Newsletter for alumni of Manurewa High School

Alumni Newsletter

August 2013

The purpose of alumni connection 

Visit Manurewa High School today and you will find a school brimming with high energy and strong purpose.
Under the guidance of our Principal Salvatore Gargiulo, who has led schools as diverse as Nelson Boys’ College and Aga Khan School in Tanzania, we have embarked on a programme of change that leverages our strength as a large multicultural school. We are a community of 1850 students and 180 staff, achieving excellence in the classroom, and in arts, sports and cultural activities, from a foundation in values of Respect, Excellence, Whanaungatanga, and Akoranga (we call it the ManuREWA Way)
Our aims are improved learning in the classroom, and improved clarity of pathways to careers. We want all of our students to have their needs met through effective teaching and engaged learning, in an environment that is safe and supportive.
To achieve our goals, we value the support of wide networks. There are many strong, supportive partnerships in place, including
  • Our mixed tertiary / industry advisory boards, which offer knowledge and resources to support our trades and hospitality programmes.
  • The mentoring partnership with the Foundation for Youth Development which is supporting around 100 Year 12 students to develop career pathways.
  • Work experience opportunities provided by around 20 local businesses, connected to us through our Gateway programme.
  • A whanau structure that extends from staff, students and families to iwi and Pacifica community groups.
  • A steering committee for the establishment of a business academy within the school.
  • Businesses that contribute products for our Breakfast Club and winter Soup Kitchen, providing a nutritious meal for students in need.
  • A Club of 100 supporters’ group whose generosity has ensured our musicians gain valuable performance experience in New Zealand and overseas.
  • Alumni support of Science Department projects.
Our alumni students are a tremendous resource who can make a difference to the lives of our current students. In developing the foundation for you to stay connected with the school, we also expect that it will have benefit for you, to connect with old friends and to make new contacts.
We're building connections, and growing futures. We look forward to you joining us on the journey.

Leanne Gibson - Alumni Connection Co-ordinator

Please register for our Alumni Event, taking place on Saturday, 21 September, from 11am to 2pm. We will welcome a very special alumni, TVNZ's Wendy Petrie, as well as past students and staff from a wide range of generations. It's a chance to rebuild connections, relive the past, and share in the life of the school today.

Catching up with ... Jeremy Leatinu'u  

Left school in:
Studied at:
I worked for two years in a bunch of different jobs – factory, landscape, call centre. Then I decided I would go back to school. I studied art for six years – as an undergraduate at the University of Auckland at MIT for five years and then post-graduate at the city campus for one year. Then I went to teachers’ college in Epsom.
I’ve always had a fair idea that education would take a role in my life one way or another.
Passionate about:
A lot of things - Art for one. Learning is another. Trying to understand how the world works. And how I fit into all of that.
Reconnecting with MHS through:
His work as Learning Outside the Classroom Co-ordinator for Te Tuhi Art Gallery in Pakuranga. Our Level 2 Digital Technology students are in the process of designing animation and video stories to be featured in the Te Tuhi foyer. He says of the project: “Initially it came about in a discussion with [art teacher] Rangiatua Hollis and our curator. We wanted to support the development of students’ skills in critical analysis, and the process aspects of art making. Technical skills can be accomplished at school; there is an opportunity through the gallery to focus more on the ideas, theories and concepts to be developed, in a way that is relevant to the curriculum. 
“We think it’s going to be great for the public to see what’s going on in schools, in particular in the field of animation. We’re quite interested in the project because it is adding to our understanding of how art can be made, viewed and experienced.”
When he’s not working at Te Tuhi:
“I work in the field of video and performance. What I have learnt as a teacher, and the learnings from my students, have a huge influence on my understanding of the world as a person, and as an artist. I think both worlds - although they might be slightly different - do influence one another.
“My artistic practice through video and performance allows me to plan the performance during the week for example and then execute on the weekend.”
Jeremy has had two performances recently – as part of a contemporary Pacific exhibition at the Suter Art Gallery in Nelson; and at the RM Gallery in Auckland, as part of an exhibition that looks at ideas around mapping.
He says he also enjoys catching up with old friends, and thinks the alumni connection programme can support that.  “It’s difficult to catch up with mates - even those who I am connected with. It was quite nostalgic to visit the school recently. The buildings have changed. All of that can be nice to experience when catching up.”

Catching up with ... Chris Farhi 

Left school in: 2002
Studied at:
University of Auckland – BE (First Class Honours), BProp (First Class Honours)
University of Cambridge, England – MPhil (Real Estate Finance)
Chartered Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
Passionate about:
Training in the NZ Army Reserve, fitness, cooking and baking, city living.
Reconnecting with MHS through:
Helping to spread the word about the alumni connection programme and intends to support alumni events because “I believe this a great opportunity for the school to leverage off its past to help students achieve their goals”.
His work as a consultant with Wareham Cameron + Co focuses on corporate real estate strategy and combines his knowledge of project, financial and market analysis to advise leading businesses and institutions.
“We focus on solving complex property problems. All businesses and institutions need physical space – it’s critical that they get things right.”
In addition, he lectures in Property at the University of Auckland Business School, where he enjoys meeting recent alumni of Manurewa High School. “They have great interpersonal skills. They’re humble and able to relate to a wide range of people.”

