Ripo ana te wai o Te Whakatipu e
Ruataniwha e tū mai rā
Aoraki Matatū ki te raki
Nei rā te mihi
nei rā te maioha
O te kura ā-rohe o Te Manahuna

Ka huri te titiro ki ngā Puna Hauaitu
Takapō Ohau Pūkaki
Me te whatumanawa o te tangata
He wā tōna ka marino
He wā tōna ka marangai
Ki te kōhanga o te kakī
Tū tonu rā ko Te Manahuna

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Twizel Area School is surrounded by three lakes. Pūkaki, Takapō and Ōhau all of these lakes were carved out of papatūānuku by Rakaihautu, the rangatira who captained the waka Uruao to Aotearoa.

Twizel Area School sits beneath Aoraki nui and represents our connection to mana whenua, Te Rapuwai and Kai Tahu. Te Rapuwai who were the earliest inhabitants of Te Manahuna are said to have fired the first forests of Canterbury, and to have hunted the moa and left behind the many shell heaps scattered over the landscape.

Te Manahuna (the Mackenzie Country) was a “mahika kai” area for Māori who used the Waitaki river trail to Access the hinterland. 

Twizel Area School is a state co-educational area school for ākonga from Years 1 - 13. Formed in 1986, the Area School combined the then high school and primary school on the high school site.   

The school lies in the heart of Te Manahuna, the Mackenzie Basin surrounded by Te Tiritiri-o-te-Moana, the Southern Alps and Lakes Pukaki, Ōhau and Ruataniwha. Our facilities sit at the centre of the expanding Twizel township; it acts as a hub for parents and the community. Although the school serves a large geographical area, extending to Ōmarama, Irishman Creek, and Aoraki Mount Cook Village, 80% of our ākonga live within the Twizel township. Of those living outside Twizel, 15% live in other 'urban' areas (such as subdivisions, lifestyle blocks or other townships), and only 4% live rurally on farms or similar. Due to the growing numbers of ākonga outside Twizel, we currently provide two bus services to transport them.

In many respects, we are an urban school located in an isolated rural area. The school is 30 kilometres from the next primary school in Ōmarama and 100 kilometres from the nearest high school in Fairlie. We benefit from extensive grounds, as well as Te Manahuna, the Mackenzie Basin around us. 

Located in the Canterbury High Country, with Te Tiritiri-o-te-Moana, the Southern Alps at our door, our outdoor environment's beauty and closeness greatly influence our ākonga. We have a comprehensive outdoor education programme that includes all Y1 - 13 ākonga in a carefully graduated programme. We also have a lodge at Huxley (at the head of Lake Ōhau) for extending our Education Outside of the Classroom (EOTC) programmes.

Kaiako provide a rich curriculum that includes all aspects of the New Zealand Curriculum and incorporates our local curriculum. This curriculum makes excellent use of our beautiful and unique environment for EOTC, science focus on environmental studies, geomorphology/land-forms, astronomy, and local flora and fauna, tourism, farming and industries, exploring the local history as well as Māori mythology, and physical education opportunities through skiing, rock climbing, tramping, kayaking, cycling, rowing and orienteering.

There is a 'whānau feel' at the school. Many of the ākonga have siblings at the school or relations who have attended TAS in the past. People in the community know our ākonga as individuals, and the community is very much involved in the school. Located within the school, the community library is convenient for the community who also use other school facilities such as the sports fields. The school makes use of the council-owned Community Events Centre and Pool. 

Parents are welcome to visit throughout the school during the day and are encouraged to be involved as helpers, spectators, and supporters. There is a weekly school newsletter, TAN, circulated digitally.

Approximately 20% of our ākonga are Māori, spread relatively evenly over eight iwi, 9% Asian and 2% Pasifika. Nominally we are a decile eight school but within that span are an unusually diverse range of student abilities, parental backgrounds and expectations. There is minimal unemployment (1.9%) of the Twizel population. Many of our ākonga have whānau involved with the Department of Conservation in Twizel, responsible for this region's National Parks. There is a strong ecological awareness amongst our ākonga, who are encouraged to be conservationists.

In our recent ERO review (2023), the following strengths were noted: 

  • Our WAKA values, recently developed in consultation with the community, inform meaningful curriculum development.
  • Our support and teaching staff engage collaboratively in professional learning that enhances teaching practices and curriculum design.
  • There is systematic collection, analysis, and review of data informs programmes for learning.
  • Students, staff and whānau have upskilled in digital fluencies and have extended partnerships for learning.
  • The new leadership team works collaboratively to deliver the school’s strategic direction.

Our most recent achievement statistics are strong. Year 11 to 13 ākonga each have a teacher mentor who arranges frequent meetings with them, then twice a year with their parents. Our mentoring programme is contributing to high achievement in the senior area. For example, our 2022 NCEA results:

  • Level 1 - 85% Achieved at TAS - nationally 64%.
  • Level 2 - 80% Achieved at TAS - nationally 74%.
  • Level 3 - 100% Achieved at TAS - nationally 68%
  • 75% of our leavers gained University Entrance - nationally 49%.

Over the last three or more years, over 80% of all our ākonga in Years 1-10 have consistently met or exceeded the appropriate reading levels, around 80% in writing and just under that in Mathematics. The school habitually identifies groups of ākonga requiring additional acceleration and supports them through specific programmes or with in-class support to get them to these levels.