From the Principal - 2 November 2017

Nga mihi nui ki a koutou

Greetings to friends and family with a special word of welcome to any new members of our school community, especially our new students Isaiah Deo, Toby Williams, Charlie Williams, Zainab Syed, Somyeong Chu, Faith Santos, Beau Lock, Jope Veitaladrua, Maunga Kingi, Daya Devin, Henry Collings, Maggie Collings, Sally Collings, Luuka Pink, Marcello Goodin, Layla Brunsden, Eirene Jaswil, Indie McKenzie, Ethan Lowe, Sophie Fitzgerald, Isaac McMah, Yaelim Kim, Richard Salanoa, Meila Butcher, Rufus Rejthar, Tyler Richards, Mason Richards and Tommy Lumsden.  

With our new Sr Gabrielle Learning Environment now in operation we have been able to continue to accept new enrolments this term.  Previously we have had to restrict this due to a lack of classroom space.  The result is a number of new families to our school and a move towards that ever closing roll number of 500 students.  At time of writing we will finish the year with 498 students.

Reasons for Celebration
Our students have been the focus of a number of amazing experiences, performances and achievements in the first few weeks of this term.  Our Aroha team started the term with another great camp experience at Totara Springs.  This experience would not have been possible without the commitment of teachers and the untiring support of parents who accompanied the team.  Thanks to all on behalf of our community.

Our Pasifika Group again participated in the Western Bay of Plenty Pasifika festival, this year held at Tahatai Coast School.  It has been great to see this festival go from strength to strength, as has our own Pasifika group.  The performance on the day of our combined St Mary’s and Aquinas group was definitely a standout and further testament to the work, dedication and commitment of our Pasifika families to the identity and celebration of Pasifika.

Our Jump Jam Teams! This was our best ever Nationals. Such a great effort from everyone involved to make it happen.  

1st: Junior Team  (Y1-4 Open)

2nd: Senior Team (Y4-6 Advanced Open)

3rd: Boys Team  (Y4-8 All Boys)

Excellent peformance:  Girls Team

Some facts that may interest you:

St Mary’s now has 11 titles including 4 National titles. This is the first time three of Kim Artus’ teams have come home with medals from Nationals. St Mary’s was the only school to win three trophies.  We won four distinctions for the seniors, a first for any Yr 4-6 team.  This was also the first time all three of our teams gained distinction for presentation. St Mary’s also received special recognition for having the most students at the Nationals.

I am sure you will all agree this is a superb achievement and one that we all should celebrate.  Congratulations to our coach Kim Artus with the help of Gabby Cardey, and the many parents who worked hard to support the teams.  Check out photos within this newsletter.

Fireworks Gala
I don’t have to tell you how thrilled we are as a school to once again be a few days out from another memorable St Mary’s Fireworks Gala.  There has a been a lot of work go on behind the scenes with the final organisational touches falling into place as I write.  It is testament to the passion within our school community and the support of our PTA to see this event back on our calendar.

I would like to thank our major sponsors, Taylor Bros Ltd, Vegepod, More FM, Willis Towers Watson, Terrace Views Papamoa and Zariba Properties for their support of this event.  We also have a great turnout of community members who have agreed to sponsor the wheelbarrow race.  They include

Lysaght Consultants, Little Sweethearts, Aspect Construction, Pacific Saw Mill Engineering, Harris Tate Lawers, Men’s Shed Charitable Trust, Fulton Hogan, Pero’s Hairtek, Cooney Lees Morgan, Firewatch, Smart Business Centre, Tasman Plumbing, X Span, Sharp Tudhope Lawyers, First National, Forestaire, Immerse Nail and Beauty Therapy, ASB Bank, Wish for Fish, Pacific Sawmills Engineering, Cooney Lees Morgan.

In preparing for the night please be advised that this year, unlike previous years, we have a maximum number of people we are able to grant entry to.  It is therefore important to get your tickets early as we cannot guarantee that there will be gate sales on the night.

If we have to postpone the Fireworks due to bad weather we will notify you via the radio, school website, email, facebook and app alert.

Postponement date Saturday 18 November.

Visit to Cluny Mother House
In the last week of last term I was privileged to be able to stay at our Cluny Mother House in Paris.  This is the house that Blessed Anne Marie Javouhey purchased in 1851, two years before her death, for her growing congregation.  For many, our connection to the order of St Joseph of Cluny is unknown but for those who understand the story of Blessed Anne Marie Javouhey will support me in expressing how extremely fortunate we are to have been established by the order she founded.

My time at the mother house reaffirmed for me the amazing gift and opportunity we have been given here in Tauranga to be apart of this community.  The founding principles on which our school was established are still apparent today and therefore we must continue to recognise them in all that we do.

Blessed Anne Marie Javouhey believed in the sacredness of each individual, be it a child in need of education or a slave she helped emancipate. This was the premise for Catholic Education first applied by our Cluny Sisters here in Tauranga and our continued mantra for education at St Mary’s today. Cluny statements that are pertinent to our vision include;

  • To stand as counter witness to the spirit of our day and age.
  • To search for God’s Will in the challenges of today’s world.

I would like to take the opportunity to present some of the information and findings I encountered during my time in Paris with our school community at an opportune time in the future.  I would also like to thank our Board of Trustees for allowing me the time away from school.

Traffic Management
It is important that we remain aware of our obligations as road users when driving and parking around our school neighbourhood.  As previously communicated please ensure your vehicle is parked appropriately in a designated space before stopping to pick up or drop off children.  Unfortunately complaints from neighbours have increased recently due to parents once again parking on grass verges and across driveways.

2018 Enrolments
As this term draws to a close and next year beckons, it is important that we as a school are aware of any intentions to leave the area and / or our school. Also, if you have children turning 5 next year or know of families whose intention it is to attend St Mary’s at any time during 2018 please ensure enrolment procedures are started now and contact the school office.

New children and new families liturgy
On Tuesday 7 November we invite all new families and welcome 35 new students to St Mary’s since our last welcome in Term 3.  All families are very welcome to attend this very special liturgy.

Sun Safety
Sun block will be available in classes but I would suggest applying sunblock to your child in the morning before school as an additional precaution.  As I am sure you do as parents we encourage children to manage themselves when it comes to sunscreen.  Our teachers will always give reminders but are unable to apply sun block to their entire class.  A reminder also that it is compulsory for students to have a school sun hat.

Ben Fuller

Aroha Rua - Serving our Community

In Aroha Rua, we understand the importance of service in our community.  Last term, as part of our Student Volunteer Army learning, Ollie Grosso, William Pepers, Sophie Hooper and Harrison Lowry organised a car wash.  They charged $4.00 for each wash, with the proceeds to be donated to Child Cancer.

Thanks to the generous teachers, friends and parents of St Mary’s, this group managed to raise $100.00.  People were keen to pay more than needed to donate money to help those in need.

This photo was when they met Jo from the Cancer Society, and proudly presented their donation.

“It felt really great giving to the Cancer Society and knowing that the money would help sick kids”, said William Pepers.

We congratulate this group of students for planning such an event and striving to make a difference.  Well done!

Pasifika Festival 25 October 2017

The St Mary’s and Aquinas Pasifika Group performed four items.  Our theme was about the Catholic faith arriving to the Pacific Islands.

1st Item Samoa Hymn Song – We wanted to showcase the Word of the Lord coming to the Islands

2nd Item Tonga Entrance dance – Here we wanted to showcase missionaries preaching the Word of the Lord.

3rd Item Samoa Sasa floor Dance – Here we showed the Pacific people sharing the faith and spreading the word through the churches

4th Item Cook Island Dance – Here we are celebrating our faith, church communities and GOD!

There were 19 schools who performed and we enjoyed being part of the day.

Whakapono Marae Visits

A visit to the Marae written by Nina Young Room 5

Last Thursday at 9:15 Rooms 1,2,3,4,5 and 10 travelled to the Wairoa Marae for a visit because we wanted to find out what a marae was like.

When we stood outside the gate girls at the front, boys at the back, and all the teachers dotted around us I felt so amazed because I had never seen a marae before. It was just like Whaea Tamoe and Matua Iwi had described it. The angry tekoteko wasn’t scary at all!!!

And then I heard this beautiful wailing cry and it made me feel so calm, and we started to oh so slowly walk forwards until we reached the steps of the Wharenui which means ‘meeting house’ in Maori.

Next we had to pull off our sandals and stuffed them in our bags and then place our bags on either side of the Wharenui, girls on the right boys on the left. After we got seated it was time for the powhiri.

I think after the powhiri we had morning tea and for morning tea we had banana, oranges, sausage rolls, biscuits and a packet of chips. I had everything there!!!!

After that we were let out to play and Jules, Zac and I did skipping. Not very long after that we all had to split into 2 groups. My group Rooms 5, 4 and 10 did Kapa Haka with Matua Iwi and we also learnt about a weapon.

Half an hour later we switched groups and we learnt about carvings. But all too soon we had to pack up and trudge to the bus to go back to school. It was a wonderful day and I’ve learnt a lot!

Marae written by George Holmberg Room 5

Yesterday all the middle school went to Wairoa Marae.

When we arrived at the Marae, we got in line, girls at the front, boys at the back. Then we had a few moments in silence until we heard the faint cry of the Kuia, whaea Tamoe’s mum. Soon we started waddling through the gateway to the Marae ground. We didn’t stop until we were right in front of the Marae. Then the Kuia said a few words and pointed to the toilets.

Afterwards, we entered the wharenui for the speeches. The boys were flanked around the girls, so the boys could protect the girls. Whaea’s uncle’s speech was so long I thought it would last forever. After it was done Whaea’s uncle and mum sang a waiata. Later Mr Fuller stood up and did a speech too. Then we exited the wharenui and entered the wharekai.

Our lunch was served by the marae people and it was delicious. I had a sausage roll, a piece of apple, a cookie and a bag of twisties. The water there had a hint of lemon in it.  At playtime me and my friends played ball tiggy. After lunch we got separated into two groups for activities. I was in Matua Iwi’s group. We did some Kapa Haka and learning about the taiaha. It was extremely fun and I learnt heaps about the taiaha. Suddenly Whaea Tamoe opened the door. It was time to swap.

Inside, Whaea’s mum told us about the carvings. It was so interesting I learnt a lot about the maori war, the maori culture and heaps of things like that. Finally the Kuia sang a farewell waiata and we left.

What a lovely trip and I hope to go again.


Year 6 Camp

Our Year 5 and 6 team had a fantastic start to the term, venturing to Totara Springs camp in Matamata for three days during Week One.  There they experienced a variety of outdoor learning activities, supported by our very capable parent helpers.  This year, the weather was on our side and we were fortunate to be able to maximise the outdoors and the excellent facilities the camp provides us with.  We are blessed to be apart of such a wonderful community, and we wish to thank all the parents who accompanied us on another memorable Aroha experience.

Foam slide at camp - written by Sara Szulakowski Room 8

I saw people face-planting into the foam at the end of the slide.

I felt my heart hammering in my chest as I dived onto the tarpaulin. 

I saw a blur of white stuff (which was probably the foam) as I skimmed across the slide.

I heard a shriek of excitement as another person slid down.

I felt the foam sticking to my face as I landed in the pile of  bubbly substance face-first.

I heard the water dancing around me as a wave of snow white foam flew into the air.

I wondered if we would have enough time for another turn.

Nathan Mikaere Wallis

This weekending 2 November 2017, a large number of St Mary’s staff attended a presentation by Nathan Mikaere Wallis. Nathan is a well known, gifted educator.  He has been a lecturer at Canterbury University, a neuroscience presenter for Brainwave and a child protection trainer.  He is a dynamic and inspiring presenter.  

He spoke passionately about the importance of the first 1000 days of a child’s life and the development of the brain from conception to 32 years, with an emphasis on the early years of childhood and schooling.  He spoke about the importance for children to develop positive dispositions towards their learning and their culture, and to develop their creative and thinking skills.  

It is great to affirm the implementation of our ‘Learning Through Play’ philosophy that we have been developing over the last couple of years at St Mary’s, based on research and practice.  It also verifies the importance of the ‘Key Competencies’ that are the basis of the New Zealand Curriculum.   

I highly recommend that you spend 40 minutes of your time listening to the following interviews with Nathan on Radio New Zealand:

What 3 - 7 Year olds Need to Learn - 26 mins

Kids With Interpersonal Skills Come From Homes Where There Are Rich Conversations - 17 mins

Anna MacKinnon
Deputy Principal

Sacramental Programme for 2018

The Sacramental Programme for next year will begin in 2018 – all classes (Reconciliation, Confirmation and Eucharist) will take place at St Mary Immaculate Church on Monday afternoons, 4pm – 5.30pm. None of the programme will be taught at St Mary’s School. Confirmation with Bishop Steve is booked for Pentecost Sunday, May 20th.

The programme will be for children who are in Year 5 and older in 2018.

The full programme will be published before the end of this school year – but Enrolment Sunday will be on February 11th and classes will begin on Monday 5th March.

We will need teachers and parents to help with the teaching of the programme (in small groups) – if you are interested, please contact Margie Cooper at the Parish Office (578 6209). Training will be given.

Thank you all.
May God bless you and your families

Father Mark
Parish Priest

Special Character 2 November 2017

Communion of Saints - Classroom learning

Over the next month the students will be learning about the ‘Communion of Saints’

Year 1: In the classroom

Lesson Focus: Mary As a Church one of the ways we honour Mary, the greatest of the Saints, is as the Mother of Jesus. We reflect on how Mary’s holiness was magnified by her encounters with the holiness and power, the Tapu and Mana, of God.

As a family:

Take time to – make a special place at home with an image of Mary in it to use at family prayer time – read the Mary stories from a Children’s Bible at bedtime.

Plan to – leave a message of love under someone’s pillow – tell children a story about something your mother did to show you she loved you

Year 2: In the classroom

Lesson Focus: Saints and Inspiring People Those officially declared by the Church to be Saints because of their virtues, the holiness – tapu and mana of their lives, are now with God. They act as models for the members of the Church on earth, and are linked to them through prayer. The saintliness of ordinary people can also inspire others and lead them to God.

As a family:

Take time to– make a family “Saints’ Place” at home with books, pictures and statues of saints and use this as a focus for family prayer – talking about inspiring people you know or have read about.

Plan to – decide on a few simple things you can do which can help you to become saintly, eg * say something encouraging to each other everyday, * work hard at something you are not good at – buy a book about Saints for your family.

Year 3 and 4: In the classroom

Lesson Focus: Life, Death and Christian Hope Suffering and death are part of life. Catholic beliefs about the resurrection of the body and life after death provide meaning and a reason for hope. The rituals of Catholic funerals and tangi provide consolation for the bereaved. The Church encourages people to remember those who have died and to pray for them.

Lesson Focus: Choices Our life journey – Te Wa, is a journey towards God. The choices we make on that journey have significance in terms of our final destination, our life after death. Traditionally the Church has spoken of life after death in terms of heaven, hell and purgatory.

As a family:

Talk together about – what Christians believe about death, eg * in death, life is changed not ended, * people undergo Purgatory so they will be able to be with God in Heaven – how different cultures have differing burial rituals – how we should support and care for people who experience death in the family

- how life is a journey and how we can all help each other achieve our goals in life by sharing our gifts to help others and by encouragement. Emphasise that effort and persistence are always needed to achieve goals – how you achieved a goal and who helped you to do it.

Plan to  – include in family prayer prayers for people who have died

Year 5 and 6: In the classroom

Lesson Focus: Saints and Inspiring People Catholics believe in the Communion of Saints – the unity or community of all members of the Church, those now living, those who are with God in heaven, and those undergoing purification before entering into the fullness of life with God. The living may pray to the saints for their intercession, and for those in Purgatory. The living and the dead are all joined in praise of God.

Lesson Focus: Mary. From the New Testament we learn that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is a model of faith and discipleship. Catholics honour Mary as the Mother of God, Mother of the Church, and patroness of Aotearoa, New Zealand. This honour is expressed in various forms of devotion to Mary.

As a family:

Talk together– talk about how the Communion of Saints is the bond of friendship between all who have been baptised whether they are living or dead – make a family list of relations and friends who have died and keep it in a place which reminds you to pray for them, include photographs as well if you have them – tell your children stories of their relatives who have died and the good things they did while they were on earth.

Take time to – share ideas about Mary’s life on earth including the sort of person she was – find and discuss various images of Mary.

Pope Francis’  Monthly Intention for November

Christians in Asia

That Christians in Asia, bearing witness to the Gospel in word and deed, may promote dialogue, peace, and  mutual understanding, especially with those of other religions.

Teresa Rush

Sursum Corda's visit to St Patrick's School and Church in Taupo 27 October 2017

Last Friday Sursum Corda travelled to Taupo to sing at the midday Mass at St Patrick’s Church which was attended by St Patrick’s School students,their families and parishioners.

We were warmly welcomed by Monsignor Trevor Murray and St Patrick’s School. We were made to feel very much at home.

Sursum Corda sang absolutely beautifully and did St Mary’s proud. On the way home we visited Mind Junction, a learning and discovery centre.

It was the most wonderful and beneficial day. Not only did the students have a really enjoyable day but it highlighted what our Special Character is all about.

A special and very grateful thank you to Mr Fuller and the parents who came with us.

We have also  really appreciated the support of our own parent community for our fundraising activities which helped make the day possible and so successful.

Sally Washer