Newsletter for alumni of Manurewa High School

Alumni Newsletter

May 2014


Welcome back!

TVNZ News Anchor Wendy Petrie (1985-89) was an enthusiastic cheerleader during her time at Manurewa High School. Returning to school as Guest Speaker for our alumni event, held in September, she proved her supportive spirit is as strong as ever. With three young children, Wendy leads a busy life and we appreciated her time and energy as chief presenter and cheerleader of the reunion event. In turn, she enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with some old school mates, and experience how Manurewa High School has thrived over the decades. 

Alumni 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.

Salvatore GARGIULO, Principal, pictured with Wendy Petrie.


Catching up with ....

1. Wendy Petrie

Left school in:


Developed career in:
Television. Wendy is the co-host of ONE News each weeknight at 6pm, a role she has held for eight years. She has had a distinguished career in news broadcasting, in New Zealand and North America, where she worked for a major news channel covering big global events.

During her time working on One News, she's covered many big events including the Pike River Mine disaster, Christchurch's earthquake, the Rugby World Cup and the Royal Wedding (William and Katherine). She has also proved herself an expert in coverage of global news events. This included the suicide bomber attack on London's transport system, which killed dozens and paralysed the city. When the Boxing Day Tsunami struck Southeast Asia, she presented the ONE News bulletin for 13 days straight, with all the latest developments.
While in Toronto, Wendy worked on the equivalent of Canada's CNN. The job involved six hours in the hot seat, presenting news updates, covering live events and interviewing reporters in the field across the country and abroad. News events she covered included the US led war in Iraq, the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy, the death of the Queen Mother and the SARS outbreak which killed dozens in Toronto.
Wendy also worked as a North American correspondent for New Zealand in her time overseas, travelling to New York on September 11 to report on the Twin Tower terrorist attacks. She returned to New York a year later to cover the one-year anniversary, speaking to Kiwis who had lost loved ones in the attacks.

Adding to the pace of Wendy's exciting life are the three children she shares with her husband Ross.

2. Peter Cleave

Peter has given lifelong service in various fields of New Zealand education, the arts, sports and community groups.

Left school in:

Studied at:
Auckland University - BA, MA First Class
The University of Oxford - Doctor of Philosophy

Developed career in:
Broadcasting and writing

Peter has a breathtaking CV that identifies he is: a Rhodes Scholar, multilingual in English, Japanese and Maori, multi-talented in both sports and arts, and one of New Zealand's leading anthropologists and communicators. 

Peter has written 20 books, including a recently published ethnography of St Stephen's School. He played rugby against teams from St Stephens as a member of the 1st XV from 1961-65. He then taught at St Stephens in the early 1970s. The book is a reproduction of his Masters thesis on the school. It comes with photographs and is one of the few books of its kind about education in New Zealand in the 1970s. (It's available from Wheelers Books, Academy Books and other Library Suppliers and is published by Campus Press ISBN 978-1-877229-57-2.)

Passionate about:
The things he liked at school, such as rugby and the theatre. "MHS was a great place for me as you could do lots of different things and the teachers let you express yourself. Passions I have developed since leaving school include Te Reo Maori and writing."

Reconnecting with MHS through:
Regular support of student projects, especially in the arts and music. 


Young Enterprise students top in NZ

Following on from an outstanding performance in the 2012 programme, when Caring & Co won the National Award, MHS students have once again proven their entrepreneurial talents.

Ohu, a company that champions awareness of bees through the sales of delicious honey, won two awards in the national competition: for Excellence in Social Enterprise, and Global Sales & Marketing.

It was fitting recognition for Ohu's sustained effort over 2013, which saw the team at food fairs and markets almost every weekend.
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.

This year there are six student companies participating in the YES Awards, and a number of alumni are helping. If you are interested in supporting these students, please contact Emma O'Riordan, email:


Alumni in the classroom ...

1. Brett Le Quesne

On a visit to New Zealand from his home near San Francisco, Brett addressed a group of students as part of a career workshop. It was 22 years since he had sat in the hall as a student. He was reminded of the last time he played rugby, when he was knocked out in a tackle by an opposition player called Jonah Lomu.

After school, Brett gained a degree in education and sports management and took a job in banking so that he was free to play sport on the weekend. 

He left New Zealand and eventually settled in the United States, where he married and progressed his career in the finance industry, reaching the level of Vice President. Then came the Global Financial Crisis, and he was made redundant.

He said ultimately this was good, as he finally found his dream job, working in sports management as a soccer coach of one of the top-performing high-school teams. 

"Here's my point: you can have your dream, but your pathway may detour and you have to be open to that. All the things you learn along the way can help you get to where you want to be."


2. BP Business Challenge

The BP Business Challenge is a component of the Young Enterprise programme, giving Year 11 students an introduction to the business planning process.

