News from the Principal's Desk

5th July 2019


Ka puta Matariki ka rere Whānui.

Ko te tohu tēnā o te tau e!

Matariki re-appears, Whānui starts its flight.

Being the sign of the [new] year!


Kai ora tātou

The term has now come to its end and what a busy one it has been.  Our students have been involved in lots of different activities and I am impressed with the amount of learning that they have achieved. In many ways next term is just as busy, but the focus is definitely shifting towards students completing their NCEA and undertaking plans for next year.

Some of the highlights recently have been, and in no particular order:

Kapa Haka Regionals

The kapa haka group competed at the regionals today (results are as yet unknown) They have worked immensely hard to prepare for this occasion which included spending 4 days up the Whanganui River and they stayed at Koriniti Marae (Hapu:Ngāti Pomoana, Iwi: Te Atihaunui-a-papa-rangi). This particular experience they found immensley rewarding, and visiting the local Ratana Church was a standout. Photos aren’t availabe as these have been embargoed until after the event but I would like to congratulate all of the teachers and the tutors for the work that they have put into the students as well as the students themselves for their commitment and dedication.

2019 Kapa Haka group at Koriniti Marae

Northern Suburbs Polyfest

Last Friday we performed at the Te Rauparaha Arena for the Northern Suburbs Polyfest. The group, plus four students from Onslow College, did extremely well, their programme had fluency and accuracy and we were immensely proud of them.  Next year we will find a different forum for our students to celebrate their culture. 

Leading up to this we held a pasifika festival here at the school which was attended by Newlands Primary, Newlands Intermediate and our College.  It was a wonderful evening of performance and it was great to see so many of our community in attendance.


On the 26th of June at 5am, approximately 100 people gathered at the Pavillion to celebrate Matariki, the beginning of the Māori New year. Matariki is the Māori name for the small cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades or the Seven Sisters and these become visible low on the north-eastern skyline at this time of the year.  It was a beautiful clear morning, and with the aid of the Science staff and their telescopes, we were able to track the stars. Matua Kealyn also gave a Karakia to welcome in the New Year.  The event was attended by many parents and we all enjoyed a shared breakfast and waiata performed by the students.

Newlands College choir at Big Sing

Newlands College choir at Big Sing

Big Sing – Northern Notes

On June 11th the school choir, the Northern Notes performed at the Big Sing.  This is the flagship event for choirs in Wellington and it runs over two days.  Our choir performed a programme of three songs, and one of them, the singing of the poem Flanders Field was deeply moving, especially for the elderly whom I was sitting with.

The choir also performed a song from the musical Hamilton and despite the Master of Ceremonies instruction that applause should be polite, our choir got a thunderous reception from the other schools – something that was deeply satisfying.

The Choir, along with the Art Department and the Level 2 drama class were also able to showcase their talents in the Winter Wander held last night.  This is an annual event and it allows our students to share their talents with a very receptive community.

Wa Ako

Last week after a considerable amount of planning the students had two days off timetable to work on their active learning Wa Ako projects. As in previous years, there was a wide variety of interests that were pursued and put on display.  This included the creation of new dance routines, planting donated trees from the Community Centre/Garden, writing storybooks for the local primary, developing and painting murals, teaching younger students new skills, and raising money and donating it to charity.  The students learned a lot about planning and have increased their skills in this area.  We plan to have a parent afternoon/evening early next term showcasing these projects.

Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees elections have been held and I would like to welcome new member, Sapphire Aitcheson.  Gavin Knight remains the Board Chairperson and the Deputy Chairperson is James Malden.  The rest of the Board is Glenn McStay, Brian Norris, Tom Logan, Michelle Mako, Ben Lau (staff representative) and Ben Clark (student representative).


You are probably aware that the teachers have ratified their employment agreement.  This means that their terms and conditions have been settled for the next three years and all industrial action has finished.  Currently our teacher aides’ union the NZEI is renegotiating their contract, and the secondary schools principals’ contract is up for renegotiation as well.

Next term has a number of significant events including the derived grades examinations for all senior students, the conclusion of the winter sports programme, winter sports tournament, and the NOSCARS.  Students will also be selecting their subjects for next year and for year 13s please be aware that there are plenty of scholarships becoming available if you wish to pursue tertiary study.  These events are in our calendar in the portal and it will be another busy term.


I hope that you all have a successful and rewarding break


Ngā mihi nui


Grant Jones

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+64 4 473 4136
Newlands College
68 Bracken Rd
Wellington 6037
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