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Waiheke High looks for help improving its communications

Waiheke High School wants to be the best school it can be.  Our ‘Striving for Success’ project has given us a good understanding of how our community sees the school. The next step of that project is to work with the community to establish what ‘best school’ means for Waiheke.   We’ll need to work with students, parents, staff and the wider community to understand this, so it will take some time.  Watch out over the coming months for your chance to tell us what ‘best school’ means for you.

One of the messages that came through from the project was that we’re not always good at communicating.  We want to fix that as quickly as we can. So we’re looking for someone to review our communications and tell us how we can improve them.

We’re looking for a communications professional(s) who understands online, local and traditional media. Ideally they will understand the way the island grapevine works and will be familiar with schools and the communication challenges they face. This will be a short term project contract awarded to the best applicant.

Expressions of interest including a covering letter outlining why you are interested in the work and what you would bring to it along with a brief CV should be emailed to Brenda Harrington – by Thursday 19 September. The Board of Trustees will then invite a short list of candidates to prepare a short proposal for the project.

A full project brief can be found here:

WHS Communication Audit Brief

Waiheke High looks for help improving its communications Read More »

Waka Ama Team triumph at Cathedral Cove!

On Sunday, 12 November, our waka ama team took part in the 10km Cathedral Cove Challenge in Whitianga. Students traveled to the Coromandel on Saturday, 11 November, and had a glorious day exploring Whitianga, Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach. A wonderful time was had by all. Everyone enjoyed the “fish ‘n chips family dinner” and our movie night.
 On Sunday we were up early to be ready for race briefing at 9. The Waiheke Island Waka Ama  Motu Mix team members, coach extraordinaire (Tony Parker), and experienced mentor, Fraser Munroe were all present to encourage, support and provide last minute tips for the team. Felix Blaha, who was steering the waka, was our “starter” and had to run from the beach to the waiting waka at the sound of the siren. Felix’s dash across the sand set us up for a fantastic start, with captain Beau Coxhead and team members Alice Hailstone, Aurelia Cottett, Arion Harrison-Hughes and Tane Wikaira committing to a hard, strong paddle over the 10km course. Rebecca Cunningham-Rose, who was on a SUP covering the same course, stopped to send a text message to team mananger, Mariette Dodd, at the halfway mark to tell the waiting supporters that WHS were “miles ahead”. I suspect that the yells of jubilation could have been heard right across NZ!
What a thrill when the team arrived at the finishing line, with Tane tumbling out of the waka and then sprinting to the time keeper to record their fabulous time of one hour and one minute! (At this stage of the race, there was much shouting, jumping for joy, celebrating, and some tears of happiness!).
Thank you so very much to Rebecca Rose and Kiera Pennell for looking after the team, driving and navigating, and being so encouraging, and a huge thank you to the Waiheke Waka Ama Club for their ongoing support, mentoring, and guidance. A big shout out has to go to Tony Parker, who has selflessly given so many hours to coach this team.
We returned to Auckland on Sunday afternoon, tired, but happy. We are also looking forward to many more great races and exciting trips.
Mariette Dodd
(WHS Waka Ama Manager)

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Thanks to Waiheke Local Board



Waiheke High School would like to acknowledge the support of the Waiheke Local Board and Auckland Council with funding for our 2017 Hillary Award Programme.  Their generous support will ensure we can continue to subsidise this worthwhile programme for our students.

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Schools get $40 million

Just over $40 million will be spent improving buildings at Waiheke High School and Te Huruhi Primary. 

Education Minister Hekia Parata visited Waiheke yesterday and announced that $23 million will be spent rebuilding Te Huruhi Primary and $17 million will be available to upgrade Waiheke High School.
The Ministry of Education funding will cover the cost of building 22 new flexible learning spaces, a new library and an administration area in new positions at Te Huruhi Primary.
The primary school’s hall will also be upgraded.

schools-get-40-million-adam-cels-3-rd-2016Most of the buildings at Waiheke High School will be upgraded and some will be rebuilt.
The redevelopment will include new year seven and eight teaching spaces, a new performing arts space and replacement of storm and waste water infrastructure, which will benefit both schools.

Work on the design will get underway soon, with construction expected to start in 2018.
A swimming pool will not be included in the redevelopments, says Ministry of Education head of infrastructure Jerome Sheppard.

“Shared community facilities are a more cost-effective solution than putting pools into every school, which is why we don’t fund new pools at schools.

“However, we understand that the schools are looking into options around collaborating with local community groups and councils, and we will support them in identifying a suitable site for a pool,” says Mr Sheppard.

Te Huruhi Primary principal Adam Cels and high school principal Jude Young are thrilled by the big news.

“A new school for the children of Te Huruhi is a wonderful outcome.
“It will provide a stimulating and safe environment to support student learning and development.
“This announcement is better than I expected and I want to acknowledge everyone who has supported us in getting to this critical milestone in our journey to a new school,” says Mr Cels.


Education Minister Hekia Parata announced yesterday that $17 million will be available to upgrade Waiheke High School, above, and $23 million will be spent rebuilding Te Huruhi Primary.

Education Minister Hekia Parata announced yesterday that $17 million will be available to upgrade Waiheke High School, above, and $23 million will be spent rebuilding Te Huruhi Primary.

The Ministry of Education indicated last July that it would fund a rebuild of Te Huruhi Primary, but the extent of the work planned has remained unclear.

Mr Cels says it has been “challenging” trying to manage the school’s ageing buildings, some of which appear to date back as far as the 1970s.

Mrs Young is “hugely excited” about the funding, which is good news “for the staff and the young people of Waiheke and the wider community”.

“I’m blown away because I think my job is to be ambassadorial for our students and our community and we’ve been heard and it’s wonderful.

“We’re going to have a twenty first century facility – it’s awesome,” she says.
In July last year, the Ministry of Education announced that a rebuild of the high school costing more than $45 million would not take place until 2020 or later.

That rebuild would have involved all the school’s buildings being replaced, except four new classrooms that were moved to the school early last year.

While awaiting news on the rebuild since 2013, the school has put off maintenance on classrooms, some of which are more than 20 years old.

Although the school is getting less than half the amount originally hoped for, the $17 million available will still go a long way, says Mrs Young.

“It’s substantial what will happen – far more substantial that I guessed or hoped or dreamed.
“I’ve always believed the heart of the school is in the classroom, but now I’ve got the heart and the body,” she says.

Ms Parata acknowledged the work of the schools’ boards of trustees, principals and staff over the past few years in making the school upgrades a reality.

“We only get one chance in a generation to significantly change school facilities, so it’s important we take the time to get it right,” says Ms Parata.

Both schools are in a “community of learning”, along with Waiheke Primary School.
“Investing in the buildings will support the collaborative work being done by all three schools to raise student achievement,” she says. • Rose Davis

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