All posts by Judy Maw

Weekly News Term 1|Week 1

Welcome to 2019

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

A Note from The Principal

It is the beginning of a new year. We love having everyone back, seeing the familiar faces, how much some have grown, and the new faces – thinking how cool it is that they have decided to be a St Hilda’s girl. Our school is full with noise and laughter and the occasional screams. It feels like a new beginning.

Everyone looks relaxed, sun kissed, ready for the challenges of 2019. Congratulations to the seniors for their great exam results. We are proud of all, regardless of individual results. They gave it their best, that is all we can, and do, ask of them. I hope the students are looking forward to challenging themselves further this year, looking to the horizons, smiling as they go.

Some of you are new families – and we welcome you into our community. It is great to have you with us. We hope you enjoy our school as much as we do. This is a safe and inclusive place, and we want your daughters to enjoy being themselves here. Try new things, but they don’t have to try everything. Take it easy – look and learn. Seek first to understand, pace themselves. They have years ahead to experience all that St Hilda’s has to offer.

This year we are pleased to welcome our new staff. Mr Sutherland is Head of Performing Arts, Mr Potter will be teaching Music and Social Studies, Mr Armstrong will be teaching Technology, Mr Elwood will be teaching Mathematics and Te Reo, Miss Geary will be teaching Dance and Drama and Ms Paterson is our Science Technician.

We are absolutely delighted to have such excellent practitioners and experts in their respective fields. We are very lucky to have them and I know you will make them feel welcome

My message this week to the girls was around the importance of having the strength, courage and self belief to stand up for themselves and what they believe in. As a society we cannot afford to have our young women not be themselves and follow their dreams. Give a girl an education and the income of the village improves. Educate women and the economy of a society improves. Put women on the board of big companies and their profit and performance improves. The world improves.

So we need all of you – we need you to be you, to be individual, to think and act and be different to others, so we can all learn from each other. NO point in all being the same. The school you go to, where you live, the uniform you wear does NOT define you – how you act, how you treat others, how kind you are to yourself – that is what makes you who you are.

And if we shrink it right down to a really personal level, we need everyone in this school community to be able to be themselves. That’s staff, students, board members, parents, everyone – so that as a school we can be even stronger.

Jackie Barron

Summer Quad  17 -19 February

After a very enjoyable Winter Quadrangular Tournament in August last year it is now our turn to host the annual Summer Quadrangular Tournament at the beginning of week 4 in term 1 2019. The Summer Quad Tournament is played between St Hilda’s, Rangi Ruru, St Margaret’s and Craighead Diocesan, and involves the sports of Touch, Debating, Volleyball, Tennis and Swimming.

The tournament is taking place from Sunday 17th February – Tuesday 19th February and will require billet families to host girls from St Margaret’s, Rangi Ruru and Craighead on the Sunday and Monday evening, along with providing dinner on the Sunday evening, and lunch and dinner on Monday.

We need billet families for around 120 students and will require the support of the families of girls who are not directly involved in the quadrangular tournament themselves to host this number of girls. We would greatly appreciate it if you were able to accommodate these girls into your homes as they do for us. This tournament is unable to go ahead without the generous support of our St Hilda’s community hosting students from these traveling schools. Girls being hosted do not need their own room, unlike some other exchanges we have, so room sharing is more than acceptable in these circumstances.

Please indicate on via the link below if you are able to assist with billeting.

Key Dates coming up

Athletics Sports Tuesday 5th February – Caledonian Grounds. Students to arrive by 8:30am for roll call in Whanaungatanga Groups.

Meet the Deans evening Tuesday 5th February from 5:50pm – for Years &, 8, 9 and 11 parents.

Class and Group photos – Friday 8th February


Chapel Matters

Our first chapel of the year is Prefects’ Commissioning. The Prefect system at St Hilda’s started in 1906 and the girls still say many of the same words that were spoken back then. For example, when they affirm their promise to set a high standard of honour and uprightness in the school by their example, they respond:

I do, God being my helper.

In this day and age of high stress and anxiety, of pressure and uncertainty, it can be hard to manage these things if we feel it is all up to us to do it. Our strong Western sense of individuality can make us feel as if we have to work through these things alone. But of course, we have friends, family, and others to support us – and we need to remember to ask for help! But the Christian faith also says that God is with us at every moment of every day, and we can call on God for help too.

