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Senior Ball (2013)

posted 30 Jul 2014, 21:39 by OC Web   [ updated 30 Jul 2014, 21:47 ]

Year 12 and 13 students, together with their guests, thoroughly enjoyed Friday’s Masquerade Ball at Ōtaki College. Arrival vehicles were many and varied, including a much admired Mustang, many hot rods, and a fire engine. Light rain did nothing to dampen spirits as students were led onto the red carpet. 

Draped silk with sophisticated black and white decorations provided an elegant background for an array of stunning gowns and equally stylish suits. DJ, Sam Matla, provided the music, Dave Berry took photographs all evening and a fabulous supper was provided by the College’s Hospitality students. 

The Ball Committee included, which included Alex, Monique, Sapphire, Jordan, Kayla-Marie, Shayn and Amokura, would like to thank everyone involved, particularly Ms Hagan for her unstinting advice, enthusiasm and support which helped to create such a successful event.


NCEA Assembly (2013)

posted 30 Jul 2014, 21:37 by OC Web   [ updated 30 Jul 2014, 21:37 ]

At the celebration Assembly for students achieving Merit and Excellence to a high level in their NCEA result 2012 Tihema Baker, gave a wonderful speech, it contained a valuable message to our students around setting goals and doing your best. Tihema has kindly allowed us to publish the text of his speech on our website.

Mr Wood introduced Tihema at the assembly: "Our Guest Speaker: Tihema Baker. Tihema, 2009 Head Boy for Otaki College, is an up and coming New Zealand writer. In 2009 he was a finalist, and gained runner up for the secondary school category of the Pikihuia Maori Writers Awards. Presently, besides completing his Bachelor of Arts in English Lit and Maori Studies, Tihema has been accepted into the Te Papa Tupu Maori Writers Incubator Programme - a 6 month programme where 6 writers are chosen by Huia Publishers to work on a manuscript for either a novel or short story collection. A great privilege to have Tihema speak on this day."

When Rory finally awoke he was again surrounded by white. Dazed, he looked down at himself. He was back in the Stabilisation Capsule, his wrists and ankles still tightly cuffed. 
‘What… what is this place?’ he asked himself, rattling the cuffs that restrained him. ‘Jason? JASON!’ 
‘Rory, do not be afraid.’ 
Rory looked up as he heard the voice. It wasn’t Jason’s, but neither was it the robotic woman’s. It was a man’s, rich and clear. And somehow he knew that it had spoken to him before. 
‘Where is Jason?’ he asked again. 
‘Jason is fine,’ said the voice. ‘Like you, he succeeded in completing the module. You will be reunited with him soon. But first allow me to introduce myself. 
‘My name is Chaos. I am the Watcher Dominor, leader of the Watchers. Yes, I have spoken to you on a number of occasions, although you will not remember them exactly. But I am speaking to you now to inform you that you have passed the test; you have proven your capability with the power that you wield. When you next awake you will find yourself in unlimited possession of those very same abilities. You have one week beginning from then to use them as you wish before our next encounter. Feel free to experiment until then, but be warned that reckless abuse of your powers will not be tolerated. Remember always: ‘You are being Watched.’ 

Students of Otaki College, teachers, parents, friends and whanau, tena koutou katoa. My name is Tihema Baker, and what you just heard was an extract from the novel I have been writing in the Te Papa Tupu Maori Writers’ Programme. I chose this extract to open my address because I felt that it mirrored today’s ceremony; a celebration of the achievements of you, our students. And I feel very honoured, and very privileged, as an old boy of this College, to be standing on this stage again offering what little wisdom I can. 

Now, I could come back and talk to you all about my experiences of what came after Otaki College, of my study at Victoria University of Wellington, the friends I’ve made and the things I have achieved. But so could 20,000 other people. What I want to talk to you about today is something that only 6 people in New Zealand could talk about, and even then, the story would be different between each of us. I want to talk about a dream, a goal that I set for myself, something very close to my heart, that I have put a tremendous amount of effort into. That dream is the novel I read from just a moment ago, which Huia publishers have told me they would like to publish. 

