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

On Friday 2 September Sursum Corda visited St Patrick’s School and Church in Taupo and sang at the midday Mass. We were warmly welcomed by the school and also by Monsignor Trevor Murray, St Patrick’s Parish Priest. The Mass was attended by four classes from the school and parishioners.  Sursum Corda did us proud - they sang like angels and their behaviour for the entire day was exemplary!  Monsignor commented not only on their singing but how he thought Sursum Corda in their robes were even better dressed than he was in his vestments! At the end of Mass Monsignor asked the students what Sursum Corda meant. (Lift up your heart) The students were able to tell him and he reminded them that we must always lift our hearts and voices to praise God!

Following Mass we visited the Huka Park Prawn Farm which Sursum Corda really enjoyed. Most students were able to take home a freshly caught prawn!

It was a very beneficial and worthwhile day! A special thank you to our wonderful parents who joined us for the day.  Thanks also to our PTA for their generous contribution and all families for supporting our fundraising bake stall and ice block day.We are very grateful. 

With kind regards and God bless

Sally Washer

2016 St Mary's Speech Finals

At St Mary’s School we recognise that oral language (both listening and speaking) is vital for students to be able to communicate effectively.  In the Junior School we use poetry as a basis to recite and read aloud. We talk about voice projection, good expression, modulation and pace. With the students we identify ‘what good listeners do’ and discuss eye contact and the use of body language. 

As the students progress through to the Middle School, they are encouraged to take on more challenging types of public speaking with the main aim of writing a simple speech to present at Year 3 and 4. The Year 4’s are also invited to attend the Year 5 and 6 speech finals in the centre which is a great example of how high they should be aiming by Year 5. 

All students in Years 5 and 6 are supported to prepare and deliver a 3-5 minute formal speech around a topic of their choice. This process includes defining the purpose of the speech and constructing an effective introduction, body and a sound conclusion. Original and thought-provoking ideas are encouraged. All students deliver their speech to their own class and 4 finalists are selected to go on to the semi-finals. Winners from the semi-finals then go through to the school finals. 

This year’s judges were Mrs Camilla May (the Principal of Helen O’Grady school of Drama), Miss Millie Burton and Miss Millie Elliott (Year 12 students from Aquinas College). The judges used set criteria that are also used in the South Cluster Finals at the next level. This ensures consistency across the board for all.

We are extremely proud of the standard of speeches this year.  Congratulations to all of this year’s finalists. Our place getters were:

Year 1
1st - Matthew Rogers
2nd - Oliver Bradley
3rd - Tommy Mason

Year 2
1st - Maria Tustin
2nd - Jack Mear
3rd - Leo Gray

Year 3
1st - Sophia Mason
2nd - Otis Jones
3rd equal - Eli Banbury and Georgia Abernethy

Year 4
1st - Finn Richards
2nd - Roman Rejthar
3rd - Emma Rogers

Year 5
1st - Mila Laurie
2nd - Holly Van den Borst
3rd - Madison Smith

Year 6
1st - Nina Rejthar
2nd - Conrad Grace
3rd - Rupert Carter

Good luck to Mila Laurie, Holly Van den Borst, Nina Rejthar and Conrad Grace who are representing St Mary’s at the South Cluster finals on Wednesday 14 September. 

Anna MacKinnon, 
Deputy Principal

Special Character 13 September 2016

We welcome Father Santy to our parish and school community, we look forward to meeeting Father Santy and getting to know him. 

Thank you to the families who attended the Parish/School Mass. As a Catholic school we are fortunate to be able to be thankful to our previous Board of Trustees and to commission our new Board of Trustees as part of our parish community. 

Sursum Corda sang beautifully and the students who read did so very well. 

Social Justice Week: 11 – 17 September 2016
We all have a migration story: Fostering a culture of encounter “Welcoming others means welcoming God in person! Do not let yourselves be robbed of the hope and joy of life born of your experience of God’s mercy, as manifested in the people you meet on your journey!” – Pope Francis. 

Each year in September, the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference give us Social Justice Week to consider Catholic social teaching on an issue of social justice in New Zealand. This year the theme for parishes is We all have a migration story: Fostering a culture of encounter. Let us take this time to reflect on our own migration journey and consider how we can foster a culture of encounter in our own life and in the life of the parish and the life of the school. 

For resources and more information visit

St Mary Immaculate Church - Saturday 17 September, 10am Father Gerard Aynsley 
Father Gerard is a priest of the Diocese of Dunedin, and will be with us here in Tauranga Moana next weekend, and will speak on The Year of Mercy / An Encounter with the Living God. 

There will be a shared lunch after this presentation.

Teresa Rush

Paid Union Stop Work Meeting Wednesday 14 September

Friday 26 August

Dear Parents and Caregivers

On Wednesday 14 September, Saint Mary’s Staff will be attending a Paid Union Stop Work Meeting from 9am to 10.30am. Therefore it will not be possible to run normal classroom programmes during this time. We ask that you keep your children at home (or arrange alternate supervision) until 11am when children will be
welcome at school.
Should you be unable to organise supervision for your child / children please complete the online form via the following link so that we can make appropriate arrangements for the supervision of your child at school.

Holding meetings during hours of school instruction is unusual, however, this meeting has been called due to concerns related to Government's proposed changes to the way schools are funded. This will result in Principals and Boards of Trustees having to make trade-offs between teaching staff and other costs schools face. Possible consequences may include:

● fewer teachers and larger class sizes
● less job security for teachers
● lower quality teaching
● fewer hours for teacher aides and support staff
● more complex financial work for Boards of Trustees

We thank you for your cooperation in regard to this matter and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Kind Regards
Ben Fuller

Sports News 11 August 2016


The last week of term saw our year 3/4 miniball teams compete at the Miniball World Cup. With the emphasis on having fun our teams arrived decked out in some very authentic looking USA and Norway team uniforms. Both teams faced some good opposition and played hard for an impressive win in the first round, a tight second round saw both teams come away with a 14 all draw and the third round was a mixed bag result wise. In to the play off rounds and the competition got even harder but our St Mary’s children never gave up. Playing with grit and determination throughout.

Not to be out done by the year 5/6 teams, team USA also came away with a prize for best dressed.

Team USA - Coach Wayne Fausett    

Holly Fausett, Yeva Parshikova, Roman Rejthar, Luka Mahy, Emma Rogers, Finn Curragh, Jas O’Connor,    Pateriki Paaka, Jayden Hyland.

Team Norway - Coach Di Kahura

Kiwa Kahura, Ben Haydock, Eli Banbury, Elma Lee,  Ciaran Manning, Eva Jeffries, Oliver Robinson, Henry Fulton.


On the first weekend of the school holidays the Year 6 Magic Netball team coached by Erin Verhoeven took part in the Harbourside Junior Netball Tournament.

St Mary’s Magic Netball Team have had a fantastic season so far and went into the Harbourside netball tournamemt undefeated on Sunday 10 July.

The draw was tough but the girls showed determination, skill and team work and came out winners for Year 6 Section 1 for the day.

We wish them all the best as they head to a second tournament on Sunday 21 August.  

Cathy Pini
Sports Coordinator

It’s time for Quiz Night 2016!

Get ready for yet another fun, exciting night out, testing your brain power, dressing up, having a wine, and bidding on some fabulous auction items.  

Set aside Saturday 3rd September, get a table of friends together, pick a dress up theme if you want, and a fab name, and get ready for ‘game on’.

There’ll be prizes for Best Dressed Team, Best Table decoration, Winning Team, Spot prizes, Mystery Bottle Auctions, and other Auction prizes too.  

We’re raising funds this year for new resources and equipment for the planned new classrooms, so every little bit helps.  

If you have any products or services you can donate for this event, please bring them into the school office, or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  We’re always very grateful for any support we receive.

Any spare bottles you’d like to donate for the Mystery Bottle Auction too would be great.  Dig out that bottle of Baileys you’ve never got around to drinking, or that fancy Olive Oil.  We’d love it all.  

Tickets will be on sale from Monday 22 August, and we’ll be using an online purchase process this time with payments straight into the PTA bank account. Easy peasy!  But, there’s only a limited number of tables ($25 per person, 10 people/table), so we’ll need the tables paid in full once booked.  Full instructions will be included in the e-mail that comes out soon, so watch this space.  Dont worry though, if you dont have a full table, there’s tickets for individuals too: we’d love you to come along and make some new friends on the night.

And any corporate’s out there who’d like to sponsor a Corporate Table, and have some extra fancy food, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or 027 2306336.

Student Led Conferences 10 August 2016

This week we had our annual Student Led Conferences.  What a wonderful opportunity for students to share their learning with their parents and whanau.  Students were able to share their latest work and talk about their strengths and next learning steps.  

At St Mary’s we want to develop students who under-stand what they are learning, why they are learning this and what they need to do next to get better.  

Here’s what some of our students thought about our Student Led Conferences:

It was great!  I finally got to share my learning with my parents.  Most of all, I had fun doing it.  Mitchell R8

Mum and Dad felt a little bit nervous because they didn’t know what to do.  I helped them because we had a schedule.  Louie R16

We were in charge of our learning.  R16

I thought that it was really nice that we could share our work with our parents, because they don’t get to come in every day.  It was good for mum and dad to know where I am at.  Georgia R9

Catholic Character 11 August 2016

Thank you for the very warm welcome to St Mary’s Tauranga; myself and my family feel very blessed to be part of the community.  I have moved to Tauranga from Rotorua where I was DRS at St Mary’s Rotorua and had taught there for the past 14 years. My husband, Neil and I moved to Rotorua from Auckland when I had finished training as a teacher.   We have three children, Samuel (year 7) at Aquinas College, Sarah (year 5) and Adam (year 3) both here at St Mary’s.  As a family we are looking forward to new challenges and experiences that our move to Tauranga will bring. 

Please feel free to contact me at anytime This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Last Tuesday we were able to thank and praise God for the gift of Grandparents.  It was fantastic to see so many Grandparents. Students were able to proudly share with them their school life. I am sure it is quite different today to when they went to school.

This week we welcomed 29 new families to the school. Dear Lord, We pray for our new students and families, that they are always welcomed and supported by the community.  Help them to settle into our school and feel part of our faith community. May they come closer to you each day. 

School Mass

On Friday 12 August 9:30 at Church the school will be celebrating Mass for the Assumption. 

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

On this feast of Mary we celebrate a special favour that God gave to Mary, our Mother.

The Assumption means that Mary was taken up into the glory of heaven not only with her soul, but also with her body.

Jesus, the Son of God was born from Mary’s pure womb. So when Mary died, God the Father and Jesus, would not let the body of the Mother of God be spoilt. This was her reward for her love of God and her years of faithful prayers and suffering.

Now Mary is in heaven. She is queen of heaven and earth. She is the Mother of Jesus’ Church and queen of apostles. Every time Mary asks Jesus to give us graces, he listens to her request.

After the resurrection from the dead, we, too, can go to heaven with our bodies. Our bodies will be perfect. They will not suffer illness anymore. They will not need any more food and drink to keep alive. They will be beautiful and splendid!

If we use our bodies now to do good, those bodies will share in our heavenly reward.

As we celebrate the feast day of Mary, we can ask our Blessed Mother Mary to guide, protect and care for us.

Prayer for the Assumption of Mary

Father in heaven, all creation rightly gives you praise, for all life and all holiness come from you. In the plan of your wisdom she who bore the Christ in her womb was raised body and soul in glory to be with him in heaven. May we follow her example in reflecting your holiness and join in her hymn of endless love and praise.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.


Teresa Rush

A message from our BoT Chair - Claire Stott 8 July 2016

Kia Ora Koutou

As the newly elected chair of St Mary’s Board of Trustees,  I wanted to take the opportunity to say hello to you all and thank you for participating in the recent election for our 5 new parent representatives.  

Our first meeting last week showed we’ve got a very strong, skilled team and we’re all keen to keep building on the great work our last Board have done. We thank Kelly Quin and her team for handing things over in a very thorough and helpful way. 

We will obviously be using the next few weeks or so to get up to speed as a new Board but we are looking forward to working closely with Mr Fuller and the school community to ensure we meet our current strategic priorities as set out in our school charter: all with the focus of helping our students learn and achieve to the best of their ability. 

Look out for more information from your Board next term. 

Have a fabulous holiday and take care. 

God bless 

Claire Stott
Board of Trustee Chair