At the end of the year, at Leavers’ Service, one of the readings is from Psalm 121, and it begins like this:

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth …

It is good to know that something bigger than us, and outside of our own abilities and thoughts, is available to us at any moment of the day or night, to give us guidance, strength, peace, hope, and a sense of being valued. As the Prefects say at their Commissioning, may we all say: “I do, God being my helper.”

2019 Prefects

Tolcarne News

First week at the hostel has been amazing especially with the sunny weather. There has been lots of swimming, volleyball and laughter.  The year 9’s as a group have been supporting each other and as expected there have been a few experiencing the feeling of homesickness but it is lovely to see the older girls offering their support and advice.  Our year 13’s had a fantastic and inspirational leaders dinner with Justine Troy as our guest speaker.  Justine shared her pearls of wisdom with warmth and humour; her message was very clear. “If it hasn’t been done before it doesn’t mean it can’t be done and if it has been done before and done a certain way it doesn’t mean that you can’t do it a different way.
Year 13 with their buddies

Athletics results

We had 6 girls competing at the NZSS Athletics Championships here in Dunedin over the weekend which saw some impressive results with Sarah Langsbury gaining a gold in the Junior 80m Hurdles and Silver in the Junior 300m Hurdles, Georgie Jessop also placed 6th in the Senior Girls Javelin and the Senior Road race place a very commendable 5th. Sarah Langsbury’s results mean she presently is a world ranked athlete in U18 100m Hurdles which is a very impressive achievement.

Touch – The touch teams competed in the NZSS tournament over the summer break and are 9th in NZ.

Nicola Post, Anna Hutchens, Issie Robertson, Evie Rose Grace and Stephanie Post have been accepted into the prestigious New York Academy of Sciences’ Global STEM Alliance (GSA) STEM U mentoring program.

The New York Academy of Sciences is one of the country’s oldest and most widely respected scientific organisations. These girls will be working with a mentor assigned by the Academy on coursework emphasising, leadership, communication, and critical thinking. They will also network with a group of peers and STEM professionals on a virtual platform.

Holly Bissett was accepted into the National Computer Science School for January 2019.   She was invited based upon her perfect score in the NCSS challenge earlier this year.

Congratulations to Breane Byck who has been selected by NZIHF to Represent and play for NZ in the National U16 Ice Hockey Team. The team is heavily weighted with boys so to be named as goalie on the squad is a very impressive achievement.

New Zealand School Trustees Association

NZSTA is working very hard to encourage parent and whanau participation on school boards in order to help shape and support the education of their children. To that end, we will be rolling out the Korari Programme for anyone interested in finding out about standing for the school board elections and having a say in the education of their children.

Please find resources about this below:

Community member guide to the role of the board of trustees_180119

Korari programme form – Interactive_090119

Korari poster_v4

Weekly News – Term 2 / Week 10

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

A Note from The Principal

Term 2 has been a busy and productive term.

We finished with a wonderful Art Assembly and special Eucharist service, both very different events with unique vibes and focus yet common to both were the sense of community, connectedness and celebration. What a wonderful note to finish the Term on.

I hope you all have a fabulous holiday and special time together.

Jackie Barron


Next term will see some minor changes to staffing as we adjust our timetable around learning initiatives.

We are delighted to announce that Anna Garthwaite has been appointed to the role of Specialist Classroom Teacher. This role encompasses leading pedagogical practice and development in the school, and assisting teachers with curriculum and classroom interests.

This role has a time allocation with it, which means Dr Townsley will pick up two hours of Year 7  Maths and Mrs Barron will assist with Year 7 and 8 Reading.

Miss Dunn and Ms Bartley will be working together to develop a new Year 9 and 10 Science Programme in the first 5 weeks of the term. Science specialist, Mrs Astwood will teach Mrs Bartley’s Year 11 Science class and Ms Dunn’s Year 10 Science class for that time.

We are lucky to have a teacher of Mrs Astwood’s calibre to call on, while our staff commit to enhancing our current courses to further assist girls with their learning.


At the end of this term, we say goodbye to our Director of International Studies, Ange Spears.

