To support and encourage young people to attain their potential in education, and to develop into socially aware, contributing, and fulfilled adults who are able to manage their life, whatever their circumstances, to make wise decisions, enjoy healthy relationships, to follow their dream, keep focused, manage change, and never stop learning.

The Department

With four full-time qualified counsellors the Guidance Department is an integral part of the College providing information and support for students and their families.  The counsellors are all members of New Zealand Association of Counsellors and abide by the NZAC Code of Ethics.  All the counsellors are New Zealand Registered Teachers which gives them a clear understanding of the classroom and teaching. 




Meet the Counsellors


Jay Smith - HOD
Phone: (64-9) 477-0150 ext 787

I was born and raised in Scotland and graduated with a degree in Science from the University of Glasgow. In 1998 I moved to Auckland and took up a position as a Mathematics teacher. After completing a Master's Degree in Counselling I joined Rangitoto College Guidance Department in 2007.

Marnie Sutherland

Phone: (64-9) 477-0150 ext 789

After 20 years as a teacher, an increasing passion for youth mental health and well-being beyond the classroom led me to postgraduate studies in counselling. I feel privileged to be able to work with, and support, students at Rangitoto College as they navigate the successes and challenges of adolescent life.


Louise Gaines
Phone: (64-9) 477-0150 ext 784

I immigrated to New Zealand from South Africa in 1996. I have a BA (Honours) degree and have taught Geography for over 20 years.  My interest in the overall well-being of students, prompted me to complete my Masters Degree in Counselling.  As part of the Guidance team, I look forward to helping and supporting young people at Rangitoto College.


Rebecca Jones
Phone: (64-9) 477-0150 ext 778

Having been a teacher for 14 years, the majority being in the United Kingdom, I was passionate about further supporting young people and their emotional wellbeing.  When I returned to New Zealand I completed further studies and gained my Master of Counselling.  Since then I have managed Kidsline, a phone counselling help line for children and youth, along with leading support groups for youth. In 2018, I was glad to further develop my work with young people when I joined the Guidance team at Rangitoto College.



The Guidance Department provides a private and confidential service for students at all levels. Students may self-refer, or are referred by teachers, deans, senior management staff, or parents.

The four qualified counsellors who are all members of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors (NZAC) offer counselling over a wide range of issues – anxiety, depression, relationships, anger, conflict, eating issues, and substance use are some examples. Students benefit from discussing difficulties they are experiencing at College, or issues that may be happening outside school.

At times a counsellor may suggest a referral to an outside agency e.g. Marinoto Adolescent Mental Health services or The CADS programme (alcohol and drugs abuse). Parents are welcome to contact the Guidance counsellors for advice and information about these, or other, agencies for young people.

What Happens in Counselling?

The student and counsellor meet in the counsellor’s office and the counsellor will introduce her/himself.  At this point it is usual to outline confidentiality and autonomy and explain to the student what that means for them personally.  All four counsellors take an eclectic approach to counselling – that is they draw on many approaches to counselling.  These may include narrative therapy, sand tray therapy, interactive drawing therapy, solution focused therapy, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).  Depending on the student some are more open to creative approaches while others are more comfortable with direct face to face counselling.  The aim is, always, to connect well with students – both male and female, of different cultures and with different personalities.  One counselling session may be sufficient but more often a number of sessions are required. 

Supervision and Professional Development

Counsellors are bound by the NZAC Code Ethics –  - to undertake frequent professional clinical supervision.  This is for a measure of accountability, and the maintenance of safe, ethical and effective practice.  The NZAC annual renewal of membership for counsellors is dependent on appropriate attendance at supervision.  Another key part of annual renewal of membership is for the counsellor to be able to show a record of professional development undertaken in the past twelve months.

The Guidance Department engages in professional development internally on a weekly basis.  This is done through members of the team sharing a topic, article, reading, reporting back on an external experience and so on.  The counsellors attend external professional development with local or overseas speakers presenting on a topic of particular interest at a one day, or longer, workshop.  The counsellors share their external professional development experience with the team on their return. 

Year 9 Classes

While two counsellors are responsible for Years 10 and 12, and two responsible for Years 11 and 13, the Year 9 classes are divided between the four counsellors.  Early in the first term counsellors make a visit to their Year 9 classes at tutor time in a getting to know each other exercise.  Harassment issues are also talked about in an interactive and informative manner.  How to make an appointment with your class counsellor is explained.  Students are invited to see their counsellor if ever there is anything they feel concerned or upset about.

The Peer Support Programme has been active at Rangitoto College since 1988 with some variation along the way.  Mr Smith, from Guidance, facilitates the programme.  Towards the end of the year, Yr 12 students, who would like to be considered to train for Peer Support, are asked to complete an application form.  Guidance staff and interested teachers carry out two sessions of two-day training. 

Peer Support

The Peer Support programme is facilitated by Mr Smith of the Guidance Department along with the help of other Guidance staff and teachers. He trains the leaders who spend Orientation Day with Year 9 students. The leaders meet with Year 9 classes weekly through the first term, using activities and discussion to help them settle into their new school environment and to engender positive peer relationships.

Orientation Day

Around 200 trained Peer Support leaders, who are allocated in groups of 7-10 per class spend the whole day with Year 9 students.  A tour of the school and interactive games and activities assist the young students to adjust to their new environment. For the rest of the first term the leaders meet with their Year 9 class weekly to help the young students settle into their new school and to engender positive peer relationships. 

Beach Day

The Peer Support leaders, Year 9 tutor teachers, other teaching staff, Guidance staff and over 600 Year 9 students climb aboard a seemingly never-ending line of buses and are transported to Long Bay Beach where a day of fun and many games begins.  Divided into five houses each with their own colour the students’ beach attire reflects their house colour as they set about game after game in an endeavour to gain the highest score.  At the end of the day as the tired and smiling students pile onto the buses it is evident that new friendships have been made, classmates have bonded, an enormous amount of fun has been enjoyed, and each class believes it was the best whether or not they gained the most points or not.

Guidance Staff and Year Level - 2020

Mr Smith - HODYear 10 and Year 129CA, 9FE, 9HG, 9NI, 9RH
Miss JonesYear 11 and Year 139BE, 9CD, 9MG, 9MO, 9SC
Ms GainesYear 11 and Year 139HF, 9KR, 9LI, 9SE, 9SN, 9SR
Miss SutherlandYear 10 and Year 129CL, 9CS, 9NA, 9NB, 9RB, 9TI

A Guidance Team member is present at all meetings in the auditorium relating to students throughout the year


Useful Links

Alcohol and Drugs


Body Image



Internet Safety


Learning Disorders


Legal Matters


Mental Health


Sexuality Issues




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