Rector's Comment » St Andrew's College Christchurch (2023)

Why StAC< Rector's Comment

Friday 12 May 2023

Dear Parents and Caregivers

Kia ora koutou katoa

This morning in the Secondary School we celebrated recent student achievements with the first senior assembly for Term 2. The many successes have been mentioned in previous newsletters, with a number of summer sports teams receiving significant placings in South Island and national events.

Three Year 13 students were presented with their Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award; Max Blockley, Gabriella Kenton-Smith and Josh McPhail. Christine Jeon (Year 12 – Cello) and Sienna Stowers-Smith (Year 13 – Netball) received New Zealand representative badges and Maggie McConachie (Year 9) was presented with her New Zealand Bronze medal for her success in the Comunn na Piobaireachd competition, from the Piping Nationals in Hastings.

Assembly Awards >Assembly Flickr >

One highlight for me this week has been attending the NZQA Top Scholar Awards in Wellington on Wednesday. Hosted in the Grand Hall at Parliament, the Top Scholars and 35 Top Subject Scholars (Top Scholar Corin Simcock and Top Technology Scholar Tom Edwards – Old Collegians 2022) gathered together with whānau and Principals to be recognised for their outstanding academic success. Minister of Education, The Hon. Jan Tinetti and Prime Minister, The Right Hon. Chris Hipkins both spoke at the event, which was a celebration of the outstanding achievement of young men and women from across Aotearoa.

The Senior Production, Bright Star, this week has been an outstanding success. The cast has enjoyed a standing ovation each night from a most appreciative audience. Congratulations to the cast, crew, incredible orchestra, and production assistants for what is truly an exceptional performance from a school-aged team. Many emails have been received congratulating the performers and production team, and one wrote –

“We were all astounded as we were wrenched through a full range of emotions from beginning to end – shock, tears, hurt, warmth and hysterical laughter… We are so very privileged to have such incredible teachers and directors to lead our future ‘bright stars’.”

Thank you to all students, performers, musicians, Mr Wiseman, Mr Ferguson, Ms Thorner and the rest of the production team for such an uplifting week. Good luck with the final two performances.

Ngā mihi mahana

Christine Leighton

Rector's Comment » St Andrew's College Christchurch (1)


Last week, the Year 12 Agriscience students had a field trip to a dairy farm in Swannanoa. The farm is owned by the family of Sam Spencer-Bower who has generously shared his expertise with the students for several years running. Students are studying how dairy farms affect the environment, and how they can be managed to mitigate harms and even improve soils and biodiversity etc.

Rector's Comment » St Andrew's College Christchurch (2)

Rector's Comment » St Andrew's College Christchurch (3)

Rector's Comment » St Andrew's College Christchurch (4)

Rector's Comment » St Andrew's College Christchurch (5)


Last week our Level 1 Geography students participated in a three-day field trip to the West Coast, Hanmer Springs and Kaikōura. The main purpose of the trip was for students to complete their geographic research (at Blackball) and to gain an understanding of the changes to the environment as a result of the Kaikōura Earthquake.

Rector's Comment » St Andrew's College Christchurch (6)


The 2023 World Vision Youth Conference was held on Friday 5 May at La Vida in preparation for our Community Service Leaders to launch the 40-hour Challenge at St Andrew’s College. Eight Community Service Leaders attended the day and heard from two incredible young people who were changing their worlds – Vira Paky and Aigagalefili (Fili) Fepulea’i-Tapua’I. Vira is an amazing Congolese Kiwi activist, writer and poet and Fili is an award-winning poet, youth advocate and climate change activist.

The MCs, Matt and Rachel Renata shared about the Bystander effect, the Global Water Crisis, and the hope our young people can bring to difficult and challenging situations for and in our world. The focus of World Vision’s 40-hour Challenge this year, taking place Friday 16 – Sunday 18 June, is clean drinking water for many people groups who do not have access to long-term clean water pumps.

At Chapel on Thursday, World Vision’s South Island Schools coordinator, Tim Pamflett spoke to the students about what we can do to make this difference. Our Community Service Leaders will be working with every year level to encourage and engage our school community in this wonderful cause.


Last Friday night, the rowing community came together to celebrate their season and a number of firsts for St Andrew’s College rowing.

