Ōtaki College News, February 2015


R_college_rightR_College-top-rightFrom the Principal

Hutia te rito o te harakeke. Kei hea te komako, e koe e ko?
Ki mai koe ki ahau
He aha te mea nui o te ao?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.

Pull out the centre of the flax. Where is the bellbird, the song?
You ask me, what are the important things of the world?
I reply, It is people, it is people, it is people!

2014 was a very successful year with the College being recognised nationally for its outstanding work in raising student achievement, Restorative Practices and implementation of Positive Behaviour for Learning School Wide and associated support programmes.

2015 will be a year where we will be consolidating this work. The College is contracted by the Ministry of Education to act as a demonstration school for other schools across New Zealand. Schools will be visiting to look at processes we have put in place to make Ōtaki College a school where students and whanau feel valued, and to study the resulting improvements in academic and social outcomes.

Following Ngati Raukawa and our College tikanga we have welcomed a number of new students, whanau and staff into the College. The Powhiri was followed by a morning tea and the launch of our new PB4L/Restorative practices video which was very well received by students and whanau. The video (which can be viewed on UTube) reinforces the message that we are a Positive Behaviour for learning and Restorative Practice School. We focus on building positive relationships and our expectations sit under ROAR – Respect, ŌC Pride, Active Learning and Responsibility.

New Staff

We would like to warmly welcome the following staff to the College in 2015:

  • Lynne Walker — Special Education Needs Coordinator
  • Coline Diver — Mathematics
  • Sam Ward — Health/PE/Outdoor Ed, relieving in 2015 for Daniel McGrath
  • Grace Taniora — Māori, relieving 30 weeks for Ricki Baker (study scholarship)
  • Wendy Joyce — Science, relieving terms 1 and 2 for Bruce Anderson (on sick leave)
  • Hayley Batcheler — Science, relieving 2 terms for Dawn Hirschberg (study scholarship)

Kapa Haka

This year we are looking to build opportunities for our students to participate in Kapa Haka and to utilise this involvement through assessments in NCEA Māori Performing Arts.

Kahura Cameron will be tutoring Kapa Haka with Grace Taniora and this will take place every second Wednesday from 9.15 am to 10.10 am. The aim is to involve year 7 to 9 students at this time and give older students the opportunity to also get involved as this develops over the year

Important reminders

  • Late Starts — now on Fridays.
  • Barrier arm – this is in place before school, during break times and briefly after school for the safety of the students. Please use the visitor car park behind the MoE building at the front gate if you need to come into the college during these times.
  • Picking up and dropping off students on Mill Road – please do not park on the yellow lines to do this. They are placed there so cars do not park there and do obscure the view of students on the crossing.
  • Bike Helmets — if your child is riding a bike to college they should be wearing a bike helmet. For your child’s safety please make sure that this is the case.
  • Students with Motor vehicles — these must be parked out of the school grounds. Students must comply with the conditions of their licence. Students with restricted licences must not drive with passengers!

Teacher Only Days in 2015

We have three Teacher Only Days planned. School will be closed on these days: 16th March, 28th April and 18th May. School will also finish early on Thursday 5th March — at 1.25pm — to allow for teacher professional development. In addition to this there will be no lessons on 1st April to allow parents and students to attend student/teacher conferences.

Student Leadership

In 2014 we made a decision to widen leadership opportunities in the college to reflect the desire of a large number of students to step up into positions where they could make a difference in college life. A significant change in structure is that we now have our Heads of School being given responsibility for a specific sub council and they link their work with the House Captains. The team is made up of:

  • Head Girl — Clare McInerney-Heather
  • Head Boy — Tevita Kata
  • Associate Heads:
  • Cultural and International Council
    • Kyuwon Kim and Toia Temperton-Royal
  • Health and Environment Council
    • Adele Finnie and Isla Gray
  • Sports Council
    • Erin McArley and Aisea Nelson-Latu
  • Arts Council
    • Isobel Cudby, Francesca Flaws, Grace Teu

F_MR15_OC-Heads-of-School-House-EventHouse Captains


  • Sean Byers-Cook, Captain
  • Ines Depner, Vice-Captain


  • Taara Rice, Captain
  • Lana Richardson, Vice-Captain


  • Hemaima Rikihana, Captain
  • Hayden Rings Vice-Captain


  • Rhyna Tawhara-Clode, Captain
  • Ryan Walker, Vice-Captain

Museum Art Hotel Supports Major Art Project

The Year 10 College art students are about to embark on a major art project that will be designed to celebrate the link between Ōtaki College and Robert Gordon’s College in Aberdeen through the Ōtaki Scholar and Sander Scholar.

