July 2019

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.

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 immensley 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.

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 show case 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 story books 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


June 2019

June 11th 2019

He taonga rongonui te aroha ki te tangata
Goodwill towards others is a precious treasure

Kia OraTatou

In the last few weeks the school has been a hive of activity. The school production Beauty and the Beast performed one matinee and 4 evening performances, all to an extremely high standard.  We had sell-out crowds each night and over 1400 guests enjoyed the performances. Also we have received many texts and e-mails of congratulations from the community which is always nice feedback – thank you. The students had worked very hard to produce such a quality show, my congratulations to them. Also deserving congratulations are the Directors, Craig Milmine and Jonathan Skinner, the Producer Deb King, the Music Director Anthony Lander, along with the technical crew and orchestra who also worked extremely hard to bring the show together.


One of the highlights of the school calendar has to be the school ball which was once again held at Te Papa, an outstanding venue. The students all looked fantastic and had a fabulous time as did the staff. It is certainly one of the highlights of the school calendar.

Potential Changes to NCEA

Recently potential changes to NCEA were announced. Initially it sounded as though the qualification was going to become much more restrictive, with a heavier emphasis on external assessment, but subsequent publications suggest that this may not be the case.

Some of the key features include:


  • Abolishing NCEA and Scholarship fees starting this year.
  • Literacy and Numeracy becoming an externally assessed component of the qualification, worth 20 credits, and students can begin in year 7 to try and achieve it.
  • Achievement values will now be 4,5,or 6 credits, instead of the current range of 2-12credits.
  • An increase in external assessment, not necessarily examinations as it could be portfolio based.
  • An emphasis on reducing the number of credits that students take to improve their well-being.

As these ideas become final policies, I will update you.

Active Learning: Students off timetable Thursday 27 June and Friday 28 June

In Wā Ako this term, students are engaged in project-based learning which we call Active Learning. This might be a personal challenge, identifying and solving a problem, or engaging in a school/community service. There is a wide array of projects being undertaken based on the student’s own interests. We have people busy being creative, developing new products, constructing things like a Go-Kart, building an EEG machine, learning about health and safety issues, looking into sustainability, exploring the impacts of issues like sleep deprivation, contacting paleontologists at Te Papa to look at fossil exploration, making contact with psychologists at Victoria University to aid an investigation into how the brain responds to music and its impact on learning, and so much more. The learning goes beyond the more traditional confines of a subject in a classroom and into the wider community. The skills being developed from this learning are invaluable to them now and into the future.

We are looking forward to students bringing their Active Learning projects to life during the two days off timetable on Thursday 27 June and Friday 28 June. Students may wear mufti to school on these days. If they are going to be offsite, consent forms will be sent home prior to these days for your permission.

Parents/Caregivers are invited to a showcase of this learning on Wednesday 31 July beginning at 2.10pm, this will be followed by an afternoon tea for parents in the staffroom at 3.10pm.


School Donations

Newlands College is a  decile 9 school therefore we are not able to opt into the recently announced Government initiative for decile 1 to 7 schools to receive $150 per student instead of requesting donations from parents.

Donations play an important and significant part in enabling us to deliver the quality curriculum and resources that your sons and daughters currently receive and expect. Your continued support will be greatly appreciated.  

Key Dates for Enrolments in 2019 for Students in 2020

On Wednesday 12 June we are holding our ‘School in Action' morning and this will be followed on by an Open Evening. This is an ideal opportunity for anyone considering sending their son or daughter to the college to get a better sense of what it has on offer.

The School in Action starts at 9.00 am until 10.30 am with families being met in the hall by student guides. The Open Evening will begin at 6.00 pm in the Hall followed by a tour of the school.

Please Note:  All enrolment forms need to be completed on-line.  These can be found under the Enrolments Process on our Website www.newlands.school.nz

The enrolment timeline is as follows:

  • We would like all interviews for in-zone enrolments to be completed by Friday 27th. Once an on-line application has been received a link will be sent to you to make an interview time. Dates for interviews are:
  • Friday 14 June 8.30 am – 3.30 pm
  • Monday 17 June: 8.30 am – 7.00 pm
  • Tuesday 18 June: 8.30 am – 7.00 pm
  • Wednesday 19 June: 8.30 am – 7.00 pm
  • Thursday 20 June: 8.30 am – 3.30 pm
  • Friday 21 June: 8.30 am – 3.30 pm
  • Monday 24 June: 8:30 am – 3.30 pm

Year 9 Out of Zone Enrolments

  • Completed applications to be received by Monday 29 July 2019
  • Ballot for out of zone applications, notification of ballot results and acceptance of place offered via ballot will be advised following this date.

Year 10, 11, 12 and 13

  • Out of zone applications close Tuesday 15 October 2019
  • Ballot held if required Monday 4 November 2019
  • Parents notified of outcome Wednesday 6 November 2019

Please also be aware that Parent/Teachers evenings are coming up on Thursday 20 June and Tuesday 25 June from 4.00-6.25 pm. Bookings can be made electronically and this information has already been advised to you.

Nga mihi nui

Grant Jones


May 2019

17 May 2019

Kotahi te


he nui ngā

hua o te


A tree comes from one seed but bears many fruit.

Kia Ora Tatou

I would like to welcome you to Term 2 which as I have mentioned before is extremely busy.  At the end of the holidays we had the return of the Humanities Trip which had spent the previous three weeks in England, France, Belgium and Italy.  They enjoyed a vast range of experiences and these were shared at a recent assembly.  Planning for the next trip for 2021 will begin shortly and it will target our current Year 10 and 11 students.


School Production: Beauty and the Beast

The students have also been working hard to get ready for the school production which will be performed from Tuesday May 28th to Friday 31st May. Tickets are on sale at the school office and they are selling quickly.  We have had queries about Wednesday 29th May because of the industrial action (see below).  The school has gained an exemption by the PPTA to allow us to hold the performance.

The performance for May 29th will proceed as normal.


Industrial Action:  Wednesday 29th May

I have been advised by the PPTA, the secondary teachers union, that they will be holding a strike on Wednesday 29th May regarding their terms and conditions.  As the school’s union membership is over 90% there will be no timetabled classes on this day. The school however will remain open for supervision only.  For students in the Learning Support Centre you will be contacted separately regarding arrangements for the day.

If there are any changes to this arrangement I will advise you as soon as possible.


The Minister of Education has announced that fees will no longer be charged for New Zealand domestic students to participate in NCEA and New Zealand Scholarship and this is effective from 2019.

KAMAR (our school software management system) have advised us that they are working on an update to make the required changes. 

Once the update is available, those students who have already paid this fee for 2019 will have the full amount transferred to become a credit balance on their school account. This can then be used towards other school activities.

If you would prefer the funds to be refunded to you, please email [email protected] to request a refund giving your bank account details and the student’s name.

We appreciate your patience as we manage this process.

Other News


Early in the week we competed in the Junior Triangular Tournament, an annual event held between Tawa College, Onslow College and us.  In recent years the weather has played a significant role, but this year we could not have asked for a better day.  All events were keenly contested, and for more information I would encourage you to visit our website.

Congratulations to Laura Stone who was successful in gaining a scholarship to attend the NZCF Association of Choral Directors’ National Conference.  This will also make Laura eligible to a student accompanists of Big Sing choirs, one of the most significant singing events on the calendar this year.

A reminder that the school will be taking a mid-term break on Tuesday 4th June, the Monday is Queens Birthday.  We will make up this day at the end of the year.

I hope that I see many of you at the production.

Nga mihi nui

Grant Jones



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