Principal Reflections

Nuhaka School 120 Year Jubilee Celebration

The last 20 years!

Mr Nick Chapman became our school’s Principal 22 years ago and is still tumuaki and loving his position!

20 years ago we celebrated the Centenary of schooling in the Nuhaka rohe. That was an enjoyable experience working alongside great leaders like John Reo and Huia Koziol, and their committee, as we shaped the occasion, and made it flow enjoyably. Memorable days!

This 120 year celebration is a different affair with different generations planning this celebration with the memory of those who have contributed and passed on, leaving our Jubilee committee with those memories and attributes they have passed on to us- as teachers, mentors, school staff, sports coaches and great parents doing their best in those times for their offspring. Today we are faced with a fast moving world, where we are very much connected instantly online if need be, where persons do know what whanau and family are up to and can share images and happenings at will. This Jubilee is for the brave and curious, wanting to see and touch and make contact in real time. This Jubilee is testament to our committee struggling with a shoestring budget, bringing to the manuhiri a celebration of your involvement in education at Nuhaka School and the relationships you forged through being here.

What ever happened to…

School Staff Retirements and moving on….

Keith and Margaret Hayward

Dawn Karangaroa

Hana Whaanga

Huia Koziol

Ethel Reo

Margaret Hansen

Donna Jane

David Jane

Nikora Emerson

Tracey Wilson

Stephanie Hoy

Moemai Hook

Leith Wairau

Joy Tereora

Peter Halley

Rewiti Brown

Teresa Bowen

Alice Wairau

Ada TeAmo

Gaye Hamilton

Barbara Chapman

Charles Crockett

Jackie Sexton

Tim Irwin

Johann Smith

Kamaea Tukaki-Gallagher

Kevin Curran

Jenny Harvey

Kerry Jones

Mere Karekare

Franceena Symes

Mere Bennison

Lee Ann Farr

Quarry Akurangi

Wi Wharehinga

Helen Walls

Angela Tait

Nik Hendriksen

Daiminn Kemp

Aan Hoek

Jo Doole

Rosie Williams


Support Staff

Erika Kuil

Irene Walker

Diane McKenzie

Mary Taylor

Lyn Hastings

Paul Symes

Linda Libeau

Debbie Greaves

Tania Wolferston

Manu Karangaroa

Kenross Campbell

Mahea Tomoana

Teao Rore

Lucy Trass

Lyn Christy

Tina Henare

Dawn Brown

Kuramihirangi Rore

Esta Wainohu

Atareta Adelaide Smith

YC Greening

Moira Barber

Erina Smith

Jan McKenzie



Paddy Cowan

Tip Raroa

Raewyn Wesche

Pepi Taylor

Dave Taylor

Kelly Karangaroa

Stretch Roimata Karangaroa

Jessie Ruawai

Christylee Wairau

Mariah Wairau


Bus Drivers

Peter Nielsen

Bill Howell

Hira Waikawa

Levia Smith

Debbie Greaves

John Whitewood

John Lancaster

David Harwith

Sue Crawshaw

Nic Baker

Vivienne Mid Karangaroa

Kelly Karangaroa

Stretch Roimata Karangaroa


Teachers today

Nick Chapman (Principal)

Pauline Symes (Kaiako Ruma Whanau)

Nic Baker

Sue Crawshaw

Tatiana Kereru

Wendy Howe

Michelle Maru


Support Staff today

Diane Egan

Vivienne (Mid) Karangaroa

Allison Maru

Kylie Wesche

Suzie Smith

Maraea Chapman


Board of Trustees members

Nuhaka School has been served by a diverse range of families and whanau, the individuals who put their names forward to be Trustees have collectively contributed to the shaping of the school and its character we share today. Thanks for the support and your wisdom in discussion.

Jill Dalziel, Peter McKenzie, Nigel Tomalin, Pat Smith,  Teao Rore, Rob Mayhead, Brent Karangaroa, June Rough, Jack Kuil, Grant Crawshaw, Jan McKenzie, Margaret Mitchell,  Awhitia Brown, Peter Bremner, Aira Bremner, Maraea Wesche, Nick Broad, Wil DeLautour, Susan Steele, Linda Kerr, Wendy Gibb, Sefton Alexander, Sue Crawshaw, Kylie Wesche, Manu Karangaroa, Margaret Hayward, Donna Jane, Barbara Chapman, Tim Irwin, Richard Finnie.


Graph of school rolls

Highest roll on record:  was the cohort of 2003…where were you?