Early last year, Huia publishers, leaders in promoting Maori Literature, opened applications for the Te Papa Tupu Maori Writers Programme. The idea was to select six Maori writers to take part in an incubator programme, where, for 6 months, the successful applicants would work hard with the help of a mentor to produce a text ready for publication – all the while receiving a decent allowance to live off. As an aspiring writer, I had short stories and other concepts saved all over my laptop, scribbled in books and notepads – sometimes the laptop or book wasn’t even mine! But my pride and joy was my novel: it was called Watched, and told the story of Jason and his best friend Rory, who found themselves among a secret group of people who possess superpowers. Now my dream was for this book to be published, but because of uni and work commitments, I could never find the time to spruce it up enough to submit to a publisher. Then Te Papa Tupu 2012 came along, and I was encouraged, despite my reluctance, to submit my novel. I had no expectation whatsoever of it being selected; in fact, I had submitted my novel to the same Programme in its first year in 2010, and been rejected. Nevertheless, I had continued to work on the novel over time and thought, what the heck, I’ll give it a go. I had nothing more to lose, and although I imagined being selected, I was constantly preparing myself for failure again. When the date came for the announcement of the winners, I checked my emails and phone constantly, but there was no email, no phone call, no letter, or update on their website. I just assumed that I had been unsuccessful, took it on the chin and thought oh well, maybe in 2014. A few days later, however, to my utter surprise, I received a phone call from Huia saying that I had been selected: the judges had had trouble choosing the final six, but mine had made the cut. 

The next 6 months of my life were consumed by my novel. I became a professional writer; with the aid of my mentor, I dived headfirst back into this book that I had barely touched for almost a year, correcting the language, changing the story, fixing up loopholes, characterising, cutting and rewriting entire chapters, leaping out of bed at midnight to completely change the ending – the whole time focussed on that dream of having it published. And finally, in January, I completed it. It was worlds apart from the manuscript I had started with, far beyond anything I had ever expected it to become, but I was absolutely stoked with it, and so I submitted it to Huia Publishers for assessment. Not long after they emailed me to say that they wanted to publish it. I was over the moon; I had finally reached that point I had been working towards for so long. But there was a catch; before they could publish it, it needed even more work. Certain sections that they felt could be improved needed to be, and they wanted the word count cut from 120,000 words to 90,000 – that’s a quarter of the book that they wanted gone. As disheartening as that was, I thought I didn’t come this far to give up now. And so currently, I’m hard at work still, whittling away at that word count until I reach my goal, because Huia Publishers have already secured the funding to publish it, and have told me they want it published by Christmas. So really, that dream of mine depends on one thing, and one thing only: me. And in my mind, there’s no question that I’m going to get there. 

So after that life story, you’re probably thinking; what does this have to do with me and NCEA? Here’s the thing: that journey of my novel – the thing that is most precious to me – all of the work, time, and effort that has gone into it, started here, at Otaki College. In fact, I remember the very moment that this story began to form in my head. I was fifteen years old, sitting in Year 11 Graphics. I did enjoy Graphics, but I really liked the opportunity to draw pictures in class. One day, rather than drawing the bach that we were supposed to be designing, I drew an Avengers-style lineup of teenagers with superpowers. The one standing in the front was my favourite – I named him Jason, and I granted him the power to control gravity. That was the moment Watched came into existence, but at the time, there was something far more important to me; my life-defining goal was to excel in my studies. Getting that essay or test back with the big red “E for Excellence” was the biggest thrill of college for me, while the big red “M for Merit” just wasn’t good enough. As I moved on, and academic excellence became the greatest thing I could strive for, Jason and his friends took a back seat, biding their time until they would become the next thing I could set my sights on. Because for me, as a student here at Otaki College, doing well at NCEA was my goal. That was the thing I strived for, put all my effort into, because it was important to me. And in the end, I achieved it. I passed my Levels 1, 2 and 3 with Merit – not with the big “E for Excellence”, but with a mark I had tried my absolute best for, and was ultimately awarded with DUX in my final year. And the funny thing is, doing well at NCEA impacted other important areas of my life, particularly my book; English became the vehicle that allowed my novel to come to life; History gave me a backdrop to set my stories against; Geography gave me knowledge of other places and cultures; the list goes on. Good marks in NCEA granted me a place in the Weir House Hall of Residence, which opened me up to a multitude of different people, different ideas, different experiences. And, of course, with those grades came scholarships to fund it all. By simply working hard at something and achieving my goals, benefits came in all sorts of different and unexpected ways, and it was that experience of having a goal and working towards it with NCEA, that would prepare me and give me the knowledge I would need to tackle this next goal of mine – my novel. 

