Craighead students are encouraged to develop the whole person and explore where their talents lie by trying various activities. As they move up the school, this will lead them to involvement in activities which will give them pleasure throughout life. There is a wide range of choice.

The expectation is that every Craighead girl will participate in the life of the School through sport, culture and service. Extra-curricular activities are excellent in developing skills that classroom work can only introduce. Cultural and sporting talents and skills are developed through training and competition. In addition, students develop their self-management, teamwork and leadership skills.

Friendships, which last for years, are made through many of these activities. It is important to note that many of the extra-curricular activities are taken by parents and staff as a voluntary service.

  Sport Opportunities

Please visit our Craighead Sports Portal for details on the sports available at Craighead with sport draws, online registrations, calendar of events coming up to our Sports Strategic Plan.

Our annual school wide sporting events; Swimming and Athletics are each held very early in Term one, and thoroughly enjoyed by all! There is a wonderfully competitive House spirit experienced by all who attend – students, staff, parents and Old Girls alike.

Craighead also enjoys a range of Inter-School exchanges during the year including a Summer and Winter Quadrangular Tournament with our sister schools in Christchurch (Rangi Ruru Girls’ School and St Margaret’s College) and Dunedin (Columba College and St Hilda’s Collegiate).  An exchange with St Andrew’s College is annually held in Term three and there is also a Junior School Sports exchange with Rangi Ruru in Term two.


 Cultural Opportunities


For those young ladies who love music, Craighead offers a number of opportunities in this area. We are very proud of our Music department’s achievements and the young ladies who have gone on to tertiary study in this discipline area and then on to a full-time career, some with national and international acclaim.

Extra-curricular groups include:

  • Chorale: A small choral group of approx 16-18 voices. The Chorale usually enters in the NZ Secondary Schools’ Choral Festival “The Big Sing” with numerous past successes, being selected for the National Competition.
  • Choir and Junior Choir: A choral group of approx 60, with the Junior Choir having approx 20 members. Both Choirs have also entered the “Big Sing” festival, also enjoying successes.
  • Barbershop: A Cappella (unaccompanied) quartet, each singing their own part. A specialist group who love to sing in harmony. Our quartets have qualified and competed at National Level.
  • Rock-band: A rock group of approx 3-5 students. Our rock-band’s have competed in the Regional RockQuest Competitions, having successes in different categories, like the Women’s Musicianship Award.
  • String Group and Chamber Music Group: Musicians of Strings/Woodwind and Piano. Groups are entered and regularly compete in Regional Competitions. These groups are often called upon to perform at functions or school events like our annual Prize-giving.
  • Orchestra: An instrumental group made up of approx 20-25 students. Age level can range from Year 7 right through to Year 13

Craighead Chorale singing at the Big Sing 2014 Finale in Auckland

Craighead Chorale singing at the Big Sing 2015 Finale in Wellington


There are annual local and regional Art competitions and an exhibition that our girls regularly enter:

  • Artarama: An annual festival of South Canterbury student art held at the Aigantighe Art Gallery, Timaru. There is an array of prizes sponsored by various community organisations. The Aigantighe Friends sponsor a prize also and give a free Friends membership to inspire students.
  • Zonta: An annual exhibition of artworks from the youth of Mid and South Canterbury. This exhibition provides a great opportunity for the creative youth within our community to experience what it is like to enter an exhibition, to have the chance to win awards, recognition and be encouraged for their artistic achievements.
  • Youth Week Art Exhibition: Students between the ages of 12 – 24 are invited to get creative and enter the Annual Youth Week Art Exhibition/Competition.  Now in it’s fifth year, this exhibition and competition is an opportunity for young people to showcase their talents in a competition that caters for every genre of artistic expression. There are great prizes in each of the 6 categories with students also able to offer their work for sale.

Kapa haka

The Kapa haka group currently meets on Friday lunchtime with tutor, Mr Karl Te Raki and teacher / Dean, Mrs Sonia Ottley.

This cultural group is open to all ages, is growing from strength to strength, and always welcomes new members.

Another opportunity for our students to learn about the cultural heritage of New Zealand, exploring the language, music and performance arts.

Our Kapa haka group also performs at various functions such as official openings, assemblies and prize-givings, and is also looking to perform in the future at the Flava Festival.

There are plenty of leadership opportunities within this cultural area.



Craighead believes that the ability to communicate effectively is an essential Life Skill. Opportunities exist for students to develop that skill through Oratory and Debating.

Students from Years 9-13 are able to join the lively Debating Club where they are taught debating skills and have opportunities to use this knowledge in practice debates during lunch times. From time to time University debaters are invited to Craighead to assist in skill development in debating Workshops.

