canterbury’s own lifestyle magazine / a great local read
Craighead Diocesan School

Craighead Diocesan School


Lindy Graham
Although Craighead is a traditional school in regional South Canterbury, we embrace innovation and change’, says principal Lindy Graham.

The New Zealand Curriculum outlines a vision for young people to be, among other things, confident, connected, actively involved lifelong learners. Now in her sixth year as principal, meeting the requirement to be the ‘front’ of the New Zealand Curriculum is very much on Lindy’s agenda.

Mindful of the concern that assessment has traditionally driven senior curriculum planning, an extensive review of our curriculum took place during 2017. This led to refining the Year 9-13 teaching and learning programmes and to a re-think of the whole timetable. Craighead staff made the collective decision to focus more on the principles, values and key competencies of the NZC. They modified and refined their programmes of teaching and learning in response to individual’s strengths and interests within the context of their learning.

To support a commitment to a broad education, nine days of the two-week timetable are dedicated to providing a fully coherent integrated curriculum. In response to society’s concerns about increased anxiety in students, Craighead has introduced a flexible and moveable Day 10 – also known as Future-Focus Friday! Student wellbeing is a high priority.

For the Future-Focused Friday sessions, Craighead staff offer a series of optional workshops, which cater for students in the middle years. These workshops or sessions are based on the personal interests or expertise of our talented, creative staff. The aim is to develop those soft-skills required for future-readiness – collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, communication, resilience and the ability to adapt – and to have some fun, too!

Girls currently have around 22 workshops to choose from, ranging from the highly academic to those supporting personal wellbeing. Lindy says that ‘the range of choices on offer is most impressive. Girls can choose whatever they might be interested in learning more about, or they can try something different – such as forensic analysis, coding, upcycling, cross-stitch or yoga. In fact, our senior students are now asking to join in the Future-Focus programme!’

The Future-Focus Friday structure allows our seniors to manage their own independent learning time, ‘which is good practice for life beyond secondary school!’ says Lindy. As well as having access to specialist staff for tutorial support as required, senior students are now enjoying more opportunities for independent learning and self-management. The newly opened library and study spaces are already proving invaluable spaces in which to further develop good study techniques.

Christ's College

Christ's College


Garth Wynne
With over 35 years’ teaching experience in boys’ schools, Executive Principal Garth Wynne is still inspired by how pivotal education is in shaping young lives.

Now in his third year at Christ’s College, he is on the executive of the Association of the Heads of Independent Schools of New Zealand, and is a trustee of the Christchurch City Mission. He says his philosophy on education can be encapsulated in two words: inclusivity and excellence.

‘The best education is the sum of many different parts. It’s about the calibre of teaching and learning, combined with a breadth of experience offered through a full range of co-curricular activities; along with a strong focus on pastoral care, on helping each student grow intellectually, spiritually and emotionally.

‘Christ’s College focuses on the holistic development of boys, with the emphasis on education as a personal learning journey, and activities both in and outside the classroom designed to enrich the boys’ experience.’

The principles of Positive Education, encompassing health and wellbeing, and character and leadership, are now strategic priorities at Christ’s College, and have already influenced the development of the school’s innovative Immerse & Inspire programme for Year 10 students and MANifesto programme for senior boys. In addition, joining the Round Square international network of schools has created opportunities to better prepare students for a globally oriented future.

‘We live in a complex, fast-paced and increasingly connected world, and we want our boys to be in a position to navigate life’s challenges in honest and constructive ways. One of the key challenges we face is to help our young men grow emotional confidence, self-awareness and empathy, to be sure of who they are, to understand and develop their character strengths, and to live by the ideals of virtues such as respect, honesty, loyalty, integrity
and compassion.’

Garth has high expectations of his students and wants them to aim high, but he also expects the boys to learn to take responsibility for themselves. He describes the College experience as a partnership between boy, home and school.

‘As with many things in life, the boys get out what they put in. College is an amazing learning environment and we encourage our boys to aspire to be at their best. At College they’re given a strong foundation for the future and, wherever life takes them, I like to think they’ll be responsible, caring and considerate citizens who’ll make a positive contribution to the community and society in which they live.’

Timaru Boys’ High School

Timaru Boys’ High School


Secondary schooling is all about what was, what is, and what could be. Influences from the past, present, and future merge in Education. It can resemble one of those Sci-Fi thrillers in which the space/time continuum has been pierced, with different times and events blending to achieve an alternative reality. We progress between the old and new, with an eye to the future, in order to reach this reality – that of fresh learning and knowledge. This triangular blending creates a vortex of growth for our next generation, our schools and wider communities.