The same will be true for all of you. Obviously, doing well at NCEA is the reason you’re all here. Like me, for whatever reason, you have all set goals for yourselves and worked hard to achieve them, and now, we’re all here to celebrate your success. And it won’t end here, I guarantee it. In hearing my own little story, and in seeing what you yourselves are capable of, I hope that you realise that you are capable of achieving anything you set your minds to. Through NCEA, you’ve been offered a chance to work for a goal, to aim at achieving something, and proven that you can do it. So what next? Well, who knows? What you choose to set your sights on next is entirely up to you. You might be the next All Black, the next great Kiwi musician, or the next great graphic designer – trust me you’ve got a better chance of that than I do. But whatever it is, make sure that you enjoy it. I think that’s the key to success: not only enjoying the rewards, but enjoying the journey, enjoying the person that the journey has made you. Sometimes it’s the intangible things, not the material ones, that matter the most. 

I want to leave you all with a whakataukī, a proverb that I particularly like, and I think sums up my opinion of today quite well. You see, I love being a small town boy at heart, having gone to this little but great school of only 550 students, but showing the rest of the world that I can keep up with it. I love being the underdog, and I love the fact that greater men and women than me have started right here where you’re sitting. And so, anei te whakataukī: Iti rearea teitei kahikatea, ka taea, and it means that even the little bellbird can reach the top of the kahikatea tree. No matter how small we are, or how insignificant we think we may be, we can do amazing things. Greatness from humble beginnings. Nō reira, ko tēnei taku mihi whakamutunga ki a koutou, ngā tauira o te rangi nei, ngā rangatira o āpōpō, rere, rere, rere atu rā ki tō teitei kahikatea – fly, fly, soar on to the summit of your dreams. Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, kia kaha koutou katoa.

Touch Nationals (2013)

posted 30 Jul 2014, 21:36 by OC Web   [ updated 30 Jul 2014, 21:36 ]

Touch Kapiti Horowhenua in National Open Mixed final

Day 3 Nationals - Open Mixed Match Report: Kapiti Horowhenua vs Wellington

Kapiti Horowhenua started the match all guns blazing with some relentless driving that soon paid dividends; Touch Black Hamish Buick spinning the ball out wide and finding Alana Fraser free on the wing. The speed a trajectory of the ball wasn't easy to pick up and it was a fine take by Fraser who simultaneously touched down. 

Fraser was in again after 10 minutes with a similar play, this time it was Mike Tambour with the pass.

 George Albert-Jahnke got Wellington back into the match, setting up Courtney Chapman on her wing to make it 2-1. Taikina Manga crossed not long after for Kapiti though and their buffer was restored and then extended when he crossed for his second to make it 4-1.

 Kapiti's driving was effortless with their big middles eating up the metres and giving them all the running as the first half ended.

 Buick started the second half by putting the Championship further out of Wellington's reach after some quick passing unlocked some space with Buick taking the final pass in a wraparound.

The score continued to blow out with Erena Cooper scooping through the in goal and offloading to Huia Cook in the corner to make it 6-1.

 Tyson Johnson combined with Tiwi Davies to give the score a bit more respectability and produced a fine one-two combo for the second Wellington touchdown. Their third came not long after and their fourth by Connah Pamatatau but the deficit was too much. The icing on the cake was the final play off the match, featuring Buick offloading to Heneti Davis to secure Kapiti's second Mixed Championships in two years with the 8-4 win.

