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Thousands of Hawkes Bay kids head back to school.


More than 10,000 five-year-olds head off to class for the first time as New Zealand schools open for the New Year from today.

Schools will be reopening this week and next week.

"Across the whole of this year an estimated 63,870 five year olds will begin their primary schooling for the first time," says the Ministry of Education head of sector enablement and support Katrina Casey.

"Altogether, a total of 744,100 students will be heading back to school from Years 1 to 13.

"There are plenty of things parents can do to support their children to achieve well at school. For example it's important to ensure there's a quiet area at home for homework, and that you make time to listen to your child's school-related concerns."

"For the more mature students tackling NCEA, the start of the school year is a good time to sit down and set some well-defined goals for the year ahead. Make a commitment with your child that you'll both check in on their progress on a regular basis to assess progress and milestones," says Ms Casey.

Regional Council Area

Year 1

Entire Year 

Year 1 

Entire Year

Year 1-13

Beginning of Year

Northland Region 2410 400 29,000
Auckland Region 22070 3680 251,700
Waikato Region 6520 1090 74,000
Bay of Plenty Region 4270 710 51,800
Gisborne Region 800 130 9,500
Hawkes Bay Region 2400 400 29,000
Taranaki Region 1780 300 20,200
Manawatu-Wanganui Region 3310 550 38,900
Wellington Region 6710 1120 77,500
Marlborough Region 590 100 6,600
Nelson Region 610 100 8,400
Tasman Region 640 110 8,000
West Coast Region 460 80 4,700
Canterbury Region 7370 1230 87,200
Otago Region      
Chatham Islands County 10 0 100
Southland Region 1350 230 16,300
Total 63870 10640 744,100

What can parents do to help their children achieve well at school?
• Your child's teacher or the school principal is always available to talk about your child's progress, either on the phone or at the school, just phone and make an appointment.
• Ensure there's somewhere quiet for your child to do their homework and help them to establish good homework routines.
• Stay in touch with what your child is learning and what is going on at school and listen to their school-related concerns should they have any.
• Find out when parent-teacher meetings are held and try to attend these so you get to hear what's going on from those teaching your child.
• Prepare questions in advance of parent-teacher meetings.

What can parents do to help their children heading into NCEA?
• Set realistic goals and expectations for what your child wants to achieve and make sure these are their goals and expectations as much as your own.
• Have regular catch-ups where you discuss progress and achievement with your child matched against the goals and expectations that you both set earlier.
• Ask your child what support they need to achieve their goals – if they need extra help have a chat to their teacher, ideally with them present.
• Find out when the school holds NCEA information evenings and attend these.


Global marketing pays off for EIT Hawkes Bay as international student enrolments increase.


More than 400 international students from 60 countries around the world are soon to start the academic year at the Hawke's Bay's Eastern Institute of Technology following some strong overseas marketing.

In 2014 international equivalent full-time students were up 9 per cent on the previous year with more students enrolling for longer programmes.

This year students from Mauritius will attend the campus for the first time after their past preferred study destinations became too expensive.

In contrast one of Hawkes Bays largest host school for international students, William Colenso College has had a drop in students with enrolments down from 37 last year to 24 this year. 

The school attributes the decrease to fewer German students enrolling after Germany reduced the number of compulsory years students have to attend school.

They now hope Hawkes Bay schools can join together to promote the region to the world and increase international student enrolments.


EIT Hawkes Bay loses Maori lecturer John Harmer


In a presentation described as a "very special" occasion, EIT conferred an Honorary Bachelor of Arts (Māori) late last year on Te Ūranga Waka lecturer John Harmer.

John, who had been ill for some time, died on Christmas Day aged 67. He had taught Māori language and customs at certificate level at EIT for more than 20 years - up until December.

The honorary degree, conferred at Te Ūranga Waka's end-of-year marae graduation, was only the second awarded by EIT. It marked the high regard in which John was held.

Making the presentation, former deputy chief executive Claire Hague said John was expert in te reo me ngā tikanga Māori.

"He made a huge contribution to students and the community."

John was proud to have two of his mokopuna graduate at the ceremony, Manuera Harmer with a Bachelor of Arts (Māori) and Huia Harmer with the Level 4 Certificate in Māori Studies.

