Whakatane High School


Whakatane High School is situated in the beautiful Bay of Plenty, close to beaches, lakes, a river, forests and a calm water ocean harbour. The co-educational state school is located in the town of Whakatane, which has about 18 000 inhabitants. Tauranga and Rotorua are about an hours drive away.


Whakatane High School is a co-educational state school with about 800 students. There are about 30 International students at Whakatane High School. Sixteen separate buildings are situated in landscaped grounds. Facilities include a gymnasium with climbing wall and weights room. A swimming pool, gymnastics club gymnasium and tennis facilities are close. Other facilities are: technology blocks with all the equipment for woodwork, metalwork, fabric technology, cooking and hospitality, a visual art block with a dark room, two large class rooms and a mac computer suite, a music room and music practice rooms, a drama room, a science block with science laboratories, a two storey block for information technology with two class rooms housing 30 computers each, mathematics and other subjects and several blocks of class rooms (many with computers), a canteen and a Wharenui (Maori class room).


Languages offered are French, Japanese and Maori. Individual tuition for Latin and Spanish can be arranged. Distance learning through video conferencing can also be offered.

Marine Studies, Surfing and Outdoor Education

A dive course is part of Marine Studies. The class travels to Heron Island Research Centre in Australia each year in August to dive and snorkel and study the Great Barrier Reef. There are other dive trips in NZ part of the programme. Outdoor Education includes a number of trips as well, e.g. to walk around Lake Waikaremoana, to mountain bike, to do a ropes course and to kayak. Ohope Beach, a surf beach, is a ten minutes drive away from the school. During summer the school organises surfing each Wednesday after school. During winter there are opportunities to go on snow boarding and skiing trips to Mount Ruapehu in the central North Island.

Team Sports

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

The Arts

Students have the opportunity to learn an instrument, including voice. The Music Department has developed a number of Rock and Reggae bands. Classical music is also supported. The Drama Department is well known for it’s quality productions and programs and the Visual Arts Department offers students many opportunities to develop their creativity. In the senior school Photography, Design and Painting are separate subjects.

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 proximity of the town to the White Island marine reserve, a small but growing marine industry and a quality tertiary provider of marine studies nearby make our Year 12 and 13 Marine Studies courses relevant and popular.

The rivers, mountains, snow and sea provide the setting for the Year 12 Outdoor Education programme. These subjects add to rather than replace traditional school programmes.

Year 12 – Outdoor Education

This is a one-year course that students select as one subject along with their other subjects.

What will I learn?

Students learn the skills to participate at an introductory level in various outdoor pursuits including kayaking, mountain biking, rock climbing, abseiling, high ropes activities and tramping (hiking). Risk management is a focus for each activity as well.

Where does this course lead to?

This course leads on to a Certificate in Outdoor Leadership, or study at a Technical Institute.

What qualifications will I gain on the course?

22 credits in Level 2 Outdoor Education




467 Demonstrate personal and social development through participation in adventure based learning 2
477 Demonstrate kayaking skills on sheltered or slow-moving water 2
457 Undertake a mountain bike ride on gravel roads 2
458 Demonstrate Mountain Biking skills 5
445 Demonstrate top rope abseiling and rock climbing skills on single pitches 3
90439 Risk Management 2
473 Demonstrate personal and social development through participation in high ropes course activities 2
425 Experience day tramps below the snowline 2
13352 Participate in Outdoor Pursuit activity 2

Year 12 / Level 2 Marine Studies

This is the first year of a two-year course. It is studied as one subject along with other selected subjects.

What will I learn?

This course aims to develop knowledge and skills in the area of marine sciences with an emphasis on marine biology and the wide use of marine resources. There will be opportunities for students to develop practical skills such as SCUBA diving and marine surveying. There is a fee for the diving training and qualification.

What pre-requisites are there?

12 credits in Level 1 Achievement or Unit Standards Science. Every student must be able to swim 200m and pass a dive medical examination to be eligible for the PADI course.

Where does this course lead to?

This course leads on to NCEA Level 3 Marine Studies.

Course costs:

Opportunity to complete PADI Open Water Course NZD$400.00 approx.

What qualifications will I gain on this course?

33 credits at NCEA Level 2 Marine Studies.




4384 Demonstrate personal and social development through participation in adventure based learning 7
16340 Biology of the Mussel 5
90461 Concepts and processes in Ecology 3
2306 Biology of the Crayfish 5
16712 New Zealand Commercial Seafood Species 3
6309 Resource Management – Fisheries management 4
8925 Investigate the diversity of animals 3
8930 Community patterns – rocky shore study 3

* Further Achievement and Unit Standards will be added to the course to meet individual student requirements

Year 13 / Level 3 Marine Studies

This is the second year of a two-year course.

What will I learn?

This course will develop knowledge of marine biology, marine invertebrate and taxonomy, marine ecology, marine reserves and issues in resource management, marine surveying and aquaculture. Through the course, students will develop snorkelling or scuba skills and the ability to identify, survey and monitor marine life. There is a fee for the dive training.

What pre-requisites are there?

Every student must be able to swim 200m.
16 Level 2 credits from Biology and/or Chemistry, Physics, or successful completion of Year 12 Marine Studies.

Possibility of trip to University of Queensland Research Station, Great Barrier Reef; NZD$2700.00




8099 Invertebrates and Taxonomy – identify Flora and Fauna 2
9225 Marine Ecology – Knowledge of Ecosystems 6
6319 Resource Management – Marine Reserves 3
4400 Underwater Marine Surveying – estimating fish and invertebrate populations 3
8933 Aquaculture and investigative work on the behaviour of paddle crabs 3
Various Describe the biology of one Finfish – the Snapper 3
4384 Open Water SCUBA dive 3
4398 PADI Advanced open water 4

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.

This can be arranged in the home country or by Whakatane High School
Full coverage approximate costs:

  • 1 term $ NZ 161
  • 2 terms $ NZ 272
  • 3 terms $ NZ 385
  • Full Year (332 days) $ NZ 465