30 June 2023

30 June 2023

Mauri tū, mauri ora

(An active soul is a healthy soul)

Kia ora tatou

We have now reached the end of term 2, a term that has had plenty of challenges, but also a lot of achievement.  These have been reported in previous messages, things such as the production, the ball and the sports season.  Last week we competed in the Kapa Haka regionals which were extremely competitive.  I thought that we preformed extremely well gaining a 2nd, and two 3rd placings for our bracket.  However, when the scoring became available, the differences between the top placings was by the finest of margins, it does show how competitive the competition is.

The teacher’s contract has still not been resolved and is now going to arbitration.  The rostering home of year groups was disruptive to student and challenging.  However, if it forced the Ministry into arbitration then this could be considered a good thing.  I am concerned about the fall out though with students behind in their learning and attendance has fallen.  The holidays will be a good time for students to restore their health, complete outstanding assessments and be mentally ready for term 3. It is sobering to think, that if there are no interruptions and students are able to attend all classes, then the seniors have 50 periods per subject left until the end of the year!

We have had some staffing changes.  Whea Tehani Buchannan our Pou Matauranga has left the teaching profession.  Our Pou Manaaki, Matua Kealyn will be taking her place and we are now looking for someone to take his former role.  I would like to thank Whea Tehani for her contribution to the College and the beautiful toanga she gifted to the College which will be awarded at our prize giving.

Our Head of Science, Mr Geoff Miller is also leaving us after 17 years to take up a position with NZQA.  We thank him for his outstanding contribution to the College.

Deirdre O’Connor is leaving our Learning Support Centre after many years, having accepted a LESCO position closer to her home.  I would like to thank her as well.

Next term I will be away for the first five weeks.  Mr Floratos will be our acting principal in my absence.

I would like to wish every one all the best for the holidays and I also wish you all the best for term 3.

Ngā mihi nui

Grant Jones

2nd June 2023

"He kōtuku rerenga tahi"

(a white heron's flight is seen but once). 

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa

I have chosen the above whakatauki as it is used to describe a rare or unusual event. At Newlands College which has now been open for well over 50 years, there has only been two other principals.  However, I have advised the Board that after 43 years of teaching which includes 22 years of principalship at Newlands College, it is time for me to resign.  I will complete this year and this will give the Board ample time to go through a robust process so that my successor can be in place for 2024. I am not going to another position as I plan to spend more time with my family, travel to places I have always wanted to see and pursue some personal interests.  I have enjoyed my time at the College, it has changed dramatically over the years as can be expected and I believe the College is in good heart. I would like to thank the Board for affording me the opportunity to lead the College and wish all the staff and students all the best for the future.

This week has been an exciting week in that we have been able to perform our school production, HighSchool Musical. It has been performed in front of sell-out crowds and the cast and crew have received many compliments about their performances.  It has also been good to see so many past students, some who performed in previous productions return to see this year’s version.

Also running this week has been Samoan Language. Our Pasifika group went up to Katoa Kindergarten in Porirua to put on a performance of song and dance which was much welcomed. The team were rewarded with morning tea and lolly leis. Other activities include: a shared morning team, daily quizzes, Sapasui and a shared lunch.

Next Saturday, June 10 is the highlight of the social season, the school ball. Once again we will be at Te Papa and it is keenly anticipated.  We will send out a link so that the photos can be viewed.

A reminder that next Monday, June 5th is Kings Birthday, and June 6th is mid-term break.   I hope that you all enjoy the long weekend.

Ngā mihi nui

Grant Jones


12 May 2023

Tohaina ō painga ki te ao

(Share your gifts with the world)

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa

I would like to welcome you all back to Term 2.  A special welcome to those families and students who have started with us over the last couple of weeks.  When I undertake new enrolments and I am always interested in where families come from.  Interestingly, of the 10 new enrolments that I recently completed, the students all came from overseas.  Some of the countries include: Singapore, Philippines, South Africa, India, Tonga and Indonesia.  At last count we have 42 different nationalities in our school, which makes us a good reflection of cosmopolitan Aotearoa/New Zealand.

