1 October 2021

1 October 2021

He rā whatiwhati kō

(A day of hard work)

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa

I have chosen this whakatauki because it refers to how a community feels when they have collectively finished a hard day’s week.  In our case, I feel that we have had a hard term of work because of the COVID-19 lockdown, and our families/whānau have also had their challenges as well.  My sincere hope is that as the end of the year draws closer, that moving down to Alert Level 1 will become a reality.

However, we are not there yet, and when we enter Term 4 we have several hard decisions to make around attendance at end of year functions.  All ready we have had to make the difficult decision that only students can attend the Celebration of Sport.  To allow parents to attend would invoke the crowd limit of 100, which means that many of the recipients could not attend.  This would be very unfair. However,  we are exploring ways that we can live-stream our events legally. I will keep you informed of any changes should they arise.

Despite the lockdown, our senior students have coped very well.  So far,  68% of all the internal standards on offer have now been completed. Of these, only 16% have been recorded at the Not Achieved level.  The rest are at the Achieve, Merit or Excellent level.  Across all groups; year level, gender, or ethnicity, the students are performing better than last year.  Interestingly, the previous year’s group performed better than the 2020 group of students and that was a non-COVID-19 year.

Term 4 for the seniors is now extended because NCEA now starts on the 22nd November.  The extra time available to the students and the awarding of the Learning Recognition Credits makes me feel optimistic that the students will do well.  However, I would strongly encourage students to use the holidays to address any learning concerns that they may have.

The winter sports season has finally concluded with the finals and some semi-finals being played after lockdown.  We were delighted for our senior girl’s football team who won the Premier 2 competition, by beating Kapiti College 4-0 in the final.  An outstanding effort.

It was lovely to celebrate the mahi and mana of our awesome year 10 students. These students were chosen by their form teachers, as they embody our school vision. Congratulations and happy holidays!

The following is a message from the Chairman of the Board, Mr Gavin Knight.

“The Board of the College is considering a proposal from its Chair, Gavin Knight, to reduce the number of Parent Elected Board Members from 7 to 5. The reasoning behind this proposal is:

  1. a)to better ensure succession planning so that we have a steady stream of new Board members each three years;
  2. b)and, to create more space within the composition of the Board for co-opting additional members to ensure a range of representative voices.

The full proposal can be found at this link.

The Board is now consulting with various stakeholder groups.

This email gives you your opportunity as our student’s whānau to provide feedback on this proposal. If you wish to provide feedback to the Board please send it care of the Principal’s personal assistant ([email protected]).

The Board will consider any feedback received and make a decision on the proposal at our final meeting for the year – currently scheduled for Monday 29th November.

You can also contact the Board Chair via the same email address to discuss joining the College’s Board. There is a Board election in mid-2022 and it is likely there will be a number of vacancies due to retirements of current Board members.”

The building work at the school has now begun in earnest.  The staff have relocated down to the Pavilion for the next year or so.  The carpark has been taken over by Naylor Love as they set up their offices and the demolition work will begin shortly.  A Block roof will be coming off during the holidays, which is why we do not want students on site during the break.

I wish you all the best for the break and I look forward to Term 4 when the days are longer and warmer, and hopefully at Alert Level 1.

Ngā manaakitanga

Grant Jones

15 September 2021

15 September 2021

He maurea kai whiria!

Ignore small matters and direct effort toward important projects

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa

I have chosen this whakatauki as I feel that it sums up where we are at, at this stage of the term.  We are barely back from lockdown and already the end of the term will be with us in approximately two weeks’ time.  In the senior school, we are very much focused on getting the students ready for NCEA.  We have found that the students have either thrived during lockdown and achieved extremely well, thrived in some subjects but have done little in others, or engaged hardly at all.  Fortunately, the last group is very small.  Later in this message, I will share with you what New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) has done to support our students.

Another aspect of importance is that the building development at the school has started to gather momentum.  The new car park by the football field will become operational next week, and the carpark at the bottom of the drive will be converted into a building management site that contains multiple portocoms.  It is expected that we will have 60 plus trades people on site.  The demolition of the staffroom, B7 science lab, the library and C1 and C2 will take place between now and the end of the Christmas break. Kamatua Joe McLeod will bless the site on Monday September 20. Three re-locatable classrooms will be brought on-site to accommodate the students. While this is underway we will also be re-roofing A Block.  As you can see, important projects are underway.

I would like to advise you that as part of this process, the Pavilion will become our new staffroom for next term.  As a result, we have to relocate the contents of the staff room, the Deans and Guidance rooms and the Maths and English Departments.  To achieve this move, which is a large undertaking, will be school will finish at 1pm on Wednesday 29 September. Year 12 and 13s would have been in study during this time.  The Learning Support Centre will operate as normal.

