Golden Bay has a population of 5000, 1200 of whom live in Takaka township. The area is experiencing growth, especially among the older age groups. The summer months see an influx of visitors.
Income is derived mainly from agriculture (dairy farming, horticulture and dry stock). Fishing, tourism, retailing and arts and crafts are other sources of livelihood. 27% of those in employment are self-employed (twice the regional average) but professional, technical and managerial groups have a small representation. There is a wide range of incomes, with some families suffering hardship and a relatively high proportion of the population receiving a social welfare benefit of some description.
The population has a heterogeneous cross-section of lifestyles and attitudes. The range of skills and qualifications in the community is wide, and the level of education in the community, and thus the expectation of academic success for children, is very high by New Zealand standards. One of the reasons for this is that there are significant numbers of people who choose to live in the Bay for lifestyle reasons. This in turn raises the decile rating of the school to a level that does not reflect the limited income in the Bay.
Golden Bay is a trusting, secure, low-crime community, and young people are able to cycle or walk to activities without fear.
Golden Bay has an excellent climate, and the close proximity of mountains and sea makes it an ideal base for many sorts of aquatic and mountain activities. Sailing, kayaking, diving, rock climbing, tramping and caving, as well as the use of the environment as a classroom for Geography, Biology, and Outdoor Education, are all features of the school in the community.
There are cultural and sporting clubs in the community including musical and drama groups. There are, however, few organised entertainment facilities for young people. Golden Bay is separated from the rest of Tasman district by a winding road over the Takaka Hill. This isolation limits exposure of our young people to career options and creates a big leap from school to tertiary level education. It can also limit access to extension programmes both academically and sporting. Talented students in sport and music, although well supported by the community, often travel significant distances to participate fully.
The school is very much part of this community. Individuals and organisations from the community use the school facilities on a regular basis and assist the school with fund-raising, teaching programmes and by providing work experience opportunities for our students, including via Gateway learning. Our highly successful Year 9 ‘Day Out’ programme places students with an adult mentor from the community and is very dependent on support from all parts of our very diverse community.