Our Stories

Four rangatahi from Vanguard tell their stories


Within partnership schools, kids are finding a place to re-engage with education. Kids who wouldn’t be at school are chasing merits and excellence grades and getting them. I’ve got kids who thought university was a far-off dream, something for other people, and they are developing the work ethic that will get them there.


It’s providing a safe environment for kids to have a second crack at education. And we like to think we’re doing a good job of it – based on the smiles of the kids and also their results.

– ”Falefatu Enari, co-principal of Pacific Advance Senior School

RISE UP ACADEMY, Mangere East, Auckland

“The partnership school context gives Pasifika communities opportunities to create, recreate and develop. It provides school environments that allow children to come through the school front gate and bring their whole self with them. They bring who they are, they bring their natural gifts and talents, they bring their culture and it is a safe space for them.”

– Sita Selupe, Chief Executive of Rise Up Academy

VANGUARD MILITARY ACADEMY, Albany, Auckland – students

Seventeen-year-old Hannah Harris-Juhasz travels for almost three hours each way to get to and from school. That’s how much she loves it.

“I get asked all the time why I go to a school so far away from my home. The commitment is worth it, for what I get out of the school,” she says.

Hannah admits to being a rebellious teenager prior to her move to Vanguard Military Academy. In fact, it was an act of defiance to take on “military school” when her parents suggested she wouldn’t be able to hack it.

“I ended up loving it. I love the discipline of it, the organisation, the people. The students are amazing. They are very caring, and so are the staff,” she says.

Hannah has embraced the daily military-style physical training and, with her newfound self-confidence, she is excelling at her studies.

TE KURA MAORI O WAATEA, Mangere, Auckland

“Our school is about educating the whole child, not just from the shoulders up, and the whole whanau. We believe that successful learning for our children means family engagement, so we support the families,” says Tania.

Te Kura Maori O Waatea is now looking to extend its reach into secondary school.

“We’ve got high levels of non-completion of Maori students at secondary school and that’s a worry,” Tania says.

“I want our children to be successful….to make a positive contribution to our society.

“I want our children to have choices in their lives. Being uneducated is a recipe for having few – if any – choices in life.”