Whanganui High School takes great pride in offering a range of facilities to be used by its staff and students.

Art Facilities

The Visual Arts Department at Whanganui High School now boasts of a purpose-built arts facility which has been designed as a future proof environment. From the original staff room in the 1980’s the Visual Arts building has been completely redesigned to create a flow of workspaces that allow for a range of dynamic teaching experiences. Students no longer work in silo areas but move between a range of specialised teaching spaces to work on design/painting/or printmaking projects.

A dedicated design space of 30 high end computers now allows for an integrated approach to both the digital and analogue aspects of design. This is helped with all computers using the Adobe suite and specific machines working with CorelDraw programmes. The print room houses two large bed etching and woodcut presses a dedicated silkscreen exposure unit and a vinyl cutter. An enclosed quite space houses an extensive collection of Art resource books where students move to gather additional resource material. The central hallway has been designed with gallery lighting where student and staff work can be showcased.

An Additional breakout room and two art rooms complete the package. The teacher resource area, where a large format printer is located acts as central hub where staff have ample room to prepare resources for teaching that with lundia roller shelving for all storage makes for a pleasant environment.\ All rooms have double glazing, well insulated with heat pumps to help regulate the ambient temperature within the classrooms.

Automotive Workshops

The Automotive Engineering workshop is well resourced and respected in the community and wider regions. We have a dedicated technician, a stand-alone garage, teaching props that include running petrol and diesel engines, a set of engines for dismantling and reassembling, excellent tooling and running vehicles that include two petrol cars and a diesel ute to work on. A new triple garage near completion that will house a hoist, allowing us to further the learning opportunities of our students and keep up with the times in a rapidly moving work environment. The school recognises the need for tradespeople in the community, fosters work place relationships and sees the Whanganui High School Automotive course as a proven point of difference.


Our canteen is open from 8.30am for drinks only, lunch and at afternoon break. It is situated behind F Block.

A wide variety of healthy and tasty options are available. Hot lunch specials change daily.

Vegetarian, Vegan and Gluten free items can be pre-ordered prior to 8.35am or the previous day.

Both EFTPOS and cash is accepted.

Canteen Menu

Careers Advisor

Our Careers Office (located in our Deans House) is a valuable resource that assists students, through the expertise of our Careers Advisor, Mr Paul Keene (B.Sc, Dip.Tchg, P.G.Dip.Ed) to prepare themselves fully for tertiary study, training providers, the workplace, and life beyond school. 

Appointments can be made through the Student Centre.

Some of the services offered include:

  • Careers Counselling - Careers counselling for career problems, decision-making and helping students find suitable career options.

  • Career Resources - Course prospectuses, course flyers, information on different careers, and web resources relevant to careers.

  • Organised Events - Career Expos, University/polytechnic visits, Health Careers Day, visits from many tertiary education providers, private companies and guest speakers.

  • Work Taster Days and trades EXPO for junior students

  • Information for Parents – Parent can find out about services, programs, events, and resources. Parents of Year 13 students can attend ‘Intending University’ evening.

  • Information about CV writing

  • Information about scholarship opportunities

  • University Confidential References - the Careers Advisor can assist students who are considering moving to another region for their tertiary study.

Computers and Wifi

Whanganui High School is well equipped with modern computer gear, which is well maintained and regularly updated with current software.

We have eight computer labs with around 28 computers in each. As well as this we also have eight smaller pods of computers scattered throughout the school.

We have a modern Wireless system, which was replaced in 2016. This provides free internet access for students throughout the day, within all classrooms as well as the local surrounding environment, including our fields.

The WIFI network supports virtually all wireless capable devices such as, laptops, cell phones and tablets operating on any platform.

We have very good internet access and in the near future, this will be upgraded to further support the continuously expanding use of Information Technology at Whanganui High School.

Guidance Counsellor

We have two guidance counsellors; Terry Tubman and Jacqui McKenzie. You will find their offices at the Student Centre.

All appointments with clients are confidential. The only exceptions occur when there is imminent danger to the client or others.