Nuhaka school today has four bus routes, two MOE routes- SH2 south and SH2 north, these are sub-contracted to R.Michaelsen Nuhaka. The BOT initiative many years ago to run a van to Mahia for the ruma rumaki, grew into a 20 seater bus of today from the Mahia area, and a further development of a larger bus from Wairoa. Both BOT buses were a response from whanau for immersion education, and those with Rakaipaaka links and from the community at large to attend Nuhaka school to take part in its programmes. Reflecting on the current school roll of 110, 16 of these learners attend from the Nuhaka village, without these BOT buses, Nuhaka school would be a very different scenario today…


Network Property Review

In 2003 the MOE announced plans to reduce the number of schools across the Wairoa School District because of declining numbers of school age children. Schools with declining rolls and large properties were targeted under the guise of schooling improvement. The closure of local schools was discussed and which pitched school community against school community as each BOT and school community argued the benefits of “why our school should remain open”. In the Eastern Zone of the Wairoa School District TeMahia, Opoutama, Nuhaka and Whakaki were to reduce and proposed to join as a super school on the Opoutama site.  After much consultation and rhetoric decisions were made in 2004 to retain Te Mahia and Nuhaka Schools, with the closure of the other two. Students from Opoutama and Whakaki merged with Nuhaka.


Eastern Zone Schools

TeMahia and Nuhaka Schools are the Eastern Zone- EZ, in which we combine mostly for sports teams in rugby, netball and basketball. During the winter sports season, TeMahia students in EZ teams link up with their Nuhaka team mates every Wednesday afternoon, and enjoy major code sports sharing coaches, managers, transport and resources to enable the tamariki to practice and play together on Thursday for netball, Friday for basketball and on Saturdays for rugby in Wairoa. Members of EZ at Y7&8 also play in Wairoa Combined teams that travel to HB, no more EZ in Poverty Bay rugby.  EZ schools enjoy combined swimming sports at Nuhaka and Morere Hot Springs pools, and for athletics and cross country events on our Nuhaka site too.

EZ Kyushin Karate use to thrive here at Nuhaka….what great mentors…Sensi Aram Goes, Hickson Raroa, Greg Ford….kei whea?


Wairoa Schools’ District

The Wairoa schools district now has 15 schools, we are a stand alone school community that join together for many occasions celebrating our students and their successes. Through the Arts- dance, wearable art, drama, and music; athletics, swimming, RIPPA rugby tournaments, cross country; science fairs, maths problem challenges, technology challenges, chess tournaments, gymnastics, cricket, speech making, and in kapahaka. These are the core activities that haven’t been thrown out in these modern times, many readers will recognise many of these events they took part in years ago. In some respects these activities drive the interaction, along with the major code games- netball, rugby, and basketball, with teachers and the Wairoa, Gisborne and HB schools

The Wairoa school district through the Wairoa Principal’s Association collaborate to bring education developments to our schools attracting schooling improvement initiatives over the years. Today we also have the Kahui Ako Nga Mata Nui O Kahungunu…


At the above links, you’ll be able to read all about Wairoa’s Kahui Ako.



Nuhaka School Buildings

The Nuhaka school site is quite different to the beginning stories of when education first was established on this wonderful site. These stories are well anecdoted in earlier Jubilee publications and companions to this electronic publication. And wonderful site it is, as our fore fathers and communities did well to endow our grounds with these wonderful plantings we find ourselves enjoying on a daily basis.  I call the school site a park, and it is a wonderful pleasant park and place to be. We have ample playgrounds and playing fields, with miniaturised markings for learning all the major codes as well as an athletics track layout. The concrete areas certainly need to be at different times, and can be seen as a hive of activity of padder-tennis, basketball and netball with touch rugby. The adventure playground had a considerable make over when ACC decided the imaginative and standard setting original adventure playground was made to be dismantled…So today we have a version of an adventure playground that sees our tamariki spending lots of interval and lunch time in adventure play and loving their time here. Village tamariki reap the rewards with the grounds on their back doorstep.

Buildings are another story…the oldest surviving example of early Nuhaka School is the PlayCentre building. IOt is used once or twice a week and governed by the Gisborne PlayCentre organisation with a lease by the MOE.

The swimming pool is a wonderful asset and with our school size every class has a time slot each day. Tamariki also get lots of opportunities to swim at lunch times and insaying that, the community also have access in the swim season too. The pool is valuable to teach our akonga “how to swim to save themselves.” The pool requires lots of maintenance…with the ever moving ground the pool does move too, and it cracks and leaks at different times. Currently the BOT are negotiating to have the pool sealed with a fibre glass lining. This is a reality and it will create a new life of 20years to the pool.

The Junior school block has a moratorium cast over it by the MOE due to our school footprint being too large for predicted rolls. The building could well be demolished and removed from site in the next 5 years…unless we have a population boom!! The BOT can spend minimally on it and carry out only minor maintenance. We love the way we can use the Junior block with the Y1&2 class and the Ruma Whanau, along with the withdrawal-resource space of R6. Watch this space for developments.