Warriors Visit (2013)

posted 30 Jul 2014, 21:32 by OC Web   [ updated 30 Jul 2014, 21:34 ]

On Monday, May 5th representatives from the New Zealand Warriors, New Zealand Rugby League and Wellington Rugby League visited Ōtaki College to kick-off the Leadership through League programme being participated in by the Year 12 Physical Education students. 
During the five week programme the students will travel to Ōtaki Primary, Waitohu Primary and Te Kura o Te Wakatupuranga Rua Mano, coaching the primary aged students mini-module rugby league. The programme culminates with a festival tournament organised by the Year 12 Physical Education students. Friends and whanau of Ōtaki College and the participating schools are invited to the festival tournament day on Thursday, June 6th. "Working with Daniel Riggs and his Year 12 Physical Education class this year was a fantastic experience. The students showed maturity beyond their years through their commitment to the programme; organisation of the festival and flexibility when coaching the younger children. I believe that Daniel and his students represented Otaki College in such a way that the school should be very proud of their achievements and their extraordinary demonstration of pride and responsibility.” 

Phil Roache
KiwiSport Development Officer
Wellington Rugby League

Phil Roache, Dean Bell, Stacey Jones, Daniel Riggs (PE Teacher)

Billy Graham Visit (2013)

posted 30 Jul 2014, 21:29 by OC Web   [ updated 30 Jul 2014, 21:29 ]

Billy Graham came to our college to speak to students and parents with the key message of being the best you can be. In both the afternoon and evening presentations Billy talked about his lifetime involvement in sport and how he took opportunities in both hands when he was given them. His story is one of a child who had a tough upbringing and how the people he met, his dedication to the sport of boxing and now his support of young people in his boxing gym have made him the person we see today. 

His message to parents and students was given with high energy, comparison of how arm reach distances with a student and parent, outbursts of song and poetry and always with a smile. He gave two students, Crystal Wilton and Elena Warwick, the chance to sing a song, there and then, knowing they were unprepared, knowing it was in front of an audience and with no musical accompaniment to support them. They sang beautifully. The underlying message was again do not be afraid to take the opportunity given to you to show what you can do. 

For a fighting man Billy is a very caring and gentle man, he wants people to care about themselves and each other. For young children to have people in their lives, people who are there to support and encourage them. For children to feel loved and to belong was a clear message to the parents in the evening, to enjoy good, old-fashioned fun together. 

After talking with the parent and family group he was off to talk at the Sport Wellington dinner and so gave the presentation to the parents resplendent in his bright red dinner jacket and bow tie!

Geography Trip (2013)

posted 30 Jul 2014, 21:25 by OC Web   [ updated 30 Jul 2014, 21:26 ]

Geography field trips don’t come better than this! A trip to Aoraki-Mount Cook and Queenstown to look at the features of glaciation and the South Island High Country, the impact made by various human settlers over time and the use of the area today.

The helicopter trip was just amazing landing on the soft powdery snow of the Zodiac Glacier neve, surrounded by cirques, arêtes, horns and u-shaped valleys. The learning of the classroom took on new meaning. The walk to the Hooker Glacier terminal lake reinforced the concept of taonga and the need for kaitiakitanga – this is the next generation’s heritage!

In Queenstown we studied the development of tourism and the impacts of that on the town. Obviously to understand tourism, you have to engage in the activity and great fun was had on the luge and for five brave students the ultimate – the Kawarau Bridge Bungee.

A great bunch of kids and excellent adult helpers made this a very memorable experience.


Leadership through League (2013)

posted 30 Jul 2014, 21:17 by OC Web   [ updated 30 Jul 2014, 21:18 ]

For the first five weeks of Term Two the Ōtaki College Level 2 Physical Education students participated in the Leadership through League programme
This programme, run in in association with Wellington Rugby League, required students to visit three local primary schools; Ōtaki Primary, Waitohu School and Te Kura-a-iwi o Whakatupuranga Rua Mano. The Level 2 students coached the primary school pupils the basic skills of Rugby League in preparation for the Rippa-League Tournament on June 6th. The Level 2 students were also completing Achievement Standard 2.9 and were required to organise the tournament, spending their class lessons arranging promotion and responsibilities for the day. The Rippa-League tournament was blessed with a stunning day and the Ōtaki College students ran a successful tournament with Te Kura-a-iwi o Whakatupuranga Rua Mano winning the tournament. The College would like to congratulate the Level 2 Physical Education students for displaying respect and responsibility. Ōtaki College would also like to thank Phil Roache from Wellington Rugby League and Ōtaki Meats and Mad Butcher for supply the sausages for the BBQ.

