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Alumni

Haere Mai and welcome to our ‘Where are they now’ section where we aim to celebrate the diverse careers and adventures of our past students and to find out what they have gone on to since leaving Pukekohe High School. It is a new initiative which we hope will contribute to a successful and informative build up to our centenary celebrations in 2 years time in 2021.

So far we have we had responses from a broad range from ex-students, from tv and radio presenters, to explorers, travel bloggers, DJs, police officers and costume designers.

We want to hear from you (or your whaanau) about your memories of being a student at Pukekohe High School and to find out what journey your life has taken since leaving school. Your stories and responses are really important to us in our own journey in finding out more about the richness, history and huge cultural diversity which comes with the connections to Pukekohe High School.

Please feel free to use the questions below which will help guide your answers. You can then email through your answers to ublicity@pukekohehigh.school.nz along with a recent photo of you. Many many thanks for sharing your story with us.

  1. What are your biggest memories of Pukekohe High School?
  2. Who was your Vertical Form Teacher?
  3. What was your favourite subject?
  4. What path did you follow after leaving school?
  5. What is your current career?
  6. Words of advice to current students?
  7. What year did you leave Pukekohe High School?

We would also love to be able to publish your stories on our online platforms such as our website and facebook page. Thank you.

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Update: Sunday 22 March
Dear parents and whānau Sunday 22 March, 12pm – update Further to the announcement on Friday I am writing to confirm that our student tested…

Centenary Sign Up Form

Where Are They Now?

Ainsley Duyvestyn-Smith - Travel Photographer - Class of 2008

What are your biggest memories of Pukekohe High School?

A lot of my memories are of the teachers that I had. I think I was very lucky to hgave been taught by so many inspiring, genuine and kind adults as at PHS. My best memories are definitely of my last couple of years there when teachers would treat you like adults and expect you to act like it. I think it was really formative for a lot of people and forced them to grow up and prepare for the real world. I also have very fond memories of our Canteen fundraising days, especially when I shaved all my hair off in front of the school!

Who was your Vertical Form Teacher?

Mr Jarvis was my vertical form teacher.

What path did you follow after leaving school?

I studied a Bachelor of Communications at AUT the immediately packed my bags and went traveling through Europe and Africa. I quickly fell in love with Paris and it has been my home for the last three and a half years.

My current career path, basically, I write, travel and take photos! I am a freelance portrait and travel photographer and blogger. I also often teach English on the side.

What was your favourite subject?

Art history and Media Studies. Though French has been one of the most useful!

Words of advice to current students?

Don’t be afraid to be different. It’s easy to give in and succumb to the pressure of wanting to be like everyone else, but the most successful people from high school are the ones who were unashamed to be themselves and boldly entered the world knowing who they were. Geeky is cool, knowledge is power!

Andrew Bond - NZ Customs Officer - Class of 2007

What are your biggest memories of Pukekohe High School?

I started at PHS in May 2003. I was a skinny 13 year old English lad who knew absolutely no one at school or indeed in New Zealand, having recently moved over from England with my family. I still remember my first day at PHS, I was nervous and a little bit overwhelmed. Luckily for me I was buddied up with a guy in my class named Ryan who showed me where the classrooms were, and the more important things like the canteen! To this day Ryan continues to be a very close friend and he was an usher at my wedding. I had a lot of fond memories from my time at PHS, but the ones that have stuck with me, canoeing down the Wanganui River at Year 10 camp, tramping around Mt Ruapehu in the snow during a Year 12 Outdoor Education trip and captaining the 1st XI football team. My main memories are that of friendship and without sounding very soft, love. I met my now wife, Sarah, at school and we now have two beautiful children together. PHS gave me the platform to create a very good life for myself in New Zealand and I am very grateful.

What path did you follow after leaving school?

