Charitable Trust

Charitable Trust - Papakura High School

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Watching the NZ Herald's first foray into film making, ‘Under the Bridge’, one couldn’t help but be struck by the powerful influence a school can have on the lives of students.  This film tells the story of three students and their new Principal following them throughout the year of 2016.  It portrays what their school means to them, showing a fierce pride and determination to rise above what other people may perceive them to be as students from a low decile South Auckland School.   

Papakura High School opened in 1954 to fulfil the need for secondary education in Papakura, at a time when students had to either travel south to Pukekohe or north to Otahuhu to further their education.  The school has a rich history of achievement and achievers in all walks of life, and a reputation for producing well rounded students, ready to contribute positively to their families, community and society in general.  The graduates of Papakura High School can now be found in every corner of the world.

Over a number of years the school has suffered a decline in student numbers and support from the local community.  However, with a new Principal in 2016, a fresh focus on building relationships, building cultural and community pride, building on student voice, and building a curriculum that is relevant to the needs and future aspirations of our learners, Papakura High School is on a major journey of growth.

This movie and subsequent articles were released on the NZ Herald website in February 2017 (  The immediate reaction across Papakura, New Zealand and the World was immense, as readers shared this story with their friends and families around the world.  Mr John Rohs, Principal of Papakura High, was flooded with messages of support, and offers of help from across the globe – from ex-pupils and strangers with whom the story had resonated.

Two such people who came knocking on John’s door were ex-pupils Jo Clegg (nee Babbington) and Clare Fogarty (nee Gasson).  They approached the school with the proposal of setting up a charitable trust through which funds could be sourced to assist the Principal, the staff, the students and the community of Papakura High School to achieve its goals for the young people of this area.  This proposal was very favourably met by the Principal and the Board of Trustees, and thus the Papakura High School Charitable Trust (PHSCT) was ‘born’.  We acknowledge the generous support of local law firm, Inder Lynch for the preparation of the Trust Deed documents and application process to the NZ Charities Commission.

The trustees of PHSCT are Jo Clegg, Clare Fogarty, Rosalie Freeman and Michael Talbot.  Each of these people have a keen interest in the welfare of the school with Jo, Clare and Michael all being ex-students, while Rosalie is a current member of the school Board of Trustees.  The purpose of the PHSCT is to further the education and welfare of students and the wider school community of Papakura High School, through financial assistance, clothing, books, equipment, use of facilities, counselling, scholarships, outdoor education and other appropriate assistance.