Leading the Way

At Wairakei Primary School, student leadership is fostered and developed across a variety of different contexts.

Our students are always eager to be a part of these leadership opportunities, and selecting students is often a very difficult task. 

Since 2020 Year 6 Manukura have lead our Whare nui Nga Tae. 

Initially we chose two Manukura per house, of which we have four distinct groups based on a colour: white, black, green and yellow. These house groups are called Whare nui Nga Tae.  The Whare nui Nga Tae came together to play tabloids and to have a shared eating time.

In 2021 the school moved to have two leaders and two deputies for each house. The four Manukura were selected to work together, leading each Whare nui Nga Tae. 

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Leading the way - Our 2022 Manukura

When applying to be a Manukura, students are provided with a job description and fill out an application. They are asked why they wish to be a Manukura and what would make them a great leader for our school. Personal strengths and weaknesses were identified in the application form. Feedback from teachers is gained, as well as what the senior leadership know about each candidate.

Responses are often centred around our school POWER values, with students identifying their ability to:

  • Help others, 

  • Work well with people and make great ideas work,

  • Problem solve,

  • Show respect towards others, 

  • Provide encouragement,

  • Be a positive role model.

Manukura work with staff to develop their leadership skills when working with a variety of different people. This is an important life-long lesson and one that they carry through to later education. As a school we can see in this as our part students have been selected for head or deputy positions at the local college.

There are other important roles that our students lead within our school.

On the first day of each term at around 9.15 a.m. you will be able to hear the call of the karanga as our new whanau are led on to our school grounds and welcomed into the Wairakei whanau. These powhiri are led by our Year 6 kapa haka leaders with great mana and respect. They take on the great responsibility of learning the karanga, their pepeha and the powhiri script with enthusiasm. Their role is one admired by younger students, and we often hear the aspirations of our Year 0-4’s to one day be in the front row of kapa haka or to lead the karanga at powhiri.

Every afternoon, around the 3p.m. bell, you will hear the cries of a group of students manning our kea crossing in front of the school gate. 

“Signs out… Please.  Check… Clear…and Cross now” are used to keep our school community safe during this busy traffic time. 

Supported by Constable Marinkovich, our road patrol candidates go through a stringent training schedule. This is an important leadership role within our school and is not taken lightly by the successful applicants. 

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Leading the way - Our 2022 Road Patrollers

Numerous  students travel to and from school on the bus. In order to help these students stay safe, a number of students are selected and trained as bus monitors. 

Being a bus monitor is a big responsibility and I like helping kids learn what is right and wrong on the bus and helping the driver with what is happening Taylor C

Penny Fischbach in the library also provides our students with another leadership opportunity -- being a school librarian. She leads the successful students through a librarian training programme, equipping them with the skills to keep the library system running efficiently and supporting classroom teachers when they bring their classes to the library.  

My sister was a librarian, and she enjoyed it - I thought I would be able to learn a lot about responsibility being a librarian Pippa

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Leading the way  - Our 2022 Librarians

Wairakei Primary School is located in a unique natural environment and in order to make the most of this setting we are involved with two organisations - Enviroschools and Kids Greening Taupo. Involvement in these two organisations provides another avenue of leadership for our students. 

Three of the five Enviro Guiding Principles ask students to play an active role in the decision-making process at school:

  • Empowered Students are enabled to participate in meaningful ways in the life of their early childhood centre or school. Their unique perspectives are valued for the knowledge and insight that they bring, and they are supported to take action for real change.

  • Learning for Sustainability recognises the types of teaching and learning that use connecting experiences to develop holistic and ecological perspectives, foster student enquiry, decision-making, action, and reflection, and create sustainable outcomes.

  • Respect for the Diversity of People and Cultures acknowledges the unique gifts, contributions and perspectives of individuals and groups, reinforcing the value of participatory decision-making and collaborative action. https://enviroschools.org.nz/about-us/   

In late 2020, our school was once again designated as a Green Gold Enviroschool and our student leaders played an important role in that achievement. You can read about that process here.

Many of those students have moved on to higher levels of education and have continued their work in this area, and importantly for Wairakei Primary School, many of the younger students involved in that process are now our senior students and are helping to action many of the decisions that were made as part of that process.  

Our in-school rangers and community leaders have played significant roles in environmental initiatives both in our school and in the wider community. In 2021, a rejuvenation of the gully was started. You are about to read about the work of both the in-school rangers and the community leaders here.

In 2022, we have extended our in-school ranger group to Year 3-4 and will continue to develop and promote environmentally focussed student leadership.

I am looking forward to learning in the outdoors and about how nature works and sharing this with other Taylor

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Leading the way - Our Year 5/6 Rangers

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Leading the way - Our Year 3/4 Rangers

Our students leave Wairakei Primary School having had the opportunity to put their hand up for many leadership roles. 

Students who are connected to school have improved longer-term health and wellbeing and education outcomes. Providing students with opportunities to have meaningful input into school decisions, and show leadership at school are ways of enhancing students’ sense of belonging and connectedness. These opportunities are also one way of enabling students to develop social competencies. 

https://wellbeingatschool.org.nz/student-leadership-valued 

Keywords:  Student leadership

Attributed to: https://enviroschools.org.nz/about-us/ , https://wellbeingatschool.org.nz/student-leadership-valued , https://www.kidsgreeningtaupo.org.nz/greening-news/wairakei-gully/ , https://wairakeitaupo.school.nz/blog/enviroschools-green-gold-reflection-awarded/ 

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