  • first time recorded a top finish across all three disciplines in the scull, sweep, and overall point score at Maadi Cup;
  • first time finished as a top 10 school at Maadi Cup three years in a row;
  • first time made a girl’s age group 8+ final at Maadi Cup;
  • first time won three Golds at Maadi Cup;
  • first time won Golds in male and female events at the same Maadi Cup;
  • first time won medals across three different squads with the same club at Maadi Cup;
  • first time fielded a men’s and women’s U18 8+ at the Maadi Cup regatta, both with top 10 finishes;
  • first time in New Zealand history a Schoolboy 4+ has ever gone 6.24.39 breaking the national record in the final.

At the prizegiving, the community not only celebrated the rowers and their achievements but also acknowledged and thanked the support received from so many people, groups and businesses – staff, parents committee, boatman, camp mum, coaches, kitchen team, generous sponsors and passionate lakeside supporters. Finally, the contribution of the Year 13 leavers – Cameron Scott, Amy Hughes, Ashley White, Freddy Todhunter and Katie Steel was recognised with a special presentation.

Award Winners 2022/23 Season >


Feedback from students and parents on the annual StAC Careers Expo held on Wednesday evening has been extremely positive. 26 exhibitors attended including six of the eight universities, Ara and SIT (Te Pūkenga), as well as some Industry Training Organisations and Private Training providers.

The event provided an excellent opportunity for parents and their children to ask questions directly to the providers about the types of courses, accommodation, and scholarship options as well as potential job opportunities. This year we included NZDF, ETCO, Air NZ and staff from Telford.

Careers website -

Rector's Comment » St Andrew's College Christchurch (8)

Rector's Comment » St Andrew's College Christchurch (9)

Rector's Comment » St Andrew's College Christchurch (10)

Rector's Comment » St Andrew's College Christchurch (11)


A small group of students attended the 2023 Otago University Open Day and the residential colleges that they were interested in, giving them an insight into what their lives at university will be like; living among other students and the opportunities and culture that living in a residential hall will give. The course expos also gave them an insight into what their years of studying will involve.

Rector's Comment » St Andrew's College Christchurch (12)

Rector's Comment » St Andrew's College Christchurch (13)


St Andrew's College is proud to follow the lead of Deaf Aotearoa in promoting the importance of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) in education, health, and workplaces, ensuring that Deaf individuals have equal opportunities in society.

As part of our initiative to uplift NZSL, our Heads of College team, with the help of Head of Senior College, John Ruge, have learned new signs and are excited to share them with you. Please click the social media links below to watch what they've learned.

Instagram >Facebook >


The Preparatory School has recently joined with other schools and groups in Canterbury to grow plants for regenerating native bush in areas in Canterbury. This week the Year 8 classes have been busy learning how to grow and re-pot seedlings as part of their sustainability learning. These seedlings will be cared for in the Eco Action Nursery in the Preparatory School by our eco-warriors until they are sturdy enough to be planted out next year.

Before the holidays, Year 5 students, as part of their study of Kaitiakitanga, planted seeds and are excited to see the tiny seedlings emerging in their pots. These plants will be re-potted and cared for, for a year or two before being planted in the community.

This Sunday, there is a community planting day in Atlantis St, off Travis Rd near QEII and all whānau members are invited to come along to help plant some trees and grasses to enhance our red zone spaces for a future that encourages our native birds, lizards, and insects to thrive in our city.

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Rector's Comment » St Andrew's College Christchurch (15)

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Rector's Comment » St Andrew's College Christchurch (17)


On Monday afternoon, the two Year 3 classes enjoyed a lesson from Kathryn Jer of Clever Little Bees. During the lesson, the students were able to look at bees in an observational hive, try on bee suits, and hold frames to closely examine wax, pollen, nectar, honey and propolis, as well as explore hiveware. It was a wonderful way to ignite their new Inquiry topic, ‘To Bee or Not to Bee’ and the students can’t wait to start learning more about these amazing insects.

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Rector's Comment » St Andrew's College Christchurch (19)

Rector's Comment » St Andrew's College Christchurch (20)

Rector's Comment » St Andrew's College Christchurch (21)


The Girls’ 1st XI controlled the first half of the game against Cashmere High School but were under a lot of pressure against a good and quick team. St Andrew’s led the first half with shots on target and it was not until the 15th minute of the second half when Amber de Wit (Year 11) unlocked the score with a great left-foot finished inside the 18-yard box. Scarlett Gray (Year 11) and Megan Simpson (Year 12) were solid in defence and completed a clean sheet to give St Andrew’s the first three points of the season and a 1–0 win.