Naval paintings by Wallace Trickett

The project will be supported by local artist, Wallace Trickett, who is a renowned naval painter. The students will paint a series of scenes onto panels which will be mounted on the rear wall of the College hall. There will be a series of different scenes that will depict the longstanding connection between the two colleges that commenced in 1937 when the first Ōtaki Scholar travelled to Ōtaki. It is expected that the scenes will depict;

  • the entrances to both Colleges,
  • the Colleges’ Crests and the Sander Ties logo (Sander Scholar)
  • the SS Otaki steaming along the west coast of NZ (by Ōtaki)
  • William Bissett Smith VC in the wheelhouse of the SS Otaki.

This art work will be unique to the College and we envisage a special unveiling of this later in the year. The XŌtaki College Foundation Trust have worked incredibly hard to support this initiative and have used their connections to engage with the Museum Arts Hotel and former ex-student Chris Parkin (owner of the Museum Art Hotel) to help make this project happen.

A very special thanks goes out to Chris Parkin and Museum Art Hotel who saw the value in this project and who have funded the project. Special thanks also to Conor Colbourne/Ōtaki Hammer Hardware who have donated all the materials. This project could not have gone ahead without their generosity.

Watch this space as we keep you updated on this project’s progress.

Sander Scholar

Alana Fraser, Ōtaki College’s 2014 Sander Scholar, returned recently from Scotland. She spent two weeks in January visiting Robert Gordon’s College in Aberdeen. Alana commented: “Robert Gordon’s College is absolutely breath taking. Steeped in so much history, their buildings and the many other places that I visited showed me that New Zealand is such a young country and nation. I felt like I was home when I met the Principal, teachers and students. They were so friendly and welcoming.”

Staff at Robert Gordon’s College commented:

“We loved having Alana in Aberdeen, it was a very busy trip for her where she displayed great stamina, friendliness and warmth.” Simon Mills, Principal

“Alana is a fantastic role model and ambassador for Ōtaki and New Zealand. Everyone who met her and spent time with her has commented on what a lovely and enthusiastic person she is. Hearing Alana speak about her Maori background and from a linguistic point of view, to hear Alana speak and share in Maori traditions was a great experience for all.” Gregor Duncan, Physical Education Faculty

Talking about her trip Alana said “Most days I would go to the College and speak to students in their classes. I would focus my presentations on the history of Ōtaki, the links between my town and Robert Gordon’s College and the link between Sander Apparel and my scholarship to visit the College. I would also focus on the revival of our language which generated a lot of response because Scotland is looking at ways to revitalise its traditional language too.”

Highlights of the trip were experiencing Ceilidh — Scottish folk dancing — and a highland tour to the Isle of Skye. Alana was also thrilled to be taken on a surprise visit to Fraser Castle, which is not usually open for tours in winter. “This, along with my experience at the Culloden Battle Field, finding out about the history of my Clan and where my ancestors fought and some passed, was an extremely special and spiritual experience. My Scottish side is something I’ve always wanted to get in touch with as I am heavily aware of my Māori Whakapapa.”

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank many people for trusting me with this prestigious award:

  • Shelley McCrae, Director —Sander Ties for making this scholarship possible,
  • Ōtaki College for nurturing me for 5 years and giving me the chance to lead the college as Head Girl in my final year,
  • Rex Kerr for the richness of historic information pertaining to the SS Ōtaki and its links to the town of Ōtaki,
  • Nga Hapu o Ōtaki for their ongoing manaakitanga for this kaupapa each year
  • Robert Gordon’s College — for welcoming me and looking after me throughout my trip.”