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Trust Live 17! 

Join us at Victory Convention Centre on November 11th, to celebrate 15 years of Villa Education Trust.  Trust Live 17 will feature performances by each Villa Education Trust school followed by an hour long set with the 'Hobson St Supergroup' featuring Hamish Gee ('The Feelers'), Jason Kerrison ('Opshop'), Daniel Wrightson and Andy Keys.  Doors open at 5.30 for silent auction and food trucks.  Tickets $20 Adults and $10 Under 16' live jpeg


Villa Education Trust and Matthew Syed, present 'Black Box Thinking in Education - Achieving a Growth Mindset'.combined advert

Join Villa Education Trust, working with Matthew Syed, for two sessions with international accredited consultant Rob Carpenter (from the UK), presenting Matthew's 'Mindset for Education' and 21C Skills Lab founders Justine Munro and Faye Langdon discussing 'Tomorrows skills for today's students.'  These two events are part of a celebration of 15 years of Villa Education Trust.  We are delighted to be working with 'Matthew Syed Speaking' to make these events happen.  Matthew Syed is the bestselling international author of 'Bounce' and 'Black Box Thinking' and is one of the world's most influential thinkers in the field of high performance and cultural change.  Matthew has worked with some of the world's largest organisations to help build a mindset of continuous improvement.  'Mindset for Education' was created by Matthew and is delivered by his accredited consultant Rob Carpenter, who has over 20 years leadership experience in education.  Rob has supported schools in challenging circumstances including those in special measures.  Rob is passionate about school-to-school support and has developed a range of tools to strengthen the leadership of teaching and learning.  This interactive session will cover what Growth Mindset is, why it is important and the evidence that supports it.  It will give you the tools to build resilience in students and staff to enable them to face challenge in a complex world.

Joining Rob is 21C Skills Lab founders Justine Munro and Faye Langdon to talk about the key skills needed to succeed in a rapidly changing world and give an insight into how they aim to ensure every young New Zealander has the knowledge and skills to succeed in tomorrow's world of work and to navigate a lifelong journey of learning and earning.  21C Skills Lab works in partnership with business, government, schools and parents to ensure that the skills we are teaching young New Zealanders are the skills the 21st century needs.  21C Skills Lab helps students and teachers to understand what these skills are, how to develop them and how to use them to set themselves up for a successful 21C career.

Join us in Wellington, on November 9th, at Macs Function Centre, from 6pm.  Tickets and further information available on Eventfinda -

Join us in Auckland, in partnership with Ormiston Junior College, on Saturday, November 11th, from 10am (doors open at 9.30am for a mini education expo and refreshments), at Ormiston Junior College, 285 Ormiston Road, Flat Bush, Auckland.  Tickets and further information available on Eventfinda -

  • Click here for a copy of the 2016 Annual Public Report for Middle School West Auckland.

  • Coverage of our model in NZ Education HQ: March 2017. 

  • The VET Approach - Sunday Star Times, 30th October 2016: 

    This is the philosophy behind every Villa Education Trust (VET) school.

    The registered Charitable Trust operates threemiddle schools in Auckland (two Charter and one private). It aims is to provide outstanding education for all students, irrespective of background or individual needs, by combining the positive aspects of NZ schooling with outstanding teaching techniques, an improved curriculum model, an innovative day structure and a supportive learning environment.  Each school uses an Integrated Project Based Curriculum and has a strong academic focus to maximise learning and development. 

    Mt Hobson MiddleSchool(MHMS) in Remuera is a boutique style private school with a maximum roll of 48 and class sizes restricted to 12.  It aims to keep its costs low (one of the lowest in Auckland) to be affordable to those that need it most.  It ensures success for students of all abilities. Limited places are available. 

    South Auckland Middle School (SAMS) is located in Manurewa.  It is a Decile 1 school catering for predominantly Maori and Pacifica children.  Uniform, stationery, and field trips are provided and no donations are asked. Class sizes are kept to a maximum of 15 with a full roll of 180 students.  The roll is currently full with waiting lists in place.

    Middle School West Auckland (MSWA) is located across two sites in Henderson.  It includes a TeReo bilingual unit.  Over 80 percent of those enrolled are Maori and Pasifika.  Uniform, stationery, field trips are provided and no donations are asked.  Due to an increase in the roll places are available for 2017.

    In addition, the Villa NCEA Academy (VNA), for Years 11-13, is available at MHMS, providing a different approach for children in these crucial school years.  Students attend the academy between 1-6pm. Places are available for 2017.

    The VET aims to ensure students attending its schools have access to the same opportunities as kids from wealthier areas/backgrounds.  Students are encouraged to aim high.

    Contact us today to see how we can help your child excel.

  • Jack Ralston House press release. Click here

  • Article about charter schools and the Villa Education Trust approach published in the New Zealand Herald on March 16th 2016.  Click here

  • Please click for an article from 'Flint and Steel' magazine about our work.

  • Please click to read a recent article in the NZHerald from Filipo Levi our Community Liaison Manager 


Jack Ralston House - Open Day

image014On Saturday June the 11th, the Villa Education Trust officially opened our new campus for Middle School West Auckland, Jack Ralston House, named in honour of a dear friend and kiwi coaching legend who was an inspiration and hero to many.

Friends, family, board members, staff and local, national and international sporting celebrities joined politicians, media personalities and councillors at the event held at the new Henderson campus on Lincoln Road.

As a trust, we were honoured to receive the permission and blessing of Marg Ralston and family to name the building Jack Ralston House in recognition of a family man, outstanding friend, coach and mentor to many as well as an astute businessman whose career took him around the globe. Jack packed ‘life’ into his 64 years and was not only a great inspiration to others, but his passion for excellence and development of youth aligns with the values of the Trust. We were delighted to be joined by Marg and members of Jack’s family at the event. Kerryn Henshaw, Jack’s daughter said: “I’d like to thank Middle School West Auckland on behalf of the Ralston family for this honour in my Dad, Jack Ralston’s name.  We are really pleased to see his legacy continue in such an apt and fitting way. The dedication of this building in Jack’s name is something that means a lot to our family and we hope that through this memorial to him, his inspiring legacy will live on and continue to play a guiding role in young lives, as the children progress through their years at Middle School West Auckland.”

We were also privileged to host guests including Hamish Carter, Bill Baillie, Arch Jelley, Dean Ogilvie, Brent Foster, Shorty Clarke, Alfred Ngaro, Simon O'Connor, Penny Hulse, Linda Cooper and Pita Alatini.

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Middle School West Auckland, our third school, opened in February 2015, across two sites – one in Henderson and one in Glendene. Jack Ralston House, which opens at the beginning of Term 3, will replace our current Glendene site and will accommodate up to 180 students in three villas (60 in each), running alongside our Te Reo bilingual unit, Pohutukawa Villa, on Waipareira Avenue.

 The new campus has modern classrooms, individual work areas, science facilities, an art, design and technology suit, state of the art I.T. and Whanau area. Middle School West Auckland Principal Alex Metzger said: “I am delighted with the new premises for our largest West Auckland campus and amazed at the building’s transformation – what has been created is a truly superb learning space which will be enjoyed by all who work and study there.”

On behalf of Villa Education Trust, Academic Advisor Alwyn Poole said: “Jack had time for people and all great educators need that. It was a privilege to know him and it is a privilege to have named our site: Middle School West Auckland, Jack Ralston House. We will honour the name and it will be an inspiration to our students, families and staff.”

Visitors are welcome to visit the school anytime, please e:mail: if you would like further information about any of our schools or the work of the Villa Education Trust.

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Please see attached Facebook link for more pictures and attached are copies of speeches made at the event and dedications to Jack.