I see it constantly at Timaru Boys’ High School. The ‘old’ gives us high quality education and adds the anchorage, steerage and confidence borne of traditions and folklore reaching back to 1880. It’s enjoyed for the heritage, values and identity it provides, as positive vestiges of a celebrated past leave lasting imprints in the present.

The ‘old’ combines with the ‘new’ as modern and innovative learning, including new technologies, teaching techniques and emerging aspects in modern society, enter academics and social education. Choices and strategies in and around the Curriculum are responses to what learners need right now – once we know them and their needs extensively.

The third and final ‘timezone’ in this ‘blending’ – the future – calls us to new opportunities. Learning is lined up directly and relevantly to what needs to follow for success in work or study. Focus is on the key qualities and skills young people need to take into an ever-changing world: things that will not only enable them to keep up with change but to have a hand in driving it.

Ultimately this leads the ‘blended three’, because if educating teenagers isn’t future-focused, what is? To be young is, after all, to be the future, and those who commit to teaching the young need to let the future guide their approach and rouse them into action.

It’s my fifth year as Rector of Timaru Boys’ High School. It’s a privilege to be here and incredibly rewarding to see what young men are capable of achieving and becoming (sometimes in unexpected ways). Much like the Star Trek crew, in our adventures we may encounter both setbacks and success along the way, but armed with knowledge, resilience and integrity we can succeed.

In this role you constantly see transformation and new strengths and character coming into fruition. We’re building up boys to flourish as fine young men in the making. Education takes its cues from what has passed, what matters now, and what our priorities are looking to the future.

So take a leap with us into the vortex of learning at Timaru Boys’ High School.

Waihi School

Waihi School


Allan Short
Allan Short is an experienced leader in boys’ education and has worked across state and independent schools both in New Zealand and the UK. Arriving in 2012 he is only the seventh headmaster in the school’s 111-year history.

At university Allan studied Mathematics and Psychology – an unusual combination, perhaps, but one, he says, has served him well in his chosen career. His passion for boys’ education, both inside and outside of the classroom shines through, and he has frequently been invited to speak
in New Zealand and overseas in
areas as diverse as boys’ education, cognitive thinking skills and educational wellbeing.

Together with his wife Kendra, who is an independent LMC midwife, and their four school-aged children, the Short family have loved their time at New Zealand’s southernmost Independent School. Family is the word that probably best describes the Waihi community and, with the majority of teaching staff and their children living onsite too, it really does create a unique environment for the boys to work, develop and play.

Alongside his academic interests, Allan has been a keen sportsman and is a past New Zealand Correspondence Chess champion. These days, he says just trying to keep up with his teenage son while out road cycling is challenge enough!

‘Waihi’s reputation as a school where every boy can find, explore and develop their talents has been well earned over many generations’, says Allan. ‘The sense of adventure, kindness and service shared by Waihians young and old also reflects the school’s founding values and core ethos.

‘Our boys are articulate, happy and engaged. They become lifelong learners, team players, leaders and innovators. Boys are encouraged to use their imaginations, to think creatively, to explore the world around them and to strive for excellence. We equip them with the skills they will need – for their future senior schools and for the world beyond’, he continues.

‘At the heart of the school are our staff, who enable us to offer extraordinary opportunities in a supportive and stimulating
environment. Surrounded by the beautiful South Canterbury countryside, boys are immersed in an inspiring and varied curriculum inside and outside of the classroom. They benefit from excellent facilities and a tremendous range of co-curricular, cultural and sporting activities. Importantly, boys are able to challenge themselves and fulfil their potential, whilst still being able to enjoy childhood.

‘I believe that the happiness and wellbeing of our pupils and teachers is the key to excellent achievement, with every individual feeling understood and valued. Here, friendships are made and lessons learned that will last a lifetime.

‘Please do come and visit us to see for yourself; you will be assured of a very warm welcome.’

Medbury School

Medbury School


Ian Macpherson
While Medbury School enjoys a strong reputation as a progressive preparatory school for boys locally, nationally and internationally, the School has, at its core, an engaging family feel. Traditional Christian values, supported by a strong emphasis on manners and respect, underpin the School’s mission ‘to unlock the potential of every boy’.

It was the unique blend of Medbury’s long history of educational achievement, community engagement and its focus on core values that most appealed to Mr Ian Macpherson as he accepted the position as Headmaster at the commencement of 2018.

‘Medbury School has successfully balanced the strong traditions it has established throughout the past 95 years, with innovation in teaching and learning, as it strives to be one of Australasia’s leading preparatory schools’, Ian says.

