Arts and Culture

Arts and Culture


The Arts are powerful forms of personal and social expression. They link imagination, thinking and feeling. They provide essential learning for living and develop a wide range of both general and specific skills, which are significant in many aspects of life, including employment. They are important for recreation and leisure.

The Arts cross boundaries. They are a source of international communication and understanding. They express and shape national identity. Learning through the Arts enables students to appreciate and understand their own heritage and other cultures. It provides opportunities to examine a range of values and perceptions.

The Arts are important to the growth of self-knowledge and self-worth. They encourage students to investigate their own values and those of others, and to recognise the aesthetic and spiritual dimensions of their lives. They enable students, as individuals and as members of a group, to understand, express and communicate present and past experiences. (The New Zealand Curriculum Framework, 1993, page 15)

At HPSS, learners can experience a range of arts and cultural activities giving them the opportunity to develop talents, acquire new skills and link their interests to their learning. Through their learning programmes, learners will experience a range of options from the Performing Arts (including Dance, Drama and Music) and Visual Arts disciplines. Learners also have the opportunity to take music lessons through an itinerant music programme, or be involved in small and large-scale productions.

Performing Arts Happenings 2017


Our overarching theme for Term 3 was Innovation, and so Performing Arts teachers Justine, Leigh and Louise decided to take an innovative approach to creating and staging a show for Foundation students through their SPINs. Students in the GLEEFUL SPIN created a script inspired by the story of the Ugly Duckling, and then students in the MUSICLY SPIN created, arranged and performed music and sound, while students in the TALENTOS SPIN created and performed Dance. GLEEFUL students then performed the show while other students in the SPIN designed and created costumes, props and lighting, and managed the backstage area.

With only two rehearsals during floor times to bring the whole production together, the show was staged to a selection of hubs, teachers and family members on Wednesday 27th September. The audience was treated to a very professionally staged show, which many commented was ‘awesome’; ‘so good’; ‘really cool’. The students who created and performed during the show should be congratulated on the high quality of their work, and hopefully we will see them all taking the stage/singing/lighting/playing/designing again very soon. Well done to the cast and crew of ‘The Ugly Duckling’ - you should be very proud of everything you achieved. Thank you once again to Gerard for the fabulous photos.


This year our Kapa Haka group has increased in numbers and under the tutelage of Siobhan Steedman, has created an impressive performance bracket. Lead by Misialofa Saamu and Leianah Afu, the group had their first public performance at AUT during Te Wiki O Te Reo Maori.

The group has been overwhelmed and humbled by the feedback they have received, including:

"Please let the Kapa Haka group know how incredibly awesome and talented they are - their performance this morning was just stunning".

"Stunning, just stunning. Tino kino te pai".

"They are exactly what the school was missing - a heart".

The performance at AUT allowed the group to show how far they have progressed. We look forward to seeing the group continue to excel, and give thanks to Raegan and Justine for their support and guidance throughout the year.


Students from the DCONNECT qualification SPIN spent the weekend of 18th - 20th August at Karanga Camp, on the edge of the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park, with students and teachers from Mount Roskill Grammar School, exploring the devising process and creating exciting work.

The camp was organised to bring HPSS and MRGS students together to share ideas, inspirations and creations through a series of workshops and devising sessions. Throughout the weekend, our students worked with partners from MRGS to explore different theatre and devising styles and then use the knowledge to create new and exciting pieces of drama. They were also challenged to create an item for a Camp Show on the final evening.

The first day of Camp saw students getting to know each other through games, participating in their first devising workshop before joining in an energetic karaoke session. They were then up early the following morning for a long day of callisthenics, workshops and creating, culminating in the Camp Show. The Camp Show consisted of scenes that had been created during the weekend, alongside solo or group talent items.

The show was a huge success, keeping the audience laughing and responding for hours. All of the performers made us proud, but there could be only two sets of winners. Winner of the talent section of the show was Tee from MRGS with her performance of Adele’s ‘A Million Years Ago’, while the best scene was awarded to a group consisting of MRGS students Reon, Taygen and Ainsley, alongside HPSS students Elise Henry and Emily Van Dam.

As well as creating entertaining and interesting work, all of the students assisted in cooking meals, cleaning and other chores during the weekend.

