Student Profiles page banner

Student Profiles

LEARN YOUR WAY at Hagley in Year 12 and 13

Rummana Ali

My teachers have shown me that I can handle anything.

Hagley has helped me grow into the best version of myself. It’s mostly because of the support. The teachers are always listening, and I know they’ll do anything I ask them. They take in my opinions and feelings and don’t disregard me. With the subjects I’m not so good at, they go out of their way to help me and show me that I can do it. My teachers know that I can put pressure on myself, so they’re always reminding me that I’m doing a good job.

I love that everyone is so different here. Everyone brings different experiences and perspectives. I’m Fijian and my values are different – we are not so open about some things – and my teachers take this into account. They will try another approach, so I don’t feel uncomfortable in certain activities. During Ramadan when I was fasting, the teachers understood that I might find some activities challenging. I’m comfortable talking about my religion here.

I’ve learnt a lot about myself at Hagley. I’ve learnt how to become more independent and to take charge of my learning, because my teachers have shown me that I can handle anything. It’s helped me think about my future. Now I’m thinking about training as a lawyer. I’d love to open a legal Aid organisation that supports people from ethnic communities who need help but can’t afford it.

Beni Rae

There’s a balance of independence and getting the help you need.

I came to Hagley because of the subject options. I’m a high achiever, but I’ve learnt more from exploring different subject options than from just being extended in single subjects.

I like that you get to pick your own path here. I came for the computing classes but ended up on a different path. I got a ton of support from careers who found me a job, encouraged me to take a range of different subjects, and helped me onto an Aviation course. Now they are helping me plan my learning programme so I can train as a pilot.
It’s important to me that I get to choose what I do, to keep exploring options and to do well. The teachers here support you in whatever you choose. There’s a balance of independence and getting the help you need. The learning is more catered to your pace. You don’t have to keep up with everyone else or with how the year is ‘meant to be’ planned. if you’re doing well, they let you move on to other standards, or to excellence; if you’re behind they’ll let you slow down and take your time.

There’s no real barrier between the teachers and students here. It’s more than just calling them by their first names. You’re both trying to achieve the same goal – helping your learning.

Analise Twemlow

You don’t have to try hard to fit in.

Moving to Hagley was the best decision I’ve ever made. Music’s the only thing I want to do with my life so I couldn’t deal with the whole mainstream learning approach. In the School of Music we get so many opportunities that you don’t get at other schools. If you want to do music, the School of Music is the way to go. The course is 50% theory and 50% performance so there are heaps of performance opportunities with audiences. If you want to work towards UE you can do that too.

Everyone in the School of Music is working towards something. I’m a singer songwriter, but last year when I first started here I couldn’t sing. This week though, I found out that I got in the top 45 for the Lion Foundation songwriting competition and I’ve won a recording session. Next year, I’m hoping to get into a NASDA course.

Hagley is one of those schools where you don’t have to try hard to fit in; where you can be yourself. I wouldn’t change Hagley for anything. The teachers just get you and you connect with them if they’re young or old. They always seem to know if you’re having a bad day, and they just take their time with you. It helps that you can call them by their first name. It helps build trust.

Nova Taukamo

We’re a family - a family of individuals.

Ko Hikurangi, ko Whiria, ko Te Maiki, ko Aoraki ngā maunga
Ko Waiapu, ko Hokianga, ko Taumarere, ko Waitaki ngā wai tapu
Ko Porourangi, ko Puhi, ko Tahu Pōtiki ngā tāngata
Ko Nova Taukamo tōku ingoa

I’ve always been a very independent learner and like being in my own headspace and the teachers really respect that. Everyone has their own quirks here and we are accepted as individuals, but you always find like-minded people with shared interests. Everyone’s on a first name basis, so you grow real relationships and empower one another through mutual respect.

When I first started at Hagley, I signed up for as many sports as possible. The PE department created opportunties for us to play alongside some of the seniors and I made many friends from all year levels. I also get to coach and play basketball, ki o rahi and korfball at the highest level. I’m not sure what my future pathways are yet, as I love both sports and music, but I know I’ll be supported in whatever I do.

This year I had a timetable clash with Te Reo Māori and psychology. The school helped me to keep learning my reo by finding an online platform for me. I’ve participated in an external leadership course ‘Rangatahi tū Rangatira’ which helps to set us up for life outside of school. I’m also on the student council and the Māori Council ‘Te Urungi’ which is a collective group for students, parents and staff voice.

The Hagley community is encouraging and unlocks the potential in all of us; it’s a great place to grow and become the person you were meant to be.

Finn Gray-Swann

They don’t care how you get there, but that you get there.

I like how we are encouraged to take responsibility for our learning at Hagley. It’s more up to you and the teachers let you learn the way you want to learn. What’s important to the teachers is that you do well. That’s what they focus on. They don’t care how you get there, but that you get there.

If I have homework, it’s because I haven’t finished my classwork, not because a teacher’s ‘given’ it to me. My achievement goals are my incentive to work and learn. No-one’s bullying me into learning. I’m learning because I want to, but the teachers are all invested in your learning too. They want you to succeed or reach your goals, and they work with you to get there.

I’m quite dyslexic, so that’s been a bit of a journey. My teachers trust that I can manage it myself, but also help me when I need it. I work outside of the classroom quite a bit because I use speech to text apps, so they have to be flexible.

The teachers at Hagley don’t sweat the small stuff; there’s no detentions and no-one’s telling you to pull your socks up! They talk to you like a normal person, not like an authority figure. They talk to you like a friend.

Pie Frances

There’s a strong sense of community.

I chose Hagley because it allows me to be who I am. My mum had gone here and told me that at this school I’d have the freedom to do what I want and to be what I want. So, I said that’s it – I want to be free! At Hagley, I’m free to wear what I like, to dye my hair any colour I want, and nobody judges me for it. I’m just accepted.

What’s most special about Hagley is the connections you make with teachers. They’re so kind and loving. The teachers help you learn, and they listen when you say you don’t understand something. Then they explain it until you do.

I also like being able to take a variety of subjects and to choose my own programme. This year I’m exploring my creative side by doing a lot of art subjects. I’m taking Design, Photography, Art and The School of Fashion. This has helped me think about my future, and how all these subjects can come together to help me get where I want to be.

Where do I want to be? This year I’ve been in the Hagley School of Fashion. The culture is so supportive – you walk in and straight away you feel at home. It’s like a family. My plan is to spend another year or two in the School of Fashion and then go on to the Fashion course at ARA.

There’s a strong sense of community throughout the whole College, even though everyone’s different. I love it when we have themed dress-up days and everyone participates. It feels like we are all in it together.

Heather Wright

I’ve done so much and changed so much.

I came to Hagley because I wasn’t enjoying the structure of learning at my old school. I’m very arty and I wanted to do multiple art subjects. When I asked questions about my learning options at my old school, they were like no, you can’t do that, but here they were like, sure. Why not? Here, I asked, can I get this standard examined at level 3, or can I try doing this instead of what everyone else is doing, and they said, yeah. Give it a go.

It’s been a really good move. I’ve done so many things I couldn’t do at my old school. Last year in year 12, I did a mix of level 2 and level 3 subjects and standards and ended up getting a level 3 excellence endorsement. I did level 3 Painting and level 3 Dance, which meant this year I could have an easier year.

Hagley isn’t just flexible with timetables and course structures though, but also with how they are taught. I’m doing year 13 sculpture and I never thought I’d enjoy it, but it’s awesome. It’s not just traditional sculpture; I’ve done crochet and worked with wood and wire. In painting last year, when I asked the teacher what I had to do, she said: “just paint. Just paint your folio”. I could paint what I wanted.

I can’t believe it’s only been two years – it feels like way longer and I’ve done so much and changed so much. Before Covid, I was a competitive Irish dancer, but now I’m focusing on opportunities in Drama. I take a course called English with Drama, which is really good, and I’ve done lots of interschool competitions. I did the Sheila Winn Shakespeare Festival and we just performed at Theatre Fest and got into the regionals. I’m also a member of the Court Theatre Youth Company.

Next year, I’m applying for Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School. I’m putting in applications for both the acting and design course. If that doesn’t work out, I’ll do Theatre Studies and Sociology at Otago.

Bazz Burns

There’s a bigger connection at Hagley.

I’ve never been happier at a school, and I’ve been to a few. Hagley is the first school I’ve gone to where I’ve felt instantly comfortable. I haven’t had to adjust or take a few weeks to feel right.

Coming to Hagley was a huge changing point in my life. At previous schools I felt like I didn’t belong, but here, everyone belongs. I came out as transgender at Hagley. Coming here gave me the confidence to come out. It’s just so welcoming and so accepting. No-one tells you that you have to do things a certain way or be a certain way.

The no uniform was a big selling point, especially as a trans student, but it’s the people I stay for. I’ve made really good friends, real friends. There’s a bigger connection at Hagley that makes it different to other schools.

The teachers are different too. They don’t talk down to you but treat you like an equal, which makes being in class so much easier. The work is the same, but it feels easier because the teachers are so encouraging and no-one’s on your back. I’ve had some bad encounters with teachers in the past, but I’m yet to meet a bad teacher at Hagley.
For me as a learner if I respect my teachers, it makes all the difference. It makes being in class so much easier. I’m coming here by choice. I show up by choice because I like being here.