Many of you will recognise a new block of classes sited near the adventure playground. This building was acquired by the MOE for Nuhaka School to re-site the Manual technology programme away from the old Public School site in Nuhaka. The school, under Tomorrow’s Schools and BOT governance, found that two school sites were not ideal with one of them being “out of sight- out of mind” where we wanted to manage our property on one site and take good care of it. So it was proposed to establish the technology workshop manual programmes on the current school site, and dispose of the old Public School site. Nuhaka School would also be able to access the buildings for other than EZ manual day programmes. The MOE decided to use one of the disused Raupunga District High School buildings and the Cooking block building was also to be shifted on site… you can probably recognise that next to the new block. When the Raupunga building arrived we split it into two to create three classrooms, and in that configuration it sits here today.

Before the refurbishing of the buildings could be completed, and the technology programme managed, the MOE unveiled their plans for the Review of the Property Network for the Wairoa School District. With the two additions to our site already transported and resited… the MOE announced that all Technology education  for Y7&8 (F1&2) akonga would transfer to the new to be built Wairoa College facility…so the new buildings became defunct…and for our use. However, with some assistance from the MOE and the BOT property funds we have been able to slowly refurbish the block – that’s R8, R9, and R10, and the old cooking building now known as R11. Today at the old Public School site there stands only the woodwork facility. That property has been land banked and awaits MOE disposal processes.

You’ll notice around the school buildings empty classrooms, which we have turned into a dedicated Library (R3), resource rooms (R2 & 6); and in the new block, a computer suite (R9), and a music room (R10).

R8 and R9 are used predominantly today by the Y3&4 (Std 2&3) class, and the music room as need dictates every Tuesday in the music skills programme, used for keyboard skills.

R11 the old manual Cooking building, has been some project, and very piece meal in its refurbishment as the BOT can afford. This building is to be an Art room and Science Technology space…it is just about completed! Joined to the northern side of it is a hothouse; that with sponsor David Trubridge’s  assistance was built some time back and has been a functional facility as we achieve the work on R11. During the Jubilee the R11 facility will be used to support the Saturday night function.

The Morere Hall was in place at the time of the Centenary celebrations, but it would not have been refurbished or resemble the character of the building to date. This building has proudly served its new purpose since Trustees of the day sought to remove it from the northern end of Morere valley. The building was a locally sawn affair using the time and efforts of  Gordon Tait and his supporters where it was used as a community hall. With the blessing of the owners the building was transported to the present site and developed into a key facility used daily here at Nuhaka School. To imagine today without the Morere Hall would be hard as it is our daily morning focus with assembly- Mihi, Himene, Karakia, Notices, Times Tables learning, Weekly Quiz, sports reports, celebrating student achievements….and off to daily fitness… The Morere Hall is our gathering place, it is our assembly point, it is our wet weather activity centre at lunch times, it is used for overnighters, visiting theatres and musicians, workshops, visiting speakers, Awards, suppers, kapahaka, shared singing, gymnasium, and dances…. What would we do without this brilliant facility??? In the next few months the Morere Hall is to undergo further refurbishment- it will receive a new roof, new water proofing underlay, batts, air-conditioning/ventilation, a water purification system, floor linings, it will be completely reclad, with new doorways and dry areas to be established adjacent to R11. This building alone has contributed to the today culture of Nuhaka School. Well done on achieving this building as a facility for Nuhaka School learners!



Artworks and school buildings painting theme

The school engaged artist Mahea Tomoana to assist in the colour matching of our school buildings. We wanted a learning environment that would be appealing and satisfyingly beneficial for our akonga to arrive in and appreciate on a daily basis. This was achieved and along with that Mahea developed art works involving students and concepts about learning to be key parts to our environment. He did this very well. We continue to develop our exterior colour matching following the colour blending of Mahea Tomoana. Mahea also constructed the outdoors in ground chess board along with a set of large chess pieces.



Y7&8 Technology- Manual!

The Y7&8 students attend the Wairoa College technology facility twice a year in 10 week blocks on Fridays. Soft materials and textiles, and hard materials- plastic, wood and metals are used for problem solving and learning those core hands-on skills. We hope teachers will, with the R11 facility and the Morere Hall, be able to compliment the learning from Wairoa College.


Classes- traditionally maintaining

With our current unique roll size we have been able to maintain clusters of year groupings. These groupings facilitate learning with the like year groups- Y1&2 (R5), Y3&4 (R8), Y5&6 (R4) and Y7&8 (R1), with the ruma whanau a Y1-8 (R7), a huge task for the kaiako. Classes are supported with support staff teacher aids where special circumstances may require targeted support. In general we employ support staff to be flexible to work across a range of classes when need be. The principal also works across all classes currently supporting math learning. We have a great teaching team along with our support staff, enabling staff to bring a wide range of programmes, engaging our learners in a collaborative environment.


