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Top of the class collaboration

Wakatipu High School is an integral part of the Queenstown community, and Crombie Lockwood’s Southern Lakes branch is proud to play a supportive role in championing the school’s WHS Foundation.

Since establishing the Crombie Lockwood Southern Lakes branch in January 2021, it has been Branch Manager Sandy Macleod’s goal to help the local community in any way the team can. This has included taking on a partnership role with the Wakatipu High School (WHS) Foundation.

“We felt that supporting the WHS Foundation was a really good opportunity for us to be involved in the community as it’s a really critical institution down here,” Sandy says of the only local Queenstown secondary school. He also recently became a Foundation Trustee to further demonstrate his commitment to the school community. 

“I think if you get the opportunity to live down here, you’ve got a responsibility to give back to the community and make sure it’s good for future generations as well.”

This also felt like a perfect alignment given Crombie Lockwood has been proudly advising many New Zealand schools on their insurance for decades.

Funding great education

“Being a ‘one high school town’, the community has high expectations and demands a good standard of education. To deliver that there’s a funding shortfall which we need to fill in,” says WHS Foundation Chairman, Charlie Phillips.

Funding comes from a number of local Queenstown businesses and establishments, such as Crombie Lockwood. The funding is integral to the high school’s success.
“It wouldn’t work without it,” says Charlie. “The Foundation contributes about $450,000 a year to the school, a good chunk of that essential funding is underpinned by the business partner network.”

Wakatipu High School

Wakatipu High School's success relies on community support

The funding helps the school offer smaller class sizes, a breadth of subject choices, literacy strategies and helps to ensure students can access a well-rounded education.

On top of this, funding also contributes towards assisting some students who face financial hardship. “One of the major things for the Foundation is to ensure that all the kids enjoy the exact same schooling experience, regardless of their home situation,” says Sandy.

“To maintain a high performing educational facility, you need to keep feeding it. It’s the fibre of your community so you can’t underestimate the value of a high school.”
- Charlie Phillips, WHS Foundation Chairman

Keeping the community together

The WHS Foundation’s strategic work to generate funding helps young families to live in the area for the long-term.

“If you didn't have a decent high school here, many people wouldn't live here or they'd be spending $30,000 a year sending their kids to boarding school,” says Charlie. 

One key metric for the school and Foundation is the percentage of students that start in Year 9. This year that figure looks to be 95% of students from the area.

“I really think this speaks to the quality of the education,” says Sandy.

The WHS team at Challenge Wanaka

The WHS Team placed 25th out of 120

Race to the finish

The Crombie Lockwood Central Lakes branch is also a major sponsor of Challenge Wanaka, the renowned middle-distance triathlon through the picturesque Central Otago hinterland.

As part of the branch’s sponsorship, which directly supports the many event volunteers needed along the course, the branch receive a free entry for an individual or team to join the race.

This year, Sandy and the Crombie Lockwood Central Lakes team gifted the team entry to the WHS Foundation, giving school age kids the opportunity to compete in the prestigious event. In an impressive effort, the team placed 25th out of 120 teams.

Published June 2023