Totara College Dannevirke


Totara College Dannevirke


PACE’s are a fundamental part of our A.C.E. school, and one of the tools we use in our teaching of the New Zealand Curriculum.

The structure and procedures used in the PACE’s are designed to enable students to manage their own progress and achievement and also to provide teachers with the tools to maximize the quality and effectiveness of that learning. For secondary students each PACE is also linked to the A.C.E. Certificate that they are working towards. There is a final mastery test for each PACE, and students must gain a minimum mark of 80% to continue with the next PACE.

The PACE structure offers one of the most robust moderation and assessment systems available to teachers, and they allow for continuous, ongoing review and assessment.

The New Zealand A.C.E Certificates

Accelerated Christian Education offers eight secondary school qualifications based on students gaining credits for work completed at various achievement levels using the A.C.E. curriculum.
A.C.E. Certificates are available to students throughout the world, with the following currently available to students in New Zealand:

Achievement Certificates

• Certificate of Achievement, Level 1 endorsed
• Certificate of Achievement, Level 2 endorsed
• Certificate of Achievement, Level 3 endorsed

Academic Certificates
• High School Certificate, Level 1 endorsement
• High School Advanced Certificate, Level 3 endorsed
• High School Advanced Certificate with Honours, Level 3 endorsed

NB It should be noted that these certificates do not comment on the Christian character of the candidate.

Art Exhibitions

Every fourth even year, alternately to the music production, we hold an art exhibition. This is a chance to invite family, friends and any other interested people to come into our school and celebrate the creative abilities and skills of our students.

The exhibition is held in our school hall and the art work is displayed ranging from small to large pieces, painting, drawing, crayon, mixed media, collage, print, paper mache, clay, and many others. All students from year 1-13 exhibit their work.

The exhibit is usually open for 3 days during the school day until 7 pm. The school is delighted at the range and number of people who attend the exhibitions and students are very proud to see their art exhibited in such a professional way for others to see.


This is a gathering of students following the ACE system once a year comparing and competing against each other in different areas.

Regional Student Conventions challenge students ages 11 and older to develop their ministry skills by competing in more than 140 events in categories:

Academics: Bible Memory, Chess and Checkers, Science Exhibits, Social Studies Exhibits, PACE Quiz , Bible Quiz, Writing Events, Computer Events, Soul winning, Christian Service Awards

Exhibits: Art (Brush/Pen), Art (Wood, Clay, and Metal), Photography (Colour or Black/White), Photography (Computer Photo Enhancement), Needle and Thread

Athletics: Track Events, Field and Individual Events, Team Sport Events, Sport Progress Chart

Music: Solo and Quire singing. Any musical instrument mastered

Platform: General Platform, Interpretation for the Deaf, Radio Program, Scripture Video, Group Bible Speaking

Musical Productions

Totara has a long history with performing whole school musicals, from the time it was Dannevirke Christian School to the present. Every four years, on the even year, a musical is produced with all students in Years 1 – 10 involved. The students in Years 11 – 13 have the option of also being included. “It’s Hot in the Furnace”, “The Rainbow Boat”, “The Music Machine”, and “The Gospel Show” are just a few that have been performed.

Along with gaining new or more skills in drama and music, students are also given opportunities to be involved in the production with sound, costumes, sets etc. Being involved in a musical also enables the students to use all the key competencies (managing self, participating and contributing, relating to others, thinking and using language, symbols and texts).

In the past few years the performances have been put on at The Hub and have been well attended by the public. The students have fond memories of the shows they have performed in and many are looking forward to their next adventure into musical theatre in 2018.

Totara College Dannevirke

Spiritual Learning

Being an integrated Christian School, means the focus of our school is teaching the Bible, its Godly principles and modeling the life of Christ to our students.  Out of that relationship with God, stems all we do.   It is our hope and our prayer that our students will come to accept and follow Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour.  

It is my pleasure to highlight how that spiritual life is lived out at Totara College.

Prayer is the very basis of a strong Christian life and likewise, the basis of a strong Christian school.   This is expressed through the staff gathering for prayer at 8am each morning.   A small devotion is also held on Monday and Thursday’s, led by me as Principal or one of the staff. 

At the start and end of each school day, prayers are said in the classrooms.  In times of need, the class may join together during the day in corporate prayer as well. 

Assemblies:  Assemblies are held on Mondays and Fridays, usually, at 8.55 a.m.  As well as being an opportunity to give out awards to students to celebrate their achievements or good character trait, they listen or participate in a spiritually-themed lesson.  This is led by me as Principal, a staff member, a guest speaker, or one of the classes, who enjoy taking turns to lead assembly.

Devotions are held in the classes on the remaining three days of the week, geared specifically to the age level of the class.  This is usually teacher-led, but on occasions a student in the class will lead it.

Each term we have a Character trait to learn about and work on.  The trait is linked to a portion of scripture which the whole school learns, the age of the student, determining how much they will need to memorize.

Learning and memorizing Scriptures is important, not only for the memory, but it also installs fantastic values into the students.   To qualify for the end of term Honour Roll trip, each student must memorize the set passage of scripture for the term, the number of verses again determined by the age of the student.  Each PACE book also has a scripture verse to memorize and a Christian value that portrays the character trait for that PACE.

We try to discipline the students in a Godly way by rewarding positive behaviour whilst discouraging inappropriate behaviour using measures designed to help correct poor conduct.    Should larger issues arise, we find the Peacemakers Restorative Justice model a useful tool to use.

The school has been an integral part of the Dannevirke Christian Fellowship since it was established in 1978.  It is their core Biblical beliefs and values that form the basis of the school.  The church has one Proprietor Representative on the Board of Trustees.  The Pastor also plays an active role by taking staff devotions and assemblies at least once each term.   He is also an advisor and confidant to the Principal when the need arises, as well as meeting with students who are in need of pastoral support. 

As you can see, God and His Word the Bible, is not just an add-on here at Totara College.  It is very much a part of who we are, of what we believe and of all we do at Totara College.

Totara College Dannevirke