Why International students choose WHS

Whanganui High School's International Department has about 65 international students (maximum 5% of the school roll) who take part in the school's ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) programme. Our students come from a variety of countries including Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, Brazil, Pacific Islands, Germany, Italy, France, Finland, Norway and the Peoples Republic of China.

International students select Whanganui High School for their education when they want to be away from the distractions of the big cities and concentrate on learning English and studying to qualify for university. Whanganui High School limits the number of students from any one country so that students can have more opportunities to speak English.

All our international students are placed in homestays (which have been visited and assessed by Whanganui High School in advance), as this means they are speaking English all day and they have parents to look after them and care for them. The international student becomes a member of the family.

The homestay fees cover all food and living expenses. Each student has their own bedroom and there are no other students in the same homestay who speak the same language.

Whanganui High School's ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) programme prepares students for the IELTS examinations so they qualify for entry into any university.

Code of Practice

Whanganui High School has agreed to observe and be bound by the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students published by the Ministry of Education. Copies of the Code are available on request from this institution or from the New Zealand Qualifications Authority website at: 

Details of our refund policy, insurance and immigration requirements and conditions of acceptance are to be found on our International Application Form.


WHS International Facebook Page

To view our WHS International Students Facebook Page - Click Here

The Team

Director of International Students

Mrs Alexandra Ferretti

Mrs Alexandra Ferretti

Mrs Alexandra Ferretti is the Director of Wanganui High School's International Department and a teacher of Spanish, French and ESOL.  She has worked at Wanganui High School since 2003 and was Dean for three years before becoming Director of International.  She believes that if the students are safe and happy, then success will follow both academically and personally.  Having had experience as a student in another country and lived in many different countries, she understands the difficulties students can sometimes experience.  She travels overseas frequently to meet agents and parents of her students at Wanganui High School.

Dean of International Students

Mr Michael Crook

Mr Michael Crook

Mike Crook took over the position of International Dean in 2016. Mike is responsible for the pastoral and general well-being of the International Students while in school. Mike has taught Science since 2000.  He trained in the UK and has been teaching at Whanganui High School since 2009 after moving to NZ with his family. His specialist Science subject is Biology which he teaches up to NCEA level 3. 

Having moved across the world and taught different nationalities and cultures, Mike understands the needs of the students and strives to ensure that they are happy and achieving to their highest potential while at Whanganui High School.

International Administrator

Mrs Tonia Hoobin

Mrs Tonia Hoobin

Mrs Tonia Hoobin or Tonia as the students call her is responsible for administration and helping students with insurance claims and visas.  She is usually the first person to receive and respond to emails.

Homestay Coordinator

Mrs Hildegard Schmidt

Mrs Hildegard Schmidt

Mrs Hildegard Schmidt is the homestay coordinator.  Hildegard emigrated to New Zealand from Germany so she knows what it is like to settle into a new country. She is responsible for matching students to homestays and supporting the homestay parents.


Mr Robert Lakeland

Mr Robert Lakeland

Mr Robert Lakeland was Director of the international Department for over 20 years and continues part time as consultant, providing continuity of the relationships he established between overseas organisations and Wanganui High School. He continues to write the NuLake range of mathematics books, which are used in schools all over New Zealand.  He is available to agents, parents supporting them and students while they are at Wanganui High School.

Term Dates

All students are expected to be in Whanganui before the term starts.

International students can start at the beginning of any term.

  • Term 1 2017

    Start Dates

    • Year 9 & New students: Monday 30 January 2017
    • Year 10 - 13 students: Tuesday 31 January 2017

    End Date

    Thursday 13 April

  • Term 2 2017

    Start Date

    Monday 1 May

    End Date

    Friday 7 July

  • Term 3 2017

    Start Date

    Monday 24 July

    End Date

    Friday 29 September

  • Term 4 2017

    Start Date

    Monday 16 October

     End Dates

    • Year 11: Tuesday 7 November
    • Year 12 & 13: Wednesday 8 November
    • Year 9 & 10: Friday 8 December
  • Public Holidays 2017

    The school will be closed on all public holidays. 
    Parents will be notified if students are not required at school for any extraordinary reason.

    • Waitangi Day - Monday 6 February
    • Good Friday - Friday 14 April
    • Easter Monday - Monday 17 April (within school holidays) 
    • Anzac Day - Tuesday 25 April (within school holidays)
    • Queen's Birthday - Monday 5 June 
    • Labour Day - Monday 23 October