The whakataukī I have shared above, I believe is a reflection of our students. Students all have gifts and many of them find different forums to put them on display.  As I write this message, Ohora Kawana is competing at Ngā Manu Kōrero competitions, Susannah Sam won a $250 travel voucher when her team placed first in the Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) business competition, the Kapa Haka Rōpū are having their 4th Noho Marae this weekend as they prepare for the regionals, and there have been some excellent sports results (please see here ). The school ball, a highlight of the school year is Saturday June 10 and to date we have sold over 320 tickets

Last week the cast of the school production High School Musical were away for a three day camp.  The performances will be held on Tuesday 30 April to Friday June 3rd and the details are below.

School Production Promo

Industrial action continues as the Teacher’s Union, the PPTA and Te Mahau (Ministry of Education) continue to negotiate the teacher’s contract which expired 30 June 2022.  Secondary school principals are not on this contract so I am not familiar with the finer details of the negotiations.  However, my observations are these. My colleagues and I are finding it significantly harder to staff our school.  Younger staff members who could not travel during COVID-19 are now in a position to travel and are doing so.  The Universities who train teachers are finding that there is a downturn in numbers.  Recruiting staff from overseas is not particularly easy because of the entry requirements.  The teaching profession is aging and retirements are on the increase. Combined with these factors, there is significant change going on in schools, The Curriculum Refresh, the introduction of the new Literacy and Numeracy Standards, the changes to NCEA, the Aotearoa Histories curriculum.  There is also a lack of access to services for students who have various health and behaviour needs.  The profession certainly needs to be made attractive to potential teachers (when I started teaching, a teacher’s salary was the same as a Member of Parliament!). It is my sincere hope that the new contract when it is agreed upon, addresses many of these issues.

I would like to advise you that rostering home next is:

Tuesday 16 May - Year 9                Wednesday 17 May - Year 10 

I am pleased to advise you that Jasmax, an architectural firm with offices throughout Aotearoa/New Zealand has been awarded the contract by Te Mahau (Ministry of Education) to undertake the new, expanded masterplan for the school’s facilities and buildings.  We had an initial meeting with them last week and I am extremely pleased that we can start working towards building our new library, science labs and other classrooms.

The school will be closed Monday June 5th (Kings Birthday), and Tuesday June 6th (Mid-term break).

I look forward to seeing you at the production.

Ngā manaakitanga

Grant Jones


6 April 2023

Tē tōia, tē haumatia


(Nothing can be achieved without a plan, workforce and way of doing things)

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa

We have now reached the end of Term1 and in one sense it feels like it has gone very quickly, but in many ways Peer Support Camp at the start of the year seems a long time ago.  I expect that part of this is the weather, the summer that we didn’t really have and at times it has felt like winter.  The whakataukī speaks to all the events that we have achieved.  Many of the activities we have undertaken, for example the Tongariro Volcano Trip, Peer Support Camp, Noho Marae, attending the Ki-o-rahi nationals, the Duke of Edinburgh Tramp, and the summer sports programme have all required meticulous planning to ensure that they were successful, and in this way our students have been able to enjoy a wide and varied curriculum.

One of the things that has been hanging over us has been the inability of Te Mahau (Ministry of Education) and the PPTA to agree on new terms and conditions for the teacher’s contract.  There have been two strike days so far, and unless there is some movement over the holidays, further action can be expected. If there is no movement then we have been advised that the rostering home of Year Levels will begin on Thursday May 4 with Year 11, with other year levels over the subsequent weeks. There will also be a regional strike on Wednesday May 10.  I will keep you informed of any developments as they happen.

One of the big pieces of work that we have been doing over the last couple of years (which was COVID interrupted) was review our curriculum for the senior school.  With the curriculum change package for Year 11 coming into effect next year, we needed to decide if what we were doing historically was still fit for purpose.  The change package has seen literacy and numeracy become co-requisites for gaining any level of NCEA and can be first attempted in Year 10. NCEA Level 1 reduced to 60 credits.

Like many schools we have been considering the need to offer NCEA Level 1 as a fully credentialed qualification.  Currently 96% of students complete Level 1 at the end of year 12 and 90% complete Level 2.  Entry requirements into tertiary providers such as Weltech and Whitirea starts at Level 2, Level 1 has very little practical application.

