canterbury’s own lifestyle magazine / a great local read

Timaru Boys’ High School


Timaru Boys High School Acting Rector Ross Stevenson

The Arts can sometimes be a hard sell in a boys’ school. Too often the perception is that sport is the one thing that boys enjoy above everything else. At times we can be guilty of presenting this view as it’s easy to show photographs, report results, present certificates and have boys cross the stage, as there are more students regularly involved in sport.

As with life, it is important that our boys can have the opportunity to be involved in a wide range of activities. We endeavour to ensure that we recognise students in the Arts and encourage as many boys as possible to become involved. I think it is probably harder for a student to get up in front of his peers to perform a musical item, a dramatic role or present a piece of art than it is to be in a game even with a big crowd. There are not a lot of places to hide on stage.

We want boys to recognise that the Arts are as important as any other activity at school. One special way we do this is the running of an Arts Extravaganza every two years. The Extravaganza gives a boost to those already involved, but more importantly a chance for others to have a go at something they might not normally do. It also builds on the wide range of Arts related activities inside and outside of the classroom currently on offer.

Recently we held the Extravaganza following on from the combined production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, performed with and hosted by Timaru Girls’ High School. Next year we will host the production, and the Arts Extravaganza returns in 2021.

Waihi School


Allan Short is an experienced leader in boys’ education and has worked across state and independent schools both in New Zealand and the UK. This is his eighth year as Headmaster of New Zealand’s southernmost Independent School, Waihi, in South Canterbury. His passion for boys’ education, both inside and outside of the classroom shines through.

Family is the word that probably best describes the Waihi community, and with the majority of teaching staff and their children living onsite, it really does create a unique environment for the boys to work, develop and play.
The wellbeing of our boys is central to all we do. Our staff focus first on building relationships with each individual. We discuss the importance of areas such as ‘mental health’, ‘resilience’, ‘gratitude’ and ‘grit’ in order to develop character traits that promote the growth of our boys into fine young men.

At Waihi, staff certainly live by their mantra of ‘We believe in boys’ as our outdoor education initiative highlights. Allan says, ‘We are fortunate to have our very own Outdoor Education Specialist on the staff team. The boys love the team-building, bush craft, individual and group challenges, encouraging hands-on opportunities to take responsible risks, embrace their physical and kinaesthetic learning tendencies, and to get very dirty in the process!’

So whether it is cricket or chess, robotics or rock bands, drama or digital technologies, the Waihi boys seem to punch above their weight and do everything with a smile on their face, and they have the unerring ability to see the world as a glass half full kind of place each and every day.

St Margaret’s College



As I reflect on my first trip around the sun as Executive Principal of St Margaret’s College, I am ever more grateful to be leading this incredible school. We are 109 years young and continue to be amongst the top academic schools in the country in both NCEA and International Baccalaureate while giving our girls a rich and rewarding involvement in sports and the arts to an elite level.

With our commitment to holistic education, balancing academic excellence with a multitude of co-curricular opportunities, St Margaret’s College encourages students and staff to discover their passions and be the very best they can be. Well into our fourth generation of students, a St Margaret’s College education maintains traditional Anglican values with a focus on service and wellbeing, but is offered within a modern school environment promoting diversity, innovation and sustainability.

St Margaret’s College plays an important role in developing the leadership potential of young women. This is one of the many benefits of a single sex education, where our girls have access to a wide variety of opportunities to step into a leadership space without the competitive pressure that boys might add. Our girls are set up for success, joining a global network of wahine toa with the courage to embrace change, the confidence to lead, the desire to learn and the drive to make a positive impact on the world.

At the heart of it all, I believe what sets us apart is St Margaret’s College is a family that values each girl for the gifts and talents she brings, provides a safe place for her to take on new challenges and empowers her to live and lead.

Medbury School


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

This was a key driver in seeing Medbury School join the International Boys’ Schools Coalition (IBSC) and partner with Swinburne University to establish programmes to support emotional intelligence, within his first year of leadership in 2018.
Medbury’s partnership with Swinburne University of Technology is an exciting initiative aimed at developing emotional intelligence (EI) via the Aristotle-EI programme.

According to Mr Macpherson, helping boys to gain a better understanding of themselves and others; build resilience; and master skills, which help them tackle greater obstacles and ask more ‘why’ questions; are key milestones to achieving academic success and wellbeing.
‘When a Medbury boy leaves for secondary school, he will leave as 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,’ says
Mr Macpherson.