‘I am looking forward to building on Medbury’s firm foundations of commitment to excellence, as the School prepares to celebrate its Centenary in 2023.’

Mr Macpherson has almost 30 years as a specialist in boys’ education and has seen first-hand the difference a boy-friendly approach has on maximising academic engagement and social and emotional development.

The School motto, “Play the Game”, reinforces the standard for all student behaviour and attitudes, whether in the classroom, on the playing field, in social interaction and activities, or beyond the school gates’, says Ian.

‘Helping boys master skills, which help them tackle greater obstacles and ask more “why” questions, drives our curriculum development and implementation programmes. When a Medbury boy leaves for secondary school, he does so with an education equipping him for life in the 21st century. He will leave us a well-rounded individual, a motivated and independent learner, and a critical thinker with high self-esteem, who reacts to others and the changing world around him with confidence and good grace.’

St Margaret’s College

St Margaret’s College

Executive Principal

It is a momentous decision to have a child; like choosing to have your heart walk around outside of your body for the rest of your life. My husband, Michael, and I know that feeling all too well with four adult offspring out there in the world.

We appreciate, too, that as parents you are only ever as happy as your least happy child. So, where they attend school becomes another significant choice in the parenting journey.

Now, I may have confused my children from time to time as they were growing up, calling to them with every name other than their own before getting it correct, sometimes even sliding the name of a pet into the list! However, there is no risk of really mixing them up, as they are distinct individuals. There is certainly a common Patchett thread to their cloth, but each one has their own unique composition.

It was always my hope that school would recognise this in my children, that they would not be just another student on the roll. Rather, there would be other adults in their lives who would take the time to understand them, keep an eye on them and help set them up for success – whatever that might be.

This parenting wish has coloured my career as an educator. I aspire to lead a school that knows each student and is attuned to the changes that mark their growing maturity; a school that will maintain a strong partnership with home, and, working together, ensure the wellbeing of each child.

It is this individual attention that enables us to recognise the gifts each child brings to school, to discover and nurture talents, and to fan the flame of passions uncovered along the way. Knowing each child ensures that we provide the appropriate challenges, and stimulate every corner of their brain, their body and their spirit. To do otherwise would be a disservice to the rich tapestry that school life should be for every young person.

I have already witnessed this in action in my short time at St Margaret’s College. More than anything, it is clear the students are at the centre of all we do, and our girls, parents and staff take the time to develop positive relationships across the community. This is a school I am proud to lead and one I know will empower your daughter to live and lead.

Christchurch Girls’ High School - Te Kura o Hine Waiora

Christchurch Girls’ High School - Te Kura o Hine Waiora


Pauline Duthie
This is my fifth year as Principal at Christchurch Girls’ High School – Te Kura o Hine Waiora. It is a school with a proud heritage established over 140 years, and it is currently undergoing a major redevelopment as part of the greater Christchurch Schools Rebuild programme.

A school is, of course, all about teaching and learning, buildings and uniform, but it is also about people. He aha te mea nui o te ao? What is the most important thing in the world? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. It is people, it is people, it is people.

It is important to remember that what helps us to navigate each day and the future that lies ahead is people. It is people who walk with us, who listen, laugh and cry with us, people who share burdens and triumphs. We can and must equip ourselves with the ability to be adaptable and creative; to be ongoing learners, thinkers, self-managers and all those other things that we know are important, and that are part of what we encourage here at school.

But, essentially, we are human beings, living with, working with and being with each other. We have to have integrity in our relationships; we need to have the ability to communicate on a human level; we need to value ourselves and others – if all those other capabilities are to mean anything and if we are to fully grasp future opportunities.

So, I would like to take this moment to celebrate some of the amazing young people and initiatives we have here at school.

In efforts to combine learning with community service, our Year 12 Health students organise blood drives at school each year. Our senior Economics students won the 2018 National Treasury Challenge and, at the time of writing, are the only all-girl team presenting to the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank in Wellington as part of the 2018 Monetary Challenge Final.

Each term junior students are nominated for displaying the school values of compassion, gratitude, honesty and strength, and the winners are acknowledged at assembly. Environmental groups are trialling decomposable bags, rather than plastic bags, for rubbish bins, as a practical way the school can help the environment.

Our arts and cultural groups perform with pride at Manu Korero, Polyfest, Big Sing and Chamber Music competitions. Our sports teams participate in every sport from archery to Zumba. At the recent New Zealand Secondary Schools Cross Country competition, our junior three-person and junior six-person teams won the national titles.