Hugh Brown Library Visit (2013)

posted 30 Jul 2014, 21:08 by OC Web   [ updated 30 Jul 2014, 21:18 ]

Hugh Brown, visiting author
On 19th June our students had the opportunity to meet Hugh Brown, one of the NZ Post Book Award authors. He read from his book, Reach, and shared with us his writing habits and inspirations. This was also a great chance for our students to ask questions. Many were interested in how long it took to write a book – Hugh took only a few months to write the first draft of Reach but it then took 4 years of re-writing and editing before it appeared in print! A big thank you to Hugh Brown for sharing with our students and to Tracey-Lea and Pam from Kapiti Coast District Libraries for organising the visit. 

Book Spine Poetry - Some of our students have been ‘creating poetry’ in the library using book titles.


Local Primary Schools Visit College (2013)

posted 30 Jul 2014, 20:56 by OC Web   [ updated 30 Jul 2014, 21:05 ]

On the 5th of July the College welcomed the local Year 6 and Year 8 students from Ōtaki and Waitohu Primary schools on a visit to explore and experience college life. They took part in a range of classroom activities including:

The climbing wall, this was a fun challenge that showed the gymnasium facility and had the students talking about it as they compared notes with other groups to see how high they had all got on the wall. 

The science room was an exploration on what you can see with the power of a microscope and with some groups even getting to see the biology students working with rats as they passed by a room.

A selection of dance and drama was presented by the students from year 9 to Year 13 with the visitors taking part in a drama activity.

The cooking room looked like a Masterchef preliminary heat. The students organised and cooking with aprons on and tummies filled. 

An introduction to Japanese with the teacher exclaiming "look you are already speaking Japanese" after just a few key sounds, the paper folding was a challenge but they loved it and were still folding coloured paper as they left.

Students had a look at how a school day operate with a timetable in one activity, and The Year 10 media course students lead the groups along the great wall with dinosaurs in pursuit with the aid of a green screen.

The visiting students were each given an enrolment pack to take home and for students intending to come to the College in 2014 these need to be returned by Week 4 Term Three to assist in planning.


Alternative Fuel Project (2013)

posted 30 Jul 2014, 20:51 by OC Web   [ updated 30 Jul 2014, 20:54 ]

Innovative project links new technology, a bus company and a college. 
A highly innovative project is underway that involves a local bus company, the developers of new fuel technology, and senior students from Ōtaki College. Blended Fuel Solutions (BFS) is based at the Clean Technology Centre, Ōtaki. It is developing new technology that improves engine efficiency, reduces noxious diesel emissions and extends the life of old engines. 

BFS is entering into an agreement with the UZA Bus company owner Madge Coachlines to supply blended fuel for a six month trial starting early August. UZA Bus operates on the Ōtaki-Waikanae 290 route. It also provides a school bus service in the area. Agreement has also been reached with Ōtaki College for Year 12 chemistry students to study blended fuels as part of their curriculum. The course will be worth three credits. 

The team that will oversee the project involves Justin Allan (UZA Bus Company), Leigh Ramsey (BFS), and representatives from the Ōtaki College and the Kāpiti Coast District Council. BFS has already successfully trialed its product in large motor mowers run by Council. This will be its first trial on a wider scale involving public transport. “We are very excited by this development,” said BFS representative Leigh Ramsey. “The college is also talking about using our new technology in their van and tractor.”
Ōtaki College Principal Andy Fraser hailed the project, saying it would enable students to work with the Clean Technology Centre (CTC) at the “cutting edge” of new green environmentally friendly technology. “We’re focusing on aligning what we are doing here at the college with the CTC and also tertiary providers so that we can create vocational pathways for our students – to give them marketable skills in clean and environmentally friendly technologies whether they go on to become architects or engineers or trades people.” 

Ōtaki College Head of Science Bruce Anderson said students would look at the theory behind emulsified fuel, its practical application, and benefits. “We are the only school in New Zealand doing this,” he said. “It brings the science alive.”

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