The Boys’ 1st XI knew that playing against last year’s champions, Cashmere High School, was going to be a tough test and due to the injuries of key players, we played a weakened team. The boys played some resolute football in the first half but were undone by some mistakes. Lapses of concentration leading into halftime saw St Andrew’s down 3–0. A few words from both coaches seemed to encourage the players when Callum Moores (Year 13) sped through the midfield and slipped it past the keeper to make it 1–3, with the game ending 1–6.

Saturday’s Senior A game was against Technical B. The first quarter was even with St Andrew’s finishing one goal behind. The next two quarters were hard fought, but Technical was ahead by 15 goals at the end of the third quarter. With great determination, St Andrew’s pulled this lead back to end with a final score of 55–61. Molly-Belle Morrow (Year 12) showed great energy throughout the game, not only shooting well but hunting for every ball and therefore gaining some intercepts.

The first SuperNet game for the season was against Rangi Ruru Girls’ School A. The team started on a positive note and continued with determination for all of the quarters to gain a win 54–20. Savannah Caulfield’s (Year 12) shooting stats of 91 per cent were impressive. Meanwhile, Lily Champion-Smith (Year 13) played well on defence, hunting for the ball and gaining a number of turnovers that the team then worked together to convert into goals.

The Girls’ Senior A team played Villa Maria College in their second Whelan Trophy game of the season. Ella Buchanan (Year 10) and Makenzie Disher (Year 9) made their senior basketball debuts, whilst veteran Charlotte Seddon (Year 13) played well in a convincing 90–35 win.

The Boys’ Senior A team travelled to Kaiapoi to take on Kaiapoi High School in their Thomson Trophy game. After a sluggish start, the team locked in and built a 16-point half-time lead behind strong contributions from Valentino Swainson (Year 11). The third quarter saw that lead double behind strong play from Marcus Isitt and Hugh Kenny (both Year 12) before settling in for a 101–71 win.

In a hard, physical contest St Andrew’s College played year’s champions, Nelson College at home on Saturday. The score was tight throughout the entire game and in the latter stages it was 17–17 then 22–22. Nelson then got a player red-carded, but St Andrew’s failed to capitalise and the sending-off galvanised the visiting team, who rallied to win 34-22.


The Canterbury Secondary School Road Race Championships were held on Monday with a team of 12 competing. Sophie Lampe (Year 9) got the afternoon off to a fabulous start with a convincing win in the Year 9 Girls’ race.

In the U16 Boys’ race a great set of results led to a teams win with Year 10 students Cohnor Walsh finishing second, Kupa Rule third, Samuel Cook fourth and Oliver Jackways ninth. Backing them up were Matthew Wilcox in 15th and Hendrick Todhunter in 21st. Abigail Scott-Douglas (Year 10) was third in the U16 Girls’ race, with Katie Foot 11th. In the Senior grades, Amber de Wit (Year 11) was fifth, Hannah Hughes (Year 12) seventh, and Elliot Graves (Year 12) 13th.

Rector's Comment » St Andrew's College Christchurch (23)


Lucy Charteris (Year 11) and her pony Uba won the South Island Equilise 1.10 Pony Series, which runs over the show jumping 2022–2023 season and you accumulate points over the season.


Matthew Kenyon (Year 10) has been awarded a Special Commendation in the Never Such Innocence International Poetry Competition for his poem, War in Ukraine.

Harvey Croft (Year 10) has his poem I’m in Kaikoura accepted for publication in Toitoi 32.


Anthony Song (Year 8) became his episode (Season 4, Episode 47) champion on the TVNZ show Brain Busters, which aims to test the smarts and stamina of students in Years 8– 9. He answered 9 out of 10 questions correctly in the final round, ‘AMYGDALA’, to win $297.

Rector's Comment » St Andrew's College Christchurch (24)

Rector's Comment » St Andrew's College Christchurch (25)


During the Term 1 holiday, Alyssa Geddes (Year 8) was part of the Canterbury Ballet Junior Contemporary Team, All Human Beings, who performed for the chance to be selected as competitors at PACANZ – New Zealand's National Dance Competition. Her team was thrilled to have received the first nomination given at the Christchurch Competitions and they will head to Palmerston North in October to compete against some of the strongest dance teams in the country.