Inter-School debating occurs through the local   Timaru Herald Debating Competition (of which, Craighead was the inaugural winner) and through inter-school exchanges. Craighead are also regular participants in the Russell McVeagh Canterbury Secondary School Tournament held in Christchurch during term 1.

  Performing Arts Opportunities

“What is drama but life with the dull bits cut out.” Alfred Hitchcock

School Productions: Major School Productions are held annually, and alternate between a Musical and a Dramatic Play, therefore offering opportunities for all ages and skills. As well as this, there are other extra-curricular Drama activities and the chance to enter both local and national competitions, including the New Zealand Theatre Federation Festival.

Stage Challenge: This is a wonderful opportunity for girls at every Year level to work together and be an Ensemble Company. Stage Challenge is run by students, and is modelled on the National Smokefree Stage Challenge Contest. The competition is held annually in either Dunedin or Christchurch.

Sheilah Winn: This competition is for short excerpts of Shakespeare prepared and directed by both teachers and students. Regional winners are sent forward to the national final in Wellington. Craighead has had groups in the finals regularly in recent years and a Year 13 student has, in the past, been selected to travel to England to train and perform at Stratford upon Avon.

Theatre Sports: The Canterbury Theatre Sports competition has differing age categories and is enormous fun, teaching improvisational skills. There are also opportunities for Internship at the South Canterbury Drama League. Girls can be trained in the technical side of theatre also.

  Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award

“It’s all about young people being the best that they can be.”

Engaging with The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award does not mean you will be moulded into being just like everybody else…it’s all about you!

You as an individual, discovering and building on your strengths, your interests and your personality to give you the ability to deal with everything life can throw at you. This is a voluntary, non-competitive programme of leisure activities for those aged 14 – 25, designed to offer a personal and individual challenge.

It introduces young people to exciting, positive, challenging and enjoyable things to do in their free time. It encourages friendships amongst those taking part, and across the generations with adults who give up time to share skills and help organise the programme.


How does it work?

Through a four Section programme with three levels The levels are:

  • Bronze – open to all aged 14 and over and lasting at least 6 months
  • Silver – open to all aged 15 and over and lasting at least 12 months
  • Gold – open to all aged 16 and over and lasting at least 18 months

The Sections are:

  • Service – giving help in the local community
  • Skills – covering almost any non physical hobby, skill or interest
  • Adventurous Journey – training for, practising, planning and completing a journey on foot, horseback or by boat or cycle
  • Physical Recreation – sport, dance and fitness
  • Residential Project – for the Gold level only – spending 5 or more days on a purposeful project with new companions
Who can do this programme?

Anyone between the ages of 14 and 24 can take up the Programme, regardless of gender, background or ability. All Awards must be completed by the participant’s 25th Birthday. You must fill out a registration form and receive a Record Book before you can count any activities towards The Award.

Craighead has a Duke of Edinburgh Liaison Officer who arranges meetings, supports our students, assists students with planning and preparation of level tasks. The Liaison Officer can be contacted through the School Office.

This information has been supplied from the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award website. There is a vast amount of further information on the website, if this programme has taken your interest, please take a visit to:

  Outdoor Education

As students move through the school a range of activities are available to develop life skills and an understanding of the world.

The school facilitates opportunities for students to take part in Spirit of Adventure voyages, time at Outward Bound at Anakiwa and a wide range of student exchange programmes.

Outdoor Education opportunities are available to students every year.

Annually Year 7-10 take part in Camps:
  • Year 7 & 8: Term 4 Alternate years to Wainui (Akaroa area) and Queenstown.
  • Year 9: Term 1 To Glenburn(Orari Gorge) with activities run by Peel Forest Outdoor Pursuit Centre.
  • Year 10: Term 4 To Hanmer Springs Forest Camp.
Annual Year 7-10 Outdoor Education Activities:
  • Years 7–9 Term 3 Ski at Round Hill Ski Field for a day
  • Year 10 Term 3 Travel to Tekapo for their ‘skate and soak’ trip
Other groups our girls are involved in include:
  • Adventure Racing, Rogaine, Teen Ag, SADD , Breakfast club

Students are generally made aware of these activities through the daily School notices and/or class work.

  Craighead Diocesan School Challenge

The Craighead Challenge is a personal challenge that a Craighead Diocesan student participates in that gives back to the community. The opportunity is open to Year 10 students and above. The challenge was designed in 2015 to help support our community and also allow students to extend themselves both mentally and physically. For completing the CDS Challenge you will not only be rewarded from your own personal sense of achievement, but your efforts will also be acknowledged by the school through the official CDS Challenge badge and certificate.

