6 March 2021

6 March 2021

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa

Whāia te mātauranga hei oranga mō koutou

(Seek after learning for the sake of your wellbeing)


This whakatauki refers to the importance of learning for it is key to your well-being. If you follow the path of learning, the world will be your oyster.

In the last newsletter, I wrote about optimism and my hopes for this year.  Not long after, we had the COVID-19 Alert Levels raised.  Not what I had hoped for, and I certainly feel for my colleagues in Auckland schools.  Although the change was for a week, we did feel the impact. Our parents who normally attend our Academic Excellence awards assembly were unable to, dragon boating was postponed, several sports events lost their crowds and students travelling on public buses were required to wear facemasks.  The good news is that with no community cases being reported in the last few days, maybe we will see the lowering of the levels shortly.

Leadership for students is one of the aspects of our school life that is valued highly.  Over any given year students have the opportunities to promote and lead a wide range of activities ranging from academic, to sport, art, music and drama, well-being and the promotion of the school values.  This year we went through the process of students standing for elected positions, voting by students, voting by staff and interviews and I am pleased to announce our Student Executive for 2021.

Head Girl

Samantha Smith

Head Boy

George Shamon

Academic Captain

Laura Stone

Arts Captain

Rose Aldridge

Sports & Active Recreation Captain

Eve Bayliss

Well-being Captain

Paige Fairless

Kowhai House Captain

Georgia Lincoln

Matai House Captain

Corey Whitelaw

Rimu House Captain

Brayden Puketapu

Totara House Captain

Chelsea Reid

Komiti Māori

Paige Puketapu

Komiti Pasifika



International Student Representative

John Zhang

BOT Representative

Joshua Taefu


As mentioned each year we hold an assembly to present Excellence badges to those who gained an Excellence endorsement for NCEA.  To be eligible students normally need to have at least 50 credits at the excellence level, although this was reduced to 42 last year because of the impact of COVID -19. This meant that 40% of our Level 1 students were endorsed with Excellence (nationally 20%) for Level1 and Level 2, 20% (nationally 17%). Also pleasing was that 80% of Level 1 students got either an Excellence or a Merit endorsement (nationally 52%) and for Level 2 49%, (nationally 42%).

Last Friday was one of the traditional highlights in the school calendar year, the Tabloids.  A mix between fancy dress, unusual physical activities, and an inter-house competition it is always a great day.  This year the day started out under a typical Newlands fog, which quickly burned off into a glorious late summer’s day. At the conclusion of the relays, Totara House won the competition, which had been close.

In previous newsletters, I have commented on property developments that occurring at the school.  It is planned that by the end of July the staff room will be extensively rebuilt.  Part of this work will include the development of a guidance centre that will accommodate, Deans, Guidance Counsellors, Careers Counsellors, and Learning Support Co-ordinators.

In the middle of next year, the Library will be demolished along with two science labs.  It is planned to rebuild the library along with 4 science labs, 10 classrooms and an auditorium.

Also starting at the end of the term is extensive re-roofing of the school, which includes the hall, part of the Technology Block, as well taking the back wall of the Gym. AS you can imagine there is a lot of disruption to manage and we will be working hard to keep it to a minimum for our staff and students.

During this process, we will be losing our carpark, so the staff will be parking on the bottom field.  There will be no other carparks available, so if you need to visit the school, please park up on the road as the congestion is going to be significant.

We are also about to publish our first Me Whakamātau Reports.  An email will be sent to you advising when they are available.

Ngā mihi nui

Grant Jones

11 February 2021

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa

He ua ki te

He paewai ki ao

(Rain at night eels in the morning)

I would like to extend a warm welcome to all the students and their whānau as we begin the 2021 school year.  A special welcome to all our new Year 9s, over 250 of you and other students who have arrived at our school for the first time.

I used the above whakataukī because I interpret this as optomism.  After last year, a year in which COVID-19 was so challenging and disruptive, then I would like to think that this year can only be better.  Certainly we hope to provide the wide range of experiences through our learning programmes, co-curricular activity, and leadership opportunities that we usually do, but it is my hope that we will be able to improve on some of these through what we learned during lockdown.

At the start of the year, we received our preliminary NCEA results and while we do not get the final results for a couple of months, I am extremely pleased how successful the students were. The table will give you some idea.

As a reminder, any student who has been in the school for 70 days is counted in the data.  Also students if they identify with more than one ethnicity are counted in each of their chosen identities with up to three choices. The data includes students who have not yet engaged with Level 1 on the curriculum (NCEA Level 1 is Level 6 on the curriculum) and students who left during the year.

NCEA Results (%)


Newlands College Mean

National Mean

Level 1



Level 2



Level 3



University Entrance



Also of note is that our Pasifika and Māori students did extremely well, although in some cases using percentages can be misleading as the groups of students are small in numbers. For this reason, I have not included all the data. National means are in brackets:

Māori Level 1 85% (58%) Level 2 88% (70%) Level 3 77% (59%)

Pacific People, Level 1 92% (66%) Level 2% 67% (75%) Level 3 89% (67%)

Other academic results include Scholarship.  This year we gained 13 Scholarships, with Brandon Ru, our Dux, gaining two Outstanding Scholarships and 4 Scholarships. This earned Brandon an Outstanding Scholar Award, which will provide him with $5000 per year for 3 years for his University studies.  An incredible effort!

For families that are new to our school the ways that we communicate with you are very important. Communications, such as the Principal’s newsletter are provided on the website every two to three weeks, and we advise parents of them by e-mail. In addition, Parents and Caregivers can find important information specific to their own student(s) through the Parent Portal. This information will include attendance, timetable, invoicing, and personal details. The students' progress is also reported through the portal, subject by subject as significant pieces of work are completed. In this way, you will receive regular feedback. All students will also receive a Me Whakamātau Report. This will replace the engagement report that we have used in the past.  It will be posted on a regular basis and more details will be provided shortly. The portal is password protected and you should have received your password by now. If you have any difficulties with your password, please contact my P.A. Fei Gao at [email protected].

Student involvement in the wider life of the school is already well underway.  Our cricket teams have begun their competition, the dragon boat teams are training hard, auditions for the school production Shrek are continuing on from last year and the elections of our Student Executive are underway.

As in past years, we took our Year 9 students and their Year 13 Peer Support Leaders away to Camp at the start of the year. It was the biggest camp ever with over 300 students involved. The weather was outstanding and our students got involved in all manner of activities, swimming, a beach hikoi, the water slide and initiative activities. Everyone had a great time and the students made many new friends before their classes started.

The new students were formally welcomed to the school on the following Tuesday with a Powhiri.  This year we tried as much as possible to have the whole school involved although it had to be held in the hall instead of outside in front of our wharekura, Te Ao Marama, because of the weather. Things were quite cramped but there was lots of powerful singing and the haka made a significant statement to the new students that we welcomed.

I will keep you informed of what is happening in the college as the year progresses, please regularly check the website and the Parent Portal as there is a lot happening this term.

Ngā mihi nui

Grant Jones

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