Ruma rumaki i te reo Maori

The ruma rumaki is always a success story if whanau and family stick to educating their akonga in this medium. Over the 20 years the rumaki maori kaupapa has been at times two classes. Whaea Pauline’s success of graduates being able to korero te reo maori competently is well acknowledged. The ruma rumaki is integral too, and very much an identity of the Nuhaka School. BOTs have wrestled long and hard considering the roll sizes at times but have always stuck to the kaupapa that this is a corner stone programme of the school and one in which have lower class numbers -but a Y1-8 sole charge immersion programme, is still a huge mountain for any kaiako to achieve as tamariki arrive from Kohanga Reo and continue to learn their reo with all the other distractions around our school site.

Now it’s Franceena Symes’ story…


“Memories” of the first Total Immersion Class at Nuhaka School


I started school in March of 1989 but unfortunately, there was no Te Reo Māori class for my cousins and I to enter into. For the remainder of that year, whilst our parents, whānau, nan’s and koro’s fought for a classroom for us, we were in a mainstream class.


Luckily for us, our family won their fight and a Rūma Rūmaki/Total Immersion class was formed by the start of the 1990 school year. There were only ten of us in the class when it started, but when I look back now, that was amazing for all my cousins and I. We were all born approximately 18 months apart, many of us were all christened together, and we also all attended Kohanga Reo together. So once again, we were able to stay together and learn together. Our class members were, Ihaka Whaanga, Russel Love, Jeannette Love, Kuramihirangi Rore, Wendy Rautu, Stephanie Ereatara, Amy Brittain, Rosemary Malcolm, myself, and our cousin Krystal Raroa who is now resting in heaven.


One of the main memories that still sticks with me today was how sorry I felt for my two cousins Ihaka and Russell who were the only boys’ in our class, and who were outnumbered two to eight! It is fair to say that the girls ruled this class, possibly because the boys’ were quiet and very gentleman-like already!


I remember many of our resources were hand made, as the Ministry Of Education weren’t making many resources for Te Reo Māori at this stage. Our reading books were the same as the mainstream classes, but the words had been twinked over and the Māori translations hand written in their place. This was then followed a couple of years later with the Māori sentences being printed on the computer, and then glued over the top of the English sentences! I recall we would often peel off the Māori translations to ensure our teacher had translated them correctly!


One fond memory I have that makes me proud is that we were allowed to join the seniors at the Wairoa Schools’ kapahaka festival. In the past, this event had only been for the Form 1 and Form 2 students. Once our class was made, we were then allowed to join, and you could see us minute junior student’s on the ends of each of the rows!


I believe that my cousins and I were very lucky that whilst at Kohanga, we were taught by our Nannies; Nanny Dickie (Rev. Pani) Ngatai, Nanny Nan (Nana) Smith, Nanny Tangi Walker, Nanny Gran (Kiriwera) Raroa and Pā Rev. Mita Ngatai, and many other Aunties and Uncles who popped in every now and then to help out. Upon arrival into the total immersion class, we continued to be taught by yet another Nanny of ours, Nanny Hana Whaanga. It was a blessing that  we had so many of our whānau in the education sector who were not only there to teach us what was required professionally, but also able to add their own lifelong experiences, the local stories, the myths, the legends and our Rakaiapaakatanga into our learning.


I wish I had more memories but being only five years old, this is all I can recall. I do however, love that I have these few but important memories and believe that this class gave me a great start to my schooling and life in general.

This led to me being able to continue on to high school in another total immersion unit based in a mainstream school, Lytton High School in Gisborne. I was meant to follow in my brothers and cousins footsteps and head to Napier for secondary school i.e. Napier Girls’ High School, but I was allowed to choose my own path and chose to head to Gisborne.

Here, I was fortunate enough to continue learning core subjects in Te Reo Māori as well as benefit from all the other opportunities available in a mainstream school.


I went on to study at Massey University and became a Te Reo Māori, Reading and Physical Education teacher. Now that I am a teacher, I know how much work and effort would have had to have gone into fighting for our classroom, how difficult it must have been to source and make our resources, and how hard it must have been professionally to prove that our class was worthwhile. I have been able to have an enjoyable and fulfilled life both personally and professionally because of the great opportunity I was given at the age of five, in the first ever Nuhaka School Total Immersion class.


By Franceena Symes



The nature of our present day school- who are we?

The changing face of our school community.

Nuhaka School roll at present sits on 110+-…it has been as high as 145 in the last 20 years, with the senior school swelling at the seams. We were very lucky gender wise and in ethnicity to have 3 men and 3 women teachers and along with a good balance of local support staff. The men have moved on in career aspirations and in moves of change, with now just one male teacher. That was the ideal scenario we all enjoyed a few years ago. All good though, we do have a great teaching team today each with their talents and ethnicity backgrounds bringing culturally diverse practices and aroha to our akonga. Our school populations have changed from a larger grouping of students coming from the Nuhaka village to now the opposite. Four buses, four drivers- all our school staff, can be found delivering students to school from 8:30am on, and departing by 3:15ish every afternoon. Family and whanau make decisions about which schools their akonga go to so Nuhaka has become a destination for most of our enrolments. We do prefer to have our enrolments well before Y7&8 , ideally right from the Y1-4 area then our school culture and the expectations around this are well embedded and learned for when students become Y7&8. Students arriving by bus each day range from Mahanga, Mahia Beach, Kaiwaitau Road; SH2 north to Moumoukai Station environs; to SH2 south in and out of Whakaki, the Hereheretau region and Iwitea; and out of Wairoa origining from the WBL yard on Marine Parade. At school 3 of our classroom staff hold Passenger Service Licences, this enables the school to be very mobile where we can use our buses to move to Gisborne and Wairoa events with ease.

