Many students come to Westlake Boys’ High School looking for classes that will help them build successful and interesting careers. Others want to grow intellectually, to change the world, or to change themselves. The study of a second language offers all of these.

Perhaps the greatest benefit of language study is an expanded understanding of diverse, culturally-rooted attitudes and behaviours.

Language preserves the history and traditions of a culture and learning a second language assists in developing and improving communication skills, and enhancing socio-cultural understanding.

Proficiency in a second language improves career prospects and helps foster social and economic benefits in, for example, the fields of tourism, education, international law, commerce, science and sport. With internationalisation of the job market, students with a qualification in a foreign language are likely to have greater employment opportunities both in New Zealand and overseas.

At Westlake Boys’ High School we recognise the promotion of culture as an important aspect of learning a language and we offer Chinese, Japanese, German, French and Maori from Year 9 through to Year 13. All Years 9 and 10 students are required to study one of the above languages. We also encourage dual linguists if students are interested in learning more than one language. From 2017, Korean and Spanish will be offered to Year 10 students who are non-native speakers and pass course selection interviews.

News about Languages Faculty:


Head of Faculty – Dr Ai-Hsin Ho

Asian Languages Department

  • Tina Kwok
  • Peony Law
  • Sophie Yoon
  • Heather Na
  • Daisy Huang

European Languages Department

  • Aurelie Kerbellec
  • Natalie Marriott
  • Christine Bader
  • Alyssa Marris

Te Reo Maori Department

  • Johnny Waititi
  • Alice Pomare


Why Learn Chinese?

Learning another language broadens students’ general language abilities and brings their own language into sharper focus. It enriches students intellectually, socially and culturally; offers an understanding of the ways in which other people think and behave; and furthers international relations and trade.

By learning Chinese, students can:

  • become confident in communicating with native Chinese speakers about trade, travel, or tourism, or in other professional, educational, or social contexts;
  • broaden their employment options, both in New Zealand and internationally;
  • come to understand, as they grow in understanding and acceptance of Chinese language and culture, how Chinese people act and think;
  • broaden their knowledge beyond cultural stereotypes and national boundaries, and promote tolerance and positive attitudes between people of different linguistic, cultural, and national backgrounds;
  • communicate more effectively with New Zealand settlers from Chinese-speaking backgrounds, and develop and maintain relationships with them;
  • develop the skills, understandings, and attitudes which facilitate the learning of other languages;
  • develop an awareness of the interdependence of all people
  • use NCEA portfolio based internal assessments to develop self-management skill
  • develop competent communication skills through language and cultural knowledge

Trip to China

A school trip to China is organised every second year to enhance students’ understanding and appreciation of the Chinese language and culture. The trip also allows students to develop life skills such as self-management, relating to others and contributing and participating.

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Cultural Aspects

This is an important component of the course. Throughout the year, students are provided with opportunities to experience Chinese cultural activities, including calligraphy, cooking, painting, folk music, martial arts, film and trips to a Buddhist temple and Chinese restaurants. In our junior programme, we have cross-curricular projects such as FIFA world cup and Master Chef which allow students to think about how to use language beyond classroom setting, as well as developing cross-curricular competencies.

This year Westlake Boys High School has become a Confucius Classroom as acknowledgement to our achievement in our Chinese programme.

We have a partnership with our sister school, Dongguan No.6 High School, and we have regular exchange programme between staff and students. We believe this provides full immersion environment for our young people which would benefit them in the future. Through our exchange programmes, students are able to build genuine and long lasting relationship with Chinese students, giving them authentic experiences.

Westlake Chinese Night is an annual event which celebrate Chinese culture and tradition. Together with Westlake Girls High School, we have performances ranging from traditional Chinese dance to singing Chinese pop songs every year with a crowd of 2000 audience.


Why Learn French?

Learning a second language gives students an important insight into foreign cultures, and improves cognitive thinking.

  • There are over 200 million French speakers worldwide and it is the only language other than English spoken on the five continents.
  • French is also an official language of the United Nations, NATO, UNESCO, the Red Cross, the Olympics and more…
  • An ability to speak French and English is an advantage on the international job market. As the world’s fifth biggest economy and number-three destination for foreign investment, France is a key economic partner. Ex: The French are a world leader in medical research and a European leader in aerospace (Aérospatiale, Arianespace, Airbus…)
  • French is the international language of cooking, fashion, theatre, the visual arts, dance and architecture. A knowledge of French offers access to great works of literature, as well as films and song.
  • France is the world’s number-one tourist destination. A little French makes it so much more enjoyable to visit Paris and all the regions of France and offers insights into French culture, mentality and way of life.
  • French is also very accessible from New Zealand with it being the official language of some of our Pacific neighbours. New Caledonia and French Polynesia (Tahiti) are very desirable tropical destinations where knowing French would definitely come in handy.
  • Finally, French is a good base for learning other languages such as Spanish and Italian.