Tēnā koutou ngā mātua Alex Hawea o te kura

A desire to make Middle School West Auckland a place of excellence and unity is the goal of the newly appointment School and Community Support Liaison Manager, Alex Hawea. Based in Henderson, at Middle School West Auckland’s Pohutukawa Villa, Alex will liaise with community groups to raise awareness of the school.  Gisborne born Alex has a background in sports and fitness and will work closely with the Academic Manager, teachers and students to develop the school’s own Kaupapa and find areas for further growth and development.  Alex’s connections in the areas of Youth Development and his previous work with Te Wananga o Aotearoa, Youth Guarantee and as Chairman of Waitakere City Youth Council brings fantastic opportunities for the school and its pupils. He said: “I will work alongside and support our Academic Manager Matt Dow in building a place of excellence where students understand and take hold of the opportunities that arise in this Villa. This work will   involve coordinating the whanau and the Villa to produce great academic outcomes for children.” As a proficient speaker of Te Reo and with qualifications spanning teaching, Maori Development and Sports Science, Alex will help realize the schools vision to develop spiritual and cultural depth. 

“Proud to be Maori”

Thirteen-year-old West Aucklander Tseard van der Mei made a powerful and moving speech ‘Proud to be Maori’ to secure first place in the Villa Education Trust’s (VET) inter-school’s speech contest, held at its Glendene site. Twelve finalists were selected from competitions at Newmarket’s Mt Hobson Middle School, Manurewa’s South Auckland Middle School and West Auckland Middle School, to go through to the finals. An audience of over 200 students and teachers from the three schools were entertained, challenged and sometimes amused by speeches on subjects ranging from Human Trafficking and Bullying to Procrastination and ‘caring for a pet rock’. Master of Ceremonies, Filipo Levi, Community Liaison Manager at Manurewa’s South Auckland Middle School said: “All 12 finalists were absolutely amazing.  They were inspiring to watch and the belief and passion in their chosen subject matter was very evident.  It was wonderful to see the support and encouragement that came from the audience.” Second place was awarded to Emily Ironside, from MSWA – Rimu Villa, with joint third place awarded to Glorielle Filisi, from SAMS – Manuka Villa and Arbel Tenembaum, from MHMS.Judge Paul Cullen, from LJ Hooker said: “Picking a winner was a tough job.  Each speech was remarkable.  In choosing the winners we had to look carefully at timing and presentation.  Well done to all who took part.”

Tseard updated pic with trophy




Aloha! – Students prepare for a school trip of a lifetime!

Students from three Auckland schools will follow in the footsteps of ancient Polynesian ancestors when they embark on a week-long school trip to Oahu, Hawaii.  Sixty pupils from Middle School West Auckland (Henderson/Glendene), South Auckland Middle School (Manurewa) and Mt Hobson Middle School (Newmarket), are counting down the weeks until they are greeted by pupils at their sister school in Oahu.  All those embarking on the voyage are working flat out to raise the $2,500 cost in time for the December departure date.  For many of the kids this is something they could only have dreamed of, and may be the start of bigger things to come. Thirteen year old Rachel, from Glendene, said: “I just can’t believe I am really going.  I have never been out of New Zealand before and can’t wait to learn about the culture, see the different landscapes and experience how the people live.  It will be exciting to see how they cook and what they eat and I am especially excited about seeing the cultural dances and finding out what they mean.”  The fantastic learning opportunity has been arranged by The Villa Education Trust who run the three middle schools. The aim is to enable the teenagers to visualize their learning about battles fought in the pacific and the impact on society, taught as part of the school’s unique ‘Project Based Curriculum’.  As well as being an amazing academic adventure, organizers hope the trip will develop the student’s vision for work and study oversees and raise their own level of aspiration.  Wendy Greig, Principal at South Auckland Middle School, said: “This fantastic learning experience will broaden the horizons of our students who, without it, may not consider all the options available to them.  If ten of our students follow a path of study overseas as a result of this trip, then we will have achieved a hope that we hold for them.”A strong relationship with the ‘sister’ school in Hawaii will open up pathways for both the students and teachers to explore, with further exchange trips planned for the future.  To further enhance the cultural experience and to enable the students to feel part of modern day Hawaiian society, they will each be ‘home stayed’ with a local family and will spend time volunteering at Wai’alea Elementary Public Charter School.  Wendy added: “By immersing the children in the community, to help and support their new friends, we hope they will not only create life-long friendships but also increase their own sense of identity.” Visits to landmarks including Pearl Harbour, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific and the Polynesian Cultural Centre have also been arranged as well as a trip around the University of Hawaii campus.  Children and Whanau from the three schools have joined forces to host sausage sizzles, evening suppers and sponsored fun runs to raise the much needed cash, but there is still a way to go before the target is reached and the children and organizers can feel confident that the dream will come true.  Angela Withers, Social Studies teacher and fundraiser at Middle School West Auckland (MSWA), said: ‘We are determined to raise the cash needed to make this a reality for our children.  We have such a great community here at MSWA, and I feel really privileged to be working with the families to make this happen. The parents clearly value what we are doing and they want only the best for their sons and daughters, it’s great to witness their interactions and to see how strong, close and determined each family unit is.” 