Chloe Wang (Year 5) received a Gold award last weekend at the Christchurch School of Music (CSM) music festival, in the woodwind Beginner class.

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Frank McHarg (Year 6) and Mia McHarg (Year 8) were selected for the Canterbury 12s tennis team, playing in the National Teams Event during the holidays. Both played well in both their Singles and Doubles games contributing to the Canterbury team being placed third overall and taking home the Bronze medal.

Rector's Comment » St Andrew's College Christchurch (27)


Kalisa Zhang (Year 8) competed at the Delta Invitational competition 2023 last weekend, placing first for all four routines, and first overall, winning the Stage 4 trophy.


The following students have been selected into Canterbury U18 teams.

  • Canterbury U18A Women: Henrietta Nation (Year 12), Penelope Taulafo (Year 13)
  • Canterbury U18A Men: Joel Rogers, Luke Slee (both Year 13)
  • Canterbury U18B Women: Natalia Geneblaza, Holly Gilray, Nikkita McIntyre, Alissa Tamaki (all Year 13)
  • Canterbury U18B Men: Liam Hall (Year 11), Benjamin Harford, Jackson Hodgkinson (both Year 12), Finnian Bierwirth, Alex Rippin (both Year 13)
  • Canterbury Development Women: Katherine Simcock (Year 11), Kaylee McDonald (Year 13)
  • Canterbury Development Men: Edward Connolly, Lucas Munt (both Year 11), Joseph Connolly, Noah Mellish-Temple, Jake Patterson, Gus Preston (all Year 13)


Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson (OC 2013), our St Andrew’s College Ballet Academy Patron, has had an amazing write-up for his portrayal of Romeo in the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s latest production, Romeo and Juliet. Of his portrayal of Romeo, the reviewer writes, “Guillemot-Rodgerson is one to watch in future ballets... energetic, graceful and charming...he knocks it out of the park.” The production is touring the country and will be in Christchurch from Thursday 25 – Saturday 27 May at the Isaac Theatre Royal.


The Regional Leadership, Climate and Community Resilience Committee has just appointed Oscar Bloom (OC 2021) as one of two youth members with full voting rights to a key committee of the Canterbury Regional Council. Oscar is currently studying Law and Communications at the University of Canterbury and said it’s important to be able to contribute as decisions are made.

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Good luck to all students who are representing the College over the weekend in sports and cultural activities including:

  • 1st XV rugby vs Selwyn Schools;
  • Community Service Eco Action tree planting.

Rector's Comment » St Andrew's College Christchurch (29)


Please continue to report to the College any COVID-19 related student absence using the same process as for non-COVID-19 related absences.
Parent Guidelines >

Ākonga Absence and Ill-health
A polite reminder that any ākonga who are unwell should not attend school. For any absence, whether ill-health or otherwise, the College’s preferred platform for reporting this is via our online form below.
Recording a Student Absence >

If you are not able to report your child's absence using the online form, please report their absence via the relevant email address below. If you cannot get through to us via the form or email, please call our attendance line on +64 3 940 2031 (term time only).

  • Years 1–8:
  • Years 9–13:


New rules and guidelines from the Ministry of Education on understanding ākonga distress and minimising the use of physical restraint in schools came into force this year, superseding the 2017 rules and guidelines.

Physical restraint must only be used by kaiako or authorised staff members when the conditions outlined in the legislation have been met, and only as a last resort. The new guidelines were created in response to changes in the Education and Training Act 2020 and calls from schools for more clarity about when it is acceptable to use physical restraint and what is acceptable physical contact.

Accordingly, three new College policies have been published on the College website – Minimising Physical Contact, Acceptable Physical Contact and Reducing Student Distress. These can be viewed by clicking here. All College staff have been asked to familiarise themselves with these policies and those directly concerned will be undertaking training in this important area, timed in accordance with Ministry requirements.


The very popular Pipe Band Ceilidh fundraiser (pronounced “kay-lee”) has returned for 2023 and celebrates St Andrew's proud Scottish heritage. Come along to a good old-fashioned Scottish knees-up for a friendly, fun and energetic night of haggis, music, drams and dancing in a relaxed atmosphere. Bring your dancing shoes and wear a touch of tartan!

It’s a wonderful way to celebrate our Scottish heritage and help support the Pipe Band get to Scotland for the World Championships this August this year.