Currently the criterion for completing the CDS Challenge is for the student to participate in the Central South Island Charity Bike Ride. This is a successful event aiming to get people out on their bikes and raising money for local organisations and charities. You may participate in the CSICBR as a cyclist only. Other events may be added to the challenge criteria in the future.

When signing up to the CDS Challenge you are agreeing to represent Craighead in the wider community and that you will act with the correct spirit and integrity at all times. Participants are to adhere to all of the schools existing code of conduct.

CDS Challenge 1 – Central South Island Charity Bike Ride

This document contains supporting information surrounding the CDS Challenge specific to the Central South Island Charity Bike Ride (CSICBR). You must participate in the CSICBR as a cyclist to achieve the CDS challenge and fully respect the guidelines and requirements given to you by the event itself.

Standard event information is available from the CSICBR website which outlines core event training, timelines, equipment and other information. This can be found at:

Other supporting information provided below adds further detail from previous participants:

Training guidelines

I rode in 2015 in the Brown Bears after having completed the ride in 2014. Six friends and I all trained together from late September onwards for the late February ride. We were a mix between road bikes and mountain bikes and all at different fitness levels. Here’s the group training that we did:

Week 1- First ride was 16km at an easy rate, learning to group ride
Week 2- Two rides (16km & 23km)
Week 3- Two rides (23km)
Week 4- Two rides (23km)
Week 5- Two rides (23km & hard 16km)
Week 6- Two rides + official training ride (18km &23km)
Week 7- Two rides (19km & 30km)
Week 8- Three rides (22km, 18km & 16km)
Week 9- Two rides (24km & 36km)
Week 10- Two ride + official training ride (13km* & 23km)
Week 11- Two rides (16km, 23km)
Week 12- One ride + official training ride (13km*)
Week 13- Two rides + official training ride (13km* & 25km)
Week 14- One ride (41km which was Mt Horrible)
Week 15- Two rides (23km & 30km)
Week 16- Two rides + official training ride (15km* & 23km) Week 17- Two rides +official training ride (16km & 30km)
Week 18- Two rides (23km & 30km)
Week 19- One ride (23km)
Week 20- One ride + official training ride (21km)
Week 21- Two rides + official training ride (16km* & 30km)
Week 22- Official training ride + CSICBR
* Are rides the day after the official training ride

I would suggest you to be doing at least 1-3 decent rides a week, increasing in length the further training gets on, but in saying that it’s also good to mix up the intensity of the rides (e.g. gut busting a short lap rather than always doing long ones comfortably).

Keep it safe. Always let someone know what route you’re going on rides and take your cell phone.

Training ride gear

-Bike pants and gloves (available online on Ground Effects or Torpedo 7 or local bike shops)
-Slick tyres to change to around Christmas (for mountain bikers)
-Rainproof/windproof jacket
-Spare tube
-Bike pump and mini toolkit (handy but optional)
-Water (Carried in some way whether it’s drink bottle holders on your bike or a camel back)
-On training rides you’ll want to take food to keep you going (e.g. scroggin, muesli bars –I used one square meals-, nuts, lollies, etc.). They’ll provide lollies, water and raro on the official ride along with food at the official stops

Event gear

A sense of Humour
 Sleeping Bag or Duvet
Sheets if wanted (for army camp)
Comfortable clothing for evenings (jandals are a good idea, PJ’s)
Personal toiletries (e.g. soap, deodorant, toothbrush)
Personal Medication (e.g. hay fever tablets, inhaler, Panadol)
Wet weather gear (rain jacket, thermals, hat)
 Cycling gear (official jersey, helmet)
 Sunglasses and lip balm if wanted
 Cycle Toolkit/Bumbag if wanted
 Spare tubes
 Spare tyres
 Drink Bottle(s)
 Money (for extras)
 Raro/Energy drinks – last year they provided raro
 Energy food (e.g One square meal, scroggin’, gels, etc.) – last year they provided lollies
Togs (there’s a stream at Kurow_
Towel(s) – for showers and swim if wanted
Phone + chargers
⇒ Day bag – need for car with the following in it: spare tubes, wet weather gear, sunscreen
BIKE … As if we’d forget that !


Following are some ideas that will hopefully help you reach your target fundraising amount as required by the CSICBR.

  • Stationary cycling at supermarkets
  • Raffles around local businesses with permission
  • Taking the ‘big’ sponsorship forms to businesses
  • The best way is simply by asking people, because it’s such a worthy cause that most Timaruvians will support and are interested in!