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From the Acting Principal


Dear Parents and Caregivers
Welcome to our new families and welcome back for those of you who are already part of the Westlake Whanau. The 2017 school year has got off to a very good start with a whakatau on Tuesday 31 January for new staff and students at Years’ 10-13 followed by another on Wednesday 1 February for all Year 9 students. We sincerely hope that all our new students are settling in well and enjoying their new school.

2016 NCEA results were very impressive with more than 90% of Year 11 students gaining NCEA Level 1. In Level 2, 3 and University Entrance our students produced the highest pass rates ever with more than 96% gaining Level 2 NCEA, 92% gaining Level 3 NCEA and 85% achieving University Entrance. Congratulations to all those students. These achievements provide a sound platform for study at higher levels.

Yesterday we conducted our annual whole school assembly on the covered courts to present badges to the 2017 prefects, and academic excellence and scholar badges to students who had gained excellence in NCEA Level 1 and 2 in 2016. Eighty four students received academic excellence badges for gaining Excellence endorsements in NCEA for one year. A further 118 students gained Black scholar badges in recognition of their academic excellence for two consecutive years and 39 students gained gold scholar badges for three consecutive years of academic excellence. Congratulations to all those students and thanks to teachers and parents who have supported them to reach this high standard.

We impress on all our students that self-management is an essential key competency. Success follows good habits such as being prompt to class, attending school every day wherever possible, wearing correct uniform, being well-equipped and completing all homework tasks.

Please note the important dates for this term and put them in your diaries. It is a very busy time of the year and we hope to see you at some of the events.

Kind regards

Julie Saikkonen
Acting Principal


New Māori Head of Department

We welcome back Matua Eddie Hudson who returns to Westlake Girls as Head of the Māori department. Eddie brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience, and he wants to incorporate more traditional Māori protocols and cultural events into student life. The first day of term for our new staff and students began with an uplifting whakatau, a Māori greeting led by Head Prefect Sydney Clough.

Eddie is excited to be back at Westlake and he is looking forward to “empowering our girls and helping them feel proud of their place in the modern world.” A key focus will be to build on the growing success of our Māori mentoring programme which yielded excellent NCEA results in 2016.

He will also be working hand in hand with our flourishing student committee Ngā Rangatira o Apōpō (Leaders of Tomorrow), who organise events throughout the year both within the school and in the wider community. He is keen to build the profile of our kapa haka groups, acknowledging their unique role for all cultures and nationalities. Last year the combined Westlake Girls and Westlake Boys kapa haka group produced a spirited and highly polished performance at the Māori and Pasifika cultural festival, Polyfest, gaining placings in several categories.

He will no doubt add his own special flavour to the Māori department and quotes one of his favourite whakatauki: “Ko te manu e kai ana i te miro, noona te ngahere. Ko te manu e kai ana i te maatauranga, noona te ao.” (The bird that partakes of the miro berry reigns in the forest. The bird that partakes of the power of knowledge has access to the world.)

Feedback from Science Forums

Pictured above: Regina Lee, Florence Layburn, Anushka Kharbanda, Jungyoon Park
Over the summer break senior Westlake students were fortunate to attend two Science Forums. Powering Potential was a four day event run by the Royal Society of New Zealand for forty top young scientists on the topic of climate change. The Rotary National Science and Technology Forum was a two-week residential programme run by the tertiary institutions of Auckland for 170 outstanding all round Science, Maths and Technology students. Students returned from these forums full of praise and enthusiasm for their inspiring experiences and what they had learnt.
Powering Potential
Attended by Anushka Kharbanda and Jungyoon Park
Students worked in teams, collaborating to research, investigate and provide recommendations to solve challenging issues facing the country.
Anushka: “The demanding research process and our journey to finding solutions eventually made us work like a well-oiled machine and highlighted how important teamwork skills are in the scientific community.
Jungyoon: “These were some of the most memorable four days of my life which I would recommend to any high school student who has a passion for applying science to mitigate and solve the larger issues that trouble our world.”
Rotary National Science and Technology Forum
Attended by Anushka Kharbanda, Regina Lee and Florence Layburn
Students spent fourteen days staying at Auckland University halls of residence, fully immersed in Science and Technology from the latest research to real-life opportunities.
Anushka: “Apart from the modules, we were also given a chance to visit scientific organisations or companies such as TVNZ and Air NZ to see how the science in our classrooms really translates into the wider world.”

Regina: “It was about having fun, enjoying what I do, meeting new, yet like-minded people and experiencing what my future life could be like in Science and Technology. It has been a turning point in my life and an experience I will never forget.”

Florence: “I was particularly interested in the biomedical engineering module, where they develop new tools oriented around use with the body. For example, an armband that senses the muscles in the arm moving for different hand gestures that allow us to carry out commands on our phones.”