Meet our next generation entrepreneurs   

Motivation is high among this year’s Young Enterprise Scheme (YES) participants, following on from an outstanding performance in the 2012 programme.
Manurewa High School participated in the scheme for the first time last year, and was the top performer out of 572 entries, winning the awards for Company of the Year (Caring and Co) and Young Managing Director of the Year (Lar Su’a).
Caring and Co self-produced and marketed a unique olive oil product, with proceeds going to the Life Education Trust. The five students involved in Caring and Co have all gone on to university, but the company has continued production this year, with its latest batch sold out within weeks of release, and a new product just launched. The Caring and Co team is pictured with Prime Minister John Key, who was the buyer of the last bottle of its first batch of olive oil.
Business studies teacher Emma O’Riordan champions involvement in YES, and was recognised in the regional finals last year as the Young Enterprise Teacher of the Year. “I used to teach Maths but I’ve been doing Business in the last few years. I love it because there are so many opportunities to do different things and learn how to be enterprising.”
This year four YES groups entered the scheme. Their business activities range from honey production, to music production, instrument manufacture, and water safety promotion.
“They’re all very dedicated and self-motivated. The hardest part is coming up with an innovative idea – and it must align with the achievement standard - which is to carry out, with consultation, an innovative and sustainable business activity."
While the idea may be the big challenge, there are a wealth of skills that must be learned and mastered once it has been defined. This includes writing a business plan, sourcing funding and suppliers, mastering the dynamics of leadership and organisational structure, and reporting on quadruple bottomline performance.
All of the businesses are connected with a mentor through YES but Emma says the school would welcome alumni involvement in 2014.
To contact Emma, email:
Young Enterprise Trust is dedicated to growing a more prosperous New Zealand through enterprise. Its aim is to ensure all New Zealand students participate in experiential enterprise education and financial literacy programmes.

Developing leaders - in a humanitarian way

Our Humanitarian Aid Leadership Programme (HALP) provides students with an opportunity to learn from global issues such as civil war, poverty, famine and natural disaster. The programme has seen two hugely successful expeditions in 2010 and in 2012 to Cambodia and Laos, where students changed many lives and communities, helping to build houses, working in orphanages and carrying out a range of community-building activities. They returned to our school and community with a changed global awareness, a new attitude, and increased consideration and empathy towards others. It created focused, motivated students who became leaders within the school and the wider community - truly an adventure that has changed the lives of many.
For our third expedition, departing in September, we are combining with Alfriston College and have locked in projects with:
  • World Vision (rural community).
  • Centre for Children’s Happiness (orphans rescued from the dumps in Phnom Penh).
  • Kantha Bopha Hospital (Swiss Nobel Laureate Dr Beat Richter’s ‘free hospitals for poor’).
  • The Starfish Foundation (poor community development).
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, which will link in with NZ’s aid programme to the region. 
Students and staff have been planning for the expedition since October 2012, implementing a robust and lengthy list of innovative as well as tried and tested fundraising activities (which has even included hard labour).
Should you wish to support this group of regional and international ambassadors on this life-changing expedition. we would be happy to add supporters’ logos to our travel shirts. For more details, please contact: Mr Phil Muir, Deputy Principal: 

Pictured: the 2012 HALP team at World Vision Area Development Base, Chi Kreng, Cambodia, with our school's two sponsored children, Chek and Chea. 

Alumni in the classroom - supporting science students' success

Fenella Colyer has nurtured scientific minds at Manurewa High School for the past 17 years. Her students consistently perform well in the regional Science Fair and other external competitions at both regional and national levels, which she selects as advancement opportunities for them. Success in these events has been the catalyst for many distinguished careers in the sciences, and many of those students have returned to school to help the next generation succeed.
“The goal is often simply for alumni to talk about their careers to inspire and motivate the students,” Mrs Colyer says. “But we’ve also asked alumni to give context to a real-world topic, such as the Christchurch earthquake, and to support extension.”
Matthew Richardson, who is an electronics engineer, was able to help a student realise an innovative concept that would stop her slouching while playing piano. “She wanted to make a belt with a built-in monitor that would alert her to her posture. We didn’t know enough about electronics to make it, but with Matthew’s help, she ended up doing really well in the Science Fair.”
Another alumni who would be amenable to supporting science students is recently graduated architect Rita Mouchi, who as a student won the Science Fair with her design for a new form of cladding that would solve the leaky home problem. It was the beginning of a future career.
A regular in the Physics classroom is Owen Colbert, who as well as sharing knowledge, supports a science prize and scholarships.
The opportunities to connect with “real world” scientists contributes to a culture of excellence in the Science department. Every year talented students gain national recognition for their work.
Recently, a group of Year 12 students won the Otago University Information Technology Challenge with a mobile phone app that enables citizens to give feedback on proposed urban developments. The app sends an automatic notification when the user goes past a proposed development site. If the user then views the site through the smartphone camera, a 3D image of the proposed development is superimposed over the view by augmented reality. The user can then give instant feedback by way of a yes/no vote. They can also link into Facebook forums to discuss the issue. The council and the developer can then access the data, enabling them to understand community views based on demographic profiles. App developers Daniel Blakeborough (left), Amy Scott (middle) and Garion Gleeson are looking forward to the opportunity to further refine their app with the Otago University’s support.
The department is also justly proud of Paul Stainthorpe, one of five secondary students selected nationally as a finalist in the prestigious Sir Paul Callaghan Awards. The focus of his entry was the threat of wasps to the New Zealand bee and honey industry.  At the final, held in Wellington in July, he delivered a 12-minute speech to an audience of 200 top academics. He came away with $1000 in prize money, some valuable introductions to senior representatives in New Zealand’s science community, and an invitation to do a followup presentation at an Institute of Professional Engineers of NZ seminar.
“We’re very grateful for the help of alumni in our programmes, and they enjoy the opportunity to give back,” Mrs Colyer says.

Alumni can contact Mrs Colyer via email at:

Share your news – update your details:

Please email:

Ways to keep in touch and build your own connections:

Join our LinkedIn Alumni Group
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter
Our mailing address is:|