Class Act: Wakatipu High School

Kira Almquist
Kira Almquist
Kira Almquist

It is no exaggeration to say Kira Almquist’s life is filled with art.

The Wakatipu High School year 13 pupil is a member of an indie rock-pop band, studies art-based subjects at school, and sells artworks she creates in her spare time.

It means her life is busy, but Kira says she would not have it any other way.

"I think it’s important to broaden your horizons and try a lot of different things, both to learn new skills for life and for the present.

"I just try to balance school life with relaxing, but honestly, everything I do is stuff I enjoy."

Like her friend and fellow Class Act recipient Paige Loggenberg, Kira is a member of all-girl band No Man’s Land, which for the second year in a row was recently chosen as one of the top 20 bands taking part in Smokefreerockquest.

She also loves the visual arts, studying drama, painting and design at school.

Among the highlights of the year to come are completing her portfolio of art work, which will be displayed alongside those of other senior students in October.

She is also looking forward to recording a new song with No Man’s Land, and performing a gig in Queenstown.

Like many people, she finds it nerve-racking playing in front of a crowd, but loves the pay-off afterwards.

"You feel really fulfilled and get this rush of happiness.

"I definitely encourage people to perform, even if it makes them feel uncomfortable."

Creating music with three of her best friends was fun, Kira says.

"We’re just four girls who really like to work together and make music."

She plans to study design at Victoria University of Wellington next year, and has a particular interest in the intersection of design and technology, such as video game design.

Achievements: Arts and Cultural Council lead prefect (2021); Grease musical lead (2021); Kapa haka (2017-21), including female lead (2020-21); NCEA level 1 Excellence; NCEA level 2 Excellence; NCEA level 3 merit (working towards excellence); cultural commendation for outstanding performance in National University of Otago Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival (2020); Ad Alta award (2021); distinction in arts, English and drama (2020); Ad Alta, Ad Alta Blue, Ad Alta Gold awards (2018-20); distinction in maths and English (2017); Smokefreerockquest regional winner and top 20 bands in New Zealand (2020-21); self-employed artist (2020-21); member of band No Man’s Land (2018-21).

Role model: Her late maternal grandparents.

Hopes for future: To fulfil an ambition to create an animation and/or a video game.

Paige Loggenberg
Paige Loggenberg
Paige Loggenberg

Paige Loggenberg has a busy life, but that is the way she likes it.

An all-rounder and consistently high achiever during her time at Wakatipu High School, particularly in music and several sports, she also keeps up high standards academically.

Now in year 13, she plays three sports during winter, as well as being in her school’s jazz band and an indie rock-pop band, No Man’s Land, with three schoolmates.

That is not to mention homework and a part-time job.

"I do like to keep busy, and it can be a bit hard sometimes, but I find it challenges me and I like doing it all.

"I love playing sport, I love my music — I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t enjoy it."

With help from her mother, she prepares a weekly schedule to ensure she has allocated enough time for homework, and spare time, on top of other activities.

The balance provided by sport and music helps.

"I get to meet new people and different kinds of people, which I think expands my knowledge in a lot of things."

When asked what gives her the most enjoyment, she says being a member of No Man’s Land, which has been chosen by Smokefreerockquest judges as among the top 20 school bands in the country for the past two years.

"Having that creative outlet, and getting to work together with some close friends on music, is amazing," she says.

An aspiring architect, she particularly enjoys design and visual communication studies at school.

"It’s quite challenging, but when you put the hard yards in, it’s amazing to see what you can come out with."

She plans to start a bachelor of architecture degree at Victoria University of Wellington next year.

Among her highlights for the rest of the year are playing hockey in the secondary schools’ Winter Tournament and trying out for re-selection in the Otago Under-19 girls’ cricket team.

Achievements: Smokefreerockquest Central Otago top band winner (2021); Otago U19 girls’ cricket team (2019-21); Grease musical band drummer (2021); Jazz Combo band member (2021); member of band No Man’s Land (2017-21); member of senior girls’ basketball, volleyball A girls, hockey mixed A, cricket 1sts team and cricket girls’ teams (2021); NCEA level 2 excellence (2020); Ad Alta and Ad Alta Blue awards (2020); Smokefreerockquest regional winner and top 20 bands in New Zealand (2020-21), Jazz Ensemble member (2020); Otago Cricket rising star award (2020); Ad Alta, Ad Alta Blue and Ad Alta Gold awards (2019); Otago U18 girls’ cricket team (2019); Southland secondary schools U16 shot put champion (2019); Otago U15 and U18 cricket teams (2018); Wakatipu High School junior sportswoman of the year (2018); captain of girls’ cricket team.

Role model: Parents and brothers.

Hopes for future: Becoming an architect.

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