Hawke's Bay graduate enjoys the kiwi lifestyle.


Growing up in the Netherlands, Bonnie Finnema remembers being surrounded by other children.

Her mother offered child care in her home in Haarlem, North Holland, and Bonnie loved helping out and playing with the infants and toddlers. The family also hosted exchange students on a regular basis.

“I was inspired to become the same caring and loving person as my Mum,” says Bonnie, who is looking forward to joining friends graduating with EIT’s Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education).

It’s been a determined journey. Moving to New Zealand from Europe as an eight-year-old, she spoke only a few words of English. Bonnie and her family travelled around the country in a van for six months before her parents chose Hawke’s Bay to settle.

“I loved it,” she says of this introduction to her new homeland, “sleeping in a tent and not going to school.”

Bonnie found New Zealand provided many opportunities for engaging with nature – something she likes to do.

“The Netherlands has a much denser population,” she explains. “It’s an eighth of the area of New Zealand and has more than four times the number of people. And New Zealand is more laid back. Everyone in the Netherlands is in a hurry.”

Although she had to work hard on her English, Bonnie is satisfied now with her language skills.

After finishing Napier Girls’ High School, she took a gap year, working at a ski resort in Switzerland, travelling around the UK and camping in the Netherlands. She then launched into tertiary studies in Hawke’s Bay.

“I liked EIT,” she says. “The teachers were well-informed and professional. I thought it was a good experience although it was a lot of hard work and study.”

For three years, she worked as an unpaid volunteer at Greenmeadows Kindergarten, meeting the degree requirement for 12 hours practical experience a week. She gained further workplace experience through placements with centres that have different philosophies and cater for children of different ages.

While every age has its attractions, Bonnie found she prefers teaching children aged three to five. And that is what she is doing, working for the Napier Kindergarten Association as a contracted relieving teacher for its 16 kindergartens.

Because she feels the association offers great opportunities longer term, Bonnie has chosen not to pursue openings at other early childhood centres. Instead she hopes to eventually find a permanent position at a local kindergarten.

“I like that the association sets high standards and that it requires all teachers to be qualified to work in its kindergartens.”

With her partner here in Hawke’s Bay, the 22-year-old is also happy to live locally, boosting her income with babysitting and nannying jobs.

“I don’t really like big cities,” she says. “I like Hawke’s Bay. I love what I have chosen – it’s definitely the right path for me.”

Hawke's Bay teachers behaving badly.


Recent figures released by the New Zealand Teachers Council show it is not just the students who are behaving badly in our schools with twenty three Hawke's Bay teachers reported to the council in 2014.

This is an increase from 17 teachers reported in 2013 and includes seven teachers who were convicted of driving, alchohol and drug use. 

One of the most serious cases was that of Havelock North music teacher Charles Harter who was convicted of multiple sexual offences on his former students.

Relationship and employment matters were also a factor behind the increase along with aggressive and inappropriate behaviour.


Hawke's Bay schools are getting closer to nature


More than 120 school children from throughout Hawke’s Bay will be getting a little closer to nature this Friday with a special Enviroschools event in Havelock North.

Enviroschools is a school-based programme, administered by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council. It develops students’ environmental skills, understanding, knowledge and confidence through planning, designing and creating sustainable schools. In Hawke’s Bay, 54 schools are part of the programme.

The tamariki, teachers and whanau gathering at Anderson Park in Havelock North on Friday will take part in a range of environmental activities, including stream side planting; learning how to harvest native seeds; and finding out how to make a healthy lunch with sustainable packaging.

HBRC Enviroschools Regional Coordinator Sally Chandler says the event is a great opportunity to share knowledge and network with a range of Hawke’s Bay schools that belong to the Enviroschools programme.

"The Enviroschools kaupapa is all about creating a healthy, peaceful, sustainable world through people teaching and learning together. Friday’s event is the perfect opportunity to do just that," says Sally Chandler.

She says experts will also be on hand to share their knowledge with the all the children.

Ms Chandler says the Anderson Park Community Gardens will also benefit from the day.

"Those taking part will all have a chance to muck in and give this wonderful community asset a bit of a makeover with some major weeding. "


Havelock North student receives a prestigious Robertson scholarship.


Two young New Zealanders have been awarded prestigious Robertson scholarships to study at a top-ranked American university in recognition of their outstanding leadership potential.

The scholarship will cover their study and living costs over four years, as well as support for up to three summer leadership experiences.

