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Westlake is delighted to have had four ex-students competing in the 2016 Olympics. Congratulations to Jo Aleh, Kayla McAlister, Erin Nayler (Football Ferns) and Teau McKenzie (sailing, representing Cook Islands).

Special congratulations go to our two Silver Medalists - Kayla McAlistair (Rugby Sevens) and Jo Aleh (Sailing, 470 class). It was a brilliant effort from our two   Westlakers. In addition, Dr Lynne Coleman was part of the core medical team based in the Olympic village.

In our September issue there are alumni updates of ex-students in the news and involved in interesting pursuits - publishing, illustrating, a charity, international relations, and sporting, musical and academic scholarships and awards.
We feature an alumna from the founding year of WGHS  who has received an Australian honour for her services to music. And we remember a former staff member who gave many years of service to Westlake and who passed away recently.
From the Alumni Co-ordinator


What's new?
I have set up Facebook groups for all the peer groups from the '90s so do hope you will join to re-connect with your former classmates, 

To reconnect with your class peer group, it's the Form 7 /  Year 13 year, regardless of whether you stayed at school until that final year or not.
So the Westlake GIrls Class of '99 is for those who started Form 3 in 1995.

 We also have the first groups from the 60s set up - 1966, and 1968. 
Westlake Girls Class of 1966
Westlake Girls Class of 1968 
(An ex student who has lived in Norway for many years has been in touch. She is returning to NZ for a holiday in December / January and would love to catch up with some former classmates).Join the group or just email to be our Class of '68 database)

And for our ex-students from the Class of 2007
Westlake Girls Class of 2007
Recent Events

The Class of 1966 Get-together  (6/6/66 Group)
For many years, the Class of 1966, our WGHS founders (1962-1966), have maintained close links, meeting regularly on or about the 6th of June, which reflects their moniker '6/6/66'. Twenty girls completed five years of schooling, from a total 1962 intake of 219 Form 3 students, and a lasting bond formed among the group of  senior students.
Initially meeting to
 fulfill their signed 'Sorority Pledge'  to sponsor a Korean child, they maintained their friendship long after the sponsorship finished after around 10 years.

The Class of 1966: Back row L-R Nora Lewis (Vine), Kaye Lally (Jones), Liz Goodwin (Elliott), Jill Pierce, Elli Aloupis (Southon), Christine Ball (Wrigley). Front, Noeline Smith (Stewart), Sue Newman (Powell), Alison Cleland (Potter) - June 2016

Their 1966 pledge:

We would love to get in touch with others who started Form 3 in 1962, regardless of when you left. Join the new closed Facebook group, Westlake Girls Class of '66 or email the Alumni Co-ordinator to be on our database of 1962 Founders.

Former Staff Get-together
It was great to welcome back a group of former Westlake staff members and some current staff  for a catch-up. It was especially pleasing to meet up with Stuart Manins, a music teacher from 1958, when Westlake was the co-ed Westlake High School. 

Upcoming Events

The Class of 1991 - 25th anniversary get-together

Saturday 17th September 

Information is on the Class of 1991 Facebook page  
or contact 
Thanks to Meredith McIlroy, Jenny Wagener and Simone Neunz for organising this. We look forward to seeing you along.

The 3.15 Westlake Art exhibition NorthArt Gallery, Northcote
October  10th - 26th

This annual event features Westlake arts, past and present, Alumni  of both Westlake high schools, art educators and current students will be exhibiting. Opening night is Sunday 9th October 4 - 6.00 pm, and the exhibition continues until 26th October.

Looking ahead to 2017 - Westlake High School Founders
March 10th 2017

2017 marks 60 years since Westlake High School opened as a co-ed school, and the WHS Founders are keen to celebrate this milestone. A WHS 60th Reunion committee has been formed to organise it. Already over 70 have expressed their interest in coming.
Save the Date: Friday March 10th 2017
A Reunion get-together for those who attended Westlake at any time during its co-ed years, 1957 - 1961
An evening function at Westlake Boys (upstairs in the new Gymnasium complex)
Morning gathering and tour at Westlake Girls.
Cost: To be advised
What to do now: If you haven't already done so, let the committee know of your interest and spread the word. 

The committee: Jan Franklin, Geoff Bonham, Peter Burn, Tom Trent, Anne White, Judy Spalding

The committee hope to send out full details early in December. We are letting you know the date early as there is interest from several who live overseas.
Our Olympic Silver Medalists

Jo Aleh (left) and Polly Powrie

 Kayla McAlister (right) with fellow Sevens players Gayle Broughton and Niall Williams
Westlake Links
Current staff member, Dean Flyger, Director of Sport at Westlake, has been appointed Head Coach of the Auckland Hearts cricket team for 2016/17.

