Clubs and Activities

Amnesty International

Amnesty International is a group dedicated to trying to right many of the wrongs in the way people around the world are treated. It is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognised human rights to be respected by and protected for everyone.

Historically our campaigning has focused on prisoners, but today people are more likely to become victims of abuse because of who they are rather than what they think, say or do – basically for factors they have no control over, like race or skin colour. With this in mind we have responded to the changing nature of human rights violations in the world today. At Westlake our aim is to raise awareness of the problems faced around the world as well as making our stance clear to the many infringers of human rights.

In 2012, many Amnesty events became highlights of the school calendar such as the heated but entertaining debate against Westlake Girls High and Freedom Challenge Week where Amnesty members from both schools raised awareness about the struggling people of Cambodia due to forced evictions. We managed to raise $800 from selling sausages and wristbands to help contribute to this cause.

This year, both Westlake Boys and Girls will continue to raise awareness for those who are wrongfully accused and denied basic human rights all around the world. At the end of Term 1, Amnesty members from both schools signed letters and petitions to President Barak Obama and the UN to propose a stop in the illicit on-going arms trade during the Arms Trade Treaty. We are proud to state that by using the moral authority of our opinions, we have peacefully persuaded 154 states to sign the treaty – an example to show the influence we have on the world. In Term 3 we will be planning for the annual Freedom Week, with the topic of Women Rights, working together with Westlake Girls on debates, presentations and fundraising ideas.

Teacher in charge: Mr M Calver


TIC: Mr Noble

The chess club is open to all students at lunchtime in Room C2 during Terms 1, 2 and 3, where anywhere between 20 and 100 players of varying ability will meet to battle over the board (and eat their lunch).

Westlake has a proud tradition in Chess fielding many strong teams in all divisions over many years. The more serious chess players have the opportunity to represent the school in the Auckland Chess Competition. Westlake has gradually increased the number of teams entered in this competition, currently entering two teams in the Senior A division, two teams in the Senior B division and three teams in the Junior division. The preliminary competition is held during Term 2 and the best placed teams compete in the Auckland Finals in Term 3.

Recently our Senior A team came 3rd in New Zealand in 2010 and in 2012 Westlake reached the finals in all three divisions, and the Senior B team of Campbell Wang, Andrew Li, Juyin Kim, Kevin Lee and Oliver Li won their grade with an amazing record of 18 wins and 2 draws from 20 games in the finals. The Senior A team finished in 3th place overall and qualified for Nationals, where they went on to finish 2nd in New Zealand. The current 2013 Senior A1 team consists of:

Board 1: William Li

Board 2: Winston Yao

Board 3: Jia Hao

Board 4: Harry Cui

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Debating teaches critical thinking, effective communication, independent research and teamwork, crucial aspects of being a well-rounded, educated student. Some of our top academics are involved in debating making Westlake Boys one of the most highly respected debating schools in Auckland. We have 14 teams entered in the ‘Auckland Schools Debating’ competition grades, with about 75 boys debating against schools all over Auckland on a regular basis. The debating season runs from February to September each year. In the last few years we have been very successful in the Premier competitions. The Junior Premier team has won the Auckland competition three times in the last six years and the Advanced Premiers have consistently made the finals.

Each debating coach organizes practice schedules as suits team and staff members. They practise at least once a week, as well as debate every alternate week in the evenings at schools around Auckland.

Advanced Premier teams:

This year there are 2 Premier Advanced teams of sixth and seventh formers. Each team debates once every two weeks at St Mary’s College on a Wednesday evening. Mr Reed coaches both teams.  This league runs from February to August, and after the initial rounds, quarter and semifinals will be held on Saturdays. These teams are also involved with debates against WGHS throughout the year. They debate during Culture Week and for Amnesty International throughout the year. In Term 4 the 7th form team will go up against the Girls’ school in the annual Thorburn debate.

James Rankin in action

James Rankin in action


The 2013 Advanced Premier teams

The 2013 Advanced Premier teams

Duke of Edinburgh Awards

Westlake Boys High School is proud to be a part of the Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Challenge.

The award has been running in New Zealand for 50 years and is a voluntary, non-competitive programme of leisure activities for those aged 14 – 25, designed to offer a personal and individual challenge. It introduces young people to exciting, positive, challenging and enjoyable activities to do in their free time. It encourages friendships amongst those taking part, and across the generations with adults who give up time to share skills and help organise the programme.

At Westlake Boys High School we have groups working towards each of the three levels of the award, Bronze, Silver and Gold. The award is open to anyone; however, we are strictly limited to numbers to enable us to offer completion of the award at a fraction of the cost of external agencies. We target the Bronze award at year 10s, Silver at Year 11s and the Gold award at year 12-13s. Each level is made of four sections; service, skills, physical recreation and the adventurous journey. In the Gold level there is also a residential project; in 2013 we had one student complete this in Nepal with youth to Everest.

The expedition section is usually the biggest challenge and we have run expeditions to many locations across the North Island including the Waitakere Ranges, the Hunua Ranges, the Pinnacles, Tongariro and the Kaimai Ranges. We do all the training for these expeditions in school and whilst on the expeditions. On the expeditions they are expected to carry all their gear, navigate, organise their camping and sometimes the biggest challenge, feed themselves. The boys also have to complete the other three sections of the award in their own time. These can involve a range of activities they already participate in, or it can challenge them to try something new.

Teachers in charge: Messrs Foden and Russell


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Hobbies and Robotics Club

Westlake Boys High School offers students interested in creative and mechanical problem-solving pursuits through making and tinkering using school’s technology workshops. In addition to that, the school also offers participation in robotics activities.

