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 
Katy O'Grady

Bachelor of Arts (French and Spanish), University of Auckland
Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Secondary), University of Auckland
Currently enrolled in a Master of Arts (Spanish), Massey University

A 2018 recipient of the Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Latin America to study Spanish language and Colombian culture at the Universidad Tecnológica de Bolívar in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.
My teaching career started in 2003 as an itinerant music teacher at various schools in Auckland before heading overseas. Throughout my travels, I became increasingly aware that having some knowledge of other languages greatly enhanced the experience and paved the way to meet people and make meaningful connections. Before returning to study in New Zealand, I spent four years teaching at a private music school in Dublin, and worked with special needs students at a primary school in London. As a life-long learner, I have since furthered my language studies at universities in Spain, New Caledonia, and Colombia.
Personal Statement 
My language-learning journey began here at Rangitoto College. As a former student of the college, I have first-hand experience of the school’s standard of excellence, and I am proud to be part of such a high quality teaching team. As Head of Languages, I strive to encourage our students to see the value of learning additional languages, in order to widen their career prospects and develop an awareness and appreciation of other cultures, which will enrich their life experiences and help them to become global citizens.