9 July 2021

9 July 2021

Whāia e koe te iti kahurangi ki te tūohu koe, me he maunga teitei

(Pursue excellence – should you stumble, let it be to a lofty mountain.)

This whakatauki challenges us to pursue our dreams/our goals. It asks us to persevere through adversity and only bow our heads if the obstacle is truly great.

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa

We have now reached the end of Term 2 and I have chosen the whakatauki as I feel that it captures all the hard work that staff and students have achieved so far.  Compared to last year when we were challenged by COVID-19 we have been able to hold many of the things that make school special.  A couple of these which were all held in the last week of term include:

Our Kapa Haka team performed at the Wellington Regionals.  This is a highly competitive event and the students put in over 350 hours of training, as well as attending 6 noho maraes (sleep overs).  In the end, the students were placed 6 out of 12 but the score differences between places 3-6 were miniscule.  The winning school was Te Kura Māori o Porirua and over the years, they have been one of the top performing kuras in Wellington.


We celebrated Matariki on Wednesday July 7th.  It had rained through the night but fortunately it had stopped by morning. We gathered at 6am and lit our bonfire and welcomed in the new year.  The science department brought their telescopes but unfortunately Pleides was covered with cloud.  We were able to see Saturn and its moons though.  After the ceremony we had a very generous breakfast in the Pavilion then headed off to work.



Once again we had our Winterwander that showcased, Music, Art and Drama.  Our visitors were able to see a mix of singing, orchestras and bands, progress that was being made on the Art folders, and a Level 2 performance of Heavenly Bodies.  As always, the students enjoyed performing in front of a live audience. The feedback we received was extremely positive.


Year 9-10 Dance

This was a great way to end the term for our Juniors .  There were over 200 in attendance who had a great time.  It was not uneventful though.  We had isolated the smoke alarms in the hall, but smoke from the smoke machine seeped into the staff room, setting off  those alarms. We ended up evacuating the hall and waiting for the fire brigade to give us the all clear before we could resume.  It made for an interesting interlude.

We celebrated with our Year 10 Me Whakamātau award winners, with a morning tea on Thursday. These students were chosen by their Form Teacher as the embodiment of the five aspects of our school vision.


Next term is incredibly short for our seniors.  It is ten weeks long, followed by Term 4 which is 13 schoold days before NCEA starts.  I would calculate that students have 40-45 periods of study per courses left.  The pressure will certainly build.  Looking forward some of the significant events next term include:  Winter Sports Tournament, conclusion of the winter sports season, NOSCARS and the Year 11 Semi-Formal.


Next term also sees the building programme begin in earnest and I will detail that for you early next term.


I hope that you all have an enjoyable break.



Ngā mihi nui

Grant Jones



On-line enrolments are available at,


14 June 2021

I orea te tuatara ka patu ki waho

(A problem is solved by continuing to find solutions.)

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa

This whakatauki refers to the need for creative thinking, adaptability and perseverance. In order to solve a problem you need to have all of these. In the world of education it seems that we are currently facing many issues, problems and challenges. Working our way through is both time consuming and could easily distract us from teaching and learning which is at the heart of what we do.

You would be aware that currently under discussion is the NCEA review, the changes to the literacy and numeracy requirements, Mana ōrite mō te mātauranga Māori, changes to the Ministry of Education strategic planning requirements, the upcoming introduction of the National Education Learning Priorities (NELPS) and the list goes on.  Compounding this work is our own curriculum review, and as already mentioned, significant property developments that are happening in the school.  As the whakatauki says, we need to have perseverance, creative thinking and adaptability to negotiate these significant challenges.

In the last few weeks, a lot has occurred in the school.  Our Kapa haka group who are preparing for the Regionals went on a haerenga up to Hawera where they met some of Matua Kealyn’s whānau and stayed on the marae, Ngakaunui.  This environment was conducive to the hard work that was needed to perfect their performance programme and a lot of progress was made.  The regionals will be held at the end of the term.


Our school production Shrek has now been performed in front of sell-out crowds.  Given its cancellation last year due to COVID-19 it was good to able to finally bring all the hard work to the stage.  We have received a lot of positive feedback from our audiences and the cast, which numbered 80; students can be well pleased with their performances.  As always, there was some sadness that it is finally all over, and it was particularly poignant for those who have been involved with the school production for the last five years.  I hope that these students will continue with their love of theatre after the leave school.

