Languages Faculty

At Cashmere High School we offer Maori and 3 Foreign Languages; French, Japanese and Spanish.

What is learning languages about?​​​​​​​

Ko tōu reo, ko tōku reo,

te tuakiri tangata.

Tīhei uriuri, tīhei nakonako.

Learning a new language provides a means of communicating with people from another culture and exploring one’s own personal world.

Languages are inseparably linked to the social and cultural contexts in which they are used. Languages and cultures play a key role in developing our personal, group, national, and human identities. Every language has its own ways of expressing meanings; each has intrinsic value and special significance for its users.​​​​​​​

This learning area provides the framework for the teaching and learning of languages that are additional to the language of instruction. Level 1 of the curriculum is the entry level for students with no prior knowledge of the language being learned, regardless of their school year.

Why study a language?

Languages link people locally and globally. They are spoken in the community, used internationally, and play a role in shaping the world. Oral, written, and visual forms of language link us to the past and give us access to new and different streams of thought and to beliefs and cultural practices.

Te reo Māori and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) are official languages of New Zealand. Because of New Zealand’s close relationships with the peoples of the Pacific, Pasifika languages also have a special place.

By learning an additional language and its related culture(s), students come to appreciate that languages and cultures are systems that are organised and used in particular ways to achieve meaning. Learning a new language extends students’ linguistic and cultural understanding and their ability to interact appropriately with other speakers. Interaction in a new language, whether face to face or technologically facilitated, introduces them to new ways of thinking about, questioning, and interpreting the world and their place in it. Through such interaction, students acquire knowledge, skills, and attitudes that equip them for living in a world of diverse peoples, languages, and cultures. As they move between, and respond to, different languages and different cultural practices, they are challenged to consider their own identities and assumptions.

As they learn a language, students develop their understanding of the power of language. They discover new ways of learning, new ways of knowing, and more about their own capabilities. Learning a language provides students with the cognitive tools and strategies to learn further languages and to increase their understanding of their own language(s) and culture(s).

Cultural Exchanges

As part of the cultural knowledge objective of learning languages, each of our Foreign languages Departments has connections with a sister school in the country where the Language is spoken.  We have kept those strong links for many years and we maintain regular exchanges with those schools, whcih involve trips, scholarships and visits.

Achievement objectives

The achievement objectives in the Communication strand provide the basis for assessment. The two supporting strands, Language knowledge and Cultural knowledge, are only assessed indirectly through their contribution to the Communication strand.


Spanish is the official language in over 20 countries around the world. So it opens doors whether the learner wants to work, travel or live abroad. Studying Spanish gives the ability to connect with other people, advance a person’s education and career and the most important thing, it develops an in-depth knowledge of the Spanish Culture.


​​​​​​​Cashmere High School has been teaching Japanese for almost 30 years. New Zealand is one of few countries that offer Japanese language courses at high school level. One of the fascinations of learning Japanese for our students is the writing system. Students learn the phonetic writing systems of hiragana in Year 9; and katakana in Year 10. Kanji (Chinese characters) are taught at all levels.

Written Japanese is a combination of these three systems. Kurashiki Minami Senior High School, in our sister city of Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture is our new sister school. Senior students have the option of taking part in a biennial school trip to Japan.

There are also opportunities to host exchange students from Japan and many different scholarships and programmes students can apply for if they wish to spend a longer time studying at high school in Japan.

Learning Japanese and being able to read and write Japanese gives students deep intercultural understanding if they visit, live or work in Japan in the future.


Te Reo Māori

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​E WHĀ NGĀ MĀTĀPONO O TE IRINGA O KAHUKURARangatiratanga, Whai Huarahi, Hiamo, AorakitakaKo ēnei mātāpono te pūtake o tō mātou kura, ko te whāinga matua kia kaha kitea ēnei mātāpono kei waenganui i ō mātou whānau.​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Te Reo Māori is offered across Year 9 - 13 levels. Students start by developing core vocabulary and grammar skills then extending into NCEA aromatawai. Throughout their journey students will improve their use of Kōrero (speaking), Whakarongo (listening), Hanga Tuhi (writing), Pānui (reading), Mātakitaki (viewing) and Whakaatu (presenting). Tikanga Māori is also offered in senior levels to allow students to experience a holistic approach towards Te Ao Māori.