You could see them about any issue which gets in the way of you being a good learner (the following are examples):

  • Family Relationships
  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Eating Disorders
  • No one to talk
  • Difficulties at School
  • Self-Harming
  • Anger
  • Bullying
  • Depression
  • Sexuality
  • Suicide
  • Abuse of any kind
  • Grief
  • Alcohol & Drugs
  • Peer problems
  • Worried about friends

Remember “No matter what you do or say to me, I am a worthwhile person”

Ways to book an appointment:

Via Google Bitly   bit.ly/whssupport__

OR make an appointment at the Student Centre

OR Googlebookmark: whscounselorbooking

OR Email tubman.t@whs.ac.nz / mckenzie.j@whs.ac.nz

Gymnasiums, Fields and Turf

Whanganui High School has three gymnasiums plus a weights/fitness area. The biggest gym is the Seddon Gymnasium, which was built in approximately 10 years ago. It has a full size netball and basketball court in it. The Reeves Gymnasium has a full-size basketball and volleyball court, whilst our smaller Gymnasium – the Vogel has a half court.

Upstairs in the Reeves Gymnasium we have a weights and fitness area. Students are able to use equipment such as a spin bike, rowing machines, cross trainers, treadmills, free and fixed weights. An instructor is available before and after school to help students with fitness and strengthening programmes.

In 2015 we opened our newest sporting facility – an all purpose weather turf. There are five netball courts, a half hockey field and seven tennis courts. This turf is used by our Physical Education classes as well as our sporting teams.

We also have a large grass area which allows us to have two Rugby and two Football fields for our winter sports teams. We also have two artificial cricket turfs and cricket batting nets.

During the summer the fields are marked for Touch and Athletics. There is also a new long jump pit.

Health Nurse

The public health nurses for our school are Michelle and Jo. They visit our school every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday during the school term. They are happy to be contacted by phone, text or e-mail out of these times.

Clinic days are:

            Monday:         9am to 11am

            Wednesday:    11.45am to 1.45pm

            Thursday:        9.30am to 11.30am

She can help with:

  • Health information and concerns
  • Health Assessments including Sexual Health, Contraception and STI checks
  • Smoking
  • Weight and Nutrition
  • Advice and Support
  • Referrals to other services and/or agencies
  • Or any other health concerns you may have.

Appointments can be made at the Student Centre or by contacting her directly on:

Mobile: 027 496 8368 (Michelle) or 021 903 292 (Jo)

Email: nurse@whs.ac.nz

Learning Support Centre

The Learning Support Centre (LSC)  provides extra support for student in the mainstream, who are finding their subject work difficult due to a specific Learning difficult or a condition (eg Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Autism, Anxiety; physical disability etc).

Senior students with a Learning line get extra time for completing their Internal assessments and keeping up to date with their classwork. This may include Special Assessment Condition (Sac) students who qualify for reader writer assistance.

Junior students who are needing settling into the Secondary School system, or needing a very altered programme for a specific subject, may also be given a line in the Learning Support Centre. Approval needs to be given by the SENCO (Special Education Needs Co-Ordinator). Students in each LSC line, range from Year 9 through to Year 13 in the same class, and they all work on their own programme, so it is a very quiet environment allowing students to concentration, work and learn.

Our school's SENCO is Glyn Cansfield (cansfield.g@whs.ac.nz)


Innovative Learning Environment

We like to think of the library as the beating heart of the school – everyone is welcomed here.

It’s a multicultural community space managed by two qualified librarians supported by a fantastic 25 strong student librarian team.

In our role as ‘info coaches’, we librarians are forward thinking, relationship focused, open, flexible and friendly in our approach to both students and staff. Our aim is to enable students to be in charge of their own learning.

Interior Design

Inside the library, it’s light filled and newly renovated. The walls are lined with brightly coloured student artworks. Our newly arrived Chinese warrior statues guard the Chinese corner - This is a multimedia resource area that supports the school’s Confucius Classroom status. These varied local and international cultural pops of colour and texture help create a great space for working or relaxing amongst our large collection of modern and classic fiction and non- fiction.

Digital Learning

It’s not just about books here at Whanganui High - we provide a seamless digital learning environment that can be accessed 24/7 via our website and students’ personalised Google Chrome accounts - Here you will find digital bookmarks linking students to our library catalogue app and the vast world of subscription database resources and reading for pleasure via our e-book platform. We issue digital equipment including Chromebooks and headphones, we help students with technical enquiries and also act as a triage unit for the IT support team who are conveniently situated upstairs on the mezzanine floor.

Orientation Events and Speakers

The school library is multi-talented, it has wide-ranging uses. We manage the staff and student web portals and we’re a venue for visiting speakers, seminars, debates, and evening functions.\ We also house the silent study room for seniors.\ Several times a year we host orientation sessions to welcome our newly arrived Y9s and International students so they can find their feet and get to know fellow new arrivals and staff members in a warm and comfortable setting.

