Languages for Life: Creating Global Citizens

Languages are used for business and for pleasure. They open up an avenue for communication and exploration. The study of Languages promotes, encourages and instills a broader cultural understanding.

At Rangitoto College we offer a choice of Te Reo Māori, French, Japanese, Mandarin and Spanish. All languages are available for study from Year 9 through to Year 13. Mandarin is only available in Year 13. 

Our language courses enable students to communicate both orally and in writing about important aspects of modern life – family, friends, health, homeland, future plans, fashion, holidays, environmental issues etc. 

The cross-cultural skills and communicative ability coming from language learning are an advantage for all students. Language learning allows them to learn how to be outside their cultural “comfort zone” and to develop positive attitudes to difference. Learning a foreign language also gives students a better understanding and practical grasp of their first language. 

Students with prior knowledge of their chosen language are placed in classes appropriate to their ability. Other languages are available through correspondence. 

We offer school trips to the countries of the languages being studied and can arrange individual exchanges for students with our sister schools.


Cross cultural understanding and the ability to work creatively are key attributes required by students in the future. The study of languages fosters a tolerance of others and the chance to see the world through different eyes. Languages also encourage students to have a flexibility of mind which among other things gives them a better appreciation of their own culture.

Languages Department


  • is a major European language and opens the way to the study of other Romance languages.
  • is the language of our closest non-English speaking neighbour.
  • is spoken by many countries around the world.
  • has cultural and historical links with English.
  • is an official language of the United Nations and the Olympic Movement.


  • is spoken by an important Asian neighbour (over 120 million people).
  • provides the challenge of learning a new script.
  • opens the way to the study of other Asian languages, eg. Chinese.
  • broadens career choices, eg. tourism and business.
  • gives insight into the culture and traditions of Japan.
  • provides opportunities for scholarships to study in Japan in the senior school and beyond.


  • is the most widely spoken language in the world with over 1 billion speakers.
  • is used in many countries in South East Asia.
  • is the language of one of New Zealand’s most important trading nations.
  • provides the challenge of learning a new script.
  • gives insight into the culture and traditions of China.


  • the language of Spain and most countries in Central and South America.
  • one of the most widely spoken languages in the world with over 350million speakers and an official language of the United Nations.
  • is a major European language and opens the way to the study of other Romance languages.
  • provides insight into the culture and traditions of various Spanish speaking countries.


Please click Galician Language Day to watch a video made to commemorate Galician Language Day.


Ginny Ellis-Kirifi

Spanish has opened up many opportunities for me, the best being able to travel to Spain with Rangitoto College and stay with a home stay family.  I was able tolearn a lot about the culture of the country and the linguistics of Spanish.

Ginny Ellis-Kirifi
Year 12 - Spanish
Career Goal 
Knowing another language will be advantageous to me as in the era of globalisation, I will be able to communicate with people who are part of a whole different culture and society.

Te Reo Māori

  • is unique to our country and an important aspect of our culture and history.
  • has significant advantages in employment opportunities, eg. tourism, education, social work, health care, various government departments.
  • is of interest when dealing with place names and local terms.
  • is a feature in or is recommended for some tertiary courses.
  • joining Kapa Haka is strongly recommended.
Head of Department 
Yvonne Lee


2013 was a significant year for the Languages Department at Rangitoto College and for myself. This was the year Chinese was introduced as the fifth language subject and the year I began my teaching career at the College. In 2014 I was appointed to the role of Teacher-in-Charge of Chinese. In 2015, the International Baccalaureate Diploma was established, which is a curriculum that caters for native speakers, heritage speakers and foreign language learners. Between 2015 and 2018, I was an International Dean while simultaneously managing various co-curricular groups such as Chinese Night, Diabolo, Lion Dance and Liberty in North Korea (LiNK). In 2017 I had the opportunity to co-lead our well established Languages trips to Japan and in 2018, I lead our first Languages trip to China, setting up new relationships with schools in the cities of Nanjing and Zhengzhou. The most rewarding part of my job so far is to see the pilot group of Chinese Language learners graduate at the end of 2018. There is no greater sense of fulfilment than to know that our young people leave prepared for the world beyond high school.
Personal Statement 
Through the eyes of others is how you truly understand yourself. Learning a foreign language enables learners to connect with others on an intellectual, personal and cultural level. Furthermore, it helps develop the life skills of perseverance, determination and creativity through learning to communicate with people of different backgrounds. Heading into this new role of HOD, I am very much looking forward to the learning that awaits.