Westland High School is a Years 7 to 13 co-educational, multi-course secondary school serving a large and diverse community. Students come from as far south as Waitaha, from the farming communities of Kowhitirangi and Kokatahi, from the town area of Hokitika, and from the pa at Arahura to Kumara Junction in the north.
The school offers students in and around Hokitika the same educational opportunities as exist for city students while allowing them to remain within the stabilizing influence of their own families during their teenage years.
Hokitika is a rural town with a population of approximately 4000 people. It is accessible from Christchurch via a short 30 minute flight from Christchurch International Airport or a scenic three hour drive across Arthur's Pass. It is the last major town before the glaciers and the Haast Pass through to Wanaka and Queenstown, so is an important tourist area. Pounamu, the greenstone prized by Maori and tourists alike, is sourced from the Arahura River, just north of the town.
Westland is famous for its National Parks, magnificent rainforest and scenic beauty. Our outdoor education program makes the most of the spectacular outdoor recreation opportunities this area has to offer. Sport and outdoor pursuits are an important part of the Westland community. Rugby, netball, basketball, badminton, cycling, kayaking, tramping, climbing, horse-riding - the opportunities are there and the people of Westland take them up in large numbers. Arts and crafts also feature, with interest in pottery, jade carving, painting, sculpture, landscape architecture, music and theatre.
As well as businesses servicing the local area and shops, cafés and restaurants to support the tourism industry, Hokitika is home to the Westland Milk Products factory. The factory underwent an initial expansion in 2002 with further developments taking place in 2006, 2008 and in 2010. It currently employs over 400 people in Hokitika and in a new complex in Canterbury and this number is expected to grow in the coming years. The Department of Conservation is based in Hokitika and also provides job opportunities. Hokitika and Westland are experiencing solid growth and increased optimism about the future.
The annual Wildfoods Festival goes from strength to strength, bringing in over 12,000 people for a weekend in March and injecting considerable sums of money into the local community. The summer months see large numbers of campervans and buses passing through the town and there is increasing reliance on the income from the tourism industry, which also provides a large number of job opportunities. The business community and the schools are increasing developing links, particularly through education for enterprise initiatives that provide improved vocational pathways for the students at the school.
Westland High School, as appropriate to its community, will continue to develop procedures and practices that reflect New Zealand’s cultural diversity and the unique position of the Māori culture.
We are committed to developing Māori Student achievement through involvement with He Kakano and consultation with our Māori community for input into our charter and annual goals.
Westland High School acknowledges and welcomes students from other cultures. Sharing cultural similarities and differences enhances learning.
The International Programme includes both exchange and private in-coming students, visiting groups, and local students and staff who go overseas on exchange. It is an important expression of our desire to expand local students’ understanding of, and empathy with, different cultures.