Ange brought enthusiasm and a can do do attitude as well as exhibiting excellent care for our international students. She will be missed by both staff and students, we wish her the best in her future endeavours.

NCEA Review process

The Ministry of Education is presently looking at ways to strengthen NCEA and is exploring a variety of ways to gain feedback from different stakeholders. They want to hear from parents and students and ask you to join in the conversation to submit your ideas, experiences and suggestions for change:

We urge you to visit this site to see the ways in which you can give your views.

As a school we will be talking with students and plan to run a parent seminar on 12th September as part of the consultation process.

St Hilda’s Lilliput Libraries

We now have our Lilliput Libraries scattered around the school to support our Sustained Silent Reading initiative.

These are proving very popular!

A reminder to check the Sports Draws page of the website to keep up to date with match times. The netball draws are posted each week in readiness for the weekend’s matches.

From the Guidance Network

St Hilda’s Guidance Counsellor, Marcelle Nader-Turner, talks about why vulnerable teenagers need good examples and support. Click here to read her recent ODT article about how we can better support our teens.

Chapel Matters

This week we were privileged to have Rev Barbara Dineen take our Founders’ Day Eucharist service.

Earlier this term, on May 13th, Barbara was ordained at the Cathedral by Bishop Steven Benford. Our Sacristan Prefect, Milan Jeon along with Brianna Thomson, were involved in the service, as one way of indicating the strong connection Barbara has with St Hilda’s.

Barbara was both a student and also a staff member here, including being Head of Languages. She is only the second St Hilda’s old girl to have been ordained, so it was a wonderful honour to have her preside over our Eucharist, especially on Founders’ Day; a day when we remember those who have paved the way before us, and enabled  St Hilda’s to be the special place it has been for almost 25 years.

Careers News and Events

New information has been added to the careers page.  To view visit the Career Events calendar.

 Student Achievement

Well done to Tamara Mason who participated in the 2018 Entrepreneurs in Action challenge. Tamara’s team was one of ten competing in the event and  were very successful, managing to win both of the challenges.

Tamara Mason – Front Centre

The team’s reward is to go on a fully funded trip to Brazil, as well as each team member being offered a $7,000 scholarship for Massey University.

  • Congratulations to the following girls who have been selected into Otago Hockey representative teams. Fantastic to see such big number of St Hilda’s girls throughout the teams

Otago U15 Girls 
Anna Duncan, Emilee Hagan, Molly Loe, Riley Macdonald, Bridget Malcolm, Brooke McAlwee, Annabelle McKnight, Anna Mclntyre, Murphy Scott, Anika Smith,

Otago U15 Development Girls
Ella Booth, Bronte Crowe, Jordan Meltzer, Kristin Willis

Otago U13 Collier
Demi McAlweeChloe Deerness

Otago U13 Girls Development
Amelie Brown, Jess Wilden – GK, Nova Wright

Under 18  Women
Olivia Hall ,Taylor Duffy

Under 18 Development 

Lucy Girvan, Ana Rathbone


  • We would like to congratulate the following girls for making the Dunedin Netball Center Representative teams:


Gemma Rowcroft, Grace Southby, Kaylee Bond


Bronte Crowe, Jaymee Meffan, Libby Drummond, Pippa Clarke, Stella Rathbone

U15 Squad

Alice Howard, Alika Croot, Analee Toro, Brooke Callon, Brooke McAlwee, Chloe Light (subject to fitness), Danielle Willsman, Ella Perkins, Elora Peeters, Maia Hunter, Ria Dennison

Weekly News – Term 2 / Week 9

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

Congratulations to Sings Hilda on their selection to represent St Hilda’s at the Big Sing Finale in Wellington from 30 August – 2 September 2018.  The girls have worked very hard to get to this point, along with expert guidance from Mr Grant and Mr Madden. They will be working diligently over the next 10 weeks on their performance.

We wish to thank the PFA for their support of the Year 10 Study Skills Programme with Mr Stuart Wright.  Please read below quotes from some of the students who attended these sessions.

“This programme was really great and gave me a better understanding about studying and how my brain works.  I would definitely recommend it.”

I didn’t think that studying could be so much fun.”

