Skip to main content


About Our School

Whangamata Area School is a co-educational state composite school catering for students from Year 1 to Year 13. Currently we accept international students from Year 9 to 13. The school roll is about 500 students. Our senior classes are small and give good opportunities for small group and individual support. Most Year 11 classes are fewer than 20 students and many of our Year 12 and Year 13 classes have fewer than 10 students.


Whangamata is located at the base of the Coromandel Peninsula on the East Coast, about two hours drive from the centre of Auckland and an hour and a half from Auckland International Airport. Whangamata is a beach resort town with a permanent population of about 3000.

Whangamata is well known for its surf beach and a number of current and past students have represented New Zealand in international surfing competitions. Over the summer period December/January the town's population swells to nealy 40,000 people.

Whangamata is recognised as being one of the most popular beach resorts in New Zealand. The crowds that throng the spectacular white sandy beaches over the summer months tell us that!

The fantastic beach at Whangamata not only offers safe swimming, but also some of the best surfing breaks in New Zealand too.

Sea conditions suitable for all are available along the beach's 6km length, or in the safe estuaries that lie at each end of the beach. These lead out to a section of the Pacific Ocean popular for big game and recreational fishing.

The Coromandel Forest Park and Tairua Forest bordering the town provides many outdoor experiences including short walks, mountain bike trails, exploring old gold mining sites and pig hunting. Short trails from forestry roads lead to isolated beaches away from civilisation.


The school prides itself in offering excellent opportunities for academic success. We have a very effective staff offering the New Zealand National Curriculum. In Years 9 and 10 we offer core subjects of English, Mathematics, Science, Physical Education, Health and Social Studies. A wide range of "compulsory options" are also offered at Year 9 including Food and Fabric Technology, Multi Media, Drama, Art, Music, Maori, Metalwork and Woodwork. At Year 10 students then choose three of these options to study further. In Senior Years 11-13 we offer a range of subjects all geared towards students gaining the National Certificate of Educational Achievement at Level 1 for Year 11, at Level 2 for Year 12 and at Level 3 for Year 13. Students thinking of enrolling in a New Zealand University are advised to contact our Careers Advisor to find the entry requirements for the course they wish to enroll in.


We make the care of our International Students a very high priority. The Principal and the Dean for International Students oversee the programme and are available to our International Students for pastoral support.


Whangamata Area School has a strong Physical Education Department. We offer Physical Education as an option at Years 11 to 13. In all these programmes there is an excellent balance of practical to theory requirements. In Level 3 Physical Education, that is Year 13, the topics range from windsurfing to mountain biking to skiing. The school offers and encourages students to participate in a wide range of sporting opportunities, including athletics, swimming, cricket, rugby, soccer, basketball and netball. Students are encouraged to take part in the cultural life of the school including drama, music and Kapa Haka.


The academic year runs from late January to early December with four terms, each of about 10 weeks. The summer holiday is from early December to late January.


Students entering at Year 12 must provide evidence of English language proficiency.  Direct enrollment into Year 13 is done on a case by case basis.  To be considered a student would be expected to have at least 6.0 in IELTS or equivalent.  For students hoping to go on to University it is recommended that they enrol in Year 12 and progress through to Year 13.


Full details of visa and permit requirements, advice on rights to employment while studying and reporting requirements are available through the New Zealand Immigration Service on its website


English language (ESOL) support is given throughout the year and there is an expectation that students will attend ESOL classes.  Exemption may be given in exceptional cases.



Alistair Luke
P.O. Box 8, Whangamata, New Zealand
Phone: 64 7 8658557
Fax: 64 7 8658761
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Director of International Students:

Don Stewart
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Sarah Middleton
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


All International Students must live in a school-approved homestay.  Students are not permitted to live in flats/apartments regardless of their age; they must live with a family which does their cooking and washing of clothes.  Students may not change their accommodation without the Director of International Student's prior permission.

About our school

Code of Practice

Whangamata Area School has agreed to observe and be bound by the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students published by the Minister of Education.

When you come to New Zealand to study as an international student, we have a responsibility to ensure that you are well informed, safe and properly cared for. 

To support this, the New Zealand government has developed a Code of Practice (the Code).

Copies of the Code are available on request from the school or from the New Zealand Qualifications website at

Student Fees

Tuition Fee

$15,000 per year (four terms)

Administration Fee

$1200 (includes registration, homestay placement and monitoring fee, one airport transfer)

Personal Account
Homestay Fee

$280 per week

Compulsory government levy
$11.00 per week

Additional costs

  • Airport transfer $220 (subject to change)
  • Visa extension $275 (administration and visa renewal fee)
  • Full insurance (allow $500 per year), approximately $160 per term.
  • Uniform (allow $300)
  • Stationery (the only requirement is a Chromebook or similar device)
  • School subject trips-various (please refer to Senior Course Handbook and Course Costs list)
  • Course costs and materials subject dependant (please refer to Senior Course Handbook and Course Costs list)
  • Year 12 Ski Trip (allow $600)
  • Outdoor Education
    • Year 11 - Surf camp, bush survival, kayak (allow $400)
    • Year 12 – 2 x three day tramps, three day kayak trip (allow $460)
  • NCEA – for senior students wishing to sit the National Certificate of Education Achievement (NCEA) fees apply-$383.30
  • $200 towards the ‘End of year International Student Programme’. This popular programme is over three weeks at the end of the academic year and includes the three day Rotorua trip where students experience Kiwi culture and adventure sports as well as the Coromandel Tour with activities.
  • New Zealand Educational Tours. These are very popular all inclusive chaperoned tours of the North or South Island. Please visit for the latest tour information. Our International Department will be very happy to help you organise this.
  • Active Planet – another excellent student Travel group.
Student Fees


Enrolment Procedures for International Students

  1. Complete the application form.
  2. Provide the documents listed.
  3. The written statement should be a statement by the student about him/herself, his/her interests and hobbies.
  4. Upon receipt of the application, we evaluate the application and send an offer of place along with an invoice.
  5. When the invoice is paid, we send a Confirmation of Place letter and a receipt. You need these two documents to apply to the nearest New Zealand Embassy for a student visa.
  6. The visa application form is generally on the website of the Embassy. 

International Students' Entry Criteria

  • Whangamata Area School accepts students at Year 9-13 level 
  • The school seeks to recruit students who have had some English language skills. However intensive English language assistance is available 
  • It is important that students have a genuine desire to learn and they must have a good record of attendance at their previous school
  • Students must be willing to sign the tuition agreement and abide by the school’s rules as they apply to international students
  • School reports and testimonials should accompany an application to study
  • The school reserves the right to place the student in appropriate courses based on the student’s competency in English

Refund Conditions

  1. To be eligible for a refund an application must be made in writing to the Board of Trustees by the parent or legal guardian stating clearly the reason for withdrawal of the student
  2. If the withdrawal is made prior to the student coming to New Zealand a full refund shall be made less $250.00 administration fee
  3. There will be no refund if a request to withdraw is made after the student has reached the mid-point of his/her programme of study in New Zealand except in the following circumstances - serious illness of the student or of his/her close family. In determining any refund the Board of Trustees will take into consideration the special circumstances of the withdrawing student and – the costs to the school in providing tuition costs incurred in employing staff and providing facilities payments made to the New Zealand government No refund will be made to any student who – transfers to another school or educational institution, is asked to leave because of misbehaviour, poor attendance or violation of the contract with the school.

Fees Protection Policy Rationale

The school is required to ensure that all student’s fees are protected in the event that the school is unable to continue to offer tuition to international students or in the event that a student is required to return home or is transferred to another institution. All students attending Whangamata Area School are required to take insurance with a recognised insurance company, which guarantees cover for students for the unforeseen insolvency, regulatory closure or withdrawal of accreditation of any education provider and provides an extensive travel and medical cover.


International Student Experiences at Whangamata Area School


Hi, I’m Justus from Germany.
Whangamata was one of the best times in my life! Three months full of fun, learning, making new friends and getting wonderful memories with pupils, parents, teachers and all other people in Whangamata, I will never forget it.
I want to thank you for all the great stuff you did with me, the things you have taught me and the great time that I will always miss!
Whangamata is a perfect small city where everyone knows everyone. I was included very fast, it felt like a big family.
For me the life was very relaxed and when I wanted to do something I always found ways to manage.
Even if it is a small town for German conditions you can do so many cool things. When you get bored you are doing something wrong! If you are thinking about coming to Whangamata you should decide to go there. 
I liked that the communication between teachers and students, it is very relaxed so it felt like a family. The teachers were very open minded and I could speak to them when I had problems or concerns.
I want to thank especially my host family that I was allowed to live with them and do many wonderful activities with them. I have got many cool memories and experiences which I will never forget!
From Germany


Hi, I'm Mao from Japan.

People in Whangamata are really nice and supported me well so that I could enjoy life there very much. Also, the nature there was amazing especially the beach. I'm sure that all people from other countries or areas will be impressed.

Whangamata was tiny community but it makes us feel apart of it. It makes us happy being said hi to or remembered by not only people in school but also the local people. For all these points, I'm sure that NZ and Whangamata is worth visiting.