There is a strong Westlake connection with two Westlake alumnae. Dean has taken over the role from a former student of Westlake who he coached while at school.  Elfriede Chooi (née Komp) Class of 2001, captained the Westlake 1st XI in 2000 and 2001 and went on to represent the Auckland Hearts until 2010. She  moved into a coaching role in 2014.

With a BA and PG Diploma in Psychology, she has worked in the financial services industry in various roles, most recently in Customer Relations in large financial institutions and has recently taken up a position in Sydney.

The other strong connection is with current Auckland Hearts and NZ Cricket Team player, Katie Perkins (2006). Dean coached her at Westlake and is back coaching her at this top level. She is Vice-Captain of the Auckland Hearts.


A Flashback to the Premier Cricket Team of 2000 
Visitors to Westlake
Emma Scowcroft and Lillie Sommerville (Class of 2009)
Emma and Lillie visited to tell students about the Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) Scholarship.
Emma received a scholarship at the end of Year 13, with PwC contributing a total of $7,000 towards her university fees, assigning a PwC graduate as a mentor, and securing her a summer internship at the end of her third year of study.

She did a B.Com, majoring in Accounting and Commercial Law at the University of Auckland. She started full-time employment at PwC in 2013 in the Tax and Private Business line of service and is also involved in the PwC ‘Lean in Circle’ which is part of the firm’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. She was a keen sportsperson at Westlake and since leaving Westlake she has been playing netball for Shore Rovers Netball Club.
Lillie joined PwC in 2014 after an internship there in 2012 after her third year of study.
She graduated from Massey University with a Bachelor in Accountancy.
A top sportsperson at Westlake, representing New Zealand in the U19 Cycling team, Lillie switched to a year of rowing at university.
Thanks to both Lillie and Emma for sharing information with our students.

A scholarship for a recent graduate

Penny Peng (Class of 2014) has received a full
scholarship (US$300,000) to study at New York University in Abu Dhabi.
She has just completed her first year there and worked as an intern with a top US law firm over the summer break. She is enjoying the international environment at the university and is involved in the Debate Union, the Women’s Leadership Network, is President of the Model UN Society and is an editor of The Gazelle, the student newsletter.

A charity scheme for children in hospital

Celine Baber (née Fris) Class of 1996
Celine Baber has set up a charity, the ‘Books for Kids Scheme’ to assist children facing surgery.  She is an anaesthetist with the Counties-Manukau Health Anaesthesia & Pain Medicine Department.

Now each child checking in for surgery with the Counties-Manukau  DHB  is gifted a book which they can enjoy there and take home afterwards. Celine began  doing this on her own but now has the support of the Middlemore Foundation and gets sponsorship from children’s book publisher, Scholastic. About 1,300 books have been given away since the scheme started in January this year.

Celine did her medical studies at the Auckland Medical School, graduating with MB ChB in 2003. She worked at Middlemore Hospital and around NZ before embarking on a career in anaesthesia.

She completed her training in Perth where she moved with her husband in 2009. She worked for a few years there, starting her family and becoming a Fellow of ANZCA (Australia New Zealand College of Anaesthetists) in 2011.

She moved back to New Zealand in 2014.
Read the article in the Manukau Courier here

A new novel

Hannah Tunnicliffe Class of 1966
Congralulations to Hannah Tunnicliffe (1996) on the recent publication of her third novel, A French Wedding.

Book launches were held in Sydney and Auckland. 
Further details

Both Hannah and Celine (above) were in the Class of 1996. Join the growing FB group from that year. Westlake Girls Class of 1996

NZ Police Sportsperson of the Year
Congratulations to Constable Rachel Clarke on winning  the 2015 'NZ Police Sportsperson of the Year' award.

This is the second year in succession that Rachel has won this award and recognises another successful year on the surf ski circuit, both  nationally and internationally.


Rania Alani, Class of 2007
Rania has been in the news recently when she called for SkyCity to light up SkyTower in memory of the 280 people killed in a recent suicide bombing in Baghdad.

She was drawing attention to humanitarian issues generally and to 'selective compassion' shown in the illumination of Sky Tower to recognise the victims of attacks in Paris, Brussels, and Orlando.

SkyCity responded by lighting it up in the colours of the Iraqi flag, red, white and black. TV One's Seven Sharp also invited Rania for an interview. 

Rania is an Iraqi-New Zealander who attended Westlake 2003-2007, having immigrated to New Zealand with her family aged four. 

At Westlake she was involved with social causes and active in the  Amnesty Group. She believes that being part of Westlake's diverse population helped  form her world view.

She took the opportunity to learn more about her Middle Eastern background by doing her tertiary studies at the American University in Sharjah, Dubai concentrating on International Relations.

Since graduating she has worked in both Dubai and New Zealand and uses the skills she has gained in her role in Marketing in the International Education sector, based in New Zealand and attending education fairs overseas.