INSERT photos of school buses


Duffy School


Nuhaka School is a Duffy School. We are a decile 2 school making us eligible to access the benefits of the Books in Homes programme. Our learners get the opportunity to select 4 times a year, a range of books of their choice to take home to read and share with the whanau and family, building a library of books across our community. Duffy Books send to our school Role Model speakers and the famous Duffy Theatre- slap stick humour around reading themes with the central character year to year being Duffy who is always trying to solve problems.



We are an Enviro School, where we come up with suggestions about our school environment and about the way we should treat our environment. We’d like to think that by the time our akonga graduate from Nuhaka School we are better kaitiaki with a real awareness about engaging in future learning where we care for our environment and support and problem solve issues. Being an Enviro School isn’t just having a hothouse and a shade house for propagating native plant seed, it’s also about coming up with suggestions so we can improve the place we find ourselves. Like, students at Nuhaka School came up with an overview of how we’d like to improve our school site….and now we have a new toilet block… Even though our BOT had targeted in its property plan to replace the old block it was nice to know that students were supporting our planning and we were on the same page in decision making. At present we could tick off some miles stones that did contribute to the school Bronze Enviro School status…YES we do have an active propagation programme; YES we have won a Treemendous Tree Makeover sponsored by the Mazda Foundation and DOC- this was achieved adjacent from school on the old Nuhaka Railway Station site….go and have a look! Go for a walk through it. Fencing was achieved by the late Bob Wesche, enabling a dedicated planting area. Today our students collect seed from the native trees and plants growing there and bring that back to school to the hothouse, propagation…germination… and repotting to the shadehouse. Some plants get sold at Gala, others end up being planted around the school site, at the Nuhaka Domain, or in the redevelopment of the rest of the railway reserve… We are growing seed for the Wairoa Community Ngahere nursery- their goal is to replant the sides of our district awa. YES we do take part with other schools in enviro activities- like we KNZB cleaning our streets and beaches…sorting our rubbish and understanding more about our habits and plastics, about recycling, reusing, rethinking, reducing…; taking part recently in a Biodiversity speech contest in the HB. This can be read about in our school newsletters and Facebook page….Photo Albums and Video.


Active School

We are an active school, our playgrounds are a testament to akonga who organise themselves into their own sports and playground games pursuits. Idle playgrounds breed contempt so along with a resourcing of equipment Nuhaka’s “playtimes” are happy times where students entertain themselves using our grounds.

PESkills is a major focus of our week, where teachers and students prepare themselves for upcoming events. We work and learn under the ethos of participation so our students must be prepared, by good teaching and learning programmes learning the skills, and contributing with confidence. At present staff are working in a programme called CrackerJackKids= CJK…learning to play in the game of life.

Many students over the last 22 years will remember very well their active school, their fitness programmes, and the opportunities afforded to them in the pursuit of preparation, confidence and participation at school or in a district event. You will remember the PESkills and the teacher activities, the major code sports practices with EZ,  and the specific sports events and festivals we prepared for… see if you can find those in the photos stories on the facebook page.



Music skills

Every Tuesday shared singing and KiwiKids Songs and popular waiata, as well as specific songs for special events…we’re good musicians here at Nuhaka and it is “kids making music!” After shared singing you were off into music skills and the range of workshops- percussion, magic sticks, finger songs, movement to music, ukulele, guitar, band, recorder, keyboards, and digital music loops. Music Festival presentations by Nuhaka pupils were simply brilliant- precision and moving as music is… You’ll find some of those performances on our facebook page too!


Kapahaka- waiata aringa

Of course you took part and of course you did the learning no matter who  or where you came from we all prepared, we all became confident , we all participated and presented…and in style…such class! Such mana for you all !!! Everyone who was in a kapahaka roopu, knows what it did for them, deep down inside you, you remember the learning and how it prepared you for moving on…it’s part of your whare tapawha, your corner stones to life. You’ll find many Nuhaka School performances of kapahaka on our facebook page.