Further money spinning events will be held over the coming weeks to promote the trip and boost funds, including additional ‘suppers’, further sausage sizzles and numerous sponsored events.


Elliott Dominic



21 August

Congratulations to Dominic Elliott, who recently represented New Zealand at the Cal Ripken World Series baseball tournament in the United States. This is a tournament for U12 players, and features the top 10 US teams as well as teams from Australia, Canada, Republic of Korea, the Dominican Republic, Japan, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. Dominic had the honour of leading the team in its haka. He was also a key part of the team's success in its first game, against Australia. This was its only win, but the team achieved its goal to perform better than it had in the last series, which Dominic had also attended.

Dominic has a bright future in the game and aims to be a professional player in the United States.





3 July

Hawaii university to diamond headExploring the historical significance of Hawaii to Pacific nations will be the focus of a ‘voyage’ by 60 Villa Education Trust students in December, including a number from Middle School West Auckland.

The trip also has an aspirational purpose for the young travellers, which is to develop their vision for work and study overseas, says Villa Education Trust founder Alwyn Poole.“If 10 of our students end up going to university overseas as a result of this trip, then we will have achieved a hope that we hold for them,” he says.

The itinerary includes visits to Second World War amenities including Pearl Harbour, the Arizona Memorial, the Missouri Battleship, Airforce and Army Museums, and the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. The students will go with knowledge of battles fought in the Pacific and their impact on our society, which they have studied in a Year 9 project focused on war. Students will also tour the University of Hawaii campus, the Dole Pineapple Factory, and the Polynesian Cultural Centre.

The students will be home-stayed with Hawaiian families, and spend time volunteering in a local school. “Through these activities, we aim to deepen their awareness of Hawaiian culture and society in the modern day.”

Mr Poole says the host school in Hawaii is excited about developing a long-term relationship with Villa Education Trust’s three schools, Mt Hobson Middle School, South Auckland Middle School and Middle School West Auckland. “I think this is evidence of the general shift in the American educational system to look outward. We know that the US State Department wants more American students to study abroad, and at the same time it’s become much more possible for New Zealand students to study and work in the US.

Fundraising activities for the week-long trip include a sponsored run, in which students will run 2km every week of the third term. The students are also keen to provide services in their local communities in cooperative fundraising events.

26 June

whole group

From our school, we are so easily out of the city and into the solitude of the Waitakeres. Year 7s were at the Arataki Visitor Centre this week for a Social Studies field trip. The students wrote about their trip this review is by Chelsea Munro:
Yesterday 23 June 2015 9:30 we set off for Arataki Regional Park. When we arrived we smelt the fresh air coming from the trees and the cold air rushing in against our skin. We ran up a ramp squashing each other to see an amazing view of the city,  lots of trees and a long and narrow river which felt like we were a million miles off the ground.