Shrek Photo.

Virtually straight after the production had finished, the Big Sing at the Michael Fowler Centre was held.  Choirs from schools all over the Wellington region perform a three-song bracket.  We had two choirs, Northern Notes, and Notified participate this year.  For Notified, it was their first time.  The students did extremely well and Northern Notes obtained two awards, Best Performance for a New Zealand Song - I te Pō and the Adjudicator's Choice Certificate for their overall programme.


Last Saturday we had the highlight of the social calendar, the Ball that was held at Te Papa.  Te Papa is a wonderful place to hold such a function and it generates a special feel.  The students all had a memorable time and there are plenty of photos to evidence this.

Photos (2-3)

The end of the term is now less than 4 weeks away.  There is still plenty for us to do.  We will be celebrating Matariki on July 1st, and the Kapa haka regionals will be on Monday July 5th.  Our open night is this Wednesday, June 16th and enrolments for next year have begun.  More information about 2022 enrolments can be found here.

While this is going on we will be relocating our staffroom down to the Pavillion as our current one is going to be demolished and rebuilt.  Plenty going on for everyone.

Finally, I would like to pass a comment about vaping.  There seems to be a lot of misinformation around about vaping and it has recently been reported in Stuff  that it has reached epidemic proportions in schools. Some of the literature available in New Zealand in my opinion is quite tepid about the potential dangers of vaping.  Interestingly, I discussed this issue with a friend of mine who is an Associate Principal in a school in Brisbane, Australia.  The information available there is much more detailed and I think informative.  I have included links to this information for your consideration and a link to the New Zealand Ministry of Health’s position.





Newlands College is both a smoke and vape free school and the law requires this.

Ngā mihi nui

Grant Jones

21 May 2021

21 May 2021

‘He iti te kōpara ka rērere i te puhi o te kahikatea’

 (though the bellbird is small, it can reach the crown of the kahikatea).

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa

The whakatauki that I have chosen for this principal’s message is one that encourages people to succeed, especially when there are significant obstacles to overcome.  This term is extremely challenging for many of our students.  They have chosen to become involved with a variety of activities that are on offer such as Shrek, Kapa Haka, many of the winter sports such as rugby, netball, football, basketball, and badminton, and musical performances like the orchestra and the choir.  These are all wonderful opportunities, but it is also the time of the year when NCEA assessments are being “ramped up”, and learning can be challenging.  All these things are doable, but as the whakatauki implies, there is a need to be like the bellbird, highly focused, organised, and effective self-management is essential.

I mentioned Shrek, all the Year 9 students will see a matinee performance on Monday 31th May, then the evening performances run on the following Tuesday-Friday.  Tickets are selling fast so I would encourage all families/whānau who wish to attend to get their tickets quickly. Tickets are available at Student Reception or from members of the cast.

Next week we also have our Haerenga for the Kapahaka group heading up to Taranaki.  This will allow them to stay on a marae up there, and perform some of their programme for the local iwi.  We will have approximately 45 students involved and this intensive environment will help the students prepare for the regionals at the end of the term.

Progress on the buildings is being made.  The reroofing of the hall is nearing completion.  Its front, which had large bubbles where the paint would not adhere, has now nearly been replaced.  The back of the gym has had most of the rotted material removed and the wall is being rebuilt.  Unfortunately, it has affected the start of the netball season for the primary and intermediate schools. We are also still on schedule for the demolition and rebuild of the staffroom and the library because of weather tightness issues.  We should find out who the successful tender is in the next week or two.

With this work going on, we have lost many of our carparks. I would like to remind families/whānau, please do not come down the drive to pick up or drop off students during the day, as the site is so congested, and could become dangerous.

Our Education Review Office (ERO) audit continues.  In the past, the ERO team would have visited the school for about a week and produce a report for the community.  Now the process involves working with the school as it measures its progress against its strategic plan.  We have chosen our second goal, “Māori students will enjoy educational success as Māori and fulfil their personal and educational potential”. The challenge for us is defining what success looks like and how do we measure it.  A series of hui seeking feedback on these questions will be held shortly and we will share our progress with ERO.  Given this strategic goal will run for the next three years, it is quite possible that our review will also last that long.

We are now accepting enrolments for 2022.

On-line enrolments are available at,


I wish you all the best as winter arrives.

Ngā mihi nui

Grant Jones

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