News from our Chair - 22 February 2017

It’s hard to believe we’re already 4 weeks into Term 1 and its great to see the students settling into their new routines and classrooms well.

Firstly, I’d like to welcome our new teachers, Lisa Walter and Amber Simenson to the staff on behalf of the Board.  It was lovely seeing them welcomed officially at the New Families liturgy and I’m sure they’re enjoying getting to know their students and families.

You all will see that earthworks are underway for the new classrooms also which is very exciting.. We appreciate everyone’s care and consideration when moving around the building site to ensure we keep it as safe as possible during the build process. Dont forget to have a look at the classroom plan on the notice board outside the staff room.

The best news we have to share so far though, is the Final ERO External Evaluation Report which has now been published in full on their web site. 

Check out our ERO report here

We are very pleased with their evaluation which shows that we have a strong leadership team, teaching initiatives, and processes fully supporting staff  and students to achieve to the best of their abilities. They comment on the purposeful and supportive community relationships we have, particularly with the Cluny Sisters and our parish, and our strong commitment to our Special Catholic Character.  Their recommendations are for us to continue to develop and evaluate our innovative teaching environments and continue in our good work.  Well done and congratulations everyone on a great job.

Take care and enjoy the rest of the activities and learning experiences to come this Term.

Claire Stott
Board Chair

Aroha Team Swimming Sports

What a perfect kiwi day it was to have our Aroha team swimming sports yesterday.  With competitive and non-competitive events available, it was fantastic to see the students of all abilities having a go.

Racing in the main pool was a lot closer this year than in previous years.  From the initial observation of the results it looks like we will have a healthy sized team going to the South Cluster swimming sports, which is a fantastic result for the school.  Congratulations to Ryan House who won the year 6 relay and Viard House who won the year 5 relay.

With 45 events running across 2 pools, the day couldn’t have run as smoothly as it did without the help of our parents.  On behalf of everybody racing on the day I would like to say a massive thank you to all our marshals, timekeepers, recorders, organisers and supporters.  We are truly blessed to have so many fantastic parents who give up their time, to support their children and the event.

Swimming Results

Year 5 Girls         
1st Ariana Workman
2nd Hannah Greaves     
3rd Jessica Taane         

Year 5 Boys
1st Will Quin
2nd Finn Curragh
3rd Luka Mahy

Year 6 Girls        
1st Renee Carey           
2nd Niamh Manning         
3rd Stella Roper           

Year 6 Boys
1st Henry Scholes
2nd Charlie Hammerich
3rd Max Broadmore

St Mary’s ‘Spirit’ Award - for giving 100% in every event
Axel Osterman

Steven Finlayson
Sports Co Ordinator

Welcoming new parishioners to our Parish


A Parish in love with God and alive with joyful worship, active ministry and community outreach.


Build community.

Communities grow stronger when citizens regularly and persistently do a variety of simple things together that give them chances to connect with others.

·        Say hello to strangers

·        Greet people

·        Start talking to people you see regularly

·        Start or participate is a conversation with those who you do not know so well.

To build community is a community responsibility, for us all.

As one of the many volunteers involved in various ministries in our Parish we would be very grateful if you could be aware of potential “New Parishioners”, assist in making them feel welcome and please hand them one of the “New Parishioner Booklets”.  For those of you who may not be aware these booklets are available in the back of the Church by the main foyer entrance and also by the noticeboard opposite the Chapel.

If at all possible, please introduce the new parishioner to Father Mark.

Thank you for your service to our community.

Matthew 25”25 – “I was a stranger and you made me welcome”.

Please visit our Parish website for more information

Special Character 22 February 2017

We have had a very prayerful start to the year.  It was amazing to welcome 52 new students and families to the school last week. With such a big group of new families we really need to extend our welcome to our new families and help them to feel part of our community.

Each week we have a liturgy on Monday morning at 9am, families are welcome to attend and pray with us.  Most Thursday mornings we celebrate mass at 9am in the Chapel, all welcome. Our first Thursday mass in week 2  was to bless the Liturgical and House leaders for this year, classroom masses have now begun.

Last Thursday night the Bishop blessed the staff of the local schools, thank you to the students and families who attended to support our school. 

Next Sunday we look forward to the combined Parish Mass at Aquinas college, 10:30am, Sunday 5 March. Followed by a Parish picnic.

Our first School Parish Mass is on Sunday 26 March at 10:30am.

It is great to see the children’s liturgy has started at the 10:30am mass on Sunday.  Many of our families attend this mass and if you have any questions about attending mass please just ask me.

Staff have prayer in the chapel on a Tuesday morning, if you have an intention you would like us to include in our prayers please email me, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Lent begins next week, students will make their lenten promises which we will pray for in our Promise Liturgy on Monday.  An Ash Wednesday Liturgy will be at 10am in the BAMJC, we extend an invite to all our community. 

Lent is a time for us to grow more ‘Christlike’ to challenge ourselves to do better each day.  It is a great time to make new ‘good habits’.  It is always a challenge to come up with a lenten promise - a good idea is to ‘take something positive’ up - setting aside time each day to pray as an individual or a family, helping those in need... It also provides an opportunity to work on things as a family. 

Atrium for the junior school has begun for the year and we would like to thank; Mary Pat, Noelene and Desiree for all the wonderful work that they do each week to help our students develop their relationship with God. 

This year as a school, we will be focusing on Scripture. Our target is to provide opportunities for : All students to increase their knowledge and understanding of the relevance of scripture in their daily lives.   I will let you know further details on this throughout the year.

E te Atua Manaaki ki a koutou

Teresa Rush
Director of Religious Studies

Parent Information Evening Term 1 2017

In Week 2 this term we had a parent information evening on future focused and collaborative teaching and learning.  If you missed it, you can access the slideshow here.  Over the next few weeks we will be answering the questions, that were raised at that meeting, in our newsletter and on our website.  

How is St Mary’s School preparing our students for secondary school, university and more ‘traditional’ environments?

At St Mary’s we work hard to make the transition to Intermediate and secondary school as smooth as possible.  Our job is prepare students both academically and socially and over the last couple of year’s we have been working closely with Aquinas College so that important information is shared. 

We are preparing our students for life in a changed and changing world.  Education must prepare our children “for jobs that don’t yet exist, to use technologies that have not been invented and to solve problems that we don’t even know are problems yet” Kath Murdoch sums it up nicely in this 2 minute clip:

Research states that the successful transition to school and the ability to deal with change relies heavily on the students acquiring certain key dispositions or competencies.  These competencies are a valued aspect of the teaching and learning in our classrooms and align closely with our Catholic Character.  

As required by the New Zealand Curriculum, we place an emphasis on the following Key Competencies:   Thinking; Using Language, Symbols and Texts; Managing Self; Relating to Others; Participating and Contributing.  You can find more information about the NZC Key Competencies here:

ERO, through their research on ‘Transition from Primary to secondary’, has identified the following aspects that make transition successful:  “How well students respond to the changes is largely dependent on two key aspects – students’ personal resources and coping skills (such as their acquisition of the Key Competencies described in The New Zealand Curriculum framework); [2] and the school culture into which students transition. Schools can support students to make successful transitions by helping them to develop a sense of themselves as competent and capable beings characterised by:

  • a ’can-do’ attitude
  • a sense of self capability
  • resourcefulness
  • resilience
  • strategies to deal with challenges
  • independence
  • skills relating to others such as listening actively, being tolerant and cooperation
  • a sense of contribution to school and community.

At St Mary’s, we are excited to join you in the journey of developing lifelong learners who are able to collaborate, be creative, and solve problems that really matter in all of the environments that they encounter.  

Anna MacKinnon

Deputy Principal

From the Principal - 7 February 2017

Kia ora Koutou Katoa

Greetings to you all,  happy new year and welcome to the start of the 2017 academic year at St Mary’s Catholic School.  Special greetings and welcome to all those new to our school community.  I look forward to sharing in the success of your children as they progress through the coming year.  I also look forward to interacting with you as members of our community.

We started our school year with 423 students which is a record starting roll for St Mary’s.  Among those are  46 new enrolments who I am sure will make the most of the many opportunities within our school community.

There are many events within, and involving our community coming up, including a full school parent meeting at 5.15pm on Thursday 9 February, our new children and new families liturgy in week 3 and our Ash Wednesday liturgy on 1 March.  Please check our website and / or other sources of communication for these and many more events, which we welcome you all to.

New Teachers to St Mary’s
We welcome two new teachers to our St Mary’s community.  Mrs Lisa Walter will be teaching in Room 4 and Miss Amber Simonsen will be teaching in Room 13.  Both Lisa and Amber are new to their respective careers in teaching and we are extremely excited to be in a position to witness their growth and development.  I am sure you will join me in welcoming them to our school.

Parent Meeting 5.15pm Thursday
New Zealand and global education is a rapidly changing landscape.  However, in negotiating this landscape at a local level it is important that schools continue to explain and evaluate the merits of proposed change.  This year we hope to provide a number of opportunities to involve parents in this process.  The first being a focus on collaborative practices across our school and within our Aroha team.

New Building
As you may well have noticed, work has started on the construction of our new classroom block.  This project is being managed by Aspect Construction.  To date initial excavation work has occurred with more progress to follow.  There are of course many health and safety considerations that accompany construction work on a school site.  As the build progresses and these become more relevant I will ensure both students and parents are informed of all pertinent and related safety information

We have now completed our transition to our new school uniform, meaning all students should be in the correct uniform as outlined on our website.  Seeing the full school last week in uniforms that were sparkling was extremely impressive so my thanks and compliments to all parents who ensured their children were well prepared for school.

Sun Safety
As it is summer all students must also have a school hat that needs to be worn when outdoors.  Please ensure this is named and stays at school.  It is also recommended that you apply sunscreen to your child each morning if required as further protection.  We do have sunscreen available in classes should students require it.

If your child is absent from school please notify the school office by phone or text before 9.00am on the morning of the absence. The school absentee mobile number is:  021 2969437.  

When a child returns to school after an absence please give a written explanation to his/her classroom teacher.

Arriving late to school
If your child has an appointment and is going to be late to school then a call or text to the office is much appreciated.  When you arrive to school you must come through the school office and sign your child in.

Signing in and out - Heath and Safety
If, for whatever reason you are going to be on the school grounds, then please come through the school office to sign in and out.  If you are taking your child out of school early then please, also come through the school office to sign out.  

School Hours:

Monday to Friday: 8.50am – 2.55pm

Morning tea:   10.35am – 11.00am

Lunch:   12.30pm – 1.20pm

As a general rule, pupils should not be at school before 8.15am or after 3.30pm.  Please ensure that your child is at school on time for the start of the school day. This gives the opportunity for a well prepared and settled beginning to classes.

Traffic Safety
The safety or our students is paramount. We therefore request that all parents take due care and diligence in respect to driving and parking around our school.  The best place during summer months to drop off and collect children is our Harvey Street boundary.  If this is not possible please remember that no child should be left to cross roads by themselves after being dropped at school.

Nga Mihi Nui Kia Koutou

Ben Fuller


Christmas present delivery to Merivale School by the Young Vinnies

On Friday 2nd December 47 students of the St Mary’s Young Vinnies group went to Merivale School. We brought a shared lunch and a Christmas present for each of the students at Merivale School. The Young Vinnies have been working on this project all term by sorting, wrapping and labelling the donated toys. We are pleased to have had the opportunity to share a bit of Christmas joy with the Merivale School students.  It was lovely to see the excitement in their faces as they unwrapped their presents.

The Young Vinnies brought along a shared lunch for the Merivale Students and the St Mary’s students to enjoy.

The Merivale students did their haka as a way of saying thank you to the Young Vinnies for the shared lunch and the Christmas presents that they were soon to receive. 

The Young Vinnies sang Mo Maria then performed their Haka Powhiri in gratitude for all that they had experienced throughout this year.

Liz Driver

Bus price increase 2017

Bus fares on Tauranga’s Schoolhopper bus network will increase at the beginning of term one 2017.
For Schoolhopper students, the new cash fare is $2.00 per trip from $1.90, just a 10 cent increase; and if using a Smartride concession card the new fare is $1.60 per trip from $1.51.

New gold group member - Kaleidoscope Child Care

Opening early in 2017 we welcome to our Gold Group Sponsor family Kaleidoscope Child Care.  A family owned and managed child care centre at 106 Eleventh Ave., Tauranga.
Email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
For more information please email our centre manager Marama Vryer.