Photographs and Video

The library office doubles as a mini studio where photos are snapped and ID cards are produced for students and staff. We also manage the school’s ClickView Library so students and staff can watch educational videos at home or at school. Each person has their own personalised age appropriate account.

Homework Centre

Supervised by a teacher and librarian, the Homework centre is open from after school until 4.30 pm weekdays. It’s handy for students wanting to study alone or with a group of friends, or for those just waiting to be picked up after school. Closer to exam time the library hosts a series of tutorials for seniors during Homework Centre and in the evenings.


There are 240 metal lockers in C-block and some wooden lockers in F block available for student use. 

 All lockers are allocated by our Student Centre.

Metal Lockers (C Block)

  • Metal locker keys are available for $20. This is a key rental/bond refunded when you return the key at the end of the year.  Many lockers have 2 keys available so you should share with a friend. 
  • If students wish to be allocated a metal locker, they MUST acquire a LOCKER REQUEST ENVELOPE  from the Student Centre. You must return payment in the pre-printed envelope.
  • The Student Centre will issue keys & locker numbers by the end of February.
  • NO ENVELOPE, NO LOCKER, NO EXCEPTIONS!  It is best if you share a locker.
  • The metal lockers are secured with a master key system which means that if student lose or forget their key, a staff member can unlock it for them with a master key.

Wooden Lockers (F Block)

Wooden lockers are free to use, you need to supply your own padlock AND fill in a form for the Student Centre, with the number of the locker you have choosen.

Conditions of Use:

  • The lockers are also subject to reasonable terms of use and, being the property of the school, may be accessed by staff if there is reasonable cause to do so.
  • Lockers are for the use of students, during the school year, to temporarily store items required for school. This would include things like books, sports gear and lunch items. They must not be used to store anything that students are not permitted to have at school. For example, anything flammable, alcohol, drugs or anything that might be considered a weapon. Storage of anything valuable is discouraged as such items can be left in a secure area in the Student Centre.
  • Lockers are used on an “at your own risk” basis and the school cannot accept any responsibility for items which are damaged or go missing from a locker.
  • It is also expected that every locker key is returned, for a refund of the key bond, at the end of each school year, regardless of whether or not the student wishes to use a locker the following year.
  • Lockers must be used within the terms and conditions specified by the school. A full list of terms and conditions is available from the teacher in charge upon request.

Performing Arts Facilities

The Performing Arts Faculty consists of a hall space which seats approximately 350 students and includes kitchen and toilet facilities.  Adjoining the hall is a purpose built dance room with specialised flooring and dance mirrors.  The upper dance space includes dance barres and mirrors.  The faculty also includes two drama classrooms with one opening into the stage space of the hall when required.

Drama & Dance Area:

The Performing Arts Faculty consists of a hall space which seats approximately 350 students and includes kitchen and toilet facilities.  Adjoining the hall is a purpose built dance room with specialised flooring and dance mirrors.  The upper dance space includes dance barres and mirrors.  The faculty also includes two drama classrooms with one opening into the stage space of the hall when required.

Music Area:

The Music Block is a fully functioning Music Department here at Whanganui High School. It incorporates two classrooms that include keyboards, guitars, drum kits and computer facilities. Classroom computers with digital audio workstation software, music applications and other educational music applications. We also have USB keyboards, Bluetooth audio mixers and electronic drum kits that interface with most student BYOT devices, allowing for all students to participate with technology. Six Practice rooms purpose equipped for individual, band and ensemble work.The Music Department also houses a Protools equipped recording facility that includes both a control room and recording studio.

Science Labs

Whanganui High School has 12 dedicated Science laboratories for Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Electronics.

Each laboratory is well resourced with standard scientific apparatus and all are fitted with gas and water stations. Two knowledgeable Science technicians ensure that each teacher has access to the wide range of models, chemicals, dissections and exciting demonstrations held in the prep rooms. This ensures a varied mix of theory and practical lessons to cater for all students’ learning needs.

The separate Science disciplines have their own discrete blocks and are further kitted out to the specific requirements of that subject to maximise the effectiveness of practical lessons. Chemistry laboratories are all equipped with fume cupboards to vent gases from teacher demonstrations and senior practical lessons, Physics laboratories have modified electrical supplies and girder systems for specialised experiments.

In keeping with the BYOT initiative of Whanganui High School, each laboratory has access to school Wi-Fi and is equipped with permanent audio visual equipment to fully integrate the use of technology into the classroom. Coupled with an excellent teaching staff, students will experience an interactive and highly immersive Science experience throughout their school career.

Secure Bike Storage

We have a secure bike storage facility located behind our G Block.

