About our school

About Westland High School

We are a coeducational school in Hokitika catering for students from years 7 to 13. We have a decile rating of 6 and a roll of nearly 400 students.

Our history

The school opened in 1963, however, our roots go back further than that. Westland’s High School’s predecessor, Hokitika High School, opened on Monday, 19 January 1891.

Past pupils and staff

Over the years, a number of past pupils and staff have gone on to achieve great things nationally and internationally including:

Notable pupils

Notable staff

  • Peter Hooper (1919–1991) New Zealand teacher, writer, bookseller and conservationist

Pupils and teachers also served in the Armed Forces in the Second Boer War, World War I and World War II and an obelisk memorial at the school features the names of those who served and/or were killed in the line of duty.

Previous staff members have also been honoured for their service to the community including Nick Meissel, former Head of drama, performing arts and music. In 2016, he won a Kiwibank Local Hero Award.

Click here to read our Alumni Hall of Fame profiles and our alumni success stories.


Our vision for the future

Westland High School aspires to be an innovative organisation with a balanced approach to change that plays a formative role in our students’ success.

To achieve this, we want to have facilities that are flexible, functional and fit-for-purpose including offering a community hub that provides sustainably-funded adult education. We believe the school does not exist without the community and it is important that the school is accessible and invested in the community in partnership with local Iwi.

We want to be renowned for teaching and learning excellence so that we can prepare students to be best they can be. This includes placing a more overt emphasis on student inquiry (i.e. project-based learning), where teachers act as facilitators to help students self-direct their own learning.

The modern world is changing very fast and we need to move with the changes in the world – including embracing digital technologies and integrating this with other traditional, proven and effective forms of learning which are still valid and needed.

In addition, we’re seeking to continue to expand and prioritise our international programme. We value our small, friendly environment where domestic and international students have lots of opportunities to learn from each other, and develop cultural awareness and knowledge that prepares them to be global citizens.

The future for Westland High School is bright and we all have a role to play in where we are heading.