Class Act 2019: Queen’s High School

Jordyn Katipa-Martin and Chloe Robertson are the 2019 Class Act recipients for Queen's High School.

Jordyn Katipa-Martin
Jordyn Katipa-Martin
Jordyn Katipa-Martin

Jordyn Katipa-Martin believes she is the mistress of her own destiny.

The 17-year-old, who is of Waikato Tainui and Ngati Maniapoto descent, says things rarely happen by accident.

She is on a mission to save Maori language and showcase Maori culture to a wider audience, and says if she is to succeed, she must make it happen.

Ultimately, the Queen's High School prefect aims to achieve her goal through acting and politics, and has spent the past five years studying and adding to the skill set that will drive her towards her objective.

Last year, she won the senior English category of the Otago-Southland Nga Manu Korero speech competition and went on to represent the southern region at the national finals.

For the past five years, she has also been a member of He Waka Kotuia, which competed at the national kapa haka competitions in 2016 and 2018, was joint winner in 2015, and won the regional kapa haka competition in 2017.

And last year, she won the school's He Honore mo nga Tuakana award and Te Kimi Matauranga trophy for senior Maori leadership.

Jordyn says an important part of her mission (to normalise te ao Maori) is to share the knowledge she is accumulating with younger generations.

So, last year, she started tutoring in the Waewae Kai Pakiaka, an after-school programme centred around kapa haka and kaupapa Maori.

She also tutored, through Manawa Enterprise, two primary schools for their performances in the annual Dunedin Polyfest.

Jordyn is also an outstanding actor and director, particularly in Shakespeare productions. This year, she directed a play and won the award for best stage presence at the Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival, and last year she represented Otago at the New Zealand Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival.

She plans to build on these skills by studying acting and screenwriting at Toi Whakaari (New Zealand Drama School) in Wellington next year.

Alongside a career in acting, she hopes to put her leadership skills to use by going into politics.

Achievements: Nga Mareikura (prefect) (2019); NCEA levels 1 and 2 with excellence; Queen’s Young Scholar Award (2017, 2018); academic blues (2017, 2018); kapa haka blue (2018); school awards for drama, speech, senior Maori leadership and service to culture (2018); 1st Otago Nga Manu Korero senior English competition and national finalist (2018); member of He Waka Kotuia, which competed at national kapa haka competitions (2016, 2018), regional kapa haka competition winner (2017); Waewae Kai Pakiaka tutor (2018); Otago rep at NZ Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival (2018), best stage presence award (2019), student director (2019); Madrigals choir member (2015-19); peer tutor (2017); Rangatahi o te Moana Marine Science Extension Programme (2017); year 10 peer support leader (2019); arts council (2016-19); Poly council (2019); house leader (2018); netball (2015-18); school council (2016-17); librarian (2016).

Role model: No role model.

Hopes for the future: To study acting at Toi Whakaari in Wellington.

Chloe Robertson
Chloe Robertson
Chloe Robertson

The bright lights of Broadway and the West End are beckoning Chloe Robertson.

The 18-year-old Queen's High School dancer and actor says she has always been ''flamboyant and creative'' and dreams of working on the stages of the famous theatres.

Drama, and particularly dance, come so naturally to her, she incorporates them into almost everything she does.

''As a young girl, I was always active. Even drying the dishes, I would do it with dance moves.''

Since then, she has won awards at national aerobics and hip-hop competitions, and achieved success in dance examinations.

Last year, she achieved honours in her level 9 Urban Ignition dance exam and received one of the top five marks in Australasia for the exam.

She received top marks in the New Zealand Association of Modern Dance (NZAMD) examination last year, and has won NZAMD scholarship awards for the past two years.

Her achievements have put her in demand as a teacher at the Rasa School of Dance in Dunedin.

Chloe has achieved great success in drama, particularly Shakespeare, winning best director at the Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival and representing the region at the national Shakespeare festival last year.

During the national festival, she was selected to be a member of The Young Shakespeare Company to perform at the Globe Theatre in London this year.

Chloe says her success is due, in part, to setting very high expectations of herself.

''I am my worst critic. Nobody else probably notices my mistakes, but I do.

''It's a challenge to let those things go, and not be too hard on myself.''

Next year, she hopes to study dance and drama at the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art in Christchurch.

Ultimately, she hopes to be a ''triple threat'' - an actor, singer and dancer - in theatre productions in New York's Broadway or London's West End.

''I recently went to London and saw some West End shows, and just being around that environment made me feel like I really want to be there.''

Achievements: Deputy head girl (2019); NCEA levels 1 and 2 with excellence; Queen’s Young Scholar Award (2017, 2018); academic blues (2017, 2018); school overall academic excellence award (2015-18); school prizes for dance, photography, drama, art, English,  history (2018); regional Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival best director award (2018), national Shakespeare Festival rep (2018), Globe Theatre scholarship winner (2019); competed nationally in both aerobics and hip-hop; competed nationally in NZCAF (2013-19), and Hip Hop Unite (2017-19); 3rd Hip Hop Unite duo (2018); Urban Ignition level 9 exam with honours (2018), top five marks in Australasia for level 9 (2018); top marks in NZAMD exam (2018); NZAMD scholarship award (2017, 2018); Rasa dance teacher; peer support leader (2019); school cross-country team (2019); house leader (2018); arts council (2018); diversity group (2017); Interact (2016-17); school council (2016).

Role model: No role model.

Hopes for the future: To study at the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art in Christchurch.

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