Karamu High School

Karamu High School

Infobox NZ school
name = Karamu High School
badge =
motto = Knowledge is strength
type = Co-ed state secondary (Year 9-13)
established =
address = Windsor Avenue,
New Zealand
principal = Mr Martin O'GradyFact|date=August 2008
roll = 714
decile = 4 [ [http://www.minedu.govt.nz/web/downloadable/dl7698_v1/decile-changes-2007-2008-web-state-s-integ.xls Decile change 2007 to 2008 for state & state integrated schools] ]
MOE = 229
homepage = [http://www.karamu.school.nz/ www.karamu.school.nz]

Karamu High School is a co-educational state high school in Hastings, New Zealand for students in Years 9 to 13. The school also operates the Akina Activity Centre as an attached unit. The school is the main co-ed secondary school within Hastings City itself and is generally regarded by residents as less conservative than its local state single-sex counterparts. The school’s campus is located to the easternmost end of Hastings City, adjacent to Windsor Park to the west and the Heretaunga Plains’ orchards to the east.

School life

Perhaps owing to its more liberal outlook, the school has a strong focus on cultural pursuits. It maintains a good reputation in dance and music competitions and provides a wide range of opportunities to students to this end.

There is also wide participation in extra-curricular sporting activities and the school provides opportunities in over 20 sports with varying levels of success. This includes one of the top secondary school cricket first XIs in the country.Fact|date=March 2008 Karamu also has a very competitive first XV with many representative players.Fact|date=March 2008

Karamu’s student body is subdivided in four houses Kaweka (yellow), Tukituki (blue), Te Mata (orange) and Heretaunga (red). The houses are named after local landmarks. The school stages a range of full-school events such as swimming sports, cross-country running and athletic sports in which houses compete against each other. The school does not operate a prefect system, however, does appoint a head girl and boy, plus a deputy to each, and other school leaders: Sports Captains, Cultural leaders, Maori Cultural Leaders and House Leaders. These have no formal power but provide symbolic leadership to the student body, for example by heading the student council.

The high school’s yearbook, ‘Tira Ora,’ is named after a branch of the karamu tree used in Māori ceremonies and produced by a group of students and teachers. The high school also produces an annual prospectus, in part aimed at the body of fee-paying international students which attend the school.

The tira ora also forms the logo of the school itself, appearing in the school badge and on official correspondence.


The school’s colours of green, white and red are reflected in the school’s uniform:

Girls – Tartan skirt, white blouse and green jersey, black shoes.

Boys – Black trousers (winter), grey shorts (summer), white shirt, green jersey/green blazer, black shoes.

Uniform is no longer optional for students in Year 13 and boys have to wear a tie additional to their school uniform.

Akina Activity Centre

An attached unit to Karamu High School, Akina Activity Centre has a roll of up to 20 students with behavioral problems, many of whom have been excluded from other high schools but remain too young to leave the educational system. For this reason, learning is undertaken using less conventional means than in the school proper. It is also noteworthy that while Karamu itself is a decile 4 school, Akina is a decile 1.

1993-4 Hastings ERO crisis

Mounting pressure primarily from residents of Flaxmere for a high school in the suburb resulted in an announcement from the Ministry of Education of a full review of secondary schooling provision in the area by the ERO. Until this time, students living in Flaxmere were forced to travel some distance to one of Hastings’ single-sex schools or to Karamu High School, which was even further away still.

However, as it was widely accepted that the population of Hastings could not support an additional high school, there was an assumption that one of the existing secondary schools – Hastings Girls’ High, Hastings Boys’ High or Karamu - would need to close, with a (less likely) possible merger of the remaining two. This prompted an expensive and at times acrimonious PR war between the three schools (which spawned Hastings Girls’ High’s infamous ‘Girls do better in girls’ schools’ advertising campaign.) Karamu High School, however, conspicuously spent no money on advertising through this period, instead using newspaper editorial to state the school’s money was being used for educational purposes only.

Eventually, tensions between the schools (and their respective supporters) turned out to be for naught as Flaxmere College opened and all incumbent schools also remained open.


* Paul Holmes - journalist, TV presenter
* Jason Reeves - Radio announcer and former TV presenter.
* David Butcher - Former energy minister & MP for Hastings until 1990
* Mark Urlich - New Zealand Speed Skating Representative 1979 - 1985, Resides in U.S.A. selling real estate.


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