Read the NZ Herald article here

Music Scholarship
Congratulations to violinist, Stella Kim, Class of 2010, on gaining a full scholarship to the Fred Fox School of Music at the University of Arizona where she will study for a Doctorate in Music.
Her ensemble, Trinity Trio, which also includes her sister, cellist Sally (2013), is touring New Zealand in August. It is an award-winning trio that has performed in concerts around the UK.
Stella has been a solo concerto violinist with the Aotea Symphony and  the University of Auckland Symphony Orchestra where she was concertmaster for four years, and she had an apprenticeship with the NZ Symphony Orchestra in 2016.

At Westlake she played in the Chamber and Symphony Orchestras, and was concertmaster of both for two years, and performed in award-winning ensembles.
 We look forward to following news of her musical career.

Trinity Trio (Stella, Tina, Sally Kim)
Peter Leadley (Former Staff member)  1941-2016
Peter Leadley was a long-serving former Westlake staff member who passed away in July this year. Westlake staff remembered him at a morning briefing with a tribute from Deputy Principal Michele Larnder, another long-serving and current staff member.

Staff had a minute’s silence to reflect on Peter’s contribution to Westlake over 37 years.
He started at Westlake Girls in 1973, coming from Waihi College with a background of teaching in co-ed schools. He was a teacher of Biology and had a keen interest in the outdoors, leading many groups of students on trips and annual ‘Bio Camps’.

These were greatly enjoyed by students over the years and light-hearted accounts in yearbooks reflect the respect for Peter as a teacher and also the recognition of his sense of humour.
Peter’s colleagues too, appreciated his sound, considered advice and dry sense of humour over his many years at Westlake.He was a Dean for several years before becoming Senior Master in 1977 and then Deputy Principal until he retired from the DP position in 2010. Still with a passion for science and teaching, he took on a part-time role in Guidance /Learning Support until 2011, giving valued extra assistance in science. His wife, Alison, also had links over several years with the Westlake Guidance Department as a public Health nurse then as the school nurse in 2009 and 2010.

Aside from school trips, Peter was very involved in the wider school life and joined students in the combined Westlake production of Fiddler in the Roof, as the memorable lead,Tevye.

The church was an important part of Peter’s life and he was for many years a very involved member of the Waiake Methodist church community. His farewell at Waiake was attended by a large number of friends and former colleagues from Westlake, with one, Nan  Inkson, delivering a eulogy.

The 1979 yearbook has a student  interview with Peter with a sketch done by Form 7 student, Heather Arnold.

(Read about Heather, the student illustrator, below)

Heather Arnold, Class of 1979
Illustrator, Graphic Designer, Web Designer
Heather has been a graphic designer and illustrator for over 30 years. She had a passion for art while at Westlake and pursued this interest at AUT, graduating with a Diploma in Graphic Design in 1985.
Working in small design studios and printing, she now works as a freelance graphic and web designer based in Wellsford.
Her further studies include classes in different art/illustration mediums, a Diploma in Digital Media at Media Design School (2007), and a Certificate in Electronic Music Production (2015).
Amongst career highlights are the designing of six stamp issues for New Zealand Post, including the 1990 Commonwealth Games, Hector’s Dolphins, and the 2010 Christmas stamps for Niue and illustrating children’s books.
Her talent as an illustrator has been recognised with national awards. Her first book, Draw New Zealand Birds (2007) won the 2008 LIANZA Elsie Locke award for non-fiction. She has designed and illustrated two other non-fiction  books for children; Rangitoto (2009), authored by Maria Gill, was shortlisted for the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards in 2010, and The Call of the Kokako (2011) was shortlisted for the 2012 Elsie Locke Awards and the Russel Clark Illustration Award .


Heather has published two of these titles under her own imprint, Dragonsauce Books, now works as a freelance graphic and web designer and is engaged in further book projects.
Online Portfolio:
Publisher Website:

Dr Ngapo (Bub) Wehi   

Ngapo (Bub) Wehi, one of New Zealand’s foremost exponents of traditional Maori performing arts, passed away recently. He had a strong connection with Westlake Girls over many years, particularly through the '80s and early '90s, leaving a legacy of music which is still performed and  appreciated by Westlake choirs.

