St Andrew’s Tonga Project 

Annual Report 2012

It has been an exciting year, with nearly 80 volunteers in five groups working at St Andrew’s High School, Nuku’alofa during the winter. Volunteers came from three churches in Wellington and one in Christchurch, and also from Dilworth School in Auckland. A number of individuals also came independently. All volunteers are completely self-supporting financially. Their enthusiasm and commitment has enabled us to help the school in many areas. As a matter of policy, we involve as many students of the school as possible in the building and renovation work done, so that they will gain useful skills.

Throughout this time, we have been constantly aware of the generosity of our sponsors, both individual and corporate. Without their help none of the work would have been accomplished, let alone considered. We thank them for their support.

Work done at St Andrew's

Areas of work were discussed with the school leadership, and a list of priorities agreed. We are glad to report that every item on the list was completed. Here is an outline of the jobs completed, as a combined effort between volunteers, students and sponsors:

- The Principal’s house, infested with cockroaches, was cleaned from top to bottom, repaired and repainted in time for the first group of volunteers to move in

- The school’s old kitchen was dismantled and a new kitchen was built from scratch, complete with benches, work tables, store cupboard, stoves, plumbing, drains and an attached dining-room

- Classrooms and storerooms were repainted, equipped with whiteboards and display boards; classroom furniture was sanded down and repainted

- The school laboratories were cleaned and repainted, and every piece of equipment in them, including innumerable test tubes and microscopes, was scrubbed and cleaned. Expired and potentially dangerous chemicals were disposed of and replaced

- Wiring and plumbing in various parts of the school properties were checked and renewed

- The school toilets were thoroughly cleaned and partially repainted

- The exteriors of some classroom blocks were repainted and steel kickboards attached to doors

- The piggery at the school plantation was re-roofed

- The school’s house in Railway Road was cleaned, renovated and painted throughout, a new kitchen was installed, and plumbing and electrics were checked and renewed

- Many boxes of donated library books, school journals and stationery were sorted and re-allocated, as well as catalogued

- Much time was spent with the school librarian, encouraging and guiding her

- Volunteers taught a wide range of subjects including English, Geography, Biology, Animal Health and Divinity, and assessed student teachers

- Groups of students were helped with their English in the library, individual students were helped with assignments, and ukulele group lessons were held!

- Staff members benefitted from the wisdom of experienced teachers

- Wifi was installed in the school office

- Six new computer workstations were installed in the school’s computer room

- All the school photos were taken by one of the volunteers who happened to be a Press photographer!

- Volunteers helped with the school’s annual English week, administering the Spelling Bee and judging songs and drama skits


Donated funds totalling $38,000 were spent on:


- Building and plumbing supplies, timber, paint, tools, roofing iron

- Gas stoves and fridges, bench tops, kitchen equipment

- Whiteboards and display boards for classrooms

- Computers and hardware

- A guitar amplifier

- Maths and other teaching equipment

- Stationery and text books

NZ High Commission

Particular thanks are due to the NZ High Commissioner in Nuku’alofa, Dr Jonathan Austin, who most generously provided funding for the container which brought most of the building materials and donated goods from Wellington to Tonga in May. In addition, he arranged for twenty sailors from the NZ frigate Canterbury to spend a day at the school painting the exterior of the school building, and provided funding for the materials needed.

Dr Austin has been unfailingly supportive of our efforts at St Andrew’s over the past two years, and we will greatly miss him and his wife Salote when they return to Wellington next month.

David Ellison Charitable Trust

A generous grant was received from the David Ellison Charitable Trust in Christchurch, which paid for much of the new school kitchen. David Ellison is a former staff member of Christ’s College, Christchurch, and we are very grateful for the Trust’s support. The grant reminds us of the link between Christ’s College and St Andrew’s Nuku’alofa through Reg Hornsby, who was headmaster of both schools.

Onslow Anglicans

We would also like to make a special mention of Onslow Anglicans (Wellington) who raised all the money to pay for the roofing iron for the piggery. It has been christened “Barney’s Piggery” and now sports a handsome sign painted by one of the volunteers!


Our thanks to EdAid, run by John and Mary Rowan, who have adopted St Andrew’s as one of their projects, and handled many of our New Zealand donations.

Mega Mitre 10 Petone

A final thank you to Wayne Gazley, Trade Manager of MegaMitre10 in Petone, who supported our project with a great deal on $10,000 of building supplies.  

Once again we thank our volunteers, sponsors, and the staff and students of the school.

Rachel and Simon Tipping. November 2012.