Of Ngāti Kahungunu and Te Arawa descent, John's life was celebrated at a tangi held on Kahurānaki marae in Te Haukē. His whānau encompassed Karen, who was his partner for 40 years, 13 children, 57 mokopuna and 26 great mokopuna. John was formerly married to the late Marlane Duff.

Te Ūranga Waka student Patricia Emia says she had grown very close to John since starting Level 2 studies at EIT.

"It's because of his guidance that I am studying the degree, something I never aspired to," the former early childhood teacher and social worker says. John, who was related to Patricia, was "the greatest teacher" and very gentle in imparting knowledge.

Formerly a shearer, John lost his job as a freezing worker at Tomoana with the closure of the plant. Moving to EIT, he was known to staff and students at the school of Māori studies as Hone, and Patricia says he was their matua or father figure.

He and Materoa Haenga, who resigned as senior lecturer and kuia of Te Ūranga Waka and Te Whatukura late last year to take up a position with Hawke's Bay District Health Board, were "like a māmā and pāpā".

"Now we have got to pick up the tone. It is up to us to uphold the mana."

Materoa says John was a mentor to all the staff in the school.

"He was an eloquent speaker in English and Māori and could move fluently between the two.""

Head of School Puti Nuku agrees.

"He was good at explaining the nuances of language. He loved to talk, and because of his life experiences he could bring a fresh perspective to any discussion without being judgemental. Given his knowledge and skills, he would have flown through the degree with honours."

EIT Hawkes Bay graduate is mystified by why so few women pursue a career in software development.


Tarah Carpenter had her heart set on a career in art restoration, renovating Renaissance masterpieces like those she viewed when visiting the J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Wairoa student receives one of Eastland Group's 2015 Tertiary Study Scholarships.


Engineering students Briar Thomas and Sam Godwin are the 2015 recipients of Eastland Group's Tertiary Study Scholarships.

The company's annual scholarship offers $5,000 to Eastland region students studying engineering, with a particular focus on civil, mechanical or electrical engineering. The scholarship comes with the opportunity of paid holiday work with the company.

Eastland Group chief executive Matt Todd says the pair's applications stood out among 14 other applications and so, in a change from recent years Eastland Group has awarded two full scholarships for 2015.

"We were delighted to receive so many excellent applications. Applicants wrote a 1,000 word essay about how winning an Eastland Group scholarship would help them, and what their study and career aspirations are.

" We are looking for people who are strong academically, but also well rounded, practical, show leadership ability and are potentially able to fit into the Eastland Group team and add value to the organisation in the future.

"Our aim is to select students studying subjects that complement Eastland Group's business and operations. Therefore, applicants must be studying civil, mechanical or electrical engineering."

Aside from their essay, scholarship applicants were reviewed by Eastland Group in terms of academic achievement, character and potential leadership, and potential to contribute to New Zealand's engineering industry.

Wairoa-based Briar Thomas has attended Iona College and King's College. She will begin her first professional year in civil engineering at the University of Canterbury next year.

"I'm passionate about how things work and finding better solutions," she says. "For me, there was no other option than to choose a university with a major engineering school in the middle of a city under massive rebuild."

Briar has also been accepted into Wairoa District Council's summer internship programme involving geographic information systems (GIS) mapping. She says the unpaid internship will set her up well for entering a second year at university in 2015.

Gisborne's Sam Godwin has received Eastland Group's scholarship for the past two years. He is studying at the University of Canterbury towards a Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) specialising in Civil Engineering.

Sam captained the under 19 Canterbury rugby team to win the South Island Championship in 2014, and was also this year named in New Zealand's under 20 training squad. He said the Eastland Group scholarship allowed him to train in Christchurch over the summer holidays rather than seek part time work.

"Academic studies continue to be a priority over my rugby so I am pleased the union is also encouraging me to continue with my study. Eastland Group has provided significant support towards my career aspirations over the past two years for which I am truly appreciative. If I didn't have this support I'd have to find part time work during the year to compensate my university fees. This would result in less time studying and potentially a decrease in my grades."

A Hawkes Bay school welcomes students to an intensive 11 days of study and performance.


