The Arts

Performing Arts

Whanganui High School is delighted that so many students take part in and benefit from, the wide range of cultural opportunities on offer.

Music: Music continues to be a popular choice with students from Year 9 to Year 13. The Junior programme provides learning in theory, musical knowledge and sound technology. It is also performance based, designed to develop self-confidence and collaborative skills. From Year 11 we offer Achievement Standards, which provide learning in all aspects of Music – theory, composition, musical knowledge and performance. The Music Department offers individual tuition in voice, piano, guitar (electric and acoustic), woodwind, brass, percussion and strings. Where possible, we also arrange workshops by professional musicians for students.

Drama: Drama is a hugely popular subject across all year levels. Drama provides, students the opportunity to learn in practical ways, providing a counterbalance to the more theory driven subjects. Students build self-confidence through collaboration and communication with their peers, as they often work in groups. Students will develop their ability to think creatively and express themselves effectively, skills which will be of great benefit to them outside of school. There are opportunities for students to perform, and view performances by both local and professional companies, particularly at senior level.

Dance: Dance is an exciting subject which caters for a wide range of ability, from beginners through to advanced. Dance offers NCEA Achievement Standards, including University Entrance at Level 3. Courses begin at Year 9 and carry through to Year 13. Classes are largely practical based with a focus on performance and choreography skills. A wide range of dance styles are taught as well.

Kapahaka: Kapahaka plays a vital role in the culture of our school. Our Performance Group has performed creditably in both local and regional events and holds pride of place during the School’s formal occasions.

Kua ngahau nei te ropū kapahaka i roto ngā whakataetae huri noa te motu, te rohe hoki, ā, ka tū rangatira i roto i ngā kaupapa nui o te kura.

Pasifika: The Pasifika group also play a vital role in the cultural community at WHS. They too perform at regional events annually and are show-stealers at the annual Performing Arts concert.

Extra Curricular Opportunities include:

  • DanceNZ Made Stage Art Competition regional winners in 2018.
  • Stage Challenge (nine times Regional winners – including recently in 2016, 2014, 2013 and 2012, National winners 2004 and 2016, and second Nationally in 2009).
  • Orchestra/Band
  • Choir
  • Jazz Band
  • Pasifika
  • Chamber Music Contest
  • Rockquest (regular winners and place getters; top eight NZ bands 2012)
  • School productions
  • Performing Arts Concerts
  • Overseas Performance Tours
  • Kapahaka
  • One Act Play Festivals – annually
  • Otago University Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival – annually
  • Regular Open Mics
  • Annual Dance NZ Made National Contest

Visual Arts

The Visual Art Department is a modern multi room facility on two sites within the campus, where a comprehensive range of programmes are taught from Year 9 to Year 13. The A block complex consists of two multipurpose art rooms, digital breakout spaces, library, and a dedicated design space. The photography suite, located in D block, houses a digital editing suite where students develop skills in Photoshop and image manipulation. Senior students have the option of working within a dedicated printmaking space where silkscreen, woodcut, and dry point printmaking are explored. On entering Year 9 students elect to have one term in Visual Art and experience a full range of art making processes from traditional practices through to digital media.

Subject Areas


(*) Last Reviewed: July 5, 2019

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