Geraldine High School


Geraldine High School Principal Simon Coleman

Welcome to Geraldine High School, situated in the picturesque and bustling tourist and agribusiness town of Geraldine.

We fully utilise our fantastic natural environment to extend our learning opportunities through a variety of programmes including our hugely popular Outdoor Education and Primary Industry Academy. Our school is the heart of our community and we have a long history of forging strong connections with our district which are purposeful and relevant.

While there is a distinctive rural and family feel to our school, students also have 21st century learning facilities and environments thanks to an ongoing and progressive building development programme, and they also have teachers who are professional, collaborative and of an extremely high calibre.

Our students display strong values, strength of character and are focused on life beyond school and what it will look like, thanks to our school’s culture of manaakitanga/caring. We have an enviable reputation of delivering excellent and comprehensive pastoral care which ensures all of our students, from Year 7 to 13, feel a real sense of belonging, engagement and wellbeing.

Our annual Open Day is being held on 19 August and we would love for you to come and see for yourself what makes Geraldine High School so special. If you can’t make it on this date, please feel free to contact us to arrange your own personal tour of our amazing school.

Craighead Diocesan School


Craighead Diocesan School Principal Lindy Graham

As I reflect back upon my first six years as Principal of Craighead Diocesan School, Timaru, I am reminded once again of the privilege to hold such a dynamic, challenging and humbling position.

One example of this is our opportunity to host the Anglican Schools’ Conference recently, involving principals, chaplains, student representatives and Anglican clergy from New Zealand and Polynesia. Anglican Archbishop Donald Tamihere, Pihopa Richard Wallace and the new Bishop of Christchurch Peter Carrell joined us, along with international keynote speakers, John Bell (Scottish hymn writer) and Dr Gerry Morris (US writer and storyteller).

‘Singing our Stories’ highlighted the importance of whakapapa. This conference was led by the Anglican Schools’ Director, Reverend Anne van Gend and former Bishop of Dunedin, Reverend Kelvin Wright. As hosts, we were able to showcase our talents – our Kapa Haka led the mihi whakatau, our Choir and Chorale performed at the evening Eucharist, and the Trio played at Chapel. Hosting this event tied in nicely with our school theme for this year, ‘Hauora’ – chosen by our 2019 Student Leaders, to improve social, physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Our Special Character is alive and well!

Finnish educator and author, Dr Pasi Sahlberg, defines the ‘three big issues’ for school leadership today as Wellbeing, Media and Activism. Given recent global events and their aftermath, we can be very proud of the commitment by our students in effecting change, to make our world a better place.

During these times of nationwide unity around industrial action, it is important to remember how inspiring our young people are, and that they all deserve the best teachers in front of them!

Nelson College


I am incredibly proud of the achievements of the students of Nelson College for Girls and the ways in which our kura supports them to be the best they can be. From the beginning of our school in 1883, under the leadership of Kate Edger, young women have been empowered to stretch themselves and to be successful in academic, sporting and artistic aspects of life. There has always been a strong sense of service also.

I love the ways in which our younger students look up to their big sisters, particularly the Year 13 leaders in our school. Many speak of how from a young age they have aspired to be like these leaders. And what role models they have in front of them. Amongst our leaders this year we have a New Zealand Under 17 Underwater Hockey representative; 15 members of a drama group heading to the Edinburgh Festival performing Grease; an international Future Problem Solving contestant; local and national leaders in the student Climate Change Protest…and many more!

Our vertical mentoring system, or ārahi, ensures fantastic wellbeing and academic support from one teacher for around 16 Year 9 – 13 students. This mentoring programme is an important part of our holistic approach to supporting both academic success and growing happy, confident young people.

Nelson College for Girls has a diverse school community and we really appreciate the contribution made by our boarders from all over the South Island. In our Clarice Johnstone House, our senior students also play a pivotal role in creating the family atmosphere of our boarding community. They enjoy academic success, make lifelong friendships and enjoy strong connections within our school.
I hope that you will decide to find out more and then come to be your best at Nelson College for Girls – join
our family!

Rangi Ruru Girls’ School


Reaching 130 years old is a significant milestone and 2019 sees Rangi Ruru Girls’ School celebrate that very achievement. As one of New Zealand’s oldest and most successful schools, Rangi Ruru has established a very proud tradition and heritage.

Created by the forward-looking Gibson sisters in 1889, Rangi Ruru is now home to 660 girls, from Year 7 to Year 13, including 138 boarders and 30 international students.

As Principal, this is my fourth year at Rangi Ruru and I continue to be inspired by the energy, focus, and positivity of our students, teaching staff and wider team.

