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The School and Our Community

Trident High School opened in 1973. It is a Year 9-13 co-educational, state secondary school which draws its students from the urban area and rural surrounds of Whakatane.  The school attracts students from Whakatane Intermediate and draws students from as far away as Matata in the west and Waimana and Opotiki in the east (these students are balloted in under the legislation related to enrolment schemes - in 2001 the Ministry of Education directed an Enrolment Scheme for the school which has limited “out-of-zone” numbers but not overall roll growth). The school has a high standing in the community; the perception is that we are doing the right things and doing them well.

The main industries in the area are forestry, farming and tourism based, all capitalising on the conducive climate and environment in general. Approximately half of students’ bus to school.


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Trident is staffed with a well-qualified and balanced mix of motivated experienced teachers and enthusiastic young professionals all committed to the individual learning and social needs of our students. Their professional attributes, personal qualities and positive approach help to create a strong and collegial Trident team. The team is led by the Principal and four Deputy Principals who share responsibility for Academic Programmes, Pastoral Care and Teaching & Learning. The school is a collaborative learning environment. All staff are currently involved in professional learning and development related to quality learning and teaching in a culturally relational and responsive learning environment. The focus is to more effectively engage students to ensure learning takes place.

Trident is the lead school of the Futures’ Academy; this offers secondary / tertiary vocational pathways to students across the Bay of Plenty. Our students engage in a growing range of tertiary programmes from automotive to agriculture.

The Education Review Office has acknowledged Trident on a number of occasions by including case studies of the school in a number of its publications notably The Education of Boys and Professional Development and Learning. Most recently Trident supported the ERO in its research around online learning programmes during Covid 19 Lockdown in 2020.

Staffing is maximised and the following strategies are in place to ensure all students receive an education appropriate to their needs:

  • Year 9 general form classes have no more than 25 students

  • Trident is a one to one digital technology school with every student owning or issued a Chromebook

  • An “APEX – Academic Pathways of Excellence” programme provides academic rigour and extension to students who qualify for this class. The first APEX Class progressed to year 13 in 2020

  • Foundation /Internal Assessment classes operating in English, Science, Social Sciences and Mathematics address the needs of students who have experienced learning difficulties

  • Two Learning Support Co-ordinators ensure literacy and numeracy needs of students who have experienced serious learning difficulties are met

  • The provision of numerous alternative courses at Years 11–13 all of which provide students credit on the NZQA qualifications framework

  • Extension of the philosophy of Te Aaka Motuhake  to foster Maori achievement

  • Maori culture classes that involve the concept of tuakana teina (peer mentoring)

  • The Landskills programme established to meet the needs of those who prefer to be involved in more practical / outside learning

  • Deans operating at each year level to provide pastoral and academic support and motivation for all students

  • Specialist Careers support for students which is wide-ranging and attempts to be all-encompassing to meet the pathway needs of each student in and beyond school

  • A school-wide Professional Learning Community for staff with a focus on enhancing pedagogy

  • A significant commitment by staff to a wide-ranging group of co-curricular activities that provide further opportunities for student achievement

  • Volcanix on-line learning programmes provide for  a wide ranging curriculum

These demonstrate the school’s commitment to providing opportunities and supporting every individual to reach his or her potential and experience personal excellence. A key focus of Trident is a commitment to ensuring students are studying in appropriate programmes and obtaining meaningful qualifications which lead to employment or career pathways / education at a higher level. This has led to a proliferation of courses that cater for the most academic, to the students who have learning difficulties. The expected outcome is that students will achieve more merit and excellence results in NCEA, and targets in NCEA will be attained allowing entry to tertiary courses.




The school was opened in 1973, is of S68 design, and is modern in appearance. It is well resourced and we are proud of our extensive grounds and modern facilities which are open to the community and well utilised by a wide variety of groups. Examples of these facilities are the gymnasium with a sprung floor and attached “weight-lifting” bay and climbing wall, the purpose-built “Arts” complex involving drama, music and art, an astro-turf covering six tennis courts (also used for netball and hockey), and an auditorium with a “floating” floor, suitable for cultural and sporting activities and assemblies.

The Board of Trustees has been instrumental in ensuring an attractive physical environment for our students. The landscaping and erection of whakatauki and direction signs enhance the school environment and enhance learning.


Major Building Programme

2015: Installation of Solar Panels on the Special Education Building (a Year 13 Technology project)

2016: Installation of Solar Panels on the Auditorium roof and the development of a self-contained energy and water storage area in the Auditorium complex – authentic learning within the Metal Technology classes.

2017: Refurbishment of the Music Complex and Science Laboratories.

2018: Installation of Laser Cutter in Technology and up-grade of Wharenui and Wharekai complex.

2019: Building of external access doors to A block classrooms

2019: Refurbishment of the external and decking for the wharenui

2020: Food Technology industrial specification expansion and renovation

2021: Two archgolas erected to create comfortable, weather protected outdoor spaces

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