COL Conference Wed 22 February

Our first COL conference for the year was held at Waitakere College on Wed 22 February attended by 48 teachers from primary, intermediate and secondary schools across the COL, along with Principals and Ministry of Education representatives.
The schools involved in our Waitakere Community of Learners (Te Kahui Ako o Waitakere): Summerland, Western Heights, Birdwood, Pomaria, Ranui, Holy Cross and St Paul’s primary schools as well as Henderson Intermediate and Waitakere, Liston and St Dominic’s Colleges.

The conference marked a new phase for the community as we welcomed three highly respected professional development providers who will be working with our teachers over the next three years. They are:

  • Dr Alison Davis of Vision Education, who will focus on how to accelerate progress in literacy - both reading and writing
  • Drs Roberta & Jodie Hunter of Massey University who will work directly with classroom teachers to help students learn the skills of problem solving in mathematics.
  • Laurayne Tafa and Jenna Crowley of Cognition Education, who help schools and teachers become more culturally responsive.

COL Leader and Deputy Principal Shona Smith commented on the benefits of accessing such high level expertise. “We can see that the professional learning will support our teachers to accelerate the progress of our students in literacy and mathematics and to work in ways which are culturally responsive.”

COL meeting 22 Feb 2017


Each school has also chosen one of the three providers for its own in-depth focus for PLD in 2017 – for Waitakere College the main focus will be on literacy, while the Mathematics Dept. will also be working with the Maths providers.


We’re in the news again

You may have seen the recent NZ Herald article about our COL, described as “one of the country’s most advanced Communities of Learning” , with a link to a video interview with COL leader Shona Smith.

Link to NZ Herald video

A photo of some of our teachers from the first COL conference in June 2016 has been used on the cover of a recent ERO report on Communities of Learners.


COL Teachers

For more recent news stories about Waitakere College, click here

Vinaora Nivo Slider 3.xVinaora Nivo Slider 3.xVinaora Nivo Slider 3.xVinaora Nivo Slider 3.xVinaora Nivo Slider 3.xVinaora Nivo Slider 3.xVinaora Nivo Slider 3.xVinaora Nivo Slider 3.x

Term One always sees our school overflowing with colourful costumes, beautiful singing, beating drums and elegant dancing in the afternoons and early evenings, as cultural groups practise dynamically to prepare for the annual ASB Maori and Pasifika Polyfest. This year we entered 5 Cultural groups and 7 Speakers in theSpeech competition. Atotal of 192 students performed on the Maori, Niuean, Diversity and Samoan stages from Wednesday 15th March – Saturday 18th March. Groups also performed for our community at the school Fiafia night, which is a popular and entertaining event of our school calendar. Our groups all performed and behaved impeccably.Thank you to all the Staff and Tutors involved. 


  • Cultural groups 

  • Roopu Kapa Haka – staff in charge: Whaea Pearl Snowden 

  • Filipino group – staff in charge: Geraldine Gillies 

  • African group – staff in charge: Emelda Fransch-Jonathan 

  • Tuvaluan group – staff in charge: Candice Powell 

  • Samoan group – staff in charge: Wez Itamua 


  • Speech Entries  

  • Year 10 Niuean – Taylyn Pulefale 

  • Year 10 Samoan – Moala Matapula 

  • Year 11 Samoan – Fa’auta Tupito-Esau 

  • Year 12 Samoan – Osana Tuigamala 

  • Year 13 Niuean – Anton Pulefale – placed 3rd in the senior section 

  • Year 13 Samoan – Mary Lumsden 

  • Senior Samoan Impromptu – Frank Seve (year 12)

For more recent news stories about Waitakere College, click here

Prefect1 2017On the 25th and 26th of January, 2017, 19 rested and eager Year 13 students, all selected by their peers and teachers alike to be Prefects of the school, ventured out on a Two-day Leadership Camp at Matakana that would build on and strengthen their already present ability to be leaders.
Whilst up at Matakana, the Prefects did multiple teams building puzzles and challenges. One of these included sending a member of your team across a wooden plank suspended over a creek, with only the rest of your team to balance the plank. Another involved rowing plastic covered cardboard boats across a lake. These, as well as the other puzzles, tested our problem-solving and communication skills, as these were major keys to completing the tasks.Max, from Action Matakana, spoke to the Prefects about leadership and the qualities of a good leader. He also shared a number of inspiring leadership quotes with us. Colonel Chris Powell also spoke to us about leadership, and things those good and bad leaders do. Both Max and Colonel Powell were inspiring and we all learned a lot about leadership from them.
Communication, teamwork, encouragement, problem-solving was put to the test as every Prefect went outside their comfort zone, achieving with every member of every team feeling accomplished, included, and leaving with a smile on their face looking forward to an incredible 2017.
For more recent news stories about Waitakere College, click here
 - Mesha White & Bayley Dropich 
   Prefects 2017

Prefect2 2017

Young Enterprise Scheme 2016 Winners

Left to Right: Jacqui Passi, Rose Seilala, Jon Langsang, Tyrone Taylor, Solal Romand, Ants Cotton

2016 has been a successful year for Waitakere College. This is especially seen through the hard work of business students who won big at the Young Enterprise Scheme Regional Awards. ‘Apex Goods’, run by six year 12’s received the ‘One To Watch’ Award for their outstanding effort in creating a cookie mix to introduce young children to the fun world of cooking without the hassle of measuring ingredients. The group was up against thousands of other secondary students in New Zealand as a test of their marketing, sales, and entrepreneurship skills through the journey of bringing a product/service to market.


Rose Seilala also won ‘Pasifika Entrepreneur of the Year’ with her company ‘Tough Enough’ that aimed to prevent obesity in the pacific island community in West Auckland through Zumba styled workout classes.