At our recent Open Day, many people commented on the wonderful sense of community displayed by our students. I believe that is because our students like to participate and get involved, because they understand that it is people who matter most and are guided by staff who care and who role-model these values.

Nelson College

Nelson College


Established in 1856, Nelson College has a long history and rich traditions. ‘We have used that solid foundation to build a modern and responsive learning environment where a sense of belonging and pride in the past underpins our endeavours’, shares Headmaster Gary O’Shea – which helps the College’s students realise their full intellectual, spiritual and social potential.

‘Nelson College is a progressive boys’ school anchored by tradition with its sights firmly fixed on a dynamic and innovative future. I am privileged to lead the College into its exciting future’, he continues.

Two historic boarding houses and a private Year 7 and 8 Preparatory School means the College offers a comprehensive package to parents wanting the best education for their sons. The renovation of the two boarding houses, Barnicoat and Rutherford, has been a priority for the College. Barnicoat was completed in 2017 and Rutherford is scheduled for completion in November this year.

Boarding places are available for boys in the Preparatory School, as well as those of college age.

In September 2016, the College received its second consecutive 4-5-year review cycle endorsement from the Education Review Office. The Education Review Office concluded: ‘Nelson College is a high-performing boys’ school with traditions. Boys show a strong sense of belonging and pride. They achieve very well in their learning and in sporting and cultural activities. Teachers take many innovative approaches, providing responsive learning opportunities that engage boys well in their learning. Strong, visionary professional leadership provides a highly inclusive environment for the increasingly diverse range of students.’

Geraldine High School

Geraldine High School


Simon Coleman
Positive relationships are an integral part of student success at Geraldine High School and are highly valued by all – our staff, our board,
our students, their families and our wider community.

We have an enviable reputation of delivering excellent and comprehensive pastoral care, which ensures all of our students, from Years 7 to 13, feel a real sense of belonging, engagement and wellbeing. This school culture is achieved through numerous initiatives delivered by both staff and outside agencies, and is supported by our fantastic pastoral school leaders such as our deans, vertical form teachers, guidance counsellor and our social worker.

With around 560 students, it is still possible for teachers to know every student well. This knowledge and understanding enables our staff to focus on continually improving academic achievement and providing meaningful teaching and learning opportunities for every student. These occur in the classroom, through a vast array of sporting and cultural activities, and through our specialist teaching and learning programmes, such as Outdoor Ed, Primary Industries and the Arts.

Many of our teaching and learning opportunities take full advantage of our fantastic natural environment and our supportive community. Our connections extend beyond the school gate and we have established strong and positive relationships with those involved in a variety of outdoor pursuits, agriculture, business and community organisations.

This shared focus positively impacts on our students’ academic achievements, making their learning experiences relevant and meaningful throughout their journey at Geraldine High School and beyond. Come and see for yourself – I would be delighted to show you around our school.

St Andrew’s College

St Andrew’s College


Christine Leighton
In a rapidly changing world with disruptive technologies and shifting social norms, St Andrew’s College is committed to providing the best possible learning environment where young people can flourish, says Rector Christine Leighton.

‘We have embarked on a strategic planning process to move the College into its next phase of development. The contemporary educational landscape is complex, with older paradigms of education, assessment and stakeholder demands on schools competing with the need to provide future-focused learning experiences, and to look after the social and emotional welfare of our school communities.’

Preparing students for life beyond secondary school in this fast-changing world is a key focus. ‘We guide them not only to cultivate their intellectual minds, but to develop a broad set of character strengths, virtues and competencies, to work collaboratively, and to have contextual real-life experiences in their learning.’

In response to the ways in which technology is revolutionising education, St Andrew’s College recently opened its new Green Library and Innovation Centre, a learning hub where students from various subject groups can gather together to share ideas and innovate.

This exciting development has seen the reimagining and extension of the existing Secondary School Library, which features a new light, bright information space for displaying books, studying and research; and two specific innovation spaces. These include a design space, where innovative technology ideas can be brought together, and a makerspace or construction zone, where students have access to modern fabrication tools such as 3D printers, laser cutters and tools.

‘As well as delivering the new Digital Technology curriculum content, we are creating exciting opportunities for our students to experiment, particularly in the areas of programming, big data and robotics. The aim is for them to become skilled creators of digital innovations and inventions and not just fluent users of technology.’

Christine became the first female Rector at St Andrew’s College, the only independent co-educational school offering boarding in the South Island, when she was appointed to the role in 2007. At the end of 2018, she will have completed 20 years as a principal in two different schools. She is well known for her love of the students at St Andrew’s College, and the enjoyment she gets from interacting with them and supporting them in their various activities both at school and beyond the school gates. It is normal practice for Christine to spend four hours at the netball courts on a Saturday and still watch every performance of the College’s Middle and Senior School productions each year.

