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At Rutherford College, we offer three foreign languages: Chinese, German and Japanese.

We aim to enrich students with language skills to communicate meaning, understanding the culture and different ways of life.

“Languages link people locally and globally”. NZ Curriculum

We believe that as New Zealand is strengthening the relationship in various areas of the rest of the world, New Zealanders should be able to communicate with the world in different languages.

Why Learn a Language?

The International Languages Department at Rutherford College aims to give students a broad appreciation of a culture through learning languages. It is widely accepted that New Zealand is now a multi-cultural society and there are no longer geographic boundaries for trade and communication.

Rutherford College provides the basic foundations of language as a springboard for students to become proactive participants in the world economy.

By learning a language, young New Zealanders have an opportunity to;

  • Become confident in communicating with native speakers of other countries about trade, travel, or tourism
  • Broaden employment options, both in New Zealand and internationally
  • Broaden knowledge beyond cultural stereotypes and national boundaries, and promote tolerance and positive attitudes
  • Gain advantages in business, tourism, education, research, communication skills and diplomacy

More Than Just Words …

At Rutherford, language is a practical, skills based subject that offers an interactive, communicative task based learning environment with competent and experienced teachers.

Learners can develop confidence in all four strands of communication; listening, speaking, reading and writing and will be encouraged to use their skills in authentic situations as much as possible.

By undertaking a language course, students will;

  • Improve their English skills
  • Develop memory and logic
  • Develop confidence and learn to take risks
  • Learn self-discipline and perseverance
  • Extend their own attitudes and values
  • Do better academically
  • Develop better listening skills
  • Have opportunities to travel
  • Learn to respect other cultures

Year 9

Year 9 students must choose one language which is to be studied for half a year.

Year 10

Language studies are optional but the students are strongly encouraged to continue with the language they have chosen at Year 9 for a full year.​


All languages offer each NCEA level with a maximum 24 credits.

Level 1

Students can understand and produce more complex language.  They can communicate beyond the present tense (e.g. past and future events).

Students can understand and produce a variety of text types.

Level 2

Students can use language variably and effectively to express and justify their own ideas and opinions, and support or challenge those of others.

They are able to compare different aspects of their background with the target culture.

Level 3

As well as being able to express and justify ideas and opions, students are also able to use and identify the linguistic and cultural forms that guide interpretation and respond critically.

International Languages Week

Every year at Rutherford College, we celebrate the diversity of different cultures we have at our school.

It is a week of extravaganza, organised by the International Language Faculty, which all students and teachers look forward to every year and has become one of the traditions at Rutherford College.

Trips and Exchange Opportunities

At Rutherford, we also offer opportunities for students to go on overseas trips to the countries where their target languages are spoken.

Students, throughout the time at Rutherford, will also have numerous opportunities to participate in exchange programmes.

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