It was an amazing experience to be a part of, and I am very grateful for the enthusiasm and creativity of all of the students, as well as the hard work and support of Gerard from HPSS and MRGS teachers Miss Gillies and Miss Thompson, and MRGS parent Elaine.


Preparations for Stage Challenge began in Term 1, and leaders Emma Mihaere, Savannah Scheen and Ria Sharma worked hard with a dedicated group to produce a performance that explored the way that mental health issues can impact upon young people. The day of the performance saw the group leave HPSS at 6.30am to travel to the Aotea Centre, where rehearsals and production meetings went on throughout the day. The group represented themselves and HPSS admirably, and went on to gave a passionate performance on the stage. Although we did not bring home any prizes from the event, we did bring home a great deal of pride in the group and the quality of the work that they produced.


The end of term 2 saw students from the Dance, Drama and Music Learning Areas impressing a packed audience with the range and quality of their performances. The performances on view had been prepared for Stage Challenge, as NCEA assessment pieces or as the results of Performing Arts SPINs, and so included students from all Year levels in the school. All of the students involved worked very hard in the run up to the Showcase, and everyone should be congratulated on their achievements. As always, many thanks to Gerard MacManus for the wonderful photos.


Students in the DCONNECT Qualification SPIN spent the first two terms of this year working hard to create their version of Michelanne’s Forster’s play ‘Daughters of Heaven’, The play looks at the events of June 22nd 1954, when Honora Rieper was murdered by her daughter Pauline, and Pauline’s best friend Juliet Hulme. It is based on real people and a real event that still has the power to shock, and was described by one audience member as ‘hard-hitting’.

As students prepared their version of the play, they realised that they would be performing on 22nd June 2017—the 63rd anniversary of Honora Parker’s murder. That fact provided a sense of obligation to do justice to these characters and this shocking story which was something that was kept in mind throughout the rehearsals.

The production also had to deal with its own shocking event when cast member Bill Savery was injured two weeks before the performance dates. In true Performing Arts tradition, the show went on, and all cast members rose to the occasion magnificently.

These actors should be congratulated on their willingness to investigate this play and these characters, and they can be very proud of what they created together. Their performances of the play on June 21st and 22nd were very well received by audiences who were impressed by the commitment and focus shown. It was a pleasure to work with this group and I am sure there will be more great performances to come.


Over Queen’s birthday weekend, 15 HPSS students travelled to the SGCNZ University of Otago National Shakespeare Festival in Wellington. Over five action-packed days, the students attended workshops and talks (including some awesome events led by renowned Shakespeare practitioner Ben Crystal), shows and performances of a huge range of scenes from Shakespeare’s plays, performed by students from schools all over the country.

On Saturday 3rd June, with a number of HPSS parents proudly sitting in the audience, 9 performers, directed by Libby Palmer, took to the stage to perform their 15 minute extract from Macbeth. The scene was received enthusiastically by the large audience and the group can be extremely proud of the focus and commitment they brought to their performance.

After a full day of workshopping and networking, the whole group assembled in the Opera House for the Festival’s awards ceremony, where Libby Palmer was chosen to receive the Outstanding Students Direction Award, and the scene also gained the Best Use of Space Award. The entire HPSS contingent was thrilled for Libby and the performers, and celebrations continued long into the night!

These awards are a testament to the talent, hard work and dedication of Libby and her cast: Elise Henry, Emily Van Dam, Constantina Kardula, Chelsea Sampson, Emily Smith, Molly Harding, Keisha Jayapuram, Rachel Taylor and Melissa Smith. All of the students on the trip were outstanding ambassadors for HPSS, and all have come back bubbling with ideas for next year’s SGCNZ University of Otago West Auckland Shakespeare Festival. We are fortunate to have such a group of creative and committed students in the school.


On Thursday 4th May, students in the Qualifications SPIN DCONNECT were extremely fortunate to take part in a workshop with Kerry Frampton, Artistic Director of Splendid Productions. Splendid Productions is a very highly regarded British theatre company who specialise in Epic Theatre, and this is the first time that the company has ever visited New Zealand, meaning that HPSS is one of only three schools in the whole country to have this amazing opportunity!

The workshop introduced the students to some specific performance techniques that will support their work on their class production, Daughters of Heaven (look out for performance dates later this term!), and in their devising work later this year. Kerry's energy and good humour meant that the time flew by all too quickly, but we were left with some excellent resources to support our work for the rest of the year. Thank you Kerry!