EOTC cyclic programme

Demanding and experiencing outdoor education? For sure!! Our staff at Nuhaka School have undertaken professional development to ensure we know what we are doing!! Our cyclic programme of experiences start in the junior classes working outside the classroom experiencing learning around the school park and facilities…next moving into overnighters in tents at school, and other years visiting marae and the local environments. Graduating to senior school students find they are into a four year cycle where activities and preparations see the whole senior school moving to Wellington for a week, or on a great walk to an alpine hut at Waikaremoana,  pitching a tent and learning camp craft at Dalziel’s Travencore Farm at Mangaone, or locally about Nuhaka/Mahia, experiencing diverse challenging extreme programmes. Character building and memorable to this day? Think about it…what had you sitting on the edge of your seat?  Squeezing through the Clonkeen GirlGuides Caves? In live theatre in Wellington? Trying to get used to the tent you were sleeping in? Beach Education surfing skills ? In Parliament? On a kayak? Walking a trail with a pack at Waikaremoana…arriving at the Panekiri Alpine hut? Abseiling at Onepoto? Going through Weta Workshop? On the top of Moumoukai?

Go to page 14 in this article.



ANZAC themes and remembrance commemorations

Through our curriculum and the resurgence in popularity of ANZAC Day, Nuhaka spear headed this observance refining and developing a learning programme that involves the Wairoa RSA, kaumatua and an RSA contingent bringing meaning and life to gain preparation, confidence and participation to understand about service and those who campaigned to make our place a better place. At school we have developed along with the RSA, award incentives to focus on this commitment by our whanau and family that have contributed to this service….we have the “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Service” Award, the “Red Poppy” Award, and the “Victoria Cross” Award for those daring to write their excellent stories in the Wairoa RSA essay competitions.

Our school memorial gateway, the OldMan Pohutukawa Tree, The Flagpole, the Morere Hall, the RSA Contingent that visit annually to support our ANZAC Day commemoration are very special to the character of Nuhaka School.



Health Promoting School


School lunches

Fonterra Milk In School


Fruit In School

Nuhaka School has a healthy outlook for the food we promote with our tamariki. Food Policy dictates we eat less fishnchips, and meat pies, and don’t consume sugar loaded drinks on a daily basis…in fact water and milk are the designated beverages. Salad, freshly made home lunches are applauded. We are a sweets free school, we are a NO SWEETS SCHOOL CAMP school…and it works! Remember those sleepless nights?

Fonterra provide the Milk cartons…..KidsCan provide fruit pudding couplets, snack bars, and tinned food. We are ready for any eventuality if a child turns up at school hungry or with no lunch today…. We have whanau and family sending along to school occasionally a spare lunch to distribute…kia ora! KidsCan also provide shoes, raincoats and school bags!!! It’s unbelievable…for our tamariki.                 

Vote Health…your DHB distributes to schools Fruit In Schools, again we are the right decile level so we are eligible for boxes of apples, bananas, carrots, mandarin, pears, oranges, nashi, plums, strawberries…yes, you read this correctly, and grapes!! Did I miss some? Tamariki hunt out the Fruit In Schools buckets- they love the fruit- mission accomplished!



IT and technology in class

Teachers at Nuhaka are no shy away types from professional development (PD)….over the years our teaching cohorts have indulged in a range of post graduate papers to upskill their teaching and learning pedagogy. Recently teachers completed a Certificate in Digital and Collaborative Learning with the MindLab by UNITECH. Out of 31 starting out in Wairoa, 17 graduated, all those taking part from Nuhaka graduated…an 800 level course, this was very demanding holding down a class teaching position too. But why? Nuhaka has continued to develop our use of computer technology with a 24 set computer suite- mostly available to R8 who also have 6 more computers in their ruma. Room 1 and Room 4 are 1:1 laptops, and R7 has 8 computers while R5 have 6. Each room has a data projector as the Morere Hall has too. Kaiako teach in a blended learning scenario where there is a balance of digital and hands-on learning activities. We are looking at developing a relationship with the Manaiakalani Education Trust…



How could we add an edge to our Nuhaka school culture, just to make ourselves a little obtusely different? A number of ideas were discussed and chess was always there…THEN ‘out of the blue’ the Eastern Knights wrote to Gisborne Tairawhiti schools offering to mentor chess…they listed all the attributes around “Why play CHESS?”

Behind the letter Genesis Potini, Noble Keelan, Jedi Fitzgerald, and Manny Cookson offered to come regularly to Nuhaka School to develop the game. The rest is history, we became Genesis’ mentor school and with the interactions with the Eastern Knights and these gentlemen, we became Genesis’ living dream of a whole school playing chess and learning to be better than before. We became the school he wanted to train up and send to the regionals and the nationals…and success there was. The chess players from Nuhaka School slowly began to dominate in Tairawhiti and Hawkes Bay and be noticed in the Nationals….whether it be ChessPower or NZSchools tournaments. Tragedy struck with Genesis’ passing, and not long after Jedi passed too. Sad days for those that remember our humble beginnings, however as resilient as we are, the job had been done by Genesis’ …his unique way of teaching our tamariki had set up the chess culture. For years now the generations of chess players coming up through the classes have maintained an amazing chess power. We continue tournament after tournament, to be placed in the top three of each division at the range of chess tournaments across Tairawhiti and Hawkes Bay. We still get to the Nationals, and for any of our travelling chess teams an away trip is a privilege, and an honour and a real eduadventure as we move around in and out of our district- eyes wide open. The word got out, got to hear about our champion chess players, and from there it lead to a NZ School’s Journal Editor petitioning us to write a story about the Champion Chess Players from Nuhaka School….follow this link… and thanks to Matua Kiwa Hammond for his fine story telling skills…