Many schools such as Hobsonville College, Tawa College, Wellington Girls College, Epsom Girls Grammar School, St Hildas College, Wellington High School, and Lincoln College have done away with NCEA Level 1.  After much consideration we have decided that in 2024 Year 11 students will be able to take a mix of semsters and whole year courses which will be taught at level 6 on the curriculum.  We will be offering one external standard in English, and one standard (internally or externally assessed) in Mathematics. In other courses, teachers will be using internal Newlands College assessments. We have made this change because we are one of only a very few countries in the world that assess across all three year levels.  We also believe, that it will reduce pressure on our students, and improve their well being.  Equally important it will give us the opportunity to create new courses of learning where students can pursue their interests and passions.  We plan to hold an information evening early next term and I will provide you with the details later on.

As you will be aware our building projects were put on hold and placed under review. I am pleased to advise you the Te Mahau has now appointed Jasmax to undertake a new round of master planning for the school.  The original brief which looked at weather tightness and roll growth has now been expanded to include the future of our technology block.  The developments will be phased over several building projects, and hopefully a new architect will be appointed mid-year.

The Cullen Breakfast are organised by well known lawyer Peter Cullen.  At these breakfasts students from different schools are invited to hear well known speakers share their views on a wide range of topics.  At the most recent breakfast our Head Student, Qiana Ram and our Kowhai House Captain, Pedro Tscheliski heard our new Prime Minister, Chris Hipkins share his views and vision for New Zealand/Aotearoa post Jacinda Adhern.  The students found his thoughts enlightening and it was a worthwhile experience for them.


Recently we had Rhea Whiteman (100m, 200m and Long Jump, Ryan Mackay (3000m), Grayce Robins (60m hurdles) and Holly Robins (High Jump) selected to represent Wellington in the North Island Athletics comp. They all performed extremely well in a very high level of competition. Holly did extremely well picking up a second place in the Intermediate Girls High Jump.

Term 2 is going to be a busy term for us as well.  Winter sport will be starting in earnest by the end of week one, 29 April.  Our school sports website found here contains a wealth of information for you.  Also in Term 2 our school production, High School Musical will be performed on May 29 – June 2 and the highlight of the school social year, the Ball will be June 10th.

A reminder, that in Term 2 and 3 our Year 11-13 students are expected to wear their school blazers.  If your student has not yet got a blazer can you please make the necessary arrangements during the holidays. Our uniform stockist is NZ Uniforms, please use this link.

Term 2 will begin on Wednesday April 26, (the 24th is a Te Mahau Teacher-only Day and the 25th is ANZAC Day).

I hope that you all have a restful and well earned break.

Ngā manaakitanga

Grant Jones

10 March 2023

Mahia i runga i te rangimārie

Me te ngākau māhaki

(With a peaceful mind and a respectful heart we will always get the best results)

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa

We are now about to enter week seven and the College is well settled into its routines. The Student Council Executive for 2023 has now been selected after a process that involved both staff and students voting as well as an interview. I am pleased to announce them to you. 


Head Student

Qiana Ram

Head Student

Oliver Temel

Academic Captain

Ella Pan

Arts Captain

Jess Curry

Sports & Active Recreation Captain

Hamish Browne (Te Atiawa)

Wellbeing Captain

Adya Dutta

Kowhai House Captain

Pedro Tscheliski

Matai House Captain

Joshua Pinpin

Rimu House Captain

Izzy Godfrey

Totara House Captain

Justina Yamoah

Pou Rangatahi

Ngaire Wiki (Te Aupōuri)

Komiti Pasifika

Kristina Taefu

International Student Representative

Jaeyun Han

Board Representative

Bayley Puha-Harris (Te Aitanga ā Hauiti)


One of their first initiatives was to hold a fund raiser through a non-uniform day for Hōhepa Community House and School in Hawkes Bay.  Hōpeha provides residential care and schooling for students with intellectual disabilities and was badly affected by the recent floods and we were very pleased to donate $2000 to them.

Summer sport is drawing to a close and we are now selecting teams for the various winter codes.  Winter sport is significantly larger in terms of teams and numbers of students involved and there is significant organisation and administration involved. In many cases we rely on our senior students to take a role in the coaching and managing of our juniors.  This contribution is highly valued.  If any parents are considering coaching or managing a team, your contribution would be greatly valued.  Can you please contact our Sports Director, Api Taufa, [email protected].