Students are to leave their bicycles in the bike cage. The bike cage is locked at 9am and re-opened at 3pm. Students that cycle to school must place their bikes within the cage and are encouraged to use a high-quality lock to secure their bike in place.

For extra security, we have a security camera fixed upon the bike cage area.

For safety, the students are asked not to ride their bikes within the school grounds, they need to walk with their bikes.

If access to the bike cage is needed during the school day, students can go to the Student Centre for this to be organised.

The bike cage is locked permanently at 4.45pm, any bikes left in there will remain there overnight, please collect your bike before this time.

Student Centre

The Student Centre is the place for students and parents to come to find out about anything to do with the practicalities of the school day. Opening hours are from 8am until 3.30pm each day.

The Student Centre is here to help with:

  • Appointments for Deans, Guidance Counsellors, Careers Advisor, and Drug & Alcohol Counsellor
  • Attendance
  • Collection of assignments
  • Discipline Entries
  • Enrolments
  • First Aid/Sick Bay
  • Leavers
  • Letters home
  • Lockers/Sport Lockers
  • Lost Property
  • Lunch Passes
  • Parents – pick up/drop off
  • Rural Bus
  • Student – sign in/sign out
  • Student and Parent queries

Student Centre Contact Details:

Ph: 06 349 0177

E-mail: studentcentre@whs.ac.nz

Student Centre Cell phone: 021 153 4007

Te Atawhai / Special Needs

Place of Challenge, Care and Support

Te Atawhai is the name given to the Special Unit at Whanganui High School.  Te Atawhai was designed specifically for students with moderate to severe intellectual impairments.  The building, furniture and equipment were funded by the Ministry of Education.  It opened in May 1996.

Te Atawhai provides a secondary school placement for students with an intellectual impairment who require alternative or additional resources to those usually provided in regular education settings.  The guiding philosophy of Te Atawhai is to enable all students to develop their full potential by providing age appropriate, individualised learning opportunities within a safe, caring, challenging and supportive environment.

This is achieved through adapted programmes or learning environments, specialised equipment or materials.  The provision of a multi-sensory curriculum is combined with a physical therapy programme to meet the needs of all students.  Te Atawhai endeavours to ensure the highest standards of achievement through its individualised and developmental programmes.

Te Atawhai is a partnership based on collaboration and consultation between Parents and Caregivers, Students, Ministry and Special Education, Specialists, Local and School Community, and other agencies to meet the needs of all students with special needs.

Social integration and subject mainstreaming are encouraged at Whanganui High School. 

Te Atawhai Staff are

Wendi Girven (Head of Te Atawahi), Hilary Mael, Diana Parnell, Emma Paki, Richie Parnell, Dale Sutherland Daniel Wooler, Carla Davies, Katelyn Blythe

Te Atawhai ERO Policy

Te Atawhai endeavours to ensure it can provide a challenging, safe and supportive climate that meets the individual educational needs of students with severe to moderate intellectual disabilities.


Te Atawhai endeavours to meet the individual and developmental needs of all students through a broad, balanced, relevant and differentiated curriculum that provides continuity, progression, entitlement and equivalent curriculum experience.


Te Atawhai endeavours to ensure that students with a severe to moderate intellectual disability receive special education when they have been identified as needing alternative or additional resources to those usually provided in regular education settings.

Te Atawhai endeavours to ensure the provision of extra assistance, adapted programmes or learning environments, specialised equipment or materials to support students with severe to moderate intellectual disabilities.

Te Atawhai endeavours to ensure the highest standards of achievement through programmes that will enable students with severe to moderate intellectual disabilities to develop to their full potential.

Te Atawhai endeavours to ensure equality of opportunity for those students with severe to moderate intellectual disabilities by identifying and removing barriers; providing a challenging, safe and supportive environment; and through the acceptance and promotion of the rights of all students.

Te Atawhai endeavours to ensure appropriate advisers, therapists and specialist resources (as required) will be provided.

Te Atawhai endeavours to ensure that open communication and consultation is provided to parents and caregivers to enable them to make sound education choices concerning the appropriate placement of students with severe to moderate intellectual disabilities.

Te Atawhai endeavours to ensure the Special Unit meets the individual and developmental needs of the student by offering an appropriate placement for students with severe to moderate intellectual disabilities and adequate staffing to ensure programme delivery.

Te Atawhai endeavours to ensure it can offer a safe and supportive learning environment to all students by ensuring and maintaining appropriate levels of student to staffing ratios.