I left school with NCEA and university entrance and signed up to Waikato University studying sport science. However, I had a change of heart a week before the course started and instead I jumped straight into employment. I had always wanted to work in law enforcement and I wanted to follow that passion. For a brief period I worked at Monarch Cafe and Rebel Sport in Pukekohe but soon realised that selling shoes and pouring drinks wasn’t for me. I therefore applied for a trainee intake with the NZ Customs Service and was lucky enough to be accepted to start a role of protecting NZ’s border from drugs, terrorists, weapons, to name a few. I spent my first four years working at Auckland International Airport intercepting drug couriers and gathering intelligence on organised crime groups. I then moved into roles at the Ports of Auckland and the International Mail Centre before fulfilling a lifelong dream of being a drug dog handler. You may have seen my dog, Rajax, and I on hit TV shows Boarder Patrol and Dog Squad.

Words of advice to current students?

It may sound like a cliche but the only sound piece of advice I can give is to throw yourself into everything that PHS has to offer. Whether it be dress up days, house pride (go Perkins!), school trips, sports teams, Music or Art, PHS has it all. Enjoy school, it gives you many opportunities to develop yourself and gain lifelong relationships. I will always look back on my time at PHS with pride and I hope my children will attend PHS one day.

What was your favourite subject?

I enjoyed Science (mainly as it included a really cool trip to White Island!), but mainly P.E. was the one for me.

Who was your Vertical Form Teacher?

I had two, in Years 9 and 10, I had Maths teacher, Miss Cox, and from Year 11 I had Mr Bennett. Funnily enough, Mr Bennett is now a friend through my association with Pukekohe AFC – not all teachers are bad people!

Azura Lane - ZM/FLAVA Radio DJ - Class of 2015

What are your biggest memories of Pukekohe High School?

I could tell you what you’d expect – friends, free periods, shared lunches or acing an assignment. But my memories lay within school groups I joined. Most lunch times you’d find me in a meeting! Sounds lame but I can assure you there is nothing lame about free food, school outings and making change to the school environment. Throwing myself at charity events, house competitions, stage challenge, school plays, student council meetings, The Rising Foundation and even the occasional math tutoring when I had a test coming up. I sucked the schools resources dry while meeting some of the most inspiring people… I definitely don’t regret missing out on lunchtime gossip! Or the fact I was in the first year group to not wear mufti in year 13 (ended up being a blessing in disguise) OR being caked in the face when turning 18…

What path did you follow after leaving school?

Media and entertainment. It drove me up-the-wall tossing up between a “real degree” or my dream – radio (trust me it’s a real degree and a hard one). It took one person to come in and talk about a hands on degree in Christchurch at New Zealand Broadcasting School. It lit a fire in me, I spent weeks applying!

Who was your Vertical Form Teacher?

I’ve had a couple, Ms Harrison and Miss Brien!

What was your favourite subject?

Drama… you don’t have to ask me that twice. To be honest, I enjoyed any subject where the teacher was passionate. I was always easily distracted, it took a lot of focus to keep pushing and stay positive #highschoolthings

Words of advice to current students?

There is so much stereotyping about going to “tech” or doing a “course” when you leave high school. Get rid of that thinking!! Passion for an industry is far more valuable than the level you studied at. If you don’t know what to do, wait! We all have our own timeline. Some people will own a business at 25 and some won’t start until 60 – like the guy who started maccas! School is a resource not a barrier in life. Ask questions, turn up to activities and groups high school provides, take advantage of after school tutoring. When you look you’ll find that high school doesn’t suck, it’s just your attitude.

Jordan Oppert - TVNZ Reporter - Class of 2014

What are your biggest memories of Pukekohe High School?

For me the biggest memories would be the years I spent as part of the rowing team under Mr McKinnon, the former principal. Getting to represent the school at one of the most prestigious sporting events in the country was always a huge privilege. I was also really lucky to row alongside some of my best friends. House events were always a big highlight for me too! So many dress ups! (I was in Day house for the record.)

What was your favourite subject?

For me it was anything English rich. So I loved English, Media Studies and Art History.

What path did you follow after leaving school?

After High School, I was accepted into the New Zealand Broadcasting School where I studied and gained a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

Who was your Vertical Form Teacher?