Our girls are encouraged, challenged and empowered within a community that knows and cares for them. Additionally, we support the girls to achieve the very best they can as young women and academically.

We continue to be one of New Zealand’s leading girls’ schools and we have further strengthened our position as a top achiever when it comes to NCEA and Scholarship results. NCEA Level 1 at 99.1%, NCEA Level 2 at 100%, NCEA Level 3 at 97.3% and University Entrance at 97.3%. We are thrilled with the outcome of our NZQA Scholarship Examination results. The examinations test high-level critical thinking in addition to specific subject knowledge, and we admire the combination of attributes acknowledged in these awards.

Alongside results is the importance of finding a place in the world with positivity and happiness. Our school grounds are green and open; the common spaces are bright and relaxing; the class sizes are small, fun and challenging; and the choices are many and varied.
We unashamedly put the wellbeing of our girls on an equal footing with their academic achievements and we are proud to develop intellectually curious, self-motivated and enthusiastic young women.

Rangi Ruru has sustained an outstanding reputation for leading the way with girls’ education and excellence for over a century, which we cherish, evolving and innovating to meet the challenges of each new generation.

Nelson College


Nelson College is one of New Zealand’s most established and dynamic secondary schools for boys. For over 160 years, we have provided high-quality education, where our traditions provide a foundation for looking forward and embracing innovative teaching practice.

At its core, our college has a robust and positive school culture; where every boy is valued and respected through the principles of manaakitanga. Alongside valuing themselves, our boys are taught to value others through respect, inclusiveness, generosity and service. We welcome the involvement of whānau and the wider community in helping to create a shared culture of excellence in every aspect of college life.

We equip our students to make the most of diverse opportunities and pursue their passions. Every boy is encouraged to develop a solid work ethic.

Nelson College’s academic results are consistently above the national average for boys. This is largely due to our teaching approaches and a curriculum that caters for boys’ learning, as well as the school’s attitude of self-review and improvement. Alongside our more traditional subjects, we offer a broad range of courses in arts, drama, music, technology and community.

We actively encourage our students to pursue their interests, and we take pride in recognising and celebrating their achievements. Our Board of Trustee Medallions are awarded to students who win a national or international competition, or who represent NZ in a national team. The diversity of these accomplishments is truly inspiring. Our established sports academies provide programmes for both individual and team activities, which continue to meet success at a national level. In a wider sense, the diversity of boys’ accomplishments ranges from traditional sports to environmental pursuits to hospitality and more.

Boarding has always been an intrinsic part of Nelson College. Recent refurbishment of our two heritage listed hostels means that our facilities comfortably welcome more than 150 boys from around New Zealand and the world. As one of the country’s thriving regional centres, Nelson offers easy access to a wide range of outdoor adventures including mountain biking, kayaking, skiing and tramping; as well as numerous cultural festivals throughout the year.

Now in my 14th year as Headmaster, I am proud of my role at Nelson College, where tolerance, compassion and excellence for every student is encouraged and supported.

Christchurch Girls’ High School


Christchurch Girls High School Christine O'Neill Principal

I feel privileged to begin the journey as Principal of Christchurch Girls’ High School and I am very much looking forward to working with the staff, students, parents and community of
the school.

We are fortunate to inherit the legacy of the strong and visionary women who founded and have led the school through its history. Inherent in treasuring that tradition is the challenge to be progressive, to look to the future and to move ahead of the times while reinterpreting the meaning of excellence in education in new contexts.
As one of four sisters, a mother of three daughters and grandmother to three granddaughters, it is important to me that our girls are wahine toa – ready for their futures, having agency over their lives and choices, and young women who are loving, courageous, authentic and grateful for life and all it offers.

Moreover, as young women of aroha their education needs to be embedded in compassion and advocacy for those young women whose lives are less fortunate and whose rights and humanity are diminished both here and globally. In this way we continue the vision which first made history in establishing this school for girls in 1877.

Christchurch Girls’ High School



This year has seen a change in leadership at Christchurch Girls’ High School – Te Kura o Hine Waiora. After five years in the role as Principal, Pauline Duthie left the school to take up a new position at Columba College in Dunedin. Until a new Principal was found I had the privilege of leading the school for nearly two terms. Early in Term 2 Christine O’Neill was appointed to be the fourteenth Principal of our school and began in the role in Term 3 this year. We are looking forward to working with Christine as we all begin the next chapter in our school’s life.