Te Atawhai is designed to cater for those students with severe to moderate intellectual disabilities and will meet the student’s educational needs within the Special Unit, regular classroom and transition experiences in the wider community.

Enrolment Policy Guidelines

  1. Te Atawhai is designed to offer assistance to those students with an intellectual disability who have significant difficulties meeting their physical, social, and emotional and self-care needs.  Te Atawhai caters specifically for students requiring a greater degree of adult supervision and support than is usually provided.
  2. Te Atawhai recognises the legal rights and responsibilities of parents to have a choice regarding enrolment in special schools, attached units or regular classes.
  3. Te Atawhai is designed to enable students of secondary school age to have access to the same range of age-appropriate education as other students.  Provision for the student should match the nature of his or her needs.
  4. Te Atawhai is designed to cater for those students readily identified as needing specialised assistance, adapted programmes or learning environments, specialised equipment or materials to support them in a special education setting and the mainstream.
  5. Te Atawhai is designed to provide specialised educational assistance for those students identified through in-depth assessment as having unique needs.  The enrolment process will be the result of consultation and collaboration between parents and caregivers, the student, Special Education Services, educational specialists, other schools, Te Atawhai and the local community.
  6. Te Atawhai is designed to offer a multi-cultural, co-educational placement for students with severe to moderate intellectual disabilities.
  7. Te Atawhai is designed to ensure it can meet the individual needs of all students through appropriate programming, adequate staffing levels and specialised equipment.
  8. Te Atawhai is designed to ensure it can provide a challenging, safe and caring environment for all students.
  9. Te Atawhai recognises that all enrolments are submitted to the Principal and that the final decision is at the discretion of the Principal.
  10. Te Atawhai will endeavour to recognise the early communicated intention and interest of parents and caregivers for enrolment placements.

Contact us

Telephone (06) 349-0178  Extn: 8765

Cell Phone: 021 499 110

Email: girven.w@whs.ac.nz

Technology Facilities

Whanganui High School has three fully equipped technology workshops specialising in the delivery of project work based on multi material technology, building and construction, and engineering. All workshops contain a diverse range of tools and machinery designed to meet the wide range of learning opportunities offered to our students, with the intent of meeting the expectations of parents and industry. The wider technology area contains computer pods for completion of theory work with a specific room containing the 3D printer and the laser cutter. These facilities are designed to meet the needs of traditional skills teaching with a future focus on modern technologies.

There is also specialist textiles room with in the technology area. This room is equipped to deliver textiles and design for our students. It has design and construction spaces in the room with a variety of sewing machines, overlockers and other equipment.

Design and visual communication is delivered within the technology area. There are two specialist design rooms which are set-up to deliver this design based subject. These rooms have computer pod assess for CAD and are also next to the laser cutting facility. There is a future focus in this space where traditional skills can be learnt in conjunction with the use of modern technologies to enhance outcomes.

The technology faculty delivers Food and Nutrition. Whanganui High School has two fully equipped kitchens specialising in the delivery of Food and Nutrition courses and Hospitality and Tourism. All kitchens contain a diverse range of equipment designed to meet the wide range of learning opportunities offered to our students, with the intent of meeting the expectations of parents and industry. Students have experienced a wide range of success in these facilities including competing in national cookery competitions.


Kia Whaiora – ‘That we may have life’ is the name of our School Whare.

The Whare was opened in 1999. 

The stunning kowhaiwhai panels were painted by Matua Reg and students in 1998.

In 2008 the beautiful tukutuku panels were made. We were lucky to have the expertise of two local kuia, Nannies Rii Templeton and the late Vicky Puru. They were assisted by Whānau, Staff in the Māori Dept and Student’s in Te Reo Māori and Māori Performing Arts classes.

Our Whare has been very busy, there have been classes from Te Reo Māori, Drama and Life Skills, with Kia Whaiora and Pasifika using it for practices & noho.

Wheelchair and Blind Access

Whanganui High School grounds and buildings are supported with adaptions that assist the visually impaired and wheelchair bound students. There are yellow painted poles and strips, and tactile tiles placed around the school which enable visually impaired students to navigate safely around the school and to their classes. Classroom Blocks have ramps to enable wheelchair access to all rooms. There are some higher desks which can be placed in classrooms, where needed, in order to enable easier access for wheelchairs to move under. This means the student in a wheelchair can be closer to the desk.

New toilet blocks enable easy access for disabled students.

(*) Last Reviewed: April 2, 2019

This post is over a year old. Some of the information this contains may be outdated.

Please email the office if you think this information requires review.