“In Hong Kong, it’s like teachers are programming robots. At Nga Tawa, they take more care. They knew me as a person and not just a number.”
Elaine found Nga Tawa’s peaceful, rural environment a stark contrast to her upbringing in Hong Kong. She also went from having 40 students in her class to small classes with lots of one on one time with teachers. She loved Nga Tawa’s nurturing learning environment where teachers listened and took the time to help her find a word or to point her in the right direction. While at Nga Tawa she rode a horse for the first time, played tennis and badminton, and fell in love with rugby. She went on to study Food Science and Nutrition in Auckland.
"Nga Tawa gave me opportunities to do things I never thought I’d be capable of, like the confidence and experience to go to London on my own to attend the London International Youth Science Forum. It’s crazy to think about!"
For Florentine, Nga Tawa opened doors for her that wouldn’t have been possible in Germany. In her final year at school she was a Peer Supporter, attended the Young Enterprise regional finals, travelled to London to attend the London International Youth Science Forum, and visited her classmate Elaine in Hong Kong. She rode Tevy, a school horse, and not only did she become a much more confident rider but she learned so much about looking after horses and their well-being. She even competed at a few horse shows. Florentine sat eight Year 13 exams including two New Zealand Scholarship exams. She loved being part of the tight-knit Nga Tawa community and will always cherish the friendships she made.
"I was a city girl and wanted to go to a big school or to a school with boys. My mum wanted me to go to Nga Tawa for the education it provides but also because she thought the uniform was pretty. I’m so glad I did because people actually knew me as a person and I felt like part of a community."
Claris, a big city girl with a witty sense of humour, spent three and a half years at Nga Tawa. She finished her final year of school with great grades and went on to study Accounting. She was the first to admit sport wasn’t her thing but she tried everything– softball, badminton, tennis, and even the Nga Tawa fitness programme. Unfortunately, one thing she didn’t have a go at was horse riding - she realised on her first day she was allergic to horses so stayed well away from the yards! She has great memories of her teachers and the friends she made.
"There are so many people in Thailand. I wanted something different for myself. Even though I’d never been so far from home before, I knew in my first few days at Nga Tawa that someone was always going to have my back."
Anya arrived at Nga Tawa as a 14-year-old and stayed for four years. She was looking for new experiences that she couldn’t get in Thailand, and a lot fewer people! Even though she wasn’t sporty, she was pleased she gave sports like soccer and softball a go. After Nga Tawa Anya went on to study Marine Biology at Massey University in Auckland, something she probably wouldn’t have done if she hadn’t come to Nga Tawa. Her supportive teachers helped her to realise she was actually quite good at Biology and for someone who feels better about herself when she does things well, she liked the idea of exploring a career in that field.
"I learned a lot about myself at Nga Tawa. What I was able to achieve while I was there, especially the improvement I made with my English. It makes me, and my family, very proud."
Sylvia arrived at Nga Tawa with very basic English. She left Nga Tawa in 2018 with Level 3 English, 10 of those credits Excellence endorsed. After Nga Tawa, Sylvia headed to Australia to study Media and Public Relations. One day she hopes to produce reality television shows.