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With wisdom and courage


The Times-Age wants to celebrate the success of Wairarapa’s secondary school students in a year where covid-19 threw learners yet more curveballs. Today, Wairarapa College provides TOM TAYLOR with a breakdown of its students’ triumphs in 2021.

Wairarapa College principal Matt White said his school spent last year reflecting on its vision: “with wisdom and courage, kia matau, kia maia”.

He said this vision led to the development of a modern approach to learning that complemented the college’s proud history as a community school.

“2021 has been the most rewarding and fun year I have had as a teacher, educator, and leader,” White said.

“Thank you to our staff, students, whanau, and community for your support. I look forward to another great year for Wairarapa College in 2022.”

This year, White said students could look forward to a refreshed curriculum, studying a diverse range of subjects with even more choice within those subjects.

“Our curriculum will also include the opportunity for students to engage in Hapori community time,” White said.

“Students will participate in a service, cultural, or learning group for one period per week, for example, kapa haka, theatre sports, chess, project-based learning, volunteering at local schools and organisations, or undertaking work experience.”


At WaiCol’s 2021 prizegiving, Dux Kishan Sukha was first among the academic winners.

Sukha achieved an excellence endorsement in NCEA Levels 1 and 2 and continued his outstanding academic record throughout his final year at school.

“Kishan is a focused and determined student,” White said.

“We know that he has a very bright future in front of him.”

In 2021, Sukha placed first in accounting, biology, chemistry, and economics.

This year, he would head to Victoria University to study business.

Proxime Accessit Abigail McCaffrey also gained excellence at Level 1 and 2.

“She is a well-rounded young person who has given a huge amount to Wairarapa College, especially in the cultural area of the school and as a leader,” White said.

Abigail McCaffrey.

“Abigail is a positive young person, and her positivity is contagious. With her bubbly personality and ready smile, she is certainly a future leader whom we should look out for.”

Other award winners included Sophie Cusack, who won the McConnell Cup for the highest quality of character and intellect. She demonstrated this through her coaching and mentoring of sports teams and as deputy head girl.

Paige Johns took home two trophies: the Cultural Council Trophy for the greatest contribution to arts over three years and the Niklas Mattsson Cup for the greatest contribution to school music.

Meanwhile, Mila Te Whare Manson received the Buick Cup for Involvement and Commitment to All Aspects of College Life.

Wairarapa College Award Recipients

Dux: Kishan Sukha

Proxime Accessit: Abigail McCaffrey

First in Year 12: Anika Stewart

Middle School Dux: Elise Jung-Leask

2021 Head Girl: Georgia Higinbottom

2021 Head Boy: Will Harbord

Highest quality of character and intellect: Sophie Cusack

Achievement and Service to 1st XV Rugby: Hayden Cooper

General Sportsmanship: Amy Bunny

Involvement in college life: Mila Te Whare-Manson

Leadership, diligence, initiative and community spirit: Samantha Marriott

Greatest contribution to arts: Paige Johns

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