Annual Awards at Nuhaka School have special Chess trophies- colloquially named “The Dark Horse” Awards.


Galas and fundraising

Nuhaka School galas are traditionally staged just before daylight saving finishes- right on harvest time. Our theme developed over the last few years has been as a food fest where we present as many different types of food to meal on. It is a well resourced event with parents, whanau and family manning stalls and presenting a range of meals that we all can’t eat that night.  Haangi, BBQ and salads, rice wok meals, wild food brews, curries, potato chips and twirls, cakes and biscuits, fry bread, waffles/pancakes, smoothies, sushi….this is all in amongst: the spinning wheel, motor bike tow, pony rides, bungy grab, darts, mini putt-golf, airgun target shooting, white elephant, lucky dip,  produce and plants, treasure hunt, lollies in the jar, $100 raffle, multi raffle, face painting, tombola, ice creams and the tugowar. Nuhaka School appreciates everyone contributing to this event annually as it is a real community fundraiser in like or kind, and in resourcing activities, or by being the big spender! Gala is about off-setting a wide range of costs at school. At school we try and be a NO FEES school, where whanau and family contribute by koha on outings, and not charged door entry or costs associated with bringing activities to school. On reflection we do need to charge fees for away camps, stationery, and uniforms. For these away trips- like camps, or for travelling chess teams (and jubilee) we mobilise to provide haangi or run raffles with pot luck dinners, and they become a full Nuhaka School community affair- that’s huge support. During the year there are so many dedicated days and weeks set aside appeals for Charities that we just can’t do that! So we have selected annually a range of well spread out appeals that we support- KidsCan, Daffodil Day,  the Heart Foundation, Red Poppy Day, and the Blind Foundation.


School Uniform

Tracking Nuhaka School through the decades show there have been uniforms…how did uniforms ever stop at this school? In recent times when clothing trends got over bearing for our school community, sensibly suggested we adopt a school uniform, and that we did!  Royal blue tops, and navy blue pants. Blue for polo fleece tops, sports shirts and tee-shirts, with shorts or skorts or long pants as options. Most students opt for shorts and this combination is our dress and sports clothing in one. With the tops on and our uniform smartly presented we are ready for the streets of Wellington and Parliament’s debating chamber. With tee-shirt or polo shirt and shorts we are ready for PESkills, playground play,  gymnastics and RIPPA, netball and basketball….YES it is simple and multi-purpose. Many of our whanau and family hand in their ‘hand me downs’ and this sets up new enrolments with cheap good clothing to get underway with. Uniforms are completely resourced and sold through our school office…add on to this KidsCan shoes and we have got you covered!

School Graduate Profile

Students will become respectful citizens who are confident learners who are achieving at the best of their ability as thinkers, communicators, collaborators, creators, innovators, connected problem solvers and contributors who strive together.


Prize Giving Awards

The format of our Awards evening has evolved over the years into a high profile event for the school towards the end of term 4. During the year students have prepared for Wairoa school events and we try and present the highlights of these as well as junior and senior kapahaka. If we were on a drama presentation cycle we would present those plays strategically one evening soon after the presentations in Wairoa.

Venue: Kahungunu Community Marae

Time: 6:30pm


Junior kapahaka

Senior kapahaka

An Arts Festival presentation ( song, dance, play)

Awards presentations:

Most Improved- being better than before…the Karepa Tukareaho Mataira Awards

Highest achiever in each class- the pursuit of excellence

The Role Model Awards

ANZAC Awards- speech makers/story writers

Chess Awards

Attendance Award

Ruma Whanau Awards…The Rev Mita Kiwara Ngatai Award and the Dinal Meihana Award.

Y8 leaver’s presentations

Y8 Sports Person…The Bremner Trophy

Y8 Arts…The Crombie Family Award

Y8 Food Technology… The Yates Family Award

Y8 Citizenship…The Nola Perry Award

Y8 Dux…The BOT Award

The next day after the above Awards, we celebrate “being better than before” under the Old Man Pohutukawa Tree for those students who just missed out on Awards at Kahungunu Marae. Teachers have a raft load of acknowledgements to share, showing learners across their class curriculums that their efforts did not go unnoticed. Lots of certificates under the pohutukawa tree are presented as it is also replicated in classrooms on this day…can’t do them all out there. It is a very special occasion that adds real value to kaiako – akonga, and family and whanau and kura relationships.


