge drinks (we were at the movies, after all).

Watching the film and then having to use the knowledge we had picked up to place a rating on it meant there was a lot of hands up, a lot of opinions and some debate about whether it should be an M, an RP16, or an R16. So next time you ask why a game is an R18 or a movie is RP13, know that a lot has gone into that decision and there are specific reasons behind it.

And for those concerned that we had a couple of 15 year olds in the audience, we had followed official procedure with parental permission and the OFLC had applied for an exemption (from the OFLC) to show the film.



Year 9 student, Maia Drabble won silver at the recent Midland Gymnastics Competition. She now prepares to compete in the ‘tumbling’ and ‘artistic floor’ routines as she represents the Bay of Plenty at the prestigious National competition later in July. Congratulations Maia!


Western Heights High School Girls U16 10 a Side participated in the Rugby Festival held in Paengaroa on Monday 17th of May. They came away with 2 wins and 2 loses. The two wins were convincing with their first game against Edgecumb College score being 60-Nil. They then went on to play a strong side from Tauranga Girls College where we went down 27-15. Their third game was very close where they went down by 1 try 24-19 to Mount Maunganui College. The girls then finished off with a strong win against Taupo nui-a-tia College 37-7. Well done to the girls and looking forward to starting our season next week.


We are now into rounds 2 and 3 of the Victory UP ESports NZ League of Legends tournament. Both Heights teams are performing extremely well and are unbeaten so far in the tournament.

Results for Rounds 2 and 3. (all matches are played on Wednesdays at 5pm.)

Round 2

WHHS BoxOfSporks vs Patea Area School – win WHHS

WHHS Gooners vs Selwyn College – win WHHS

Round 3

WHHS BoxOfSporks vs Katikati College – win WHHS

WHHS Gooners vs Rutherford College – win WHHS


Both teams came away with massive wins, smashing their opponents in 23 minutes in both weeks.

The teams are yet to be really challenged in the tournament and continue on the path of victory.

"Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts."

Team Captain - Eric Yang (WHHS Gooners)

Team Captain - Lachlan Irwin (WHHS BoxOfSporks).

A Gear (E-Sports Co-Ordinator)


Premier netball has been underway now for a couple of weeks. They have been put into the Open Secondary A grade and played WHHS Development winning that game 36/6.

The Premier shooting circle enjoyed a rotational game with Molly Phillips and Cleo Poihipi leading out strongly. Allannah-Grace Haira and Maia Harrison taking court in the second quarter, taking the team into a strong lead at half time.

The defensive end worked hard throughout the game and combinations were trialed here between Jyme-Lee Merito, Rita Ngatai, Cleo Poihipi and Molly Phillips.

Overall, the team played consistent netball and both teams enjoyed playing one another.

On the 26 May the Senior Premier team played Rotorua Girls High. This team is always a good challenge. Our team started strongly taking out the first half ahead 5/2.

We stayed with the same team of Maia Harrison GS, Allannah-Grace Haira GA, Pania Paul WA, Raena Smith C, Haeun Kang WD, Molly Phillips GD and Rita Ngatai GK. Defensively the girls worked well and ended up behind by 2 at the half time break.

Changes were made through the mid court to open it up more. Players all worked well but a slippery ball and wet conditions made it difficult for the girls to keep the ball in hand.

RGHS came out strong in the second half winning convincingly 15/31.

Sideline support was fantastic and much appreciated by all the team.

On Wednesday 2 June, the Premier team played Kahukura. The lineup was: Maia Harrison GS, Allannah-Grace Haira GA, Jordon Forster WA, Raena Smith C, Haeun Kang WD, Pania Paul GD and Rita Ngatai GK. The team had another strong start, playing good, structured netball. Defensively they were tight and took out the first half 25/5.

There were changes throughout the game (Cleo Poihipi GS, Ruthy Rika GA, Jordon Forster WA, Raena Smith C, Rona Waerea WD, Pania Paul GD and Jyme-Lee Merito GK.)

The girls were able to maintain their momentum but did need to be more disciplined with distance and throwing as their passes tended to be big lobs down the court.