Similarly, our students who want to be involved in the Arts, are having plenty of opportunities.  The cast for the school production, High School Musical has now been selected and rehearsals have begun.  The Shakespeare production for the Shelia Wynn competition is also in rehearsal and the interschool debating competition begins next week.  The choir has reformed and various bands and groups are forming throughout the school.

This year our kappa haka group will be going to the regionals, which will be held at the end of term 2.  They too have begun their practices and their first noho marae will be held this weekend.  There are six noho marae planned as part of their preparation including one which will take the group up to their tutors marae at Bulls.

Many of our students who are in the kappa haka group are also in our Kia-o-rahi group.  Although Kia-o-rahi has been played for a long time it is relatively new to secondary school sport.  We are excited that we have won our way through to playing at the nationals this Easter in Rotorua, and we have also qualified for the 2024 Nationals in Christchurch.  Adding to the excitement we have had a very generous donor who has provided free to each of the 20 students a new pair of Adidas rugby boots. Our many thanks to them. We wish the team all the best.

One of our traditional events, the tabloid sports was held last Friday.  The tabloids morphed out of the old style athletics day, with some dress up appeal that would not have been out of place at an earlier version of a sevens tournament.  The emphasis is participation, having fun, as well as being highly competitive as an inter-house competition.  Students participate in all sorts of activities such as disc golf, Kia-o-rahi, tug-of-war, and initiative activities.  At the end of the day, Rimu House was victorious, with Totara second, Kowhai third and Matai fourth. It was definitely a good day out.

We are at the time of year when we like to provide feedback to parents about the progress of their sons/daughters/student’s progress.  Two Parent/Teachers events have been arranged, one which will be on-line on Wednesday 22 March from 2-5pm, and second one on Tuesday 28 March will be in person.  Further details will be provided separately.  We look forward to meeting up with you again and meeting new parents to our College.

Ngā manaakitanga,

Grant Jones

15 February 2023

Tohaina ō painga ki te ao

(Share your gifts with the world)

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa

I would like to extend a warm welcome to all the students and their whānau as we begin the 2023 school year.  A special welcome to all our new Year 9s, over 230 of you and other students who have arrived at our school for the first time.

The year is now well underway and already we have achieved a lot.  Our annual peer support camp was a huge success, with the hot weather the water slide and swimming pool were very much in demand.  The students were able to work collaboratively with their new form class members and teachers and as we were unimpeded by COVID-19 restrictions we were able to after the full range of our usual activities.  By the time the students were formally welcomed by a powhiri the following week, the students were well versed in what it means to be a Newlands College student. They also had lots of fun and made new friends.

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 66% (51%) Level 2 83 (62%) Level 3 71% (54%)

Pacific People, Level 1 55% (55%) Level 2% 82% (65%) Level 3 (too few students)

We would also like to congratulate the following students who were successful in the Scholarship examinations.  Scholarship is awarded to the top 0.5-1% of all candidates.  Congratulations to:

Anush Goel gained 5 (English, Biology, Chemistry, Calculus, Economics), Rosie Meyer (Media Studies), Sopanhaven Sea (Calculus), and Thomas Ru (Biology,Chemistry,Physics).  Thomas was a Year 12 student so this is an outstanding 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 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 uploaded to the Parent Portal 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].

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome our new staff for 2023.

Emily Rietveld (Technology), Gabrielle Raz-Leibman (Technology),

 Kupe Renata (Technology), Moira Hurst (Guidance Counselor),

Olivia Small (Health and PE), Paula Sanchez Paoli (Social Sciences)

Ryan Sumner (Digital Technology), Sharon Greenfield           (Guidance Counselor, Part

time), Tessa-Kate Carroll (Sports Coordinator), Tom Woodham (English)

After a busy year with building work last year, we are back to the planning stages in 2023, when we will develop a new master plan for the whole school.  We will have some smaller projects going on though, reroofing several buildings exterior painting and unisex toilets being built. Another relocatable classroom arrives at the end of the month and it will be located in the carpark.

This week we have begin the selection of our student leaders and these will be announced in my next message.

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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