We are a co-educational state secondary school of around 1450 students, 100 teaching staff and 45 support staff. The students are drawn largely from the area of Tawa which itself has a broad socio-economic mix. In that sense it is a microcosm of New Zealand society. Tawa College was officially opened in July 1961 and has always maintained a close involvement with the life of the local community, particularly through music and sport. With the support of our community we aim to provide a challenging, balanced education which strongly promotes achievement and preparation for life long learning through the development of students' intellectual abilities, personal maturity and social responsibility.
By the early 19th century, Ngāti Toa Rangatira had settled the lands of Porirua and the surrounding districts, including the area we call Tawa today. The valley was known as Te Kenepuru, taking its name from the stream that flows from springs in the hills to the South, and meanders northward to the Porirua harbour. Te Kenepuru was a flourishing food source, with whitebait and eel from the stream itself, and cultivations along its fertile banks, particularly its lower delta.
One of the main tracks from Porirua to Wellington followed the Te Kenepuru stream, before branching out of the valley at Takapū to climb the Paparārangi hills, then descend the other side through the Korokoro stream.
In October 1839, the New Zealand Company shiparrived at Kapiti Island, one of the homes of Ngāti Toa. Their intent was to acquire as much land as possible, to on sell to British landowners and settlers. Aware that the British Government intended to establish a treaty with Māori, and that this treaty would prevent the sale of land to anyone but the Crown, the New Zealand Company knew they needed to secure their purchases before that treaty was enacted.
The land on which Tawa College stands is part of Section 48 of the Porirua District, surveyed by the New Zealand Company in the early 1840s. Section 48 was the farm of William Best from 1856 till 1865, which he called Grasslees, after the Best family farm In Northumberland, England. His son, Elsdon Best, Tawa's most famous scholar, was born there in 1856. Eventually, in 1925, the Government purchased Section 48 as part of the land needed to allow for the Tawa Flat Railway Deviation to be built. It replaced the original steep and winding railway line which ran from Tawa Flat through Johnsonville to Wellington. Once the Deviation was completed in 1937, some of Section 48 was sold to a local farmer, while 26 acres were retained by the Government on which to eventually build a Post Primary School. The rest makes up today's Grasslees Reserve.
Kia ora koutou,
Tawa College is a school that prides itself on providing opportunities for students to grow and learn, personally and collectively, in all areas of school life. Our school is committed to values based education that celebrates holistic growth, success, achievement and serving others.
As Principal I am a firm supporter of restorative approaches that emphasise the value of the individual, and their place in the community. A school that cares about positive relationships also shares an approach to leadership that is distributive, participatory and collegial. An important element of this will be an ongoing commitment to growing our collective understanding of Te Ao Māori and recognising the important role of Te Tiriti o Waitangi in navigating our future together.
As a principal I value the importance of both continuity and change. Together we can preserve the best of where we have come from while embracing opportunities for meaningful change that will continue to benefit our students and serve our community.
Ngā mihi nui
Excellence and inclusive participation
High academic standards and good vocational skills
Music, other cultural and sporting experiences
Safety of students and staff
High standards of behaviour and appearance
Good care of the campus environment
Service to, care and support of others
Partnership with parents and community
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New Zealand Schools are undergoing a huge shift in how they deal with young people and help them to engage with adults and learning in a positive way. The restorative practices that we follow at Tawa College helps us to achieve those goals.