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 We then excitably ran into the visitors' centre to find merchandise, videos, old weapons, interesting food items that have been alive for hundreds of years, interesting and cultural statues and a range of animal enclosures that contained geckos, stick insects, weta and some fish - they were absolutely amazing and fantastic creatures. When everyone was finally out of the building we all went downstairs and packed into a theatre where we watched a video about Waitakere ranges and the kauri tree. Then it was morning tea. After that we were told that we were going for a 1 hour and 30 minute bush walk and were given a sheet to fill out the answers along the way. Before we could enter the bush we had to spray a substance on our feet and brush all the soil off our feet to make sure we were not bringing any bacteria into where the kauri trees are because they are dying out.
There were 9 stations and at every station there was an answer to one of the questions on the sheet which we had to look for. The first stretch of the walk was straight or downhill but the rest was fully uphill and I mean really steep. We could all feel our legs and bones just about to break and with sweat dripping down our backs we carried on like soldiers.

At the end we all piled up in a tight cluster outside a picture frame and took an unforgettable photo, with smiles on our face and sweat dripping down our foreheads we grinned with victory.


1 April

March Awards Project 1 Achieved

Project certificates for Anna Holland (Achieved /Merit), Emily Ironside (Achieved), Ethan de Raat (Achieved) and Abishi Chandra (Achieved). Anna is pictured left with Mr Levi, and Abishi is pictured right with Mr Metzger

Congratulations to our students who received their Academic Performance Certificates today from our Principal, Mr Metzger. We are very proud of them, and all of the students for the wonderful progress they have made in Term 1.

March Awards Matai

Matai award winners: Heather Dunstall (Year 7), Ria Talamahina (Year 8), Terry Holland (Year 9), William Maeva (Year 10)









March Awards

Rimu Award winners: Chelsea Munro (Year 7), Evelyn Fa’amoe (Year 8), Jaedyn O'Connor (Year 9), Danielle Simiona (Year 10)



30 March

We enjoyed taking our Year 7s to the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau for a performance of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Rimu Academic Leader Harvey Gangadeen says the production had a New Zealand adaptation, which helped to make the story more real. Aslan the Lion, was played by a Maori chief; his army used the taiaha, a traditional Maori weapon. It was a great end to the Great Books project.


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 24 March 2015

Leadership Day brought together students from our three villas to develop skills and teamwork. It was an awesome day, facilitated by our Sports programme partner, Kelly Sports.



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RimuUna and Eugene with Alex Metzger


4 March 2015

Today a special assembly celebrated students who did well in February, with presentation of an Academic Performance Certificate.

Congratulations to Rimu students Tamara Teua (Year 7), Ethan de Raat (Year 8), Ryver Manners-Coe (Year 9) and Danielle Simiona (Year 10) pictured with our Principal Mr Metzger.

In the other photo are Matai students Una Van Dalen (Year 7) and Eugene Van Dalen (Year 8), also receiving their certificates from Mr Metzger. 

Matai's Year 9 and Year 10 awards were to Giovana Figota and Eukaria Figota, who were absent today.


February 2015

150131 WAMS Opening 260

Undersecretary for Eduction and leader of the ACT party, David Seymour

Middle School West Auckland held its official opening on Saturday, 31st January. We enjoyed the company of families, supporters, and parliamentary representatives David Seymour, and Maori Party Co-Leader Marama Fox.

David Seymour commended the Villa Education Trust for its ability to set up a school in just four months.

He told families the school was established as a result of the partnership school policy which ACT had championed, and which the Maori Party supported. 

 "This school is one of the most exciting initiatives in New Zealand education. This is your school. All we ask is that you do the best  for yourselves."

Marama Fox

Marama Fox, Co-Leader of the Maori Party

Marama Fox said the Maori Party was happy to support partnership schools because the needs of many Maori were not being met in mainstream education. "Here is a school that wants to do it better. I applaud you for coming here." She presented the students with a list of behaviours that would help them to make the most of the opportunity provided for them: Be Grateful, Be Involved, Be Conscientious, Be Expressive, Be Inquisitive, B_2It (be on to it).