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Tira Puoro/Music Groups to Join

We have four music groups that run at lunchtimes that are open to anyone (no auditions). They all happen in Te Whare Puoro (Music department) in Puoro 3 (the big room). Anyone is welcome to join, and we are also happy for you to try out a group for a couple of weeks before committing.

Tuesday Lunch – Choir
Wednesday Lunch – Musical Theatre Ensemble
Thursday Whānau and Lunch – Chamber Group (orchestra)
Friday Lunch – Jazz Band

Mondays afterschool there is a new music opportunity! Andrew Isdale, one of our itinerants and a very talented musician, is supervising afterschool band/songwriter or practice sessions until 4:30pm. He can help with performance skills, songwriting, instrument skills, recording and more.


We’re Big Fans of Joel Little Here in Music

It’s not everyday a Grammy winning former student comes to visit Te Whare Puoro/Music Department so we counted ourselves incredibly lucky to host Joel Little at the start of March. We gathered with our Year 12 and 13 music students to hear Joel and his team from his not-for-profit recording studio and live music venue, Big Fan, which offers numerous opportunities to local musicians to help them into the industry. This visit was to launch their latest opportunity Fan Camp – a free songwriting camp for rangatahi aged 14-18.

Joel was reunited with and introduced to the crowd by his Springs music teacher, Margaret Robertson, who he has often mentioned in interviews because of her support during his time at school. He was also accompanied by the manager Big Fan, Savina Fountain, who interviewed him and managed the student questions, and Leauanae Laulu Mac, CEO of the Ministry for Culture & Heritage who are the main funding source for the camp.

Our students represented WSCW Puoro-Music incredibly well, providing a strong welcome with the school waiata and asking insightful questions about a range of topics including songwriting, career paths and, most importantly, working with Taylor Swift (yes, she is just as nice and fun as she seems). Joel was then treated to a thank you waiata from our own award winning musicians, the music students who are Ngā Puna o Waiōrea kapa haka champions. The whole visit was filmed by Newshub News at 6 and remains featured on their website if you want to watch the cameos of Margaret and our students. Come back any time Joel, Savina and the whole Big Fan crew! 

Te Whare Puoro is back in action!

Team Puoro/Music is back in action for 2024 and Te Whare Puoro is already loud!

Everything extra-curricular is starting back up this week so I wanted to let you know about all the opportunities available for our Springs-Waiōrea students. Every student in the school has been emailed about all of these opportunities with the links for applications so they should check their Spam folder if they can’t find the emails from Any questions, email us or pop into the department.

We have also posted the links for all the information below on our new Puoro/Music Instagram page! Follow us for updates, rehearsal reminders, performances and other opportunities: @wscw_puoromusic

Department opening times:

Before school – practice rooms are closed except for lessons but the foyer is open from 8:30am.
Interval – closed. You can come if you have booked a time with a teacher to chat or have an instrument lesson.
Lunchtime – open for booked practices only (details below). Check in with the supervisor in the first ten minutes.
After school – open for booked practices on Mondays only (details below).

Tira Puoro/Music Groups

We have four music groups that run at lunchtimes that are open to anyone (no auditions). They all happen in Te Whare Puoro (Music department) in Puoro 3 (the big room). Anyone is welcome to join, and we are also happy for you to try out a group for a couple of weeks before committing.

Tuesday Lunch – Choir
Wednesday Lunch – Musical Theatre Ensemble
Thursday Whānau and Lunch – Chamber Group (orchestra)
Friday Lunch – Jazz Band

Practice Room Bookings

All students have been emailed a link to a Google Form to sign up for practice rooms. This form explains the rules and expectations. Once they sign this form, students are able to book lunchtime practice rooms for the current week.

Mondays after school there is a new booking slot! Andrew Isdale, one of our itinerants and a very talented musician, is supervising afterschool band sessions until 4:30pm. He can help with performance skills, songwriting, instrument skills, recording and more.

Free Instrument and Singing Lessons

The Government pays for some group instrument/vocal lessons to help students gain their NCEA performance credits. Anyone can apply for lessons but there is a priority order:

  1. NCEA and Y11 music students to support their NCEA standards.
  2. Students playing that instrument in one of our music groups.
  3. Y10 Music students, then Y9.
  4. Everyone else.

These are small group lessons – we cannot offer individual lessons but we can help find you an outside teacher if you would like individual lessons outside of school. We also have a limited number of woodwind, brass and string instruments students can borrow for the year to support their playing.

If you wish to apply, the link has been emailed to all Springs-Waiōrea students, and is on the Google Classroom for all current Music students.