School Athletics Day

The school Athletics Day will be held on Friday 17 February at Takapuna Athletics grounds, Onewa Domain. This is a traditional event for Westlake Girls and it is compulsory for the whole school to attend. Senior students dress in their respective house colours (Years 9 & 10 must wear house shirts) and compete to win the house title. There are both Championship and House (non-competitive) events. Students can either make their way directly to the event or depart from school and walk to Onewa Domain. The day commences at 8.45am with a roll check and concludes around 2.30pm. Cancellation will be advised on the school website and via the sports app by 7.30am (rain saver day is Monday 20 February).

All students must bring sunblock, sun hat, water bottle, food and are encouraged to bring shade from the sun and something to sit on. There will be a school tuck shop set up at the event for those wishing to purchase food on the day.

Tennis Champion Heads to Federation Cup

Year 11 student Elys Ventura won the 2017 Under 16 Tennis National Championships which took place in January. Elys, who was seeded 8th, comfortably won her first and second rounds and faced her toughest competition in the quarter finals when she came up against the No. 2 seed with set scores of 6-7, 6-4, 7-5. Elys went on to beat the fifth seed in the final to become the New Zealand Under 16 Champion.
Elys recently played in the AGL Loy Yang Traralgon Junior International, a lead-in for the Australian Junior Open Grand Slam in Melbourne. This promising young tennis player has also been selected as part of the New Zealand Team to compete at the Junior Federation Cup which takes place in New Delhi, India in March. 

Athletic Success in Track and Field

Pictured above: Kaia Tupu-South and Sofia Lome, both members of Takapuna Athletics Club
Kaia Tupu-South and Sofia Lome have recently been awarded Nick Willis Scholarships on the back of their performances at the North Island Colgate Games. Sofia, who won gold medals in the Grade 14 100m, 200m and long jump events, is one of the leading sprinting and long jump athletes in the country. Meanwhile Kaia dominated her peers in the Grade 14 throwing events in Hastings, winning the shot put by nearly 2m and the discus by more than 5m. 

Both athletes then went on to compete in the North Island Inter-provincials where they again performed exceptionally well, along with Danielle Print who was second overall for Grade 15 girls. Charlotte Print also attended the Colgate Games and was placed 4th in the 80m Hurdles for Grade 13 Girls. We look forward to seeing these girls compete in the school Athletics Day.

Beach Volleyball

Pictured above: NZSS medal team
Term 1 is a busy time for our beach volleyballers with both the NZ Age Group Championships and the NZ Secondary School Championships being held in Mt Maunganui at the start of the school year. The newest recruit to our beach volleyball team, Year 9 Dominique Menoita, was a member of the winning NZ under 15 Age Group team, and Sydney Clough was a member of the winning under 19 Age Group team. 

Six Westlake teams competed in the NZ Secondary Schools Champs over Waitangi weekend. All the teams performed well, with five teams getting through into Division 1 play-offs.  Juliette Vukets and Tamara Otene won the Junior gold medal (Year 11 and below). This success was followed by Katie Sadlier and Zara Pocock bringing home the silver medal in the Senior section. Romy Olivier and Dominque Menoita also returned to school with a gold medal, winning the Junior Division 2 final. Well done to all the students that competed in this event.

Archery Success

Keeley Watson attended the Archery Nationals in Wellington in early January and, despite very heavy rain and wind, she managed to come home with two bronzes and a gold. Her division was very competitive, with only five points between her bronze and the gold which made for an exciting competition.

New Zealand Representatives

Congratulations to Tamara Otene and Alyssa Tagle who have been selected to represent New Zealand in the Badminton U19s Oceania team to travel to New Caledonia on 7 February; and to Asher Mason who has been selected for the NZ Secondary Schools Netball squad.

Para Athlete Chosen for New Youth Council

Year 12 student Anna Steven is one of ten young leaders from around the country who have been chosen to represent physically disabled young people in the Halberg Disability Foundation’s first ever youth council. The foundation aims to enhance the lives of the physically disabled by enabling them to participate in sport and recreation and Anna is excited to be part of this new initiative.

Anna has been an active member of CanTeen’s regional leadership group for over two years now, helping to run their camps and local activities and offering peer support to young cancer patients. She regularly challenges herself to raise money for charity and helped organise many of Pupuke House’s fundraising efforts last year in support of the Child Cancer Foundation.

Anna recently claimed five gold medals at the New Zealand Secondary Schools Athletics Championships. We wish her luck as she heads to Canberra in March for her first international competition – a step towards her goal of representing New Zealand at the Paralympic Games.