From Japan


I’m Niclas from Germany and I have spent one year at the Whangamata Area School in Whangamata. When I chose to come to New Zealand, I knew it will be different to Germany, but I was still surprised how different it was.  I was expecting the same life-style as in Germany, but it was totally different.

The school is smaller and the inter-action between teacher, student and student to student is more casual and relaxed than in Germany.  Especially, as the students were very welcoming and friendly.
Most of the people choose to live in this town, because of its relaxed life-style and because of its beautiful beach.
If we had any problems during the year, we were always welcome to come, to one of our koru teachers or to our administrators.

The trip to Rotorua with Mr. Stewart and the other international students and the trip to the South Island with my family, were an experience which I will never forget.  It was a `once a life´ experience.
Mr. Stewart (The Dean of the international Students) took us to Rotorua during the term holidays, it was an unforgettable experience.  These trips were remarkable, with lots of fun, which I wouldn’t have experienced in Germany.

At last I want to thank my host family (Peter and Wendy) who made me feel like I would be a part of their family.  Who organized a trip for me and who made many other things happen to make my year unforgettable

All these experiences have helped me to grow as a person and I would recommend this type of gap year to anyone.

WHANGAMATA- thank  you for the mean year!

From Germany


I had a good year in New Zealand but what I really enjoyed were the trips around New Zealand. The trip to Rotorua was really good because I haven´t seen the town before and we did a lot of activities. We started off with going to the Agrodome and watched the sheep shearing show and we had a great Maori show with traditional Maori dinner in the evening.

Next day we drove around Rotorua and Mr. Stewart showed us the town. After that we went up the gondola and did all the activities up there. Later on we went to see another Maori show and saw an amazing part of the countryside in New Zealand.

That night we went to the hot pools and then to bed because we needed to wake up early in the morning because we were white water rafting in Rotorua. It was our last activity and it was the best one. After the white water rafting we went home. It was an amazing trip for all of us and definitely one of my favourites!


I´m Josie Hansmann the city girl from Germany in Whangamata, a small town, where you hit the beach rather than the shopping malls.  The people are lovely- relaxed and friendly.  I attended Whangamata Area School for 9 months and I loved it.  The way that students and teachers interact with each other is like a big family.  If I had a problem I could talk to every teacher and they would help me!  The students are really friendly and laid-back.  In Whangamata everyone knows everybody!

A trip that I will never forget was the leadership trip to Murupara.  We slept at a Marae, which was a great experience.  It was an interesting trip with a lot of fun and experience that I would never have in Germany. 

Even though Whangamata is such a small school in contrast to other schools in New Zealand, they still offer you a lot of options of interesting subjects like Outdoor Education and Marine Studies.  I benefitted so much from having one-on-one ESOL classes.  It was so much fun!  I went on so many school trips and I got integrated in to the group really easily, because we all had memories from these trips.  I enjoyed every single day in Whangamata and I´m going to miss the town and especially the beach!

From Germany


Before I came here I was so excited and at the same time very scared to leave my family and friends for such a long time.  I didn’t actually know much about New Zealand, though I did know it would be different.  In Italy I live in a pretty big city, so I found Whangamata very small and for this reason very different to what I was used to.  I was worried about not having much fun in such a small town, but I was wrong!  I am now glad that I came to Whangamata and attended Whangamata Area School.  The group of students wasn’t a big one so it has been easy to fit in and become a part of their community.

I found the teachers at Whangamata Area School really friendly, caring for me and helping me become part of the school group.  I was in the Year 12 part of the school but felt closer to the Year 13 students, I found these students amazing.  My school in Italy has more “classical” subjects and is really focused on literature and writing, I do like this but am glad I have had the chance to experience other subjects.  Being involved in subjects such as photography and art has made my stay more exciting.  The teachers were great and made the subjects interesting and enjoyable.

I am now going to be leaving Whangamata very soon; I have just 2 days to go.  Though I am really excited about seeing my family and friends back in Italy, I am also very sad to leave my family and friends here in Whangamata.  My host family has been a real family for me; I call them mum, dad and brother.  I now feel very close to them and have always felt at home with them, right from the first day I met them. It feels weird to be leaving because it seems like just yesterday when I came to Whangamata.  I hope to come back one day and see you all again and you are all very very welcome at my home in Italy anytime.

Well its time to go now.  I’d like to thank all of your for making me so happy and comfortable here.

I will miss you all.


From Italy

Make an

Live and learn at the beautiful beach town of Whangamata in New Zealand.