These include the following:

You learn

 WORKSHOP SKILLS (for both hobbyists and robotics):

You can learn basic wood and metal work skills – measuring and marking out, sawing, filing, drilling, counter-sinking, smoothing, riveting and more.

You can learn tool use and maintenance skills, e.g. dismantle and reassemble objects like an engine, a bicycle, printer, kitchen appliance, workshop machine or anything else.

You can learn about levers, gears and mechanisms used in robots and machines.



You can build a robot from kit parts (Vex kits supplied or your own).

You can design and build your own robot.

You can compete in interschool competitions such as Vex Robotics and Kiwibots NZ.  You are also encouraged to participate in practice matches (scrimmages).

COMPUTING (for robotics):

You can learn computer programming using ROBOTC, a C programming language for robotics.

You can learn computer graphics and design.

You can participate in CAD design competitions.


For our robotics competitions we need photographers, reporters, caterers, mechanics, programmers, equipment managers, fund raisers and supporters doing all sorts of things. There are diverse activities to get involved with.


Other activities like electronics prototyping hardware and software and related skillsets such as machining, welding, fabrication and more are possible activities that could be undertaken in the future.


This club is yours and you run it (with parent help and some teacher guidance).

Through competitions and test matches such as Kiwibots NZ, VEX Robotics and local scrimmages, you will  learn and develop teamwork, responsibility, co-operation, leadership and other valuable skills.


You need to be committed, attend regularly and undertake tasks to help run the club.

Costs include a school administration fee of $20 and a robotics club membership fee of $50 for the year (That helps to cover the expensive kit components but fund raising is also required).

Your parents need to approve of your involvement which is during and after school for building and occasional Saturdays for competitions/scrimmages (assistance with transport is appreciated). There may be additional robotics activities or courses over school holidays.

An interest or knowledge in programming would be advantageous.

See Mr Rein / Mrs Wahab for a membership application form.

We meet in D12 workshop after school. See you there.



Your workshop skills can lead to fantastic projects.  Some fantastic, advanced examples can be seen on Make or google MAKE magazine.

Vex information can be found on or up for world’s first and largest robotics competition.  FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) was founded in 1989 by Dean Kamen, the inventor of Segway.


Robotics is fun.  The competitions are a game – run like a sport.

You do not need to know anything about robot.  However, interests in making, electronics and programming would certainly be advantageous

Anyone can get involved because diverse skills are needed – marketing, writing, accounting, designing, planning, devising game strategy and driving skills. (Because of the latter we have boys building their own radio controlled vehicles).

We need mentors willing to share their skills – parents, relatives, friends and anyone else. Of particular interest are engineers, programmers, designers, fabricators, mechanics, electricians, business people but also anyone else willing to give a hand.

We will need contacts to source materials, do things for us or to advise us.

Each year there is a new Vex Robotics competition. It is run from America and kicks off across the world around May each year. (Google ‘Vex” and find out more).

The NZ Vex Regional finals are held in our term one each year and the world finals in Dallas, USA in April (around our Easter Holidays).

Top NZ teams go to the world finals and generous sponsorship helps to cover costs. In the last few years NZ high school teams have been very successful (look up latest news on

Huge sponsorships and scholarships are available at USA universities that know how robotics benefits students.

For Parents:

Teachers report an improvement in the grades of pupils in spite of the extra time commitment to hobbies and robotics.

Parents make comments like:“I have never seen my child so committed to anything”.

Students make comments like: “Robotics is great fun and the yearly competitions are great opportunities to challenge yourself” – Hao Kang, Year 11. “A very enjoyable place to be where you can manifest your crazy imaginations with effort and only little bit of money” – Steven Yoo, Year 12.

Dads report that their sons used to do nothing but press buttons in front of a computer screen but now they make stuff and do it with their dads.

Vex Robotics can lead to FIRST Robotics. Google: “FIRST Robotics Competition” (FRC) and be amazed at what kids can do.

Robotics experience on CVs opens doors to scholarships and careers.

Robotics changes lives and whole families for the better. Everyone co-operates and participates in a positive manner.

Kiwi companies and organisations such as Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Glidepath Limited, Federal Express, Qantas, Employers and Manufacturers Association and American Chamber of Commerce are major sponsors to NZ Robotics Charitable Trust (trading as KIWIBOTS) who runs FIRST robotics programme in New Zealand.

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Spirit of Adventure

Spirit of New Zealand, Year 10 Trophy Voyage

spirit1 It’s 6.30am and the grumbling of a large diesel generator spluttering into life wakes everyone up. This signals the start of a new day on board the Spirit of New Zealand. “Everybody on deck” is called and it’s time for an early morning swim around the boat, wherever it anchored for the night. The water is chilly to say the least, but very refreshing. Students, teachers, and crew – no one is exempt from the cool waters.

Breakfast is savoured by all as the tanks are replenished for a long day ahead… duties, sailing and challenges!

spirit2On Board the Spirit of New Zealand Trophy voyage are 40 students – 4 teams of 10 – from schools around New Zealand. Twenty are boys, and twenty girls, accompanied by a teacher from each school and several crew members.

Teams are on board to compete for the Spirit Trophy. Events, duties and challenges include teamwork, problem solving, debating, ship-handling and aquatic sports in and on the water. Teams will go ashore for a day and complete a task against others that will involve ingenuity, leadership, excitement, reward and fun.

The voyage will be a valuable experience for all who participate and is a great opportunity to develop personal skills, team work, communication and trust, which are integral to future successes. These qualities are also encouraged through the pursuit of excellence at Westlake.