The 2015 IFAC Handa New Zealand Singing School opens Wednesday 7th January 2015, and will welcome 72 students and around 35 faculty to Hawke’s Bay for an intensive 11 days of study and performance at the Eastern Institute of Technology in Napier. The New Zealand Singing School Trust has run 28 schools for singers from throughout New Zealand with recognisable talent. The calibre of the school is now attracting students from Australia also.

“The strength of our School is the excellence of our faculty. We handpick our faculty based on the focus of each School. Our faculty come from throughout New Zealand and this year also Australia, England, America, and the Netherlands” says New Zealand Singing School Chairperson, Jill Tobin.

The 2015 School theme is “Inhabiting the Text”. This theme will flow through the curriculum to create a focus on bringing the story at the heart of every song and aria to life. There will also be a strong focus on English diction and Italian language.

“We are striving to give students insight on how to bring a piece of music alive. This takes an understanding of the composer, the lyrics, and the significance of the piece within the Opera or Musical. Researching and reflecting on all these elements, gives a richer performance” says Jill Tobin.

The school is unique in the southern hemisphere as it covers both music theatre and classical musical genres. It provides the opportunity to study both classical and cross-over singing genres, which is seen as a particularly important feature for a productive and bountiful singing career.

“You need to be versatile”, says Jill Tobin. “We are preparing students at the start of their career to be strategic, aware and prepared for a working career. Having an excellent voice is just one component. This is the insight that the Artist in Residence is so useful in providing.”

This year New Zealand baritone, Robert Tucker will be returning to the school as Artist in Residence. Robert follows on from Broadway Music Theatre star Liz Callaway and lyric soprano, Napier-born Anna Leese.

“We are excited to have Robert with us. Robert has settled back in New Zealand, although he continues to perform internationally. Very importantly, he is an alumni of the School and will relate well to the students who are at the beginning of their singing careers” says Jill Tobin.

Students work with faculty of national and international acclaim, providing access and experiences that they might not otherwise receive through their regular study or training. A mixture of one-on-one and general tuition opportunities including masterclasses, vocal technique training, lectures, language coaching, ensemble singing and movement are provided.

This supportive environment helps students to break through barriers in their singing, learn about their voice and the anatomy that powers it, and to experiment, observe and celebrate with like-minded singers.

“There’s such satisfaction in seeing the “a-ha” moments they inevitably experience. The students gain so much from attending – some return again and again. We’re welcoming back a fourth-timer – that’s proof enough for us of what we are doing” exclaims Jill Tobin.

Hawkes Bay principal resigns after 13 years service.


After 13 years service, Hereworth School principal Ross Scrymgeour has decided to move on and will resign from his position in the new year.

His departure means the search is now under way for a new headmaster with applicants being sought both nationally and internationally.

Mr Scrymgeour said since he came to the school in 2002 he has managed to achieve most of the goals that he set out for himself.

He said he has a few opportunities lined up for the future but is looking forward to claiming back his weekends for a while.


Hawkes Bay tourism and travel student wins scholarship


EIT tourism and travel student Shani Stewart has won an inaugural Hawke's Bay Airport Ltd scholarship that will help cover the cost of her diploma study fees next year.

The airport company is providing scholarship funding for promising students over the next five years, recognising EIT tourism and travel students' assistance with an airport survey undertaken in May. Over eight days, second-year diploma students questioned 1000 passengers on their views of the terminal building to help guide the company with future planning.

Shani decided to study tourism and travel after enjoying a STAR taster course at Dannevirke High School.

"I liked it because it was something different from every other subject," she says. "I had work experience at the Air New Zealand office in Palmerston North for five or six weeks and loved it. I learnt so much."

Family holidays have taken her twice to Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and Shani's preferred future travel destinations include the UK and the USA.

Flatting in Taradale while studying, she would ideally like to stay in Hawke's Bay and work in a travel agency once she gains her diploma.

"I like Napier," she says. "I'm not too big on cities but it's different here, a little bit laid back. And it's relatively close to home."

Shani initially found moving from Dannevirke to study at a tertiary educator daunting but within a couple of weeks she felt settled at EIT.

With lecturers making allowance for different learning styles, she has been able to work independently for some of the time. "I've also welcomed their constant support," she adds.