The events of 15 March were disturbing for all and with the school being less than one kilometre from the Al Noor Mosque, the tragic events of that afternoon impacted greatly on us. Difficult times often bring positive outcomes and both during the lockdown and in the subsequent weeks the strengths and positive characteristics of our school community really showed. I have never been prouder of how our students reacted on this day and afterwards in their efforts to support the Muslim community. I would like to highlight three students who after witnessing the appalling treatment of a Muslim student, did not stand back but went to great lengths to stand up for her and what was right. Our school values of Compassion – Aroha; Gratitude – Whai Whakaaro; Honesty – Pono; and Strength – Kaha were never more evident.
I am very pleased to welcome Christine to her role as Principal and am excited to be part of the future that awaits Christchurch Girls’ High School – Te Kura o Hine Waiora.

St Andrew’s College


A new strategic direction at St Andrew’s College, called Framing our Future, combines the best of the past with the possibilities of the future, says Rector Christine Leighton. ‘We have great respect for the College’s long history and proud traditions, and are also focused on creating new opportunities to inspire future generations. The bold vision of our new strategic direction is to be at the leading edge of high performance educational practice, in a community which values caring for others, tradition, and creativity, in order to provide young people with the roots and wings to flourish in an ever-changing world.’

St Andrew’s already has a strong reputation for excellence in academic, sporting and cultural pursuits.

Christine was delighted with the College’s outstanding academic success in 2018, which she says is up there with the best schools in the country. ‘A group of 24 students achieved 43 New Zealand Scholarships between them, including 13 Outstanding Scholarships. Three of our Year 13 students gained a place in the top 50 students nationwide, including College Dux, Russell Boey, who was among the top 11 scholars in New Zealand. This was an exceptional achievement.’

Individual athletes and sports teams from the College regularly win South Island and New Zealand titles, with recent success at these levels including girls’ volleyball, mixed and boys’ tennis, mixed adventure racing, athletics,
and rowing.

Late last year, St Andrew’s’ highly successful Pipe Band were runners-up at the World Pipe Band Championships in Scotland. Students regularly achieve at a regional or national level in other cultural pursuits.

St Andrew’s College is the only independent school offering co-educational boarding in the South Island, with students well catered for in state-of-the art boarding houses with caring staff, who provide a genuine home away from home.
‘Our boarding team, led by Director of Boarding, Matt Parr, understands that boarding is a significant life change for students and their families. They are dedicated to providing a friendly, safe environment, from which the boarders can fully immerse themselves in school life. Everything they do revolves around supporting the students’ number one objective for being at St Andrew’s College, to get an excellent education.’

Christine says boarders at St Andrew’s develop a wide range of life skills from communal living, such as socialisation, organisational skills, and resourcefulness. ‘We refer to the “Boarders’ Advantage” at St Andrew’s, which is something we strongly believe in.’
Having learnt in a co-educational environment herself, Christine is a great advocate for girls and boys learning alongside one another. ‘We see lots of healthy friendships among the boys and girls, and between the different age groups at the College. I believe a co-educational environment is the best way to prepare young people for their future.’

Innovation and technology is another strong focus at St Andrew’s, along with student well-being, and helping them to develop a positive mindset. ‘Our Positive Education and Well-being programme guides our students to not only cultivate their intellectual minds, but to also develop a broad set of character strengths, virtues and competencies which will help them to flourish in life well beyond secondary school.’

Timaru Girls’ High School


Timaru Girls High School Principal Deb Hales

I love working with people! One of the biggest and most exciting challenges for me, as Principal, is helping to develop a culture where everyone is working together effectively as one community. If we can achieve this, then everyone thrives.

Our job as teachers/leaders in a secondary school is to help guide students as they navigate their way through school (and life!). The greatest learning comes when students become self-managing and self-aware.

High expectations are important. When students know what is expected of them, and that expectation is consistently upheld, they rise to that expectation. To be successful in this job, you have to continue to believe in young people and the amazing capacity that they have to succeed.

Ashburton College


Ashburton College Principal Ross Preece

I love working with people! One of the biggest and most exciting challenges for me, as Principal, is helping to develop a culture where everyone is working together effectively as one community. If we can achieve this, then everyone thrives.

Our job as teachers/leaders in a secondary school is to help guide students as they navigate their way through school (and life!). The greatest learning comes when students become self-managing and self-aware.

High expectations are important. When students know what is expected of them, and that expectation is consistently upheld, they rise to that expectation. To be successful in this job, you have to continue to believe in young people and the amazing capacity that they have to succeed.