Clubs and Activities
Our Amnesty International group encourages students to develop their sense of global citizenship and social conscience. In New Zealand we take our basic human rights for granted but others are not so lucky. There is much lively debate at our regular meetings as we learn about and show our support for people experiencing human rights abuses worldwide. Every year we participate in Freedom Challenge Week and in 2017 the theme was the Great Palm Oil Scandal, looking at labour rights abuses in the plantations.
Our Astronomy Club welcomes junior students who are curious about the universe and how it works. This year we are planning to do some practical observations of the night sky, learning about the constellations as well as studying the stars and galaxies.
Bollywood Dance Group
Westlake’s Bollywood Dance Group captures the intricate culture of Indian Dancing whilst bringing together students of all year levels and nationalities.The Desi High School Dance Competition is a focal point for the group. Judged on everything from concept and choreography through to costume design and the dance itself, in 2016 we were awarded first place, coming runners-up in 2017.
Code Club is a friendly environment for students who are interested in learning to code. We are encouraged to try new things, whether it be attending tech events, learning new skills, or creating our own games, websites and apps.
Chinese Night: In 2017 we co-hosted the eighth Chinese Night which was held at Westlake Boys High School. This spectacular event showcases stunning traditional and contemporary Chinese performances by Westlake student groups and has become an annual highlight in the local community.
Korean Night: Korean Night is another important date in our cultural calendar where the two Westlake schools come together for a memorable evening of musical, dance and other displays. There is always a packed auditorium for this highly popular event.
Debating has a rich history at Westlake and this year we are entering nine teams across four grades in the Auckland Schools Debating competition, sponsored by Russell McVeagh. In addition to this, a Year 9 in-house competition runs during lunch times in Terms 2 and 3. We also look forward to the annual Thorburn Cup debate held each year between the two Westlake schools.
Diversity is a thriving community group at Westlake whose purpose is to provide peer support for students and staff who identify across the GLBTIQ spectrum or who wish to be the straight allies the group needs. Being part of Diversity is a positive way for students to come together, meet new people and organise events which promote anti-bullying and diversity within the school. Some of our annual highlights include the Term 1 Diversity picnic with students picnicking and partying on the grass; and in Term 2 we make a stand against bullying by supporting Pink Shirt Day.
Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Awards
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Awards are designed to help students discover who they are, build on strengths and interests, and give them skills to deal with whatever life throws at them. From Bronze through to Gold level, activities need to be completed across four areas: service, skills, physical recreation and an adventurous journey. Our Westlake teachers and volunteers help coordinate regular tramps and expeditions where girls are expected to organise themselves, carry their gear and often feed themselves, no doubt returning home with many a tale of their intrepid adventures.
This year Envirogroup will enjoy the input of the newly appointed House Prefects for the Environment to help existing leaders with projects that educate, inform and promote sustainability throughout the school. We believe that we are all caretakers of our planet and we want to make a difference, starting in our school and looking out to the wider community. We help maintain the free vegetable garden set up at the North Shore Hospital for diabetic patients and participate in beach clean-ups. Some of last year’s highlights include the upcycling workshops leading to the Trash to Fashion event and our fundraising vegan bake sale for endangered species.
Kapa Haka plays a big part in our school life, bringing together all cultures to perform and showcase our Maori heritage. Kapa Haka teaches language, actions, and the meaning and symbolism behind the movements, with many opportunities to perform at key events throughout the year. We now also have a combined group across both Westlake schools, Te Kapa o te Ihi o te Ra, who came away with an impressive five awards at the 2017 Polyfest with a vibrant and polished performance.
Westlake Girls has a long, proud tradition at the MUNA (Model United Nations Assembly) event held annually at Auckland Girls Grammar School. Teams of delegates, dressed in the national dress of their chosen country, prepare and deliver speeches from their country’s standpoint on current global issues such as the global refugee crisis and access to clean water. In 2017 we came runner-up Best Team.
Philosophy Clubpromotes rich debate and expansion of minds in a free and open atmosphere. Students are encouraged to formulate their own ideas for student-led discussion, to question logic, sift for evidence, listen to guest speakers and cross-examine teachers in their expansive discussions on a range of topics. Should women be on the frontline of war? Is the truth always the best option? Our questions always produce some stimulating, and sometimes heated debate.
The Robotics Group is a great place to learn the basics of Mechatronics – an emerging career path – in a very sociable, fun environment. The Robotics group build VEX EDR robots and learn skills in mechanics, physics, programming and strategic thinking. Students get together several times a week to create and troubleshoot their robot designs. They also regularly attend scrimmages on a Saturday where their robots are pitched against those from other schools in the area. More details can be obtained from Mrs Hamling who can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.
SGCNZ Shakespeare Festival
In the annual SGCNZ University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival over 5000 students compete around the country as they perform their own unique, and often humorous, interpretation of scenes from the bard’s plays. Shakespeare continues to engage our young people with his unique art of storytelling that is still so relevant to the modern world. This year our combined Westlake Girls and Westlake Boys went through to the national festival with their energetic and exciting interpretation of the ‘Lovers’ fight’ scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream which earned them an award for Best Movement and Dance.
Many students involved in Stage Challenge acknowledge it as one of their most memorable and enjoyable experiences at school. With a large cast and months of rehearsals students bond together as they develop a creative, and often inspirational dance show leading to a theatre performance. Students can get involved with all aspects of the production from dancers and costume designers, to make-up artists and production crew. In 2017 Westlake were delighted to be awarded second place at the Auckland finals for their performance on the theme of materialism. In addition to their overall placing they also received seven individual excellence awards for drama, choreography, performance skill, visual enhancement, costume and character, soundtrack, and environmental and social awareness.
Tech Wizards are a student-led group who provide a lunchtime help service to students with tech problems. They also are the owners of a website and online chat service to help out of hours. The Tech Wizards can be found in the foyer of the library for face-to-face help and can be contacted via the website's online chat or by posting a problem on our Tech Help Google Classroom page.
Theatresports is a form of improvisational theatre where performers play a range of scenes based largely on suggestions from the audience. The emphasis is on fun and enjoyment and almost anything goes, with groups working across the year levels. Through theatresports students can express themselves without fear of embarrassment in a welcoming, inclusive environment. Our theatresports teams have flourished over recent years, being awarded ‘Best New School 2017’ in the Auckland region Theatresports Youth Programme competition.
Westlake Schools Production
Every year Westlake Boys and Girls Schools combine in a joint school production, bringing students together across the year levels as they spend many hours rehearsing to perfect what is always a riveting performance. In 2016 Westlake schools celebrated the 400th year of Shakespeare’s passing with a unique and compelling production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream which incorporated elements of Te Reo Māori, Kapa Haka, Karanga and Waiata. In 2017 the dark world of 18th Century London was the backdrop for the musical of Sweeney Todd: Demon Barber of Fleet Street. This stunning production earned four major awards at the iTicket Showdown awards: Best Chorus, Best Musical, People's Choice and Best Male Lead in a Musical.
Westlake Writers’ Club
The Westlake Writers’ Club brings together creative minds who have a passion for writing, allowing them to share and exchange ideas as they develop their own individual style. From succinct haiku to moody prose, our writers produce some exquisite and sensitive work. We meet every Monday lunchtime in H3, alternating the weeks with juniors and seniors.
World Vision 40 Hour Famine
Westlake is regularly one of the top fundraisers in New Zealand for World Vision’s 40 Hour Famine as students devise creative ways to deprive themselves and raise money in support of World Vision’s annual focus. The focus for the 40 Hour Famine in 2017 was on the children affected by the Syrian refugee crisis.