Our Learning Spaces

Waitaha Base School


Te Tupu Harakeke - Primary School satellite at Knights Stream School

Ta Pā Harakeke - Primary School satellite at West Rolleston School

Te Rito Harakeke - Secondary School satellite at Rolleston College

Base Learning Spaces

Miro - Heather Target

Our class is primarily for the Waitaha new entrants. Our students are learning to learn. This means teaching routines, expectations and classroom structure. We use the TEACCH system to help students understand what is happening in their day and comprehend what is being asked of them. Our day is full of exploration, play & engaging activities that cover all areas of the curriculum. We have a strong focus on literacy & numeracy which is adapted to meet the student’s individual learning needs. Finally, communication is at the heart of our classroom and is integrated throughout the whole school day. The first year of school is a big experience for our student’s and we love supporting them every step of the way.

Rātā - Mariska Hendrik & Suzie Kerr

In Rata we teach and support our Waitaha superheroes in Years 2-4. We have a small group of students whose programmes are planned and delivered by our teachers -Mariska and Suzie, supported by Kerry and Elika. The students in Rata are 'learning to learn' and making the next steps towards independence in all that they do. Our students are supported to follow a visual timetable which details their individual programme for the day to help give them an understanding of how their school day is structured.

Our focus is making learning fun whilst using clear expectations, lots of praise and ensuring the needs of each individual student are well met. We dance, sing, dress-up, and play. We work, learn, move, and laugh. We weave sensory materials into all curriculum areas to encourage whole body learning, aiming to awaken all the senses. We all love what we do and together bring a wealth of experience to our space.

Kōwhai - Wendy Blackmun & Kate Moran

Our class consists of students from year 5 to year 8. Every morning, our primary focus is on building Literacy and Numeracy skills, while in the afternoons we take part in integrated subjects such as Music, Art, Physical Education, Digital Technology, Food Exploration and Kapa Haka. Our timetable allows for flexibility according to the students' individual needs and interests, while promoting social engagement and having fun!

Our key focus is on building independence and self management. By being provided with a balance of routine and choice in learning each day, each student is becoming more independent and autonomous in their learning, while learning how to best manage themselves.

Tawa- Jennifer Low

Tawa believes that every student is a taonga so our programme is tailored specifically to each learner. As well as literacy and numeracy, our young people take part in art, cooking, science and technology and sports activities. 2020 has been a year, so in 2021, we have decided to bring the Growth Mindset and self affirmation into our class as the focus of our teaching practice. Mindfulness is also another new activity we have been doing weekly. We hope that all these would help our young people grow into individuals who are kind, happy and independent because they are able to self-regulate well.


Our young people also take part in Duke of Edinburgh awards, inter school sports and outings that would enable them to use the skills they have learnt in class. We value individuality and hence, student voice is the utmost priority to us.


Kahikatea - Lauren Kleiss, Brian Johnson & Jess Love

Kahikatea is a vibrant, busy, but structured learning space for senior students from ages 13 to 18. We focus on preparing students to transition into Waitech and the Community Hub classes with a focus on building essential life skills and engaging in activities in and around our community. We cover topics such as food preparation, interoception, communication, life as a young adult, and physical life skills. Kahikatea fosters it’s students to grow into the young man or woman they choose to be, by supporting them in their passions and interests, using critical thinking skills, making positive choices, and understanding what it means to be a good citizen. In fostering their passions and interests we then start to look how this can be adapted into real life work experiences for when they progress through to waitech and the community hub. We provide a range of extra curricular activities, such as swimming, Duke of Edinburgh, community outings and sports at the Selwyn Sports Centre. Kahikatea’s doors are always open for you to come and check us out.

Waitech - Lisa Crawford, Naomi Williamson, Stephanie Faulks, Arlene Buenavisa, Kim Strange, Joel McDonough

E Raka te maui, e raka te katau / A community can use all the skills of its people.

Waitech is our senior transition programme for young people who are in Year 13 and above or for those who have indicated that they are planning to leave school at 18 years old.

The purpose of Waitech is to provide students the opportunity to participate in internal and external work experience, community activities and develop life skills to enable them to have a purposeful and meaningful life.

Initially our young people are involved in internal work experience based on their interests. As they develop their skills they move into the Community Hub where they are involved in external work experience and community activities such as walking groups, gardening and going to the gym.

Our programmes are underpinned by the seven employability skills:


  • Positive Attitude

  • Willingness to Learn

  • Communication

  • Thinking skills

  • Teamwork

  • Resilience

  • Self-Management


We provide stimulating and engaging programmes such as New Zealand Certificate in Supported Living and Youth Enterprise Scheme to assist our young people to acquire the skills and confidence they need to undertake both internal and external work placements and develop a sense of belonging within the community.

Satellite Learning Spaces

Te Tupu Harakeke - Shelley James, Ella Pountney, Kirsty Burlinson, Karen Millar

Te Tupu Harakeke is Waitaha’s junior Satellite situated at Knights Stream School in Halswell. Te Tupu Harakeke has 7 full time staff, including 3 teachers, 4 Learning Assistants and 1 part time teacher. We have students ranging between year 1 to 8.


The aim of the satellite learning space within a mainstream school is inclusion into every opportunity at school and within the community. The satellite staff and students are viewed as a real part of Knights Stream School and as such are involved in all aspects of the school., including social, team building, PLD and well being activities. Our students wear the Knights Stream uniform and understand that this is their school that they attend every day. Te Tupu Harakeke is treated as another Knights Stream class which is automatically included in school events, such as the recent junior and senior cross country events, athletics, talent quest competition and many other activities including school camps and discos. Mike Molloy the Principal of Knights Stream and Shelley the Co-ordinator of the satellite meet regularly to discuss activities on the calendar and to share ideas around including Waitaha students in every possible mainstream activity.



Te Pā Harakeke - Kendra Horne, Bettina Yap-Chung, Madison Merry, Stephanie Paris

Te Pā Harakeke is an open learning space located at West Rolleston School. Waitaha school has worked in collaboration with West Rolleston since its opening in 2016 to create a learning space that nurtures and supports our young learners. This Satellite can hold up to 17 students from years 1-8 who work alongside a team of specialist teachers and full time learning assistants to support them to engage in our day-to-day learning programmes. Students are given a range of opportunities at West Rolleston School to promote inclusion within mainstream experiences. This includes extended curriculum learning and whole school events.

From Monday to Friday students participate in adaptive learning opportunities, developed specifically with each student’s needs in mind. This includes functional skills in both Literacy and Maths as well as opportunities to explore additional curriculum areas throughout the afternoon sessions.



Te Rito Harakeke - Reana Instone, Dani Henwood, Jodie Nakat

Te Rito Harakeke is an open learning space located centrally within Rolleston College. Te Rito Harakeke is a unique space in that it fosters a close relationship with its host school, Rolleston College. Students are given every possible opportunity that we can facilitate, to emerge in mainstream experiences. This includes extended curriculum learning and whole school events.

Our students are beginning to explore more life skills through community engagement, safety and hygiene in the kitchen and money skills. This prompts our seniors to consider life beyond school and the skills they will need to work towards the future they want. Technology underpins the majority of learning that takes place in our space. Students are encouraged to use devices to assist with communication (both verbal and written) which allows students to develop their learner agency. Throughout the day students participate in innovative learning opportunities, developed specifically with each student’s needs in mind. This includes functional skills in both Literacy and Maths as well as opportunities for creative outlets through the Arts.