Our School

Tēnā Koutou e te whanau

Te Paepae o Aotea is a school of approximately 1100 students and opened at the start of the 2023 school year. We are a co-educational state school catering for students for Year 7-15. Te Paepae o Aotea was formed in response to the closure of Hāwera High School and Hāwera Intermediate at the end of the 2022 school year.


The Ministry of Education, at the beginning of 2020, received the education building briefs from Hāwera High School and Hāwera Intermediate. They recognised that they both needed major building works. A period of community consultation led by the Ministry of Education started in 2020 and continued into 2021. This consultation focused on the community having their say on the future schooling provisions for Hāwera. The Minister of Education, Hon Chris Hipkins announced in November 2021 that both Hāwera High School and Hāwera Intermediate would closed and a new Year 7-15 school opened.


The Establishment Board of Trustees were appointed on 21 December 2021 and were given eleven months to get the ‘Hāwera New School’ ready for students and staff for the beginning of 2023.

Establishment Board of Trustee members were:

Our school name, Te Paepae o Aotea, was gifted to us by Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Ruanui and Te Korowai o Ngāruahine on 24 June 2022 as part of Matariki celebrations. Alongside our name, we were also gifted a whakatauākī and logo. There are two major components to our name, Paepae and Aotea and the condensed meaning is as follows: We are all on the learning journey of Aotea, as the people of South Taranaki, realising our full potential.

Our whakatauākī: ‘Kia eke atu ki Taupaenui o te tangata’ challenges us to instill in our students the tools to help them achieve their full potential, in the pursuits they and their whānau deem important. Our cultural narrative is the foundation that we use to unpack elements of Mātauranga Māori. Te Ao Māori is prioritised across the curriculum.

The foundation leadership at Te Paepae o Aotea:

Our eight Guiding Principles are interwoven into the teaching and learning at Te Paepae o Aotea; Culturally Inclusive; Personalised Learning Journey; Social, Physical and Emotional Curriculum; Authentic Connections; Future-focused Curriculum; Expert Teaching; Community Contribution; Striving for Excellence.

A school wide culturally responsive pedagogy builds a family-like context, in which restorative practice promotes a healthy community and maintains authentic relationships.

Discover Our Guiding Principles

Knowing and respecting all students, and their culture is important to us. We use our name and our whakatauākī to teach our local history. Local Tikanga and Te Reo are integrated across the curriculum. Respectful citizens are key members in our community.

A family-like context underpins everything we do at Te Paepae o Aotea. Students are guided through a learning programme that supports their hauora/wellbeing. Students will become independent and resilient.

Physical wellbeing through sport and regular activity promotes achievement.

Excellence and personal achievements are celebrated and shared with the learning community. Each term, Open Days celebrate learning inquiries and whānau are welcome into classes to share the learning journey.
All students are expected to get involved with extracurricular activities within the school or in the community through sport, culture, and/or the arts. In the Junior School students will complete at least one community project each year. Students will link their Community Contribution project to a minimum of three curriculum areas e.g., math, science, technology.

Students learning programmes include content from a mixed number of curriculum areas. Students plan their learning programmes and have choice. Students are encouraged to investigate areas of interest – this encourages innovation and growth mindsets. Students become lifelong learners. Level 2 NCEA is a minimum expectation for school leavers.

Relationships are vital for both the academic achievement and the wellbeing of all our students. Reducing transitions allow students, whānau and teachers to build authentic relationships. Teachers develop a deep understanding of students and their learning, and this is documented in their ILP (Individual Learning Programmes).


Students at Te Paepae o Aotea have an Individual Learning Programme. Students frequently plan, track, and review their journal, alongside their teacher and whānau.

Students cover the full curriculum. Specialist teachers deliver the learning and access to labs/spaces are available. Research and professional development promote best practise teaching.


The following values are the way we do things at Te Paepae o Aotea


Our value of Aotea represents a caring environment for all students, staff, whānau and community to explore identity.

We create safe and caring learning environments.

We value and celebrate individual mana.

We develop authentic relationships.


Our value of Taupaenui supports the attainment of human potential, the pursuit of knowledge and striving for excellence.

We uphold a learning culture that is inclusive and diverse.

We strive for personal excellence.

We have a positive attitude and a growth mindset.


Our value of Paepae supports the courage, adventure, strength, persistence and the pursuit of knowledge in the learning environment.

We are courageous and visionary.

We challenge with confidence, where appropriate.

We support each other to overcome obstacles and build resilience.