Curriculum & Academics

Success together; success for our futures.

At Mana College, we are committed to the delivery of quality education. The usual curriculum subjects are offered and complemented with a wide range of other special-interest subjects. Our emphasis is on providing a challenging curriculum that is well taught by professional staff.

School Culture

The expression of school culture is based on the vision and values incorporated in the Mana College charter (2024-2026) and the eight capabilities within the learner profile. This vision entitled ‘Mana with Mana’ demands that all young people will flourish within the learning community. To flourish in a school context is ‘to grow positively into oneself’ and to experience learning opportunities that build the value of oneself and one’s context in a wide range of physical, mental, spiritual and social areas (Scherto Gill, 2009). Mason Durie also describes this by way of four dimensions of Hauora in the development of his widely used model of Māori health – Te Whare Tapa Whā.

School culture can be defined as ‘what we do around here’ (Deal & Kennedy, 1998). While school culture is the responsibility of all members of the community, teachers and leaders are at the centre of influence. Teachers and leaders who believe in the process of building positive relationships with young people and their family, and regard student agency as paramount are critical for improvement. These teachers possess mana and respect and look to problem solve and advocate based on the child’s needs rather than a focus on problems (deficit theorising).

School culture enables relationships for learning and supports togetherness or whakawhānaungatanga for the learning agenda. Positive learning relationships between young people, staff, parents and the community support academic and personal excellence and use growth mindset, culturally responsive pedagogy and restorative practice to strengthen learning power. Young people are supported by learning teams to be able to feel safe and secure, included, nurtured, resilient, and have a sense of belonging and accomplishment.

Wellbeing is at the centre of this vision and strives to support the mana of a young person. ‘Mana with Mana’ attends to the needs of all young people, regarding their positive connections with their peers, teachers, whānau and the wider community as critical. The vision desires to enable them to pursue and engage in a school curriculum that connects them to their strengths, interests, culture and their huge potential to succeed.

From day one young people and their whānau buy into a culture of deep care, self-responsibility, and curiosity about their world and their future. This is played out in learning contexts such as the classroom, learning advisories, academies, and in activities such as sports, arts and cultural experiences and events. Young people codesign this experience and this allows them to engage deeply in what is important to them.

Ultimately, young people will make mistakes and a supportive, restorative environment teaches them to reflect, grow and strengthen from the experience. This is ultimately where relationships for learning are tested and strengthened.

Our Curriculum

The Mana College Curriculum is focused on developing student flourishing. For us at Mana, Flourishing is about every student realising their potential across academic, social, cultural, sporting dimensions. 

A big focus for us is ensuring every student has an academic pathway that works for them and their whanau. But an academic pathway is not enough on its own, and that is why we work hard to develop student abilities to lead, solve problems and become active, healthy members of our community. 

You can read all about our senior curriculum programme in the handbook we provide every student. The junior programme is outlined in our junior handbook.

The cornerstone of the senior curriculum is responsiveness. We aim to create relevant and engaging learning pathways that are responsive to the needs of our community.

From 2023, Year 11 students will select 6 subjects. These courses will be generalist in nature and will aim to build the foundations for a range of pathways. In Year 12, students will begin to choose their pathway although flexibility will remain for those wanting to change pathways or maintain a dual pathway approach. Students in Years 12 and 13 will select 5 subjects with the option of doing 6 subjects for those that feel they are able to cope with the demands of an extra subject.

From 2023, the Mana College Junior Curriculum will move towards a Wellbeing Curriculum that is underpinned by a progression approach to teaching, learning, and assessment. The curriculum will weave together the values of mana ōrite (Manaakitanga, Kotahitanga, Kaitiakitanga, Whakaiti, Whakaaro nui, Whakamana), with wellbeing, and digital technologies to build the foundations of flourishing for all rangatahi. In essence, the Mana College curriculum will aim to develop courageous, confident, and curious young people that are able to contribute positively to our community.

When students arrive in year 9 they are placed in a ‘Whare Āhuru’ group of about 12 students, with a Toka Āhuru. Students remain in that Whare Āhuru group (with one teacher) for the time they are at Mana College. Whare Āhuru time occurs 4 times a week.

2 Whare ahuru groups combine to form a class in the junior school. From 2023, all of the New Zealand Curriculum 8 learning areas will receive 3 lessons per week. These are:

  • The Arts
  • English
  • Languages
  • PE and Health
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Technology

In Technology and The Arts, students will rotate around a number of classes to get experiences in a range of sub-disciplines. These include hospitality, hard materials, dance and drama, music, painting, and digital technologies.


We are focused on preparing our students for the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). Students in years 11-13 work towards attaining Levels 1-3 of NCEA, as well as entering for Scholarship Examinations.

NCEA is a standards-based qualification combining both internal and external assessments. NCEA was designed to challenge all students, including the ablest and highly motivated. It was also designed to give schools the flexibility to develop a range of programmes to suit the specific needs of their students.

Students are actively supported to work towards gaining a certificate and/or course endorsement at Merit and Excellence through individual academic mentoring and closely monitoring students’ progress.

Whare Āhuru

Academic Mentoring Programme

Mana College Whare Āhuru provide every student with a basis for success. Whare Āhuru typically see a Mana College staff member working closely with 10-12 students to develop the best possible platform for educational success.

Whare Āhuru meet together everyday except Wednesday at 9am for 30 minutes. These Whare Āhuru times build learning skills, positive relationships and career pathways for students. Whare Āhuru are where teachers and students can reflect on their learning and support one another to build flourishing.

For parents, your child’s Toka Āhuru is someone who will know your child really well, and will be able to partner with you to develop their wellbeing and learning.