The first week of April 2017 accidentally became Shakespeare week at HPSS, with two Shakespeare plays viewed, and the West Auckland Regional SGCNZ University of Otago Shakespeare Festival held at the school.

Much Ado about Nothing at the Pop Up Globe

On Wednesday 5th April, students from the DCONNECT SPIN travelled to the Pop Up Globe tos ee a performance of Much Ado about Nothing. Despite some atrocious weather, the students enjoyed the performance enormously, especially when our own Melissa Smith was invited onto the stage as part of the performance. It was very interesting for our students to see a play that they would be performing scenes from at the SGCNZ UOSWSF the same day!

Ugly Shakespeare Company at HPSS

On Thursday 6th April, students from DCONNECT were joined by students from Mount Roskill Grammar School at a performance of Macbeth by the Ugly Shakespeare Company. This was a very clever, very funny performance that all of the students had great fun watching. There were lots of questions for the performers after the show and students from both schools had a great time getting to know their peers.

West Auckland SGCNZ UOSWSF 2017

Each year, SGCNZ holds 23 Festivals nationwide, in which high school students perform five and 15 minute scenes from Shakespeare’s plays, set in any time, place, dress – though definitely in Shakespeare’s words. On Wednesday 5th and Thursday 6th April, Hobsonville Point Secondary School hosted the West Auckland Shakespeare’s Globe Centre New Zealand University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival.

Assessors John Callen and Sophie Lindsay saw 19 scenes from a variety of Shakespeare’s plays, presented by five schools (Avondale College, HPSS, Kaipara College, Mount Roskill Grammar School and Western Springs College) from across Auckland.

They were very impressed with the standard of performances, and took a long time to decide on the scenes that would be chosen to represent the West Auckland Region at the National Shakespeare Festival in June. As the awards were presented, we were thrilled to find that the Libby Palmer-directed scene from Macbeth had been chosen as the Best Fifteen Minute Scene, and that Leigh Sykes had been chosen as the Best Adult Director at the Festival. This stunning result for Libby and her performers means that the students have gained the opportunity to perform their scene at the National Festival in Wellington over the Queen’s Birthday Weekend.

The National Festival is a great showcase for the talent and commitment of schools across New Zealand, and the students will be able to attend a variety of workshops, performances and productions during their time in Wellington.

Above L-R: HPSS student Melissa Smith on stage At Much Ado about Nothing; A scene from the show; The Ugly Shakespeare Company, HPSS and Mount Roskill Grammar School students.

Left: Winners of the West Auckland Festival Best 15 Minute Scene. (L-R: Elise Henry, Keisha Jayapuram, Chelsea Sampson, Sophie Lindsay (Assessor), Emily Smith, Libby Palmer (Director), Rachel Taylor, Constantina Kardula and John Callen (Assessor))

Performing Arts Happenings 2016


Our students are working with Red Leap Theatre Company on our new Big Project, which is a fantastic opportunity for us. Red Leap's Residency with us will lead to the creation of a school show, to be performed in December 2016. Take a look at their website link and keep up to date with the exciting things that are happening here. It's already pretty clear how much fun everyone is having working together:


On Wednesday 29th June, Dance, Drama and Music performers entertained a large and appreciative audience with the work that they had prepared during semester one. There were solo and group dances, devised and scripted drama work and solo and group musical numbers. The audience was impressed by the commitment and talent on display and the students were very proud of what they had achieved.

SGCNZ University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival - Term 1

On Tuesday 12th and Wednesday 13th April, close to the end of Term 1, the SGCNZ University of Otago Sheilah Winn West Auckland Regional Shakespeare Festival was held at HPSS. Our adjudicators, Ben Henson and Natalie Beran were very impressed by the quality of the performances and gave the following awards:

  • Best 15 Minute Scene (for performance at the National Shakespeare Festival in Wellington): Avondale College - from The Merchant of Venice
  • Best 5 Minute Scene (for performance at the National Shakespeare Festival in Wellington): Hobsonville Point Secondary School - from The Tempest
  • Student Chosen for Direct Entry to NSSP (National Shakespeare Schools Production: Ella Mackintosh, Western Springs College
  • Best Adult Director: Caleb Wells, Western Springs College
  • Most Promising Actor: Murdoch Keane, Western Springs College

For more on the HPSS performers, see our newsletter: