Art and Design


The Art and Design Department comprises of expertise within two curriculum areas, across seven disciplines.  These are the Visual Arts (Design, Painting, Printmaking, Photography and Sculpture) and Design and Visual Communication (Product and Spatial Design).  Students are supported and encouraged in their academic progress and creative endeavour, through the provision of highly relevant, authentic and motivational learning experiences.  Teachers are continuously reflective and responsive to the learning needs of students; thereby empowering students' understanding, practical knowlegde and improvement within the disciplines and ultimately instilling life-long learning practices.


Rangitoto Students Art Work Students considering studying Visual Arts (Painting, Photography, Printmaking and Sculpture) and Design (Architecture, Engineering, Graphic, Product, Spatial, Transportation etc.), at tertiary level, will need to carefully consider and investigate which subject options they select, from the junior into the senior school; in conjunction with the entry requirements from various institutions.
Design, Painting, Photography and Design and Visual Communication (DVC) are all University approved subjects and students are able to undertake Scholarship, with teacher consultation and approval.

Please refer to the appropriate "Students' Handbook", for a comprehensive explanation of each course and the specific National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) credits on offer.
Continuity and regular application of essential skills, techniques and processes are fundamental to a student's ability to fully understand the nature of a discipline. Successful students are committed to  studying from the junior into the senior school, are able to make connections with other subjects, and are enthusiastic about what they are creating.  They are also developing an awareness and insight into what it truly means to be able to contribute to society, in a broader sense.
NB: The 12/13 DIP (rename FPH) and 12/13 FVA courses are short-term and non-NCEA.  Typically, students studying at Rangitoto College for less than one year will select these courses.  Students are able to take both, upon consultation with the appropriate International Dean and HOD Art and Design.

It is an expectation that students who wish to study at Level 2 NCEA have successfully completed the relevant Level 1 NCEA course.  Entry into Level 3 NCEA courses, and Scholarship, require successful study at Level 2 NCEA.  Any exeptions to this are strictly at the discretion of the HOD Art and Design.
Students may study a maximum of two Visual Art courses, from Design, Painting and Photography.
Design and Visual Communication (DVC) may be studied in addition to two Visual Arts courses, provided that the student can manage their time well and has the necessary aptitude to succeed.

With the study of practical or 'portfolio-based' subjects, it is necessary for students to pay the required "course costs" and purchase the relevant "art kit".  Senior Design and Photography courses have additional costs, primarily associated with printing.  Students intending to study Photography are expected to purchase their own suitable DSLR camera etc.
Throughout all courses, students will study established artist models and use the knowledge to inform their own art-work.  Scholarship entry, is subject to teacher consultation and approval, and requires a higher level of academic aptitude.  Students will also be assisted and advised as to suitable courses of study, beyond school.  Career pathways link to Careers Department and also complete a 78 multi-choice quiz, to assist with potential study options and career pathways at

Visual Arts and Design Department

Gemma Morpeth

I chose Design because it excites me and I love being creative.  I think Design is important because it has the ability to really sell a product and gives you the opportunity to turn it into something interesting and attractive.

Gemma Morpeth
Year 12 - Design
Career Goal 
Graphic Designer / Brand Developer

Junior Visual Art

Students will experience a range of drawing, printmaking and painting skills (Year 9).  They will start to learn in, through, and about the various forms and processes of the Visual Arts, extending into photography and sculpture (Year 10). Through practical work and a study of established artists' practise, they will learn to make images, to source and develop ideas, and to communicate and interpret meaning.  Students will come to understand visual art works as social and historical texts as they investigate the contexts in which the visual arts are made, used and valued.

Visual Art - Level 1 NCEA

A continuation and expansion of the skill-builing and theme development started at the junior school. Students will explore and strenghthen their practical art-making skills, by using a range of media and techniques and through the referring of suitable 'artist models'.  Throughout the development of their external portfolio, students will be encouraged to create a body of related and connected art-works, which extends upon their internal assessment art-work.

Marietta Olschowy

I chose Visual Art because I enjoy being creative and creating pieces of art using my imagination. In Visual Art I am able to learn different techniques of drawing and painting, which clearly helps me in developing my final drawings and paintings.

Marietta Olschowy
Year 11 - Visual Art
Career Goal 
My goal is working as a movie director after school and I believe Visual Art will be a great help to me.