Finally, if you have any instruments at home that still play but are sadly being left to hide under dust, or are in your way, we could always help find them a home and put them to use.

We are looking forward to another hectic, loud and musical year with the most talented musicians in the country!

Ngā mihi,
Team Puoro
Carmel, Victoria and Margaret

Year 10 Student View Behind the Scenes – AT Pt Chevalier to Meola Road Project

Students ate lunch at Coyle Park while Mark Banfield, Group Manager Infrastructure Project Delivery – Auckland Transport (left), an Intern Engineer and the Project Manager for the Pt Chevalier to Meola Road spoke about their careers and the various factors contributing to decision-making in the Meola Road project. Mark Banfield said he was very interested to take on board the local students’ feedback as cyclists and road users as well as the experts.

Earlier in the day, a bridge building competition was held in the classroom using peanut slabs ‘cars’ to test the roadway. Congratulations go to Darcy Iveson, Finn Grace and Felix Devereux-Evison were judged winners by the Transport Engineer from AT.


An afternoon Meola Road site visit allowed us all to see the daily challenges faced by Dempsey-Wood workers preparing the layers of the roading substrate.

Thanks to the Science kaiako and Sherna Matta who nominated these fabulous Year 10 students who asked considered, well-prepared questions based on their experience as cycling and bus commuters. Thanks to AT staff organiser Sandy Webb and The Wonder Project Engineering NZ for creating this opportunity.

K Wallace
HOD Careers

Hello from Pūoro-Music

Tēnā koutou, I am Carmel, the new Head of Music at Springs Waiōrea, and I have returned to a school that I loved when I was the singing teacher here in 2014-2015. I arrived just in time to see our Chamber Group and Jazz Band achieve amazing results at the KBB Festival, and Year 11 band Buzz reach the Smokefree Rockquest National Finals. I have clearly stepped into an amazing musical legacy, started by Margaret Robertson!

I am working in a brilliant team with Margaret and Victoria Chellew, and our 10 unbelievably talented itinerant instrument teachers. I am also really enjoying collaborating with the whole Arts team here. Junior Arts Festival was my first big event with them and it was a privilege to be involved in such a stunning concert. I enjoyed putting together our Junior Singing Group for the occasion and am delighted to say they will be continuing next year as the school choir. I am looking forward to the seniors returning to bring all our singers together.

Another big success has been hiring Tim Stewart as our Brass Itinerant Teacher. He is returning to his roots – he started his band Supergroove while he was at school here (back when it was called Seddon High School). His engaging teaching style has already completely revived our Brass programme at school and we look forward to these students filtering through to our groups.

Next year will also see the introduction of some new extra-curricular opportunities such as a Musical Theatre group and afterschool band mentoring. All students are welcome in our music groups and I will send out more information about joining at the start of the year, along with details on signing up for instrument lessons.

Lastly, I feel so privileged to work within our unique co-governance model of schooling. I love that Te Whare Pūoro, the music department, is a place where talented students from both schools come together. I want to offer as many opportunities for them to develop and showcase their talents as possible. I once spoke to one of our Year 10 Waiōrea students, Huia Johnston-Miles, about wanting to start collecting Taonga Puoro (traditional Māori instruments) to use in the department. To my astonishment and delight she took that to heart and has gifted us her Pūkaea, Ōrea, that she has been carving this year under the guidance of Matua Uekaha Dunn, to start the collection. This generous gift symbolises so much of what is special about this place, and these students. I am honoured to be here.

Thank you to everyone who has given me such a warm welcome including staff, whānau and my incredible students. Bring on 2024!

Year 9s Careers- “Ko Wai Au?” “Who Am I?”

When we think of any career planning we reflect on our personal values, strengths and interests. In whanau class last week, Year 9 students were asked to develop their own self awareness through an online “Who Am I?” activity. Students used a online program called ‘Career Central’ to write their personal qualities, activities outside of the classroom and used a slider tool or prioritise their career values.

Student can access the Career Central tasks through our WSCW Careers. From there they log into Career Central and click on “About Me” It would be beneficial if your child could demonstrate what they have done to you at home too. If you need any further information please email

Music News

Smokefree Rockquest update

BUZZ and Carthage both made it through to the top 30 acts for 2023 – massive congratulations to both bands!

And now, following in the footsteps of 2022’s This Machine Means Murder, we have another national finalist from WSCW!

Yes, BUZZ was named in the Top 10 acts in the nationwide competition and have been chosen from over 800 bands who entered the competition. We are delighted to have WSCW representation in the National Finals for the second year in a row! BUZZ is Harlo Brady on Guitar, Holly Naish on Drums, Harper Sergeant on Bass and Felix Miller-Cooper on Guitar & Vocals.

The finals will be held in Q theatre, Auckland on September 16th, get your tickets and be part of a big WSCW crowd! We are very proud of them!

A fabulous donation

Thank you so much to Lesley Mann, a member of the WSCW community. Lesley had a beautiful drum kit she was no longer playing and she decided to offer it to us.

Pictured happily receiving the kit are Carmel McGill Wright (new HOD music), Margaret Robertson (previous HOD) and Jedd Burgess (Y13), with Lesley in the middle.


Jazz Band and Chamber group

What a great pleasure it was to see and hear our Jazz Band at the Auckland School Jazz Band Competition held last weekend at the Pt Chev. RSA. Not many Jazz Bands can boast a line up of flute, clarinet, oboe, trombone and 2 saxophones along with the rhythm section!

All the best for the KBB Band and Orchestra Festival this week. This will be at St Mary’s Parnell. Chamber group Tuesday 8th, 2pm session. Jazz Band Wednesday 9th, 6:30 pm session.


Senior Classes

There is a flurry of performing and composing going on as our seniors push to complete their course work. It is wonderful to hear and see such musicianship and creativity.

If whānau have any questions about their senior music students, do please be in touch with their teacher – 




Noho ora mai,
Margaret Robertson

Careers Expo and Subject Pathways – 17 August 4.30 pm – 7pm KHCL

The Western Springs College Ngā Puna o Waiōrea Pathways Evening is being held in KHCL is aimed for whanau and students who are Year 10 and older although all students are welcome to attend. The poster shows the list of exhibitors and this year there will be a multitude of Non University and University exhibitors. Heads of Departments and staff will be available on stands to discuss their subjects pathways and how they progress through the year levels.

This event provides you with time for a personal kōrero about subject pathways.

Music News from Term 2, 2023

Performances, competitions, visits and staff changes – it’s been busy in Te Whare Puoro (Music Department/Block).

Changes in the Music Department staffing

There has been quite a shift around in the music office so here’s a little update.

  • After 26 years as Head of Department (HOD), Margaret Robertson is looking forward to handing over this role and being able to fully focus on teaching and mentoring.
  • From Term 3, HOD Music will be Carmel McGill Wright. Carmel taught singing at Springs some years ago and has always had it in mind to come back here – we are thrilled to welcome her. Carmel comes to us from Tuakau College.
  • Rachel Sutherland was with us for the last 6 weeks filling in fabulously before Carmel was able to join us.
  • Victoria Chellew is well known to us at WSC/NPoW. She was a student here; she came back to us as an ILA for two years; then as a student teacher and now we are thrilled to have her as a permanently appointed classroom music teacher.
  • Daniel Barrett has decided to pause teaching for now to pursue training in counselling.
  • Thea Doyle has moved from classroom teaching to being an itinerant drum teacher.

Phew! That’s a lot of change in 2 terms – we are not planning any more.


As part of a partnership with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO), 40 students heard the orchestra live at a schools’ performance. For many this was their first time hearing a live orchestra and/or their first time inside the beautiful Town Hall.

In Term 3, we will host a visit from a group of players from the APO called the All Star Rhythm and Blues Review Band. This promises to provide some unexpected musical moments.

Courtesy of the Musicians Mentoring in Schools programme, via the New Zealand Music Commission, we had a wonderful two day visit from Aro. Emily and Charles worked magic with groups of Yr10 and Yr11 songwriters.


Western Springs College-Ngā Puna o Waiōrea blasted into Smokefree Rockquest with representation in 8 acts.

Congratulations to these great school ambassadors – Elly Mae Lawson (Year 13), Great Failure, Groop Chat, BUZZ, Arguing with a Child, Unaccompanied Minors, Carthage, and Maxine Allen (Year 11).

Three groups made it to the regional finals where BUZZ placed 2nd, and Carthage placed 3rd! Both groups along with Arguing with a Child (second chance award) are now eligible to submit films for consideration for the National finals. Also at the regional event, Maxine Allen was awarded the Lyric Writer’s award.


Last month, we were represented at the Chamber Music New Zealand competitions by three groups – Western Strings Quartet, Western Springs Trio and Western Wings Quartet! It was wonderful to see our school in this competition again after a very long break. The judges commented that Western Springs Trio brought “lightness and joy” to their performance – beautiful feedback!


In the last week of Term 2, these three groups, along with the school Chamber Group, gave a lunchtime concert in the foyer of Te Whare Puoro. Although wet lunch bells and an early start to period 4 provided a few timing challenges, the concert was heartwarming and very well received by whānau and friends.

THANK YOU and congratulations to Trina Sellers. Trina’s enthusiasm and high expectations have pushed these performers to excellent levels of ensemble work. It is such a treat to watch these musicians enjoying playing together.

Chamber Group, and our Jazz Band, head to the KBB Band and Orchestra Festival early in Term 3.



[Photo Credit: Margaret Robertson. Left Photo – Francesco and Zylah; Right Photo – Bella and Ollie]

Senior Careers assembly

We were delighted to welcome back 7 ex-students, mainly from 2020 and 2021. There was a mixture of Engineers, Medical students and Film-makers.  Despite Covid interruptions and usual academic challenges, these students’ journeys went very well and they shared a lot of useful insight into succeeding at Uni including the importance of clicking SUBMIT after completing an assignment!

Thanks to these wonderful ex WSCW students for giving up their time and sharing their insights – from left to right in above photo – Nathan Bell (UOA BEng Software BCom Mgmt), Lugman Al Sumaidal (UOA BEng – structural), Ana Downey (Otago Dentistry), Khushee Jain (UOA Medical School Year 3), Kate Hannay (Otago Medical school – Year 2), Grayson Schwalger UOA Medicine Yr 2), Archie Lee-Cooper (Screen Production Communications degree at AUT.

Thanks also to Andy Heathcote and Connor Green, our Year 13 Learning Leaders, who asked a variety of useful questions for an attentive audience!


Chamber Group – calling all players
WSC/NPoW Chamber Group is looking for new members.
Do you play violin, viola, cello, clarinet, oboe, flute, double bass or bassoon?
If so, we want to meet you!
All ability levels are welcome to get in touch.
email Trina Sellers – 
or Margaret Robertson –
Instrument lessons
These free lessons are filling up, but there are still a few places for clarinet, saxophone, flute and cello.
Email Daniel Barrett –
Form Classes in the music department
Do you have an old game of Connect Four you don’t want anymore? We’d love to take it off your hands!
Or a netball, soccer ball, any ball (!), or cards, other games…you get the idea.
We are very happy to give any of these things a new home.
Contact Margaret  –

News from the Music Department

Performance successes!
We’ve had a busy and fabulous time in the last few weeks.
For the first time in several  years we held our Junior Talent Quest. A small
but hotly contested affair. We opted to hold this in the foyer of Te Whare Puoro,
which worked beautifully as a performance venue.

Henri Woodley  with a soulful rendition of Michael Buble’s  version of Feeling Good
Molly Green who folded her contortionist self into shapes to make us wince and showed supreme control of her unicycle
Arlo Robertson on electric guitar with a superb rendition of  Metallica’s Master of Puppets

Congratulations to all entrants who also included Vaine Abraham, Willow Epati-Manu, Holly Naish, Sylvie Dingle Bell, Harlo Brady, Harper Sergeant, Lily Wall, Jaime Watson,  & Trelise Black.


This weeked saw the Auckland Central regional heats with 32 bands competing and 10 of those were from Springs!  It was a slick, high standard, supportive and professional event.Each of the WSC bands gave performances to be proud of.
12 acts were chosen to go through to the Regional heats and….6 of those 12 are from WSC!
This is absolutely unheard of for us, and indeed for the competition!

Finals are on Saturday June 12th, Dorothy Winstone Centre, 7pm
Buy tickets here

Here is a list of all WSC student bands who competed in the Auckland Central Regional Heats.

WSC  RockQuest participants 2021

Great Failure
Charlotte Kempster
Forrest Murray
Eve Galbraith
Alex Pizzini

Callum Bowes
Flynn Bowes
Rufus holmes
Gus Singleton March

Alex Hall
Nate Bradbury
Toby Gracewood-Easther
Dawa Yeshe

Body Part
Antonia Lloyd
Raf Hoskins
Izzie Christie
Jasper Renner Allen


Regional finalists (6 Bands)

Cold Sweats
Max Murray
Barney Salmon
Sam Blamires
Alex Tyrell
Ari Cornwall

The Dawns
Mila Guttenbiel
Georgia Wallace

Death by Distraction
Levi Adamson
Miro Wrightson Lyons
Logan Conaghan
Jed Burgess
Arlo Bennett

Violet Skies
Sasha Brown
Leni Sullivan

Ballot Box
Forrest Mace
Spike Keith
Tamai Burger
William Brooker

Park Bench
Sam Boston
Zac Green
Leo Main-Bennett
Finn Bailey



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