Whakatane High School


Whakatane High School is situated in the beautiful Bay of Plenty, close to beaches, a river, lakes, forests and a calm water ocean harbor. The co-educational state school is located in the town of Whakatane, which has about 37,000 inhabitants. The bigger towns of Tauranga and Rotorua are an hour’s drive away.


Whakatane High School is a state school with about 1,000 students. There are about 35 International students at Whakatane High School. Sixteen separate buildings are situated in landscaped grounds. These include a gymnasium with climbing wall and weights room, a technology block for woodwork, metalwork, fabric technology and mechatronics; a building housing a teaching kitchen and hospitality space, a library, an e-hub, a visual art block with a computer suite and photography studio, a drama room, a music room and rehearsal studios, an assembly hall and two large rooms for information technology, housing 30 computers each, several blocks of classrooms, a canteen and a Wharenui (Maori class room). A swimming pool, all weather tennis courts and hockey grounds, grassed grounds for soccer and rugby and a gymnastics club gymnasium are close by.


French and Japanese (up to year 11), English, Maori and ESOL are taught in the classroom. Higher level French and Japanese as well as German, Spanish and Mandarin are taught via the Virtual Learning Network, which is assisted distance learning individually or in small groups.

Marine Studies, Surfing and Outdoor Education

Marine Studies is offered at year 9, 10, 12 and 13. A Padi Open Water dive course is part of Marine Studies. Marine Studies students travel to Heron Island Research Centre on the Great Barrier Reef every year. There are other dive or snorkel trips as part of this program. Outdoor Education includes a high ropes course, a multi-day bushwalk as well as mountain biking, kayaking and surfing. During summer staff supply surf boards and wetsuits to students at Ohope West End’s surf beach and supervise students one afternoon per week. Students can also participate in lessons run by a commercial surf school. During winter the Outdoor Education class takes a multi-day trip to the Whakapapa ski field, near Taupo, for snow sports.

Team Sports

The school has a large number of sporting teams: Hockey, Soccer, Rugby, Netball, Volleyball, Basketball, Surfing, Skiing, Snowboarding, Horse Riding, Cricket, Touch Rugby, Badminton, Golf, Tennis and Lawn Bowls. A number of students and staff participate in Surf Lifesaving.

The Arts

Music classes are supported by individual or small group instrument and voice tuition. Students may play in a band. The community offers participation in an orchestra or brass band. The Drama department is well known for quality productions and programs. The Visual Arts Department offers students many opportunities to develop their creativity. In the senior school Photography, Design and Painting are separate subjects. Training in the use of a range of creative suite software applications, especially for Photography and Design, are part of the program.

Outdoor Education Programmes

Whakatane’s location in the sunny Bay of Plenty makes it easy for our students to take advantage of the magnificent opportunities the natural environment offers.

The rivers, mountains, snow and sea provide the setting for the year 12 and 13 Outdoor Education programs.

Year 12 – Outdoor Education

This is a one year course that students select as one subject along with five others.

What will I learn?

This course is designed to introduce Year 12 students to Outdoor Education and provide students with experiences that are both new and exciting. Students will be theoretically and practically challenged

Students learn the skills to participate at an introductory level in various outdoor pursuits including mountain biking, snow sports and tramping (hiking). Risk management and teamwork is a focus for each activity.

Costs: $ 500 for the year

Where does this course lead to? Outdoor Education Level 3

NCEA Credits 17

Year 13 – Outdoor Education

Year 13 Outdoor Education is designed as a progression from Year 12 Outdoor Education. Students will build on their previous knowledge and experiences in the outdoors while gaining recognised outdoor skills.

The course builds towards a multi-night tramping experience in a remote, wilderness area and attendance at the Blue Mountains Adventure Center, which may include a combination of High Ropes, Rock Climbing, Mountain Biking, Rafting or Mountaineering.

Suitable students for this course will be physically fit, motivated and willing to challenge themselves in a range of outdoor environments.

Costs: $ 500 for the year

Where does this course lead to?
This course leads on to a Certificate in Outdoor Leadership or study at a Technical Institute.

NCEA Credits: 16

Fees and Accommodation

All of our International students live in homestays, which are selected according to the guidelines set out in the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International students.

Applications are welcome throughout the year. Usually students arrive for Term 1 at the end of January or for Term 4 at the beginning of July. The ODENZ standard pricing package applies:

Tuition Fees

One Term $6200
Two Terms $9300
Three Terms $12400
Four Terms $15500

Tuition fees include: administration, basic course materials and uniform.
They do not include costs for school trips, scientific calculator, examination fees, personal and recreational costs and some subject costs which are in excess of subject allocation.

Homestay Fees

  • 2021: $NZ 260 per week
  • 2022: $NZ 280 per week

We are happy to arrange the code approved Studentsafe Inbound Young Learners Medical and Travel Insurance with Allianz
Full coverage approximate costs:

  • 1 semester(2 terms): $NZ 280
  • 1 year terms(4 terms): $NZ 480