Overall, this is a talented bunch of girls, some of whom have made the year group rep’s for Rotorua. We would like to congratulate these players U/16 A Team - Nessakiah Titoko, Jojo Hicks, Jyme-Lee Merito. U/16 Development Team - Jordan Forster. U/18 - Pania Paul, Ruthy Rika, Molly Phillips, Raena Smith, Cleo Poihipi

The Junior A Team also won the Pita Pit Netball Tournament held recently in Rotorua. The girls won a trophy and $100 Pita Pit voucher! Well done Junior A Netball; Nessakia Titoko, Kaia Ainsley, Sheill Flavell, Rangipawa Hill, Jystis Hiraka-Rakatau, Jayme Ngatai, Seke Rika, Leilani Seibouma, Merenia Tapsell and Harriet John

Environment Club

In week 3, two Environmental Club leaders Megan Gulliford and Sean Gentozala represented our school at a Enviro meeting with other schools at the University of Waikato. All students spoke about their environmental projects currently in their schools, such as solar panels, sustainable gardens, recycling food & plastic items, and waste management initiatives. Sean and Megan came back from the meeting invigorated with sustainability ideas, and determined to help our school with its waste management and minimisation.


On Wednesday, 19th May, Ryan Zillwood and Khyen Hopkins represented Heights in the Bay of Plenty (BOP) Secondary Schools Junior Team Badminton Tournament. The tournament was held at the Rotorua Badminton Hall, where we train every Thursday. The pair played against five other teams from local schools (including Taupō) and did well enough to progress to Division 2 of the BOP Finals in Tauranga next term. Well done boys! Tinō pai!

On 10th June, our senior teams will be competing in their qualifying event at the same venue.

Ngā mihi

Mr Slater (TIC Badminton)


University Scholarships

MoneyHub, a consumer finance website, has published a guide to hundreds of scholarships for any student planning to start university in 2022. The comprehensive list includes scholarships offered by every university as well as those specifically available to local students. A list of privately-funded, Maori, Pacific and international university scholarships completes the list. Applications close throughout the year, with tens of millions of dollars available. MoneyHub has also published a list of tips for scholarship success.

For more details and to find suitable scholarships, visit https://www.moneyhub.co.nz/


Studylink helps students make informed choices about their student finance, how to apply for it and manage it online. Follow this link for help with what you need to do when you are starting to study https://www.studylink.govt.nz/starting-study/


MTF FINANCE HAS LAUNCHED THE FUTURE LEGENDS SCHOLARSHIP. It has been developed to support and nurture talented young Kiwis from a range of disciplines. They are looking for the legends of tomorrow; the sporting greats, the performers, the change-makers.
MTF Finance will award six $5,000 cash prizes nationwide over two rounds throughout a year moving forward. Applications are open to New Zealanders aged 13-21 years.

Winners will be chosen from three categories:

  1. · Sport
  2. · Academia and entrepreneurship
  3. · Music and arts

For further information see https://www.mtf.co.nz/next-generation-future-legends/


Athlete Development and Well-Being Workshops

A reminder that the Athlete Development and Well-Being workshops are coming up. These are free workshops for athletes, coaches and parents. Covering topics such as nutrition, load management, recovery, resilience and sleep.

Rotorua, Tuesday 8 June

Whakatāne, Monday 14 June

Taupō, Tuesday 22 June

6pm – locations TBC

To register please email belindam@sportbop.co.nz

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Nigel Latta - The First Decade

Tuesday, July 6th, 7:30pm

Lynmore Primary School , Iles Road, Lynmore, Rotorua

Adventures in Parentland :
There’s no doubt that raising kids is hard work. Large parts of the journey are covered in worry, confusion, and guilt. Despite the fact that we’re living in a digital world where all human knowledge is just a click away, somehow that just seems to raise more dust than it settles. In this entertaining and unflinchingly honest evening, Nigel will deal to some of the myths about raising children, and offer some ideas for a kinder, simpler, more enjoyable approach to parenting. He’ll take the audience on an entertaining journey into the heart of Parentland, to show us all how we can survive the first ten years of raising children with the least amount of stress that’s humanly possible… and raise happier more resilient kids as well.

Please ensure that you bring your ticket with you on the night.

The First Decade

Tickets can be purchased via this link


Rotorua Cadet Corps

Cadet Corps is a uniformed organisation for ages 13 to 18 years which provides military-based leadership, personal development and operational training including drill, first aid, land based navigation, land-based Search and Rescue, survival skills and weapons safety training.

Parade night for the RDCU is every Tuesday during school term from 6.15 pm to 9.00 pm at the Cadet Hall at 23 Geddes Road, Rotorua. If you are interested in joining you are welcome to come along to any Parade night.

To find out more information visit www.cadetforces.mil.nz or contact the Unit Commander Major N D Breen, NZCF on 0272910102.