Both 18 year-old Harry Elworthy from Devonport, Auckland and Duncan Parsons, also 18, from Havelock North have chosen to study at private Duke University in North Carolina.

Harry, who was Head Boy at Takapuna Grammar School, achieved Distinction in several International Baccalaureate subjects and in 2013 won the NZQA Physics Scholarship. By age 10, he had read Bill Bryson’s ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything’ which sparked his interest in Science, especially Physics - his chosen subject at Duke.

He is also a successful road cyclist and has won the ASB Young Sportsperson of the Year Award for Cycling in two consecutive years and represented New Zealand in the Under 17 team. One of his Physics internal assessments was on the optimisation of cycling pacing over a course of varying aerodynamic conditions. He plans to continue competitive cycling in the United States.

"I am excited by the opportunity to study at Duke which excels in this field of study. Duke also encourages students to do a general education course so I will enjoy putting myself into different fields and experiencing a wide variety of education. I can study Arts and Business while also doing a Science degree.

Harry is also excited about the Robertson Summer Camps where all their scholars come together and work on community projects, usually in remote countries. "The summer programs are a great opportunity to help communities - especial those far removed from what I’m used to, and will get me out of my comfort zone."

While studying at Hawke’s Bay's Lindisfarne College, Duncan Parsons achieved a 100% grade point average across four Level 3 subjects (Calculus, Chemistry, Physics and Accounting) as a Year 12 Student. As a year 13 student he gained Outstanding Scholarships in Accounting and Economics and Scholarships in Chemistry, Physics and Agricultural and Horticultural Science.

In addition he was Dux, a Prefect, achieved Distinction in his Trinity Public Speaking Diploma and vice-captained his schools premier football, tennis and squash teams. He has also founded his own business and spent considerable time volunteering in his community, earning the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award.

Duncan, who has chosen to study Engineering at Duke, says, "The Robertson Scholarship is an incredible opportunity for me to gain an exceptional education, experience different cultures, develop life skills and make strong connections in the Robertson community.

"The standard of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University is exceptional and I am looking forward to being at the forefront of education and research in this field. One my favourite aspects of the program is that it is an enabler and an eye-opener. It will expose me to and give me the tools to tackle the biggest problems in the world."

Each year the Robertson Scholars Leadership Program, established in 2000 by American couple Julian and the late Josie Robertson, offers at least one young New Zealander a full scholarship to carry out undergraduate study at either Duke University or the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Mr John Taylor, who chaired the selection panel said, "These scholars highly impressed the Panel for their academic and all round achievements and also their maturity and ability to cogently discuss the key issues and challenges of today. They have real potential to become a leader in their field and to make a transformative contribution to New Zealand or even globally."

Universities New Zealand, formerly the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors’ Committee, administers this scholarship in addition to 40 other undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships each year.

Hawke's Bay graduate frames up a career in film.


Graduation was an exceptionally busy day for Floyd Pepper of Hastings.

Floyd’s grandparents, mother and girlfriend were there to see the 20-year-old capped in Napier’s Municipal Theatre and they joined those lining the streets to cheer him and other graduates on in the traditional downtown parade.

The Diploma of Screen Production graduate will now be winging his way to Wellington to join fellow Heterodox band members on tour.

Music and film are Floyd’s twin loves and he has studied both at EIT.

In 2010, he and two fellow Karamu High School students formed Heterodox, a “groove/thrash” metal band which features Floyd on bass guitar. His interest in film production was spurred on by a passionate teacher heading the media department‘s film unit and, as a class project, Floyd filmed and produced a music video on the band.

Leaving school, he and another band member enrolled for EIT’s newly-launched Certificate in Contemporary Music Performance.

“It was something I was interested in so I thought I would give it a shot,” Floyd says. “It was a good year with other people who had the same goals and interests.”

Weighing up screen production studies as a possible next step, he wondered about committing two years to the programme.

“I thought it would take ages to do but it ended up finishing really quickly. It was cool. I learnt heaps of

stuff. The lecturers teach you things you really need to know for the industry.”

Floyd found he was most interested in field sound recording, post production sound and camera work. As last year’s top screen production student, he was awarded the Pania Award – a gilded statuette that takes its cue from the Oscars.

While studying at EIT, he gained work experience at Sky Sports, on a Rubberneck Productions’ television commercial shoot and on a Top Blokes Productions music video shoot of local band jakob. Happy with his final-year short film, he is entering the mockumentary Bogan Life in competitions.

While studying, Floyd also started doing odd jobs for AWA Transmedia. Founded by Waiohiki Intellectual Property Charitable Co Ltd in collaboration with EIT’s ideaschool, the Government-funded production studio explores ways to use social media to promote positive social development.

Posted on the studio’s website and Facebook and shared with other websites nationwide, visual productions focus on community and awareness issues such as cyber-bullying. Their work includes the award-winning E Tu Whanau! (Stand Tall Family).

EIT Hawke's Bay celebrates another bumper graduation.


For the second successive year, EIT is staging a two-day event to celebrate the large number of graduands receiving higher qualifications.

Just over 820 scholars - resplendent in the bat-winged gowns, multi-coloured lined hoods and sashes and tasselled trenchers traditionally associated with graduation - are to be awarded diplomas, bachelor degrees and post graduate qualifications in three ceremonies being held on Thursday and Friday (March 26 and 27) in Napier’s Municipal Theatre.

Spreading the graduation ceremony over two days allows graduands to invite more guests to their capping.

The city is also hosting two parades. EIT council members, senior executive and academic staff will join jubilant graduands and graduates as they assemble at Clive Square for the celebratory walk down Emerson Street to the Sound Shell on Marine Parade.

Just over 820 higher qualifications are to be awarded for 2014 - in line with last year’s record graduation.

The proportion of Maori graduates continues to track well above the region’s demographic, and has grown from 32 percent to 34 percent over the last year. Of more than 100 post graduates, 18 are Maori.

The proportion of younger people gaining higher-level qualifications from EIT is on par with 2013. More than 40 percent of Hawke’s Bay diploma and degree graduates are under 25.

At Thursday afternoon’s ceremony, graduands in business, computing systems, information technology, wine science, professional chef practice, tourism and travel, design technology and professional accounting will be capped.

Friday morning’s ceremony encompasses graduates in early childhood education, applied social sciences, visual arts and design, screen production and Maori. Nursing, health science and recreation and sport graduands will be conferred with their qualifications in the afternoon.

As honoured achievers, three valedictorians - Rawinia Paterson (Bachelor of Arts (Maori), Nikky Heasley (Bachelor of Business Studies)and Nayda Heays (Bachelor of Nursing) - will represent fellow graduates in addressing friends, family and academics filling the Municipal Theatre.

Guests speakers at the graduation ceremonies will be former EIT deputy chief executive Claire Hague, chair of Ngati Kahugnunu Iwi Incoporated Ngahiwi Tomoana and chief executive of telecommunications company NOW Hamish White.

Special guests will include Joan Twist, widow of former EIT Council chairman Tim Twist, former EIT chief executive Bruce Martin and his wife Allison and Marsley Northover, wife of late EIT kaumatua Joe Northover.

Napier's low decile schools receive minimal support from the Government's new success scheme.


The first phase of the Government’s Investing in Educational Success scheme is failing to target the children and schools the government itself says are most in need of support, a new analysis shows.

High decile schools such as Auckland Grammar are pocketing the majority of funding, while decile 1 and 2 schools are getting just 6%, even though they make up 14% of the schools in the scheme.

NZEI’s data analysis of the first 11 communities of schools (CoS) approved by Education Minister Hekia Parata late last year, shows that the allocation of resources will overwhelmingly favour the groups of large, high-decile schools.

The Auckland Central and Mid Bays (North Shore) communities consist almost entirely of decile 8-10 schools and between them will have 46% of the in-school lead teachers and 44% of the teacher inquiry time in the current allocation.

Those two communities will also have 21 of the 43 expert teachers who are tasked with spreading their expertise across the schools in their CoS. In comparison, Napier’s CoS of seven decile 1 and 2 schools will have just two expert teachers.

NZEI Te Riu Roa President Louise Green said primary teachers and principals overwhelming voted "no confidence" in IES last year because the $359 million for the scheme was not going to directly benefit children. Most of the money will go towards pay bonuses for lead principals and teachers.

"IES was supposedly about raising educational achievement across the board, but this data shows even more clearly that the kids who really need help are not going to get it. Lower decile schools are even less interested in IES than other schools because it doesn’t meet their students’ needs, so they aren’t bothering to sign up.

"Children need smaller classes for more one-on-one attention, more teacher aides for special needs, 100% qualified early childhood teachers and better resourcing of bi-lingual education for Maori and Pasifika. Highly paid "expert" teachers moving between schools overseen by a highly paid lead principal are not going to deliver the results the Minister wants, because IES is not what the vast majority of schools and students want or need."

Timber by EMSIEN-3 LTD