We expect these students to achieve larger goals this year with Tyrone Taylor, CEO of Apex Goods aiming to win a National Award. With the support of the school, we are sure these students will succeed under Waitakere College and “Become Their Best”.

For more recent news stories about Waitakere College, click here


Each year, 14 million people are forced to flee their war torn countries.750 of them find refuge in New Zealand.The theme for our team's very moving performance was to raise awareness of the struggles and challenges they face.


Student Lead Award - Faasu Afoa-Purcell

This award recognises students who have excelled in the leadership of their school's Stage Challenge production.


Award of Excellence for a school that demonstrates the greatest sense of 'community'.The two awards above were only presented to our school.




Special Prize Awards

Principal's Prize:   Grace Gilberd

Te Taumata Toi:   Kent Aporillo

IMG 7848

The Summit of Arts 

Runner up to Dux Ludorum:  Philipa Smith

Award donated by Club Physical   

Dux Ludorum:   Inamaru Tere 

School Supplies Cup Award donated by Club Physical

Runner up to Dux Litterarum:   Kent Aporillo 

                                             Chloe Philips 

Dux Litterarum:     Tiffany Chen  

Maurice Borich Memorial Throphy 


TT Garland Cup For Senior Vocal Music:   Madeleine Mckinnon 

Donated by Friendly Road Choirs 


Dave Sarich Trophy:  Tuahine Brown 

Russell Jackson Memorial Award:
 Victoria Heavey 


Service to the School Awards

Head Student Awards

IMG 7700

Aroha:  Alyssa Tevaga

            Cameron Holland

Manawanui:   Victoria Heavey

                       Elekana Keni

Matauranga:  Chloe Phillips

                       Kent Aporillo

Student Representative Cup:  Elekana Keni 

Service to Arts and Culture:   Faasu Afoa-Purcell 

Service to the School:  Elekana Keni                                                                                                                         

Phil Twyford Parliamentary Internship:   Eireann Diggins 

Service to Peer Programmes:   Aidan Howes 


Scholarships Awards

Waitemata District Health Board

Medical Science Acdemy Scholarships Level 1:   Ashley Ah Chong 

                                                                      Shaheen Hussein 

Level 2:  Isabel Jones

             Merieni Polataivao 


School Partnership Study Award:   Ollie Evison

                                                  Hannah Loveday 


Kick Start Scholarship:    Tanya-Mareee Heteraka 

                                      Siniue Peia 

The Trusts Community FoundationIMG 7763

Certificate/Diploma:     Aidan Howes

                                   Steven Brown                                                                                                                      

Academic:                 Grace Gilberd

                                Hannah Oledan

                                Emma Gibson

                                Elekana Keni

                                Aakanksha Deshwal

                                Mario Kiss 

                                Eileen Zhang 

                                Alannah Woolford 

                                Alexandria Henderson 


Retail World Resourcing

Academic Scholarship:     Samantha Wren 

Waitakere College Foundation:

Academic Scholarship:   Sweta Patel

                                      Monique Rees

                                      Shristi Kumar 

Auckland University of Technology:

Vice Chancellor Significant Student:   Chloe Phillips

New Horizons Scholarship:    Bara Bazova 

University of Auckland:

Top Achievers Scholarship:  Kent Aporillo 

Academic Potential Scholarship:  Tiffany Chen 

Clark Undergraduate Scholarship:  Alisa Wheeler 

Every year our families and teachers have 20 minute Family Conferences, where students introduce their caregivers to their work, goals are set and open discussions had about how families and students can work together with the school to achieve those goals.

Our style of family conference is more effective than rushed parent/ teacher interviews that some parents tell us they have experienced elsewhere. We promote ongoing involvement, realising this is not always easy for families to achieve with rapidly developing teenagers.

A typical parent comment from this year’s conferences: “Always a pleasure to speak with the teacher about our children. Family conferences are reassuring that this school cares about our kids”

Waitakere College has students of over 55 nationalities.

The diverse roll is made up of exchange students, international students, students whose families have moved to New Zealand and pupils with parents of different ethnicities.

Principal Mark Shanahan said the range of backgrounds brought richness to the school.

“We accept all students for who they are; their heritage and what they can bring to the school,” he said.

“If students are learning about something in social studies, history or geography that’s relevant to a student from a particular background, we encourage them to contribute to the class.”

Students were also encouraged to use their experiences for assessment.

“They might, for example, do a speech related to something from where they’re from,” Mr Shanahan said.

“It can be a great experience for students who have always lived in New Zealand as well, because they get to learn first-hand about different cultures.”

“The College has 80 Teachers and 40 additional staff working with its 1300 students. We try to have a diverse staff to relate to our students; Some are new New Zealanders themselves. Diversity is part of everything we do. There are opportunities for students to go on overseas trips. They are able to learn Mandarin, Japanese, Maori, French and Samoan.”

The school acknowledges everyone’s different backgrounds by putting a flag up in the assembly hall for each new international student who comes to the school. This five-year tradition has led to more than 70 flags being raised so far

Students gained NZQA Subject Scholarships in: English, Biology, Dance, Drama, Samoan and History.

98% of Year 13 left with NCEA Level 2 or above.

Our NCEA results are All above National Averages

  • Level 1 84%
  • Level 2 88%
  • Level 3 74%
  • UE 57%

86 students in yr 11 gained a Merit or Excellence Endorsement.

51 students in yr 12 gained a Merit or Excellence Endorsement.

40 students in yr 13 gained a Merit or Excellence Endorsement.

Endorsement means: 50 or more credits gained at Merit or Excellence in both internal and external assessments.

Page 3 of 4


Waitakere College is a successful mid-sized secondary school located in the heart of West Auckland.