Date: Saturday 27 May, 7.00pm
Venue: St Andrew's College Gym 1
Tickets: $69.00 (drink on arrival and light supper)


Rector's Comment » St Andrew's College Christchurch (30)

Rector's Comment » St Andrew's College Christchurch (31)


Join us for a fun and entertaining evening with coaching legends Andy Ellis, Stephen Fleming, Marianne Delaney-Hoshek and Shane Bond, who will provide insight into their experiences and what it takes to be a high-performing athlete, both on and off the field. This event will end with a Q+A session open to all guests who attend. Raffles and auctions will be held throughout the evening. The proceeds from this fundraiser will support St Andrew’s College rugby and cricket.

Date: Friday 23 June, 6.30pm
Venue: St Andrew’s College Gym 1
Tickets: $75.00



This year's StAC Basketball iPhone Raffle was won by a trio of current mums – just the type of good news we need leading into Mother's Day! Thank you to everyone who supported the fundraising efforts by purchasing a ticket and congratulations to the winners.

  • 1st = Apple iPhone 14 = Kath Munt
  • 2nd = Apple AirPods Pro = Jackie Calcott
  • 3rd = Apple Watch = Sarah Corkery

Rector's Comment » St Andrew's College Christchurch (32)

Rector's Comment » St Andrew's College Christchurch (33)


The Ōtautahi Jazz Jam Spectacular is a wonderful concert combining jazz groups from around Christchurch secondary schools, and this year our Big Band and Jazz Orchestra will be performing on Saturday 20 May.



The annual Hoop It Up fundraiser will take place on Saturday 10 June. Organised by the StAC Basketball Fundraising Committee, this is sure to be a fantastic evening. Reserve your seat or get a group together. Dinner and drinks included (Wairau River Wines and tap beer), cash bar for all other drinks, auction, DJ, and dance floor.

All proceeds support St Andrew’s College Basketball. In 2021 the event sold out within 72 hours, so get in early, grab your friends and reserve a table. This will be a great mid-winter night out.

When: Saturday 10 June, 7.00pm–11.30pm
Where: Russley Golf Club and Function Centre
Dress Code: Cocktail
Tickets: $150 per person

Email Teacher in Charge of Basketball, Ben Eves, on from Monday to reserve a seat/table, whilst spots last!

Rector's Comment » St Andrew's College Christchurch (34)

Rector's Comment » St Andrew's College Christchurch (35)


Join us for an informative evening focused on how we can create an environment that enables our young people to have quality experiences playing sports.

Our guest speakers at this StACTalks session will include an advocate for resilience, Jake Bailey, our Director of High Performance Sport and Rugby, Rod McIntosh, and Sports Leadership and Development expert and Senior Rugby Coach, John Haggart.

We will also hear about personal experiences and lessons learned from participating in sports from the student and parent perspectives. The College has been working on a Sports Framework to provide guidance for our students, which we will share and welcome feedback on. This is an opportunity to learn from experts and contribute your ideas to this important conversation.

When: Monday 15 May
Where: Centennial Chapel
Time: 6.30pm–8.00pm



The online sales for the following 2023 photographs are now available:

  • individual student photographs;
  • Secondary School tutor group photographs;
  • Preparatory School class photographs;
  • whole year group photographs for Year 9 and Year 13.

Details of how to order the photographs can be found on our website using the button below and you will need to log into StACNet using your St Andrew's College login.

If you have any questions relating to this service, please email


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Rector's Comment » St Andrew's College Christchurch (37)


The Community Business Directory is on our website under Alumni & Community and represents over 100 parent businesses. Please do take a look at how many businesses you can support locally.
The St Andrew's College Community Business Directory >

If you would still like to register your business, complete the following form.
Community Business Directory Registration >


  • Thursday 18 May – Secondary School Cross Country
  • Friday 19 May – Pink Shirt Day non-uniform day
  • Sunday 21 May – Middle School Chapel Service, 5.00pm
  • Saturday 27 May – Pipe Band Ceilidh, 7.00pm, Gym 1
  • Monday 5 June – King’s Birthday – College closed
  • Tuesday 13 June – Boarders’ Chapel Service, 7.45pm
  • Friday 16 June – Prefects’ Assembly
  • Saturday 17 June – Semi-formal, Riccarton Raceway
  • Friday 30 June – End of Term 2

For a full list of upcoming school events, please refer to the fixtures page onStACNet.

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