 “Super-helpful.  I’ve already begun to map out my unit outlines that I have upcoming tests on.”


The PFA unfortunately had to postpone their AGM which was to be held on the Tuesday, 26 June.  We will advise you of the new date which will be early in Term 3.

Please note that student reports will be emailed home on the last day of Term 2 – Friday, 6 July.

Our Open Evening is being held on Thursday, 26 July.  This is an important occasion for us. All current St Hilda’s students are expected to be present at Open Evening as everyone is participating in a specific activity.

To ensure the girls do not get too tired and to enable staff to prepare for the Open Evening the school will have a half day on Thursday, 26 July with school finishing at 12:25 pm. If you wish your daughter to be supervised at school in the library for the afternoon, please contact  If for some reason your daughter needs to be excused from Open Evening, could you please email Mrs Barron at

In the evening students are required at school for the following times:

6:15 pm      Prefects

6:30 pm      Guides (Designated Year 12 and all Year 13)

7:00 pm      All students to class venues

9:00 pm      Year 7 – 13 students dismissed

9:10 pm      Buses leave for Tolcarne

Please note there is a delayed start to school on Friday morning with school beginning with Period 2 at 9:40 am. It is important that all students arrive at school ready for a prompt start.

Chapel Matters

Next week we celebrate Founders’ Day with our end-of-term Eucharist service. When Sisters Geraldine and Etheleen arrived in Dunedin on December 19th, 1895, to set up “an English school for daughters of gentlemen” they had a hard task in front of them. Not only did they face the challenge of setting up a school on a very limited budget, but they also had to deal with the attitudes of those who didn’t believe in education for girls, or who didn’t like the idea of an Anglican school being set up in a Presbyterian city. The Sisters were determined, however, and described their mission as “a Venture of Faith.” Not long after setting up St Hilda’s, they wrote back home to the others Sisters in London saying, “Despite the hardship, we are sustained by a vision of the Eternal and by faith in One who has called us to leave all and follow him.” It is good to remember the Sisters who founded our school, to let their venture of faith inspire us, and to have faith that God can sustain us no matter what we face, even 122 years later.

Tolcarne News

Last weekend at Tolcarne Teresa took a small group of Year 9, 10 and 11s to watch the Steel vs. Tactix netball game. It was a very close match, which made the netball great fun to watch, and it was a privilege to see Kate Heffernan (Year 13 2017) practicing and training with the Steel. The girls were thrilled that they could stay afterwards and get photographs and selfies with the Steel team.

Tolcarne is gearing up for the end of the Term, with last minute assignments being finished by our Senior students, and pack-up underway. We have our last weekend activity on Sunday – Inflatable World – where the students can jump and run to their hearts content.

Weekly News – Term 3 | Week 7

Tournament of the Minds team who competed in Christchurch last weekend.

We have had a number of teams competing in South Island Secondary Schools Tournaments and there have been some great results coming though. We will do a full report on these next week once all tournaments are complete.

A group of Year 7 and Year 8 students traveled to Christchurch last weekend to compete in the Tournament of the Minds competition. They performed very well and I am sure this will become a regular event.

Good luck to the girls who are performing at the Otago Secondary Schools’ Music Festival on Monday 11th September. This is always a great event. The evening performance starts at 6.30pm at the Dunedin Town Hall.

On Thursday 14th September our Kapa Haka group will be performing at Polyfest. St Hilda’s will be performing at 6.30pm.

Continue reading Weekly News – Term 3 | Week 7

Year 11 Dance

Kia ora Girls, Parents and Caregivers

The weather seems to have improved and we are delighted that we are able to go ahead with the Year 11 Dance tonight.

To enhance your safety, that of your partners, the supervising staff and the parents doing pick ups we are changing the start/finish times of the evening.

The new start time is 6.30pm with last entries by 7pm, except in exceptional circumstances.

The new finish time is 9.30pm. This will ensure everyone gets home at a much more resonable time considering the predicted night temperatures, the continuing poor weather and the difficulty of the driving conditions.

We want to acknowledge and thank all those parents who made generous offers to assist with transport if required. Your assistance as we worked to find a solution to the weather challenges was greatly appreciated.

We are looking forward to a very special evening


Jackie Barron