Over three days, students work in teams to create a hypothetical product, set up a company and prepare a business strategy to sell their product. They step through a process that includes research, finance, production, sales and marketing planning. At the end of the process, they must create a display about their product and present a business plan.

It was great to have alumni attend to support the judging process:
  • Lyndsay Rewcastle - director of Process One Solutions (1972)
  • Ashlee McCormick - corporate sustainability co-ordinator, HSBC (2004)
  • Renee Cassin - associate director - advisory, Bank of New Zealand (2006)
We also welcomed as a guest judge Rhys Taleafa, a trustee of the Pacific Business Trust.

The judges thoroughly enjoyed the experience. They said they were impressed with the product ideas, inspired by the teamwork, and humbled by those who had overcome their fears of public speaking, and were able to confidently present their plans.

The predominant themes in the products were for convenience, affordability and sustainability, for example - refillable pens, pens that also play music, shoes that can be adapted for multiple sports, and a pillow with built in ipod.

The winning enterprise was E World, maker of an electronic pet collar. The product is designed to encourage pet ownership, by ensuring lost animals can be easily found.


3. Vist to Hyundai


Year 12 Business Studies students enjoyed a visit of the Hyundai head office and distribution operations recently. On their tour, they were given a taste of what it would be like to work for a global company. 
Students were also encouraged to apply for a development scholarship under the Pinnacle Programme, which Hyundai supports. This is a unique scholarship for talented young New Zealanders which enables them to participate in two of New Zealand's iconic leadership programmes - Spirit of Adventure and Outward Bound - as well as in high-performance workshops and work with a mentor.

Former Manurewa High School student Sandy Kimpton, who is chief financial officer for Hyundai's New Zealand distribution company, helped to coordinate the visit. She said it was a privilege to have the opportunity to share her experiences with fellow students. She encouraged them to explore the possibilities “out there” and the doors that could open with an open mind and a determination to grow every day. 

"Thank you to Manurewa High School for their support and encouragement to this generation and finding a way give them experiences and exposure to areas they may otherwise not encounter."

Can you HALP?

In September, a team of 32 students and staff will travel to Thailand and Laos to carry out a range of humanitarian aid projects.

This is part of the school's Humanitarian Aid Leadership Programme (HALP), which gives students a valuable insight into the history and culture of the countries they visit. It is also an opportunity to compare the advantages of living in a first-world country where they have many opportunities. Students return empowered, focused, worldly and confident. 

This year’s expedition to Thailand and Laos is a first - no other NZ school has taken a group to Laos. We have some great projects planned that will support the people of the world's poorest country.

Students and staff are working, fundraising and saving hard, but we still need support to make this a reality. 

Pledges of $50 or $100 will make a big difference to our students being able to travel. Please follow this link to make a donation.


The Kite Story

Manurewa High School's kite logo was designed in consultation with students, parents, staff and local kaumatua. The logo can be interpreted in a number of ways:

Keywords - bird, kite, whanau, four directions, community, flying as a flock.

As a collective, the design alludes to the shape of a kite. It also speaks of the collective - the school, the community, and gathering. As the birds fly in formation, so does this design, representing working together, learning and achievement. The four colours of the kite represent each of the four whanau (house) groups (Ahi - red, Pounamu - green, Te Ao Marama - yellow, Kotuku - white). The pattern of the eight koru allude to the heart of the school and represent the eight essential learning areas (English, The Arts, Health & PE, Maths, Languages, Science, Social Sciences and Technology) and the eight styles of learning (linguistic, logical/mathematical, spatial, musical, kinaesthetic, naturalistic, interpersonal, intrapersonal). Each bird head points to one of the four directions, honouring the spirit of diversity. The design is given motion through a rotation to increase the appearance of flight. It remains unfettered, speaking of limitless flight and potential.

Flying kites for:

  • The O’Neill Twins (Starcia and Brooke), new millennium alumni, who took to the stage at the recent SDNZ (Street Dance) competition as special guest artists. They carried celebrity status after performing with Jennifer Lopez (J.Lo) in a video clip in Los Angeles last year. They are now in Australia where they will join Laurence Kaiwai, who has also found success with an international dance career. Laurence has been captivating students worldwide with his Master Hip-hop Classes. Currently he is organising a tour of Australia. Jordan Ikitule has also found success teaching Dance in New Zealand. He choreographed and taught several dance crews who placed well in the Street Dance competition and he also performed in the world championship hip-hop competition in Las Vegas.
  • Chris Moon, 1960s alumni, who has owned and operated Bronco's Steakhouse at 712 Great South Road since 1993. A group of his Manurewa High School mates often meet there for "tea and cakes", as do some of our staff. Chris continues an interest in school rugby, as a sponsor.
  • Kanika Uch, who battled acute lymphoblastic leukaemia throughout her five years at Manurewa High School, has created a moving video story of her triumph over the illness. Watch it here on youtube >> . Kanika finished school last year and is planning to study Criminology.


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