Design - Level 2 and 3 NCEA

Student's Art Work Students will be developing and extending upon the fundamental theoretical and practical design skills and techniques necessary for communicating within primarily two-dimensional contexts, such as corporate identity and illustration.  Creative thinking, expression of design ideas and proposals, an ability to critically analyse their own and others' work, is emphasised. The courses consist of a range of interconnected briefs, across both the internal assessments and an external portfolio submission, completed towards the end of the year.

Veti Afu

I took Design to bring forth and challenge myself to show creativity through the art of combining text and pictures.  I would highly recommend Design to students wanting to go down this pathway in University and also for anyone wanting to start something new and fun.

Veti Afu
Year 12 - Design

Painting - Level 2 and 3 NCEA

Students will be encouraged to build and expand upon a range of skills and techniques, using suitable wet and dry media.  The courses are based around the systematic development of a chosen theme.  Personal development and performance within drawing, painting and mixed-media is emphasised, in conjunction with contemporary approaches.  This will be evidenced through both the internal assessments and external portfolio body of related and connected art-works.

Melody Gan

Year 12 Painting has helped me develop my skills and express myself on paper.  It is a useful subject that will prepare you for art school.

Melody Gan
Year 12 - Painting
Career Goal 
When I graduate I want to pursue a career in Psychology.

Photography - Level 2 and 3 NCEA

Students will be introduced to, and in subsequent study, extend their knowledge of photographic practice within a Visual Art context.  They are taught to understand the ways in which photographs are made and the variety of contexts in which they are viewed and valued.  Students select an individual theme for study, based on their strenghts.  They will develop their ability to think critically, in a photographic sense, and explore a range of processes and techniques, with an emphasis on digital photography and the use of Adobe software, both in the internal assessments and external portfolio submission.

Junior Design and Visual Communication (DVC)

Design and Visual Communication (DVC) communicates ideas and information through conceptual design.  In today's society, communication and design are vital factors and visual literacy is an important part of the cognitive process.  DVC enables students to apply creativity, logic and knowledge to solving real-life problems.  Students are encouraged to seek innovative solutions and use design to develop and communicate these solutions in various ways.  Design activities include freehand and instrumental drawing, presenting research data and infromation and constructing conceptual models.  The use of computer aided design (CAD) may be included in the courses.  DVC involves an interesting variety of learning experiences relating to a wide range of career opportunities, in areas such as design, architecture and engineering.

Please click here to access student resources.

Senior Design and Visual Communication (DVC) Levels 1,2 and 3 Including Scholarship

Students will be taught the relevant freehand and instrumental drawing skills, modes and media, for application within both Product and Spatial Design contexts.  They will continue to build upon and strengthen their skills, knowledge and understanding; responding to a range of interconnected learning experiences, through a rigorous design process.  Students have greater scope for selecting their own parameters and design specifications, in conjunciton with the underlying principles of aesthetics and functional considerations, including sustainability of materials. Model making, both traditional and computer generated, are encouraged; and allow students to explore and convey their ideas to a specific audience, or target group.  Where applicable, students work with 'real' clients and contexts; further enabling them to explore human factors, such as ergonomics, anthropometric data and empathy.

Head of Department 
Carolyn Higham

Bachelor of Spatial Design from Auckland University of Technology (AUT)
Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Secondary)

Travel Award/Grant from Rangitoto College in 2008
I have taught in both the Technology Department (Design and Visual Communication) and Art Department (Design primarily) for the past sixteen years. I have enjoyed my role as Curriculum Leader of Design and Visual Communication and recently the new challenge of combining this creative and dynamic curriculum area with the Visual Arts. Training pre-service teachers, as the Senior Visual Arts Tutor for Auckland University of Technology (AUT), has been a great experience and a valuable professional development opportunity. As TIC of Archery, I have overseen the scheduling of many students who wish to participate in a sport not readily available in most secondary schools. It allows the individual student to gain in confidence and develop highly technical skills, whilst forming friendships and camaraderie.
Personal Statement 
“Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts” – Winston Churchill. I thoroughly enjoy teaching and learning; working with teenagers and having supportive colleagues, who encourage and inspire those around them - to aspire to make a positive contribution to this wonderful profession.