OldMan Pohutukawa Tree in Memory of Donald Mitchell

In our archives we don’t have many stories around this fallen hero. We have photographs and the above reference. Salute Wairoa has not yet started on the daunting task of compiling the WW2  stories as they have for WW1 so far. We’d love to hear of stories around those on the Rolls of Honour around our school and in Kahungunu and other marae.  This is a very special planting in our school grounds, as important as our Memorial Gateway. It has been a wonderful backdrop for many a class or jubilee photo as the front gate has been. This tree blooms magnificently, it does receive arbor care and is treasured. This is where we also celebrate our Runner Up Awards at the close of T4.


PlayCentre-oldest surviving school building

This building is leased under an agreement between the MOE and the Gisborne PlayCentre Association. It is well maintained and cared for. Whanau and family choose to come to PlayCentre which use to be Tuesdays and Thursdays. It at the moment is used only once a week…room for growth! Look for this building in the archived photo resource.


Travelling players and visitors

The school canvases far and wide for travelling players, musicians, visitors and displays to bring in the real world to stimulate our tamariki. Over the years we have had a diverse group of musicians interact with our tamariki. We have had a host of visiting drama groups and Reo Maori themed presentations by the Kahurangi Players and Taki Rua Theatre, from demonstrations of artefacts to Tales of the Pacific, to puppetry and the Duffy Theatre, to recently CapitalE. Role model assemblies and Duffy Heroes to magicians spreading anti-bullying spells, and about food for thought- have all captivated our generations. Who were your favourite travelling players that you looked forward to their return? At times management have collaborated with Tairawhiti REAP Wairoa to bring exhibitions and workshops to Wairoa that we have travelled to. Don’t forget the Technology and Science road shows as well as the Wairoa Museum!!

By searching the Nuhaka School’s facebook page you’ll be able to catch up on the happenings and visitors supporting our akonga.


PM John Key visited Nuhaka School

Late one Friday afternoon MP Mr. Chris Tremain (Napier), rings in to school wanting to know if we’d accept a visit by the Prime Minister The Right Honourable Mr. John Key. Silly to say NO, we snapped up the opportunity for our school and tamariki to be involved in this. Reality dawns and the Prime Minister’s visit to Wairoa  becomes a whirlwind affair spending 2 hours on our sacred turangawaewae. The rest is history, and in saying that the tamariki even had him up and dancing to Beyonce… Michelle Obama’s theme song from her obesity awareness campaign…

This above link is an amazing resource about our School, and Nuhaka, and Wairoa.

Check our archives out for the arrival of AirForce One…RNZAF latest Iroquois helicopter with the now ex-Prime Minister Sir John Key on board.


Future scoping

This is for the reader to imagine.

Nuhaka School needs a population injection!

Our school is best operating with 120-130 students, the MOE Grant Entitlement that the BOT receives per annum is restrictive when you want to be inventive and dream how you’d like to see your school. Grant Entitlements have factored into their equation everything for maintaining building maintenance, and in curriculum design…it is just not enough when you want to upgrade all your computer systems, hire terrific support staff, and to bring or send akonga to interesting learning workshops…Nuhaka school’s community along with whanau whanui have proven to be hugely resilient in supporting our school’s programmes and directions…can’t- couldn’t ever, do it without you!! Our kaiako, our teachers have been complicit in supporting the planning and directions in behind our Kura- what teams of staff we have experienced. What teams of BOT we have been endowed with to tautoko our impetus. What great akonga we have…and they are Nuhaka School pupils that our parents, whanau and family created- fronting up at a chess tournament- straight out of Nuhaka … imagine Genesis wondering how they would go? Consider how we use the Morere Hall as our gymnasium then go and compete against the Gisborne schools who had the pleasure of the Gym Club’s facilities… Imagine poorly prepared students who are not confident and don’t want to participate…that they are not! Think about a teaching team that’s not prepared to do the professional development  to make this a better place for teaching and learning- that we aren’t at all. So consider us when we undertake to learn more about the Manaiakalani Outreach programme that wants to engage Nuhaka School in its approach to digital learning- inside their  LEARN – CREATE – SHARE pedagogy. Understand that if Nuhaka’s agricultural development, future proofed horticulture development, so it is tenfold of what’s happening today, imagine the population that would be needed, along with housing, to create that diverse horticulture industry so your SCHOOL grows and manages itself from the wealth of the potential industry that would bring (and would require) a larger horticultural skilled population. That population should be Rakaiapaka and off spring of residents. The direct benefit not only to whanau and family, also to our business leaders, to the local economy, to all that sees the SCHOOL at the centre of the hub, narrowing the isolation, broadening the horizons. Nuhaka has the resilience! Kia ora!