‘I’m proud of the highly engaged environment and family culture we have at St Andrew’s College, where all successes are celebrated. As someone who was educated in a co-educational school myself, I believe it is the best way to prepare our young people for the future. After all, life is co-ed.’

Ashburton College

Ashburton College


This time last year I postulated that there were exciting times ahead in the world of education. These include the Government’s timelines of a review of the whole education portfolio. Amidst suggested alterations, they are also considering two very important questions:

1. How are we going to teach these ‘soft skills’ such as resiliency, creative problem-solving, collaboration and thinking, which are becoming essential skills for tomorrow’s work force?

2. How might we assess these skills?
Do they actually need to be assessed?
There has also been a change of approach. Rather than mandating change the new Government seems to be asking, ‘what are your great ideas to improve education?’, and then making changes. There is talk of a thirty-year education blueprint that is free from political influence, as used in Finland. This appears to have huge positives.

At College we are already making changes to our Year 9 Course structure, to prepare for the future. These changes include:

Ako Time – ‘you learn from me and I learn from you’ – for an hour each week, where the focus is on future skills and growing our collective understanding of social skills and dispositions.

A more even allocation of time across subjects, to help foster a more rounded education.

Introducing a pilot programme using a subject integration model, which staff and students choose to partake in. Thirty five of our staff have already expressed interest in being part of this.

Increasing guided choice of subjects so that students can start developing areas of interest at an earlier age.

Nelson College For Girls

Nelson College For Girls


Cathy Ewing
The world of work that our young people will experience is now a more uncertain landscape than at any other time in the 135-year history of Nelson College for Girls. The development of technology, such as artificial intelligence that can replicate human voice and thinking, driver-less cars and robotics, has heightened
this uncertainty.

This means that we need to be equipping young people with the skills and attributes that will make them employable for a range of different and changing employment opportunities. Nelson College for Girls places great importance on the qualities of citizenship; the ability to work in collaboration with others; and the values of respect, integrity, empathy and passion for continued learning.

It is a privilege to lead a school with such dedicated staff and with students who are so successful in so many aspects of school life.

Hagley Senior College

Hagley Senior College


Haere mai ki Te Puna Wai O Waipapa! We want you to feel excited about Hagley. We’re often asked: what makes Hagley different? We have a culture like no other. No-one wears a uniform and everyone’s on a first-name basis. But that’s just for starters. Students choose Hagley because they’re treated with respect and accepted for who they are as individuals. Our students know that it’s cool to be different and they celebrate that.

Our students choose Hagley because of the huge range of opportunities and unique programmes on offer. In our prospectus, you’ll discover that we’re no ordinary secondary school. You can design your own programme from the different and diverse subjects available, or choose one of our tertiary pathways programmes or specialist courses to take the step into tertiary study or your career pathway. Our students aim high and do well. We believe there is no single stereotype for success. At Hagley, being successful comes in many shapes and forms.

We’re designated by the Ministry of Education as a special character school for learners of all ages across our region. Our College has over 2,000 students, 85% of whom are aged over 16. We’re a high-performing school as acknowledged by external government review. We’re proud of our top 2015 Education Review Office rating.

We live by our vision statement: lifelong learning that’s accessible to all. Join us and discover for yourself what we mean. That’s what Hagley can be for you – a place that opens up opportunities that are right for you.

Ka puāwai te koru, ka puāwai te tangata. As the koru opens, so too does the person.

Columba College

Columba College

Acting Principal

Jenness Riethmaier
One of the best gifts you can give your children is a well-rounded, holistic education. Columba College equips students with the skills they need to succeed anywhere in the world.

Columba’s history is steeped in a tradition of excellence, where students are supported to pursue and develop their interests and talents, be that in the arts, sports, science or technology. The College focuses on teaching students how to learn and meaningfully apply their knowledge, setting them up with the skills they need to thrive in our changing society.

The College’s theme for 2018 is Alere Flammam – the Latin motto of Girton College, which joined to form Columba College in 1915, meaning ‘nourish the flame’. Through this theme, students are encouraged to ‘nourish’ their personal wellbeing, academic achievements, sports, interests and friendships. They are also encouraged to consider how they can nourish others through what they give and how they serve, and by showing kindness to one another.

Columba’s students are responding to the challenge with many students representing Otago and even New Zealand in their chosen pursuits. We congratulate these students and look forward to seeing them continue to thrive.