Returning to the theme of NCEA, NZQA has announced some changes to support our students. I have already advised you of the later start to the examinations (22 November) and the later submission for portifolio work such as Art.  Learning Recognition Credits (LRC) were originally available for schools who had been at Alert Level 4 for more than 20 Days.  This has been reduced to 16 days so we are included.  This means:

Learning Recognition Credits (LRCs)

  • for every five credits a student earns, they get one extra LRC
  • students at NCEA Level 1 are eligible for up to eight additional credits
  • students at NCEA Levels 2 or 3 are eligible for up to six additional credits.


  • no change to normal requirements.

University Entrance

  • no change to normal requirements.

Students who has entered for NCEA Level 1 will now only need 72 credits instead of 80, and at Level 2 and 3, 54 credits will be needed instead of 60.

This week is Te Wiki o te Reo Māori (Māori Language Week).  While our college encourages the use of Māori Language and Tikanga throughout the year (it is part of our school’s strategic plan) we have organised some extra activities.  Paige Puketapu our Komiti Māori Representative and Board member has organised quizes, competitions and presentations at assembly to support the week.

Earlier in the year, Cyrus Dahl raised tens of thousands of dollars for the building of an accessible swings in Woodridge.  This facility has now been opened and the documentary of this story can be viewed on TV1 Sunday 19 September 12 noon.

Ngā mihi

Grant Jones


13 August

13 August 2021

Tohaina ō painga ki te ao

(Share your gifts with the world)

Ngā mihi mahana ki a koutou katoa

I have chosen this whakatauki as it resonates with me.  Our school motto is “Me Whakamatau, we work hard to achieve together” and in many ways, this whakatauki is an extension of this. We have many talented people in our school, both students and staff and it gives me great pleasure to see them helping, supporting, teaching and encouraging others so that they too, can enjoy success.

We have been reviewing our roll and now that the ballot has been held, we think that we will have about 250 Year 9s next year.  This will bring our total roll to about 1140 students compared to 1075 this year.  Given our growing roll and the significant property developments, that the college is undertaking, our Board has decided to expand the Senior Leadership Team for 2022.  We are pleased to announce the appointment of two Assistant Principals.

They are:

Amélie Kelder.

Amélie joins us from St Mary’s where she is Head of Languages and has had Deaning experience across several year levels. Recently she coordinated the Kapa Haka group, Ngā Maioha o te Rangikauia a collaborationof three kuras, St Mary’s, St Catherine’s and St Patrick’s. The group was placed third at the recent Kapa Haka Regionals. Amélie is passionate about the Arts and cultural activites.

Craig Milmine

Craig has been on our staff for 18 years and currently is the Head of Faculty for Social Sciences.  In addition, Craig has the oversight and management of the school’s network and all things related to ICT.  He is also extremely well known for taking significant roles in the production and direction of our show shows, this year’s being Shrek.

Now that we are at end of week 3 our winter sports programme is beginning to finish up.  Tournament week, 30 August – 30 October, usually signifies that the season is over with only 1-2 sports carrying on for another week.  There is a very quick turn around and a month after that we will be preparing our fields for the cricket season. To see what remains, check out our website at https://sports.newlands.school.nz/

Last Friday, 6 August,our students performed at the Northern Suburbs Polyfest held at the Te Rauparaha Centre.  While our group was smaller than many of the others, I thought that all their hard work was evident and they performed extremely well.  They and their families can be immensely proud of their efforts.  I would like to thank Lucia Waiker (Year 9 Dean), and Sophia Aitcheson (Parent and Board Representative) for all the hard work that they did with the group.

The College has had three teacher-only-days so far this year which have been mandated by the Ministry of Education.  These days have allowed schools to discuss, debate, and organise the changes that are coming up for NCEA L1-3.  These changes are the most significant the qualification has faced since its inception some 20 years ago.  Public consultation and feedback is still welcomed.  To learn more about these changes the following link will be helpful:


At our recent assembly I talked about derived assessments with our seniors.  In the past we have held derived assessments during an examination week. Derived assessments are used for students to practice for their external assessments in Novemebr.  The grades are also important if a student misses their external assessment for a legitimate reason.  The derived assessment can be used to replace the missed assessment result. However, what we found was that many students were sitting mainly internal assessments and ended up not having any derived assessments, and they sat at home for the week.  This was a waste of productive time, especial if they were working on projects such as Media films, DVC, Hard Technology projects, or any of the Art Portfolios. As a result we have decided that the derived grade assessments will be held during classtime and the students will stay on timetable.

At the same assembly I also asked our academic captain, Laura Stone to share some ideas around what makes for good study skills.  She offered a variety of techniques and also noted that we all learn in different ways and made suggestions how these could be accomodated.  I would like to suggest that you discuss with your son/daughter/child how their preparation for these assessments, which will occur in about 3-4 weeks is going.

I hope that you found the Parent/Teacher interviews useful.

Ngā mihi nui

Grant Jones

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