The Learning Enhancement Department

Our Learning Enhancement Department provides both guidance counselling and learning support. Students can access support for counselling or learning by coming to the Learning Enhancement office on the ground floor of the administration building. There they fill out a form and place it in a secure box. One of our staff will make contact as soon as possible with an appointment time. As part of our development we are working towards an electronic booking system which we hope to have up and running in the second half of the year.

Parents are welcome to make contact either by email or phone. We look forward to being able to support your daughter throughout her time at Westlake.

Introducing the team:

Head of Department Linda Clouston, Guidance counsellor (also oversees Learning Support)

Guidance counsellors Fleur Piper, Barbara Mackay and Siew Lee Foo (also International Pastoral Support)

School nurses Ashia Ismail-Singer and Jan Boroevich

Learning support coordinator Julie Mulcahy

Learning support teacher Jackie O’Reilly

Teacher aides Tracey Watson, Teresa Conway, Susan Reschef, Helena Haycock, Justine Nicholson and Emily Stevens

Summer Health Tips for the Start of the School Year

Some reminders from the health nurses

If a student needs to see the nurse during class time (unless it is a medical emergency) she will require permission from the teacher to do so. One of the nurses will assess the student and she will either be kept in the health centre for rest, or if sick enough to go home, a parent will be contacted to pick her up. The student will receive a green slip to be given to her form teacher the next day she is back at school.

Please be aware that the nurse is here for urgent health issues that occur during school time. If students have any non-urgent issues they need to see their own GP.

The girls are encouraged to bring a water bottle to school and remain well hydrated, especially during the summer term. Eat a healthy diet, do NOT skip breakfast. Exercise. Get adequate sleep.

It is important to apply sun screen before students come to school, New Zealand has a very high rate of skin cancer which can be prevented by being sun safe. 

It is also a good reminder as we start the school year to make sure everyone is hand washing well, as this is a big factor in reducing the spread of germs. The great thing about hand washing is it's easy to do and is great protection. So get in the habit of washing your hands when you come home from school, the mall, a movie, or anywhere else where you're around a lot of people.


Connect.  Connect with the people around you: your family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. Spend time developing these relationships.

Be active.  You don’t have to go to the gym. Take a walk, go cycling. Find an activity you enjoy and make it part of your life.

Keep learning.  Learning new skills can give you a sense of achievement, and a new confidence. So take up a new course or try to learn how to play a musical instrument.

Give to others.  Even the smallest act can count, a smile or a thank you, and a kind word. Get involved in the local community, and help build new social networks.

Take notice.  Be more aware of the present moment, including your feelings and thoughts, your body and the world around you.  It can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges.
Stay hydrated and sun safe!

Astronomy Club

The Astronomy Club was introduced in 2016 for junior students who are curious about the universe and how it works. Past topics have included the earth and its movements in space, coordinate systems used in astronomy to describe the position of objects in the night sky, astronomical measurement units and the solar system. This year the club is planning to do some practical observations of the night sky, learning the constellations as well as studying about the stars and galaxies.

Through these topics students are gradually developing their knowledge of astronomy as well as extending their Mathematics and Science skills.If you are interested in joining the club, watch out for the details in the Daily Notices.

Alumna Profile: Naomi Ballantyne ONZM

Class of 81
Entrepreneur, Managing Director

Congratulations to Naomi Ballantyne (née Lassen) who was awarded the ONZM (Officer of the NZ Order of Merit) in the 2017 New Year Honours. Naomi returned to Westlake as guest speaker at the 2016 prizegiving, sharing her story and passing on advice to current students. Naomi has received numerous accolades recognising her skills and experience in the New Zealand Life Insurance industry including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015. In 2014 she was a finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2013 she was inducted into the prestigious NZ Hall of Fame for Women Entrepreneurs, acknowledging her success as an industry pioneer, in job creation, and in making a difference.

She has founded three major insurance companies in New Zealand and led them through to success. Currently the Managing Director of Partners Life, which she founded in 2010, she has overseen its growth from 3 employees to 155 in 2016. The company is based in Takapuna and has 130,000 clients around New Zealand. The growth and success of her latest venture was recognised when it received the Insurance Company of the Year Award last year.

When Naomi became a CEO in her early thirties, there were few other young women working as executives in financial industries. Today, she is a member of Global Women New Zealand which is a collaboration of influential women leaders promoting inclusive policies for improved societal and economic growth. We are delighted to recognize Naomi as one of Westlake’s notable alumni.

Westlake High School Co-ed Founders 60th Reunion

Friday 10 March 2017
The Westlake High School Founders, who attended Westlake when it was a co-ed school 1957 – 1961, are having a Reunion Day on Friday 10 March to celebrate 60 years since the original school was founded. The Reunion committee has been trying to get in touch with as many former students and staff as possible – those who were at Westlake any time during those early co-ed years. If you know of any former students from those years please let them know.


Westlake Girls High School

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