Nan Inkson, a former Westlake staff member who was involved with the Multi-Cultural Group  remembers:
‘The culture group he founded, Waka Huia, provided several tutors for our girls, and Bub and his wife would sometimes come and help with the tutoring.  They had amazing expertise and knowledge, and tremendous mana among the students and their families.’
One of the most popular pieces by Te Whanau Wehi  ‘Kua Rongo’ is much loved by Westlake and other choirs and was performed by Choralation at the Big Sing in 2014 and  at concerts in their European tour of 2014
Watch a performance of Kua Rongo

Read more about Ngapo Wehi

Nora Lewis (Vine)  Order of Australia Medal (A.M);  
Class of 1966      
Nora Lewis (née Vine) has had a prominent career in music education in the Northern Territory of Australia. Her work was recognised in 2001 when she received a Women’s Achievement Award in th NT, and in 2011 when she received an Australian Honour for service to the performing arts and music education in the NT, as Music Director to the Darwin Chorale, and as a composer.
A foundation pupil of Westlake Girls in 1962, Nora returned to New Zealand in June 2016 when a group of 11 from that year (Form 6A in 1966) met to celebrate 50 years since Westlake.
Nora was singing and playing piano since her childhood in India.  On arrival in Auckland she joined the (combined) Westlake madrigal choir and the North Shore Youth Choir under ex-Westlake music teacher Stuart Manins, and on leaving school, sang and toured with the Dorian Choir. On completion of her BA and teacher training at Auckland University, she returned to Westlake to teach music and English, and then Birkdale College, before moving to Darwin which has been home for 38 years.
In Darwin she was Music Advisor to the NT Education Department, overseeing the transition of the government’s Music Centre into a fully-staffed Music School. As principal of the School for 20 years, she was also manager of the Sydney-based Musica Viva in Schools program, the NT schools’ involvement with the National Music Count Us In project, and Music Director of the annual combined Primary Schools’ Beat Festival.
Nora’s awards have focused on her contribution to music in Darwin’s community – mainly as conductor of the 60-voice Darwin Chorale. Since being appointed Music Director in 2001 she has led the Chorale at numerous community events and in major performances.

Her commissioned work for voices and guitar have been performed at national and international festivals, including a musical collaboration between the Chorale and two Timorese Choirs in Dili and Darwin, which Nora also directed.

Although now retired from the Education Department, Nora still works with choirs and on community music projects in a free-lance capacity.
Nora admits eternal appreciation for the wonderful music teaching she received at Westlake Girls’ High School.  “I owe you - Stuart Manins, John Rimmer,  Elisabeth Curtis, Claire Aspden/Sheppard,  David Wood, and Susan Rind – for mentoring of me as a neophyte teacher.”

50 years ago
The first School Council was set up in 1966 with representatives from each form. It ran alongside the Prefect system.
Some topics agreed on by the first school council:
  •  There should be more fruit and health foods sold at the canteen.
  •  There should be more activities with the Boys’ School.
  •  Chairs should be mended so as not to ladder stockings. (1966 yearbook)
The First Student Council - 1966

The Multi-Cultural Group through the ‘80s
The Multi-Cultural Group first competed in the Maori and Pacific Islands Cultural Festival in 1982 when they took 1st place in the women’s haka. This followed a surge in growth through 1981 and the help of tutors from the school and community.

Through the ‘80s it continued to be very active in the school, welcoming visitors, visiting schools and marae in and outside the Auckland region and having success in festivals.

In 1986, Westlake’s group of 36 students excelled when they won four sections in the annual festival – the haka, the Action song, the Exit, and 1st= in Costume, thus being placed 1st= overall.
Through this decade, the group were fortunate to have the advice and support of Kaumatua, Bub Wehi and Mrs Pimia (Nen) Wehi, skilled tutors such as Aroha Cassidy, and Rahira (La) Turei, and active involvement from staff such as Lorna Elliott, Barbara Woodhouse, Ms  G Daniell, Mrs B Cairns, Nan Inkson and Kay Brown.
The Multi-Cultural Group in 1983
Westlake Girls'  principal to leave

Roz Mexted is to become the new principal of St Cuthbert's from November.
It will be five years since she became the principal of Westlake Girls. In that time she has made an immense contribution and Westlake  is sorry to be losing her.
The current Associate principal, Julie Saikkonen will be Acting Principal until the appointment of a new principal by Term 2 2017. Julie has been on the Westlake staff since 1999, first as HOD Mathematics, Deputy Principal from 2004, and then Associate Principal since 2012.

                                Roz Mexted


                Julie Saikkonen

Westlake Music

Westlake intrumental and choral groups have have outstanding success in national competitions in August 2016.

At the KBB Festival, Westlake musical groups took out the top award in all four categories: Symphony, Chamber, Big Band and Concert Band. This makes it Westlake's best year ever and may be an achievement unmatched by any other school.

The winning  conductors: Warwick Robinson ( Concert Band), Hayley Barker (Jazz Band),
     David Squire (Westlake Symphony Orchestra), and Mark Bennett (Westlake Chamber Orchestra)

And in Dunedin, three Westlake choirs sang in the Big Sing Finale, with Choralation winning the top award, Platinum.  Cantare won Silver and Voicemale (WBHS) won Gold. 
This is the sixth year that Choralation have won this prestigious best choir award.

      Westlake Choirs celebrating in Dunedin



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