As the world becomes more global it is important that students are able to relate to and understand people from different cultures, and one of the best ways to achieve this is through language learning.

How is French taught?

French is taught and assessed according to the four language-learning principles of reading, writing, listening and speaking, as well as looking at the culture of French-speaking countries. From 2017, learning a second language at Year 9 and Year 10 will be compulsory. The aim of the Year 9 course is to provide a general introduction to the language and build up students’ abilities to use and understand basic everyday phrases to describe themselves and their surroundings. In Year 10 the French course is extended to incorporate a wider range of topics and grammatical structures. The ability to develop communication skills remains a focus. In the senior school we offer the dual pathway to French students, meaning they have the option to study NCEA or CIE all the way to NCEA Level 3 or A2.


The French Department organizes trips every two years. In 2016, WBHS joined with Mount Albert Grammar School for a four-week exchange at Sainte Croix High School in Paris.

We will be planning our next school trip to France for April 2018.

Cultural Aspects

Throughout the year, students are provided with opportunities to experience the French culture through various activities. We offer twice-yearly bakery days where boys get to sample the delights of French baking. They also watch movies in French to enhance their understanding of spoken French.

Our annual Year 9 FIFA competition is a highlight for the boys. We explore the sporting culture(s) of France – learn about symbols, emblems, make flags and banners and learn the words to the gruesome French national anthem La Marseillaise. Our Year 10 students experience the French movie festival at Berkeley Cinemas and 2016 will see the inaugural MasterChef competition where our students have the opportunity to cook something authentically French. Both of our junior competitions take place in Term 3.


Our senior students are invited to a French restaurant and the Y11s order crêpes while our Y12s and Y13s enjoy the delicious raclette (a melted cheese eaten with potatoes and charcuterie)


Students are also encouraged to take part in linguistic and cultural competitions organized by the Alliance Française and the New Zealand Association of French Teachers.  In recent years, one of our students won a commended prize in a writing competition and another was selected to act as a young ambassador and represent New Zealand in France for 2 weeks in July for the commemoration of WW1.

We have a joint French Club with WGHS which is held every Wednesday with each school sharing hosting duties. French Club is a great way to explore French culture through learning songs, games, watching films, cooking French food and exciting treasure hunts! Follow us on Facebook


Finally, WBHS enters teams in the All Schools Pétanque Competition in March at the Herne Bay Pétanque Club. Trials are held in early Term 1 and trainings are on Wednesdays after school. All students are welcome to the open training sessions – no experience necessary! 2016 saw the biggest interest in pétanque yet and WBHS entered 6 teams in the competition. Our highest team placed 7th out of 44. An excellent performance we are hoping to outdo next year by bringing the cup back to our school in 2017 like we did in 2014!


German continues to be a successful subject at Westlake with students regularly competing in the annual Auckland Goethe Society examinations. Our school offers a weekly German Club and students are able to participate in an exchange programme. During the stay they live with a host family and attend a high school in Germany.

We aim to motivate students to learn about other countries and their languages, encouraging open-mindedness and global awareness while developing a technical awareness of how the German language works. We aspire to produce confident and competent communicators who are able to use their language to tackle real-life situations.

In our German lessons we offer a lot of varied activities in order to bring the language and culture alive. We have German bakery days, watch and analyse German films and learn the language outside the classroom, for example when we visit a German restaurant where students experience German food and culture first-hand. Our German lessons aim to be interactive and visual. We use a lot of pictures, PowerPoints and devices for revision and music to bring German alive.

Learning a language means to connect with other people and to become a global citizen and that ties in with our Key Competencies of participating and contributing. We explore the world views and perspectives of other people and therefore students become mature citizens and know more about Germany. In our German lessons we do this through various cultural projects and role-plays and there is a lot of fun to be had.


Japanese Language provide various opportunities to students to explore and experience different cultures and customs as well as learning a new language. Year 9 Japanese students are expected to master all hiragana and Year 10 students are expected to master katakana and some kanji along with various topics and cross-curricular l projects such as FIFA and Master Chef Projects. All Japanese courses are University approved courses and it will lead up to NCEA Level 3 Japanese course.

Why study Japanese?

  • Scientific research into language learning suggests that when you tackle a new language, it causes brain growth and Japanese is a very popular choice for language learners.
  • Students are able to develop awareness of Japanese culture, history and customs.
  • Japanese is the easiest Asian languages to learn and it helps to develop greater language sensitivity.
  • Learning Japanese would increase students’ study and job opportunities in New Zealand and abroad.
  • It gives a strong background to students on ICT field as Japanese language is one of the most common languages used in the technology area.

