Student Profiles

LEARN YOUR WAY at Hagley in Year 12 and 13

Congratulations to Rongomai Callaghan who won the solo/duo categories of the Tangata Beats National Final 2018.

Click here to watch the video

Zoey Harris


Hagley works for me because I’m a volunteer firefighter, and there are times when I’m late or miss class for Fire Service duties. The teachers are always understanding and take it into account. At other schools there are no excuses for being late. If you’re late, you’re late. I often come to school tired too - when the alarm goes off during the night! - and the teachers work with that, and check in on me.

I struggled with Maths at my previous school but got pushed to the side because I wasn’t at the same level. Teaching there was more class-based, whereas here it’s more individual; the teachers care more about individual achievement, which helps me because I’m not good at asking for help when I get stuck. The teachers seem to genuinely care and notice when you’re not thriving and don’t give up on you – they dig deeper and push to see where you’re really at.

Rongomai Callahan


Rongomai Callaghan won the solo/duo categories of the Tangata Beats National Final 2018.

You can learn about things that interest you at Hagley. The School of Music was a humungous change for me because for the first time I could follow my passion and learn about something I
really enjoyed. At my old school, I wasn’t given this option. I wanted to learn Te Reo as well, and the teachers not only allowed me to do this but supported me too. If I miss a class because I’m
at Te Reo, they’re always willing to catch me up.

I’m juggling my music and my studies, and the teachers are helping me to manage my learning and offer huge amounts of support. It feels like the teacher’s sole purpose here is the student, while in other schools it sometimes seems like you’re just a statistic.

I’ve really developed as a vocalist and have learnt a lot about different musical genres as well. I now have a much wider perspective on music and life. I’ve just been selected as a finalist for the Tangata Pacifica Beats Competition and next year, I’m off to the UK to continue my studies as a vocalist.

Lucy Constable

Political Activist

I came to Hagley in Year 12 mostly because I got suspended for dyeing my hair blue at my old school, but it’s helped me in many other ways. I have a busy life outside of school. I’m on the board for UNITE Union, I volunteer for the Christchurch Central MP, Duncan Webb, and have just come back from the OECD forum in Paris as a youth delegate.

I can study part-time at Hagley to work around my political commitments. The teachers move deadlines and work with me outside of class. As well as this they allow me to incorporate my interests into my tasks, which probably makes their lives difficult, but makes me more engaged and more interested in managing my own learning.

Last year I did a night class, so I could work during the day, and when the teacher found out I was walking home from class, she was so concerned she drove me home. The teachers really care here.

Tilly Pritchard

Elite Athlete

Hagley helps me manage my training and study commitments. I’m a kayaker. I’ve been placed in national championships and was selected to represent New Zealand at a international competition in Australia this year, where I gained multiple titles in team and individual events. I was able to select subjects here that were fully internally assessed, so I can work on them in my own time. The timetable allows more freedom too. I can move my training sessions around my free periods, and the double periods are easier to manage and focus in.

I came to Hagley because of the wide subject choice. I knew I wanted a career in either psychology or law and you can study these courses at year 12.

The freedom and flexibility I have at Hagley is helping me reach both my academic and sporting goals and to become the best person I can be. It’s supported me in figuring out who I am and what I want. It puts me in the driving seat here.

Ryan Holley

Not a Stereotype

I had to repeat Year 12 and came to Hagley because I thought I wouldn’t be judged. I knew the school saw students as individuals rather than stereotypes, and when I arrived, no-one cared that I was a second year. I went part time this year because I only needed a certain number of credits and was able to focus on getting those and improving my grades.

If you have a good reason for wanting to do a subject, the teachers will listen, even if you don’t have all the pre-requisites. It’s the same with changing courses – if you don’t need the credits or you’re not enjoying a course, they will help you change. The teachers seem to be connected here and communicate with each other, so they know what I need, which makes me feel supported.

I had cancer when I was 12 and have been in remission for almost 4 years, but I still have some side effects like memory loss and the teachers have been very understanding.

Grace Thomson

Dressage Rider

Dressage rider, studying student and perfectionist.

I chose dressage because you have to be precise and organised and that’s who I am. It’s also why I moved to Hagley. I can be in control of my learning here. When I first came, I sat down with the Deputy Principal and worked out a programme that helped me combine my riding and study. At my old school I had to choose one or the other, and would have had to sacrifice my riding.

I’ve just spent four weeks in New York grooming for the NZ Dressage representatives for the World Equestrian Games. Without the ability to control my learning at Hagley this experience would not be possible. My goal is to compete Dressage internationally, although it’s difficult to set long term goals because horses are unpredictable. My short-term goal is to get UE, and that’s a certainty.

Josh Turner


I wish to create stories worth caring about.

I’d heard great things about Hagley from a friend, so I came in Year 11, but it wasn’t till I got here that I found out about the variety of courses available. It seems at Hagley you can take
a course in almost anything you’re into.

I’m passionate about both Drama – I won the best actor award at this year’s Canterbury Sheila Winn Festival - and Music, and I’m planning a career in performance. I’m currently co-directing the Year 12 major production, and this is an opportunity I don’t think I’d get at another school.

This year I was lucky enough to get into a special course for Drama and English students that combines both subjects and makes learning much more engaging and meaningful. We studied Hamlet in English, and then went on to act in a play about Ophelia in Drama, so it all made more sense.

The teachers are super helpful here and it feels like there are so many different ways you can go about your learning.

Lydia Fay


I chose to move to Hagley in Year 12 to focus on my music and still get UE, but also because the timetable is so flexible. Some days I started later and finished early, which meant I could work on my music projects at home.

My goal was to try and complete UE and Year 13 in 6 months, so I could attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston and study song writing, and with the support of my teachers, I did it and start in September. It was challenging. My teachers encouraged me to drive and manage my own learning, but still kept me on task. I had an individual learning programme and was allowed
to take work home.

The Hagley School of Music has a strong theory component that has helped me develop as a musician. The main difference is that at Hagley everyone can work on what they are interested in, and if you have a strong passion or ambition, Hagley will cater for it.

Christopher Egnot

Free Thinker

I moved to Hagley because I wanted a less stressful learning environment. In my old school, learning was packaged in a way that didn’t suit me. It seemed that everyone had to learn and
progress at the same stage, and if you weren’t at that stage, it was easy to get left behind.

At Hagley, you can manage your own learning a lot more, and are given time and support to catch up. It’s also more individual in how you learn. In my Maths class people are all working at different levels, and if you need extra support, teachers will organise it.

It’s easy to talk to teachers here too; there seems to be more mutual respect, and they are open to different learning styles. It helps also that it’s a much nicer social environment here. Because there’s such a wide range of students, no-one stands out, which means the classes are more comfortable and it’s easier to attend and learn.

I’m happy here.