Rā Whānau Mai Monday 4 February 2019

Kia Ora Whānau,

School will reopen for formal instruction on Tuesday 5th February. Monday 4th February St Mary’s will be open for Rā Whānau Mai (Family Welcome Day). This is a family open day and is a great opportunity for you, as parents and whānau, to share your expectations, your child’s interests, strengths, and learning needs and the knowledge you value directly with your child’s teacher.
To book your interview with your child’s whanau teacher for 2019 please go to https://www.schoolinterviews.co.nz and use the event code kgwem.  Don't forget to help yourself to a free coffee, and later on in the morning a free sausage sizzle.

We are hoping for full attendance at these important meetings. These interviews will replace our Meet the teacher event that is usually held within the first 2 weeks of Term 1. We wish you all a safe holiday and a very Happy New Year.

Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are unsure which class your child is in for 2019.

Special Character 15 November 2018

This term our focus is on the Sacrament Strand- Aroha team, year 5 and 6.


Confirmed in the Spirit
There are times in people’s lives when they are in need of healing in body and soul. 

The Sacraments of Penance and Anointing of the sick bring people the grace of reconciliation, healing and peace. Each Sacrament gives to people its own special grace or gift from God and makes God present in a special way. 

All of the Sacraments make Jesus present because they bring new life, tapu and mana, healing and strength and peace to people. Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist are the Sacraments of initiation into the Catholic Church. Through these Sacraments people commit themselves to live as full members of the Church involved in the Church’s mission, prayer and celebrations. 

Through the rite, rituals and symbols of the Sacrament of Confirmation confer the full gifts of the Holy Spirit and increase the grace of baptism to enable people to spread the gospel of Jesus. The rituals and symbols of the Sacrament can be seen but they have a deeper meaning that cannot be seen. In celebrating the Eucharist the community celebrates the sacrifice or gift of Jesus’ life to God on the cross

November - Month of the Holy Souls
During November we pray