Mr Le Feferve was mine and I was super lucky to have him for the whole five years I spent at Puke High. We also shared the same birthday so on the 9th of August every year we would bake cakes for each other and it was always pretty special.

Words of advice to current students?

Don’t give up on your dreams, no matter how big or small they are. I have wanted to be a journalist since I was about 5 years old, and there is nothing more rewarding than landing yourself in a role you’ve always dreamt of. Take every opportunity as they come, and use the people around you to propel you to where you want to be. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the guidance and support from my teachers, peers and family throughout my schooling years.

Seth Schanzer - Architect - Class of 2012

What are your biggest memories of Pukekohe High School?

Hanging out in various spots around the school grounds. I often found myself floating between friend groups who all hung out at different places and doing different things at lunchtime, looking back it makes sense. There are few places that I like to spend lots of time in, and probably why I ended up in architecture school.

What was your favourite subject?

I’ll have to split this into two answers. My favourite faculty was and still is the Art Department; there were so many friendly faces (yes, including my mum) and it was such a great environment to spend form time and class time in. My favourite class however was definitely Geography. It just all made a lot of sense to me and I felt like I cruised through at the time. Most of all the content was really interesting; learning about the local steel mill, Tongariro National Park and Hurricane Katrina really captured my intrigue. Design was definitely a close second.

What path did you follow after leaving school?

I went on a gap year straight after high school, and I highly recommend it to anyone that is lucky enough to be able to do! I travelled overseas living in Israel for most of it, learning the language, picking olives, lots of hiking and exploring. All great experience and also great motivation for getting stuck into uni when you get back. Upon return I moved to Wellington to study a Bachelor of Building Science, but after the first year I decided to switch to Architecture.

Who was your Vertical Form Teacher?

PBT – Mr Bennett! Another luxury of my time at PHS was having the use of the computers in B3 every morning to play games, read the news, pretend to do work and stay warm with that lovely big air conditioning unit.

Words of advice to current students?

A cliche thing to say would be something like ‘stay in school’ but I really believe that high school is a great opportunity to discover what it is that really makes you happy, the things you enjoy doing. Once you start studying and working, you’re going to want to enjoy it because you’ll be spending a lot of time doing it! And that’s also a shout out to the wonderful teachers at PHS who work really hard to help us find those things out for ourselves, so we can be as happy as they are (as long as we’re well behaved!)

Steven Upfold - CEO of Auckland Football - Class of 1995

What are your biggest memories of Pukekohe High School?

Playing sport, hanging out with friends – which was mostly about figuring out how to give each other maximum grief, and learning the ropes on how to be an adult from some excellent teacher role models.

Who was your Vertical Form Teacher?

In my final couple of years it was Grant Jarvis – a big supporter of football. Special shouts to Brian McDonald and John Murdie – brilliant teachers who knew how to connect with students on their level and helped me learn and develop, both in the classroom and on the sports field.

What was your favourite subject?

History – a lot can be learned which can be applied in the future by understanding how we got to where we are.

What path did you follow after leaving school?

I attended AUT as a Bachelor of Communications student but did not finish my degree. Opted to enter the workforce instead, moving into my first role in Advertising/Marketing before eventually returning to the Communications sector as a TVNZ website reporter. Moved into a Communications Manager role at Auckland Football for several years before making the move to New Zealand Football to perform the same role for the national body. After a period of overseas travel, I returned to Auckland Football first as Head of Women’s Football, then Chief Operating Officer before being named Chief Executive Officer earlier this year!

Words of advice to current students?

Don’t be afraid to make changes and switch paths if you feel you aren’t on the right one at any point. Trust your gut and use every experience you have as an opportunity to learn and grow.

Steven left Pukekohe High School in 1995 and remains a big advocate for local football in our community and now as part of Auckland and New Zealand.

COVID 19 update - move to Alert Level 1

Nau mai, haere mai.

Welcome back everyone!

School is open for all learners under Alert Level 1.

Wednesday Workshops are running 2:25-3:25pm 

See our workshop schedule under Course Selection