Trip to Japan:

Trip to Japan in April 2017 and Year 10 Japanese restaurant trip are the main highlights of Japanese courses at WBHS. Trip to Japan will take once in every two years and we are taking Year 10 Japanese students to a Japanese restaurant every year.

Cultural aspects:

Lessons are embedded with cultural activities and games. Year 9 and 10 Japanese students will be experiencing various cultural activities such as Origami, calligraphy, sushi making and sumo wrestling competition. External competitions such as Japanese Trivia Championships and speech competitions are available for students to participate. Students are also able to enjoy Japanese animation through WBHS Japanese animation club which is on every Friday lunch time in F6.

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 Why Learn Korean

Korean is becoming more and more popular second language for people all over the world including young adults. This is probably due to factors of younger generations becoming more internationally linked together through Hallyu Korean Wave. Korea is also our 6th largest export destination and more than 30,000 Koreans live in New Zealand. Korea dominates the world in technology, being the home of Samsung, LG, Hyundai, and Kia. Knowledge in Korean definitely increases your potential business opportunities.

 What We Do

We offer two Korean courses at Westlake:

NCEA Level 3 Korean for Native Speakers is intended to assist Korean native speaking students who can benefit from extended learning of Korean language and culture. Also included is a sustained reading of Korean literatures and discussion around current events. Recently arrived students are assisted closely to gain familiarity with the New Zealand education system, make smooth transitions to New Zealand, and further develop effective study skills aimed for high achievements in NCEA.

Year 10 Korean for Beginners is a new course in 2017. This course is designed for Year 10 students who have no prior learning of Korean language. The course is accessible to all, but has a high degree of challenge within it as well. Students will develop confidence and competency in communicating in simple Korean as well as their cultural awareness and understanding. The four main skills of speaking, listening, reading, and writing will be developed to form a solid base for NCEA Level 1 Korean Studies. This course will also give students the opportunity to experience and appreciate Korean culture.

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‘Ko te reo Māori te kākahu o te whakaaro te huarahi i te ao tūroa’
‘The Māori language cloaks Māori thought and provides a pathway to the wider world’’
(Sir James Henare 1984)

Te Puna o Te Reo Māori me ngā Tikanga ~ the Māori Department at Westlake Boys High School aims to pursue excellence in learning te reo Māori, while creating opportunities for our students with new and exciting pathways in learning the indigenous language of New Zealand.

There are additional opportunities through Kapa Haka, Ngā Manu Kōrero Speech Competition, haerenga (trips), marae noho and various cultural exchanges.

Te Reo Maori 1

Junior Māori – Te Wahanga Teina

This enables students to learn basic te reo Māori and tikanga. We place an emphasis on students gaining confidence to help them continue the journey of learning te reo Māori at a higher level.  Te Reo Māori is a language that can be taken at Year 9 and Year 10 for the whole year.

Senior Te Reo Māori – Te Wahanga Tuakana

This is an opportunity for students to challenge themselves in a safe and thriving learning environment and excel in learning te reo Māori me ōna tikanga. We support all our students with learning in and out of the classroom.

Being involved in the wider Māori community enables our students to have a better understanding of what is being taught.

By the end of Senior Māori we aim that our students have competence in written and spoken Māori, and a genuine respect for Māori customs and protocol.

Māori Performing Arts – Ngā Taonga Kāmehameha

‘Kia kawea tātou e te rēhia’
‘Let us be taken by the spirit of joy, of entertainment’

2017 will see the introduction of Māori Performing Arts as a subject from Year 10 to Year 13. Māori Performing Arts will introduce numerous opportunities to students who have a passion for kapa haka and have an interest in the performing arts.

Students will have the opportunity to perform at local, regional and at international events.  Polyfest is one of the main events the kapa haka will practice for but they will also perform at designated school events.  Nau mai, haere mai ki te ao o te mahi a te rēhia!

Te Reo Maori 2



By learning another language students will be able to communicate with people from different cultural backgrounds which promotes tolerance and open-mindedness. This year we offer Spanish for Year 10 students who are interested to learn an additional language to their chosen one. They will be able to continue their studies at NCEA senior levels.

Why learn Spanish?

  • over 400 million people speak Spanish as a native language
  • Spanish is the world’s third most spoken language
  • knowledge of Spanish gives access to Hispanic communities all over the world
  • knowing Spanish opens up fantastic international study and employment opportunities

In our Spanish lessons we offer a lot of varied activities in order to bring the language and culture alive. Students analyse Spanish films and experience cultural activities. Our Spanish lessons aim to be interactive and visual. We use a lot of pictures, PowerPoints and devices for interactive revision and music from different Spanish-speaking countries. Students become confident in communicating with Spanish speakers in a variety of contexts.