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From the Acting Principal


Dear Parents and Caregivers,
On Monday the whole school gathered for a traditional whakatau to welcome incoming Principal Jane Stanley who will spend the rest of this term meeting staff and students before assuming full principal duties in Term 2. It was a very special occasion with waiata performed by the Westlake Schools' combined kapa haka group, Te Kapa o te Ihi o te Ra.
Last Friday Te Kapa o te Ihi o te Ra showcased their considerable talent at this year’s Polyfest where they came away with five awards, earning them a place in the first division for 2018. On Saturday morning the two Westlake schools also entered a combined Samoan group for the first time at Polyfest. The group gave a memorable and joyful performance and were awarded the Aoga Amio Pulea  trophy for their outstanding respect, discipline and good sportsmanship.
The past few weeks have been extremely busy with many class trips taking place throughout the term. These curricular activities supplement the learning that takes place in the classroom and enable students to gain a broader understanding of their subjects. It is also encouraging to see the large number of students who participate in a wide range of extra-curricular activities. Next week is Summer Tournament Week where many of our sporting teams are given an opportunity to compete against schools from all around the country. We know they will represent Westlake Girls with pride and we wish them all well.
Finally, a reminder that Senior Parent Interview Evening is on 5 April with the Junior Evening to follow on 11 April. This is your opportunity to discuss your daughter’s progress with her teachers and Deans and we look forward to seeing you there.

Kind regards,

Julie Saikkonen

Jane Stanley being welcomed during the whakatau

30 Years of Nuclear Free NZ

New Zealand has a long, proud tradition of being nuclear free and 2017 marks the 30-year anniversary of legislation supporting this stance. As part of our Year 13 Senior Social Studies unit on Campaigns for Social action, the Peace Foundation came in to discuss some key social actions taken by ordinary Kiwis within this nuclear free movement.
Lucy Stewart and Lyndon Burford, who both work for the Peace Foundation, have been chosen as the delegates for civil society to travel to the United Nations in New York next term where they will represent New Zealand at the Global Ban of Nuclear Weapons treaty negotiations. The proposed treaty is ambitious but so too was Gandhi’s Indian Independence movement and Aung San Suu Kyi’s struggle to gain democratic reform in Burma/Myanmar. For significant change to occur, however insurmountable it may seem, first steps have to be taken. Our students will be skyping and following the Peace Foundation delegates on social media when they head to New York. They will be able to understand what these first steps involve as the majority of the world tries to ban these weapons of mass destruction.

Year 9 STEAM Upcycle

Upcycling is an effective way to reuse materials and minimise our carbon footprint. Moreover, the creativity and innovation involved in the process of upcycling is limitless. Following on from our fieldtrip to the Waitakere Refuse and Recycling Centre students have been inspired to get creative with waste.
Year 9 STEAM student Cate O’Sullivan-Watts wrote about a lei that she made for Music and Art of the Pacific Rim in her Weebly blog. Here are some excerpts below:
“Everyone knows where to put waste, in those orange bags, but do they know where those bags go and what happens to them? Waste is affecting our world, which is why we need to do something about it now!  

The answer to this is not to make sure that you put all your waste in the rubbish bin, although that is a start. When your rubbish bin is emptied into the big trucks that come and collect it, all your trash is brought to one of the refuse stations around the country where it is then transferred to a bigger truck and driven to Hampton Downs. There it is put in the landfill. The waste sits in the landfill releasing poisonous liquid and methane – which adds to pollution and global warming. There are much better options than this. After learning all about possible solutions I decided that I would do all I could to recycle, reduce, rot and reuse. That is why I have made a lei out of reused materials. It was not only homework, it shows you can still make cool things out of reused materials”.

Students also got involved with upcycling when Gill and Shirley visited from Above Rubies, an organisation which works with women living in poverty in the Philippines to help them produce jewellery made from old magazines.The project started six years ago and has become a viable business, empowering women to have meaningful employment when the alternative is to work in dangerous conditions on the rubbish dump. Students then made their own paper beads, like those used in the jewellery.

Year 12 Outdoor Ed First Aid Course 

On Thursday 9 and Friday 10 February the Year 12 Outdoor Ed classes took part in a First Aid Course. Throughout the course we learnt important skills that will help us in situations where someone is hurt or unconscious. We were taught how to save a life using CPR, the recovery position, how to respond in emergencies, and we learnt to be cautious and to look out for signs of someone who may be entering a dangerous state. We were assessed on the difference tasks we were taught, ensuring we had taken in what we had learned and would actually be able to use it in real life situations. 

The instructors who taught us were passionate and very knowledgeable on their subject so we were always engaged and involved. We found the course to be extremely interesting and learnt a lot by listening to Dennis explain all the physical problems that could possibly go wrong, why they occurred and how to overcome them.
Although this course’s main aim was to teach us important life-saving skills, we also learnt some new things about each other and how we would work together in situations that required first aid. During the two evenings both classes bonded closely with each other, cooperating and learning how to work together as the night went on. Overall the course was a very enjoyable experience, making new friends while learning some valuable life skills.
Eda Ye, Claudia Sowter and Emma Buckley

Year 12 PE

Our Year 12 PE students recently completed a Beach Series Aquathon held at Takapuna Beach. The event consisted of a 250m ocean swim and a 2.5km run along the beach. Our students trained hard all term for the event during class time to achieve their goal of completing the event, as well as gaining NCEA credits with their final result. Thank you to the Beach Series for their support in our assessment and congratulations to all our Year 12 PE students for their success.

Canberra Summer of Aths – Grand Prix

Anna Steven travelled to Australia to compete in the above event on 11 and 12 March. Anna competed in the Ambulant 100m, Long Jump and Shot Put. She achieved 16.17 in the 100m which is 79% of the world record in this classification. Anna jumped 3.46m in the long jump and threw 6.36m in the shot put. All of these results were personal bests for Anna and were achieved with her long awaited blade (sprinting prosthetic).

Auckland Volleyball Championships

The senior premier team were crowned Auckland Volleyball Champions on Saturday 11 March after defeating Aorere in the final. The team also picked up a silver medal for placing second in the Auckland premier league, losing only one game throughout the season. This is the first time that Westlake Girls have won the Auckland Senior Championships. The seniors have followed on from the success of the juniors, who won the junior title in November. Congratulations to Ariane Pola who was named MVP of the tournament, and to Ariane, Lyric Koria, Sydney Clough and Zara Pocock who were named in the tournament team.

Auckland Athletics Championships

A team of thirteen girls competed at the Auckland Athletics Championships which took place on Tuesday 21 March at Mount Smart stadium. All the athletes really demonstrated their competitive spirit, personal organisation and exceptional sportsmanship. Congratulations to the following athletes who scooped up a total of 12 medals:
1st   Anna Steven 100m Para Athletes
1st Anna Steven 200m Para Athletes
1st Sofia Lome 100m Intermediate Girls Final
1st Sofia Lome 200m Intermediate Girls Final
2nd Danielle Print 80m Hurdles
2nd Sofia Lome 4/100m Intermediate Girls Relay
  Danielle Print                  4/100m Intermediate Girls Relay
  Devon Thorpe 4/100m Intermediate Girls Relay
  Kaia Tupu-South      4/100m Intermediate Girls Relay
1st Charlotte Print      Triple Jump Junior Girls
3rd Danielle Print       Triple Jump Intermediate Girls
3rd Sofia Lome           Long Jump Intermediate Girls
1st Kaia Tupu-South Shot Put Intermediate Girls
1st Kaia Tupu-South Discus Intermediate Girls
1st Danielle Print High Jump Intermediate Girls

Rhythmic Gymnastics

Congratulations to the five Westlake Girls students who have been selected for the NZ rhythmic gymnastics team to compete in Australia in May. The students are Layla Waggie, Naomi Yacyshen, Hannah Moore, Stella Ebert and Aya Tanaka-Probert. We wish them well with with their competition.

North Harbour Zone Swimming Champs

Eight Westlake swimmers qualified to compete in the North Harbour Zone Swimming Champs in mid-March. They all performed outstandingly well and have qualified to attend the Auckland Secondary Schools Champion of Champions swimming competition in mid-April. Congratulations to Chloe Seaman, Rachel Park, Star Te Aukura, Emily Lyndon, Jelani Wetzell, Jonine Tiakia, Samara Shore and Georgia Clement.

Netball Coaches Urgently Required

Westlake has a proud history in netball and in 2017 we will have approximately 40 netball teams of all levels who all require volunteer coaches. If you have coached or played in the past and are able to give up your time to train once a week and attend games on Saturday mornings we need you! Please contact Netball Coordinator Karyn Baker if you are interested:

Polyfest 2017

Te Kapa o te Ihi o te Ra represented Westlake Boys and Westlake Girls at Polyfest 2017 with great distinction this year. Promoted in 2016 from Division 3 to Division 2, the group were looking for a solid mid placing with around 14 school groups competing from the Auckland region.

The team began training in January and were able to produce a sharp and polished bracket, due to their hard work and excellent whanau support. Their commitment paid off at Polyfest when Te Kapa o te Ihi o te Ra were awarded: the Most Improved Group, 1st equal for Best Dressed Female Group, 3rd for Best Dressed Male group, 2nd in the Poi and 3rd in Haka.

However, the most rewarding result was that we finished 4th overall in Division 2 behind Ngā Puna o Waiōrea (Western Springs),  James Cook High School and a local North Shore based school Te Kura Kaupapa o Te Raki Paewhenua. This placing means that we have earned the right to be in Division 1 next year, as the first and second teams already had senior groups in Division 1.

It will be a big challenge for us to compete with the best in Auckland but this opportunity has been a long time coming and our two schools look forward to representing the North Shore with pride. Many thanks to Matua Johnny Waititi for his tutoring, to our schools and the whanau support we had from our Westlake community.
For the first time Westlake Boys and Girls also entered a Samoan group, made up of several nationalities, who delivered a beautiful performance. They came away with the Aoga Amio Pulea trophy which is awarded to the school that showed respect, discipline and good sportsmanship. Thanks go to all those who have supported this group, especially Christabell Mataafa and her husband Sani who have worked tirelessly to encourage the group and raise their profile within the community.


Two Westlake students, Ame-Mae Everett (Year 13) and Maitreyi Jain (Year 12) have been elected to co-chair the YOUNITE community organisation for 2017. YOUNITE is made up of a group of community volunteers aged between 12 and 24 years old who work to enhance the lives of local youth though advocacy and delivery of events in the local area. They are funded and endorsed by the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board and act as the official youth advisory body and reference group.

Diversity Picnic 2017

After a worryingly wet week and having to postpone the Diversity Picnic for the first time in history, Wednesday 15 March dawned clear and sunny, AND it was a mufti day! Rainbows abounded.

What is now an annual event was totally awesome this year. There were hundreds of students out as soon as the lunch bell rang, sharing food and enjoying the sunshine. Dan had the music blasting, and the students were up and dancing long before the famous Macarena competition even began! Staff groups were scattered around and, while they didn’t actually dance, they certainly enjoyed soaking up the atmosphere. Phili and Quinn from Rainbow Youth came to help out, distributing rainbow support ribbons for a gold coin donation and chatting with students and staff.

A particularly poignant moment was the presentation of the donation from Westlake to Rainbow Youth made in memory of the much loved former staff member Alison Horspool who passed away earlier this year. Alison was instrumental in setting up a Diversity group in the school and it was always very special to her. We remember her with much aroha.

Sustainable Schools Water Workshop

Pictured above: Stacey Bensemann shows the need for care with the dissolved oxygen test; damsel fly larvae is identified from a stream sample
The Sustainable Schools team held a Water Workshop on 16 March at the Zoo Education Centre to support fresh-water monitoring undertaken by Wai Care groups across Auckland. Best practice monitoring was discussed and hands-on training conducted on two different stream water samples from Meola and Motions Creeks. Two Year 13 students, Shannon Lu and Marina Saleh, attended with teacher Ms Wood to ensure that the Wai Care monitoring undertaken by Westlake Girls is correctly performed. The Wai Care monitoring will be continuing this year for the Wairau Creek site near the school.

Duke of Ed Tramp

The weather gods had ominous warnings for the weekend of 11 and 12 March. There had already been floods in Hunua and Clevedon, and much more rain was predicted. We decided to proceed with our plans of going to the hut in Anawhata in the Waitakere ranges as it was on high ground. The students could still experience the hut environment and training could be done inside the hut using a projector. This is an awesome hut! As it turned out, we got a full day of walking in some scenic spots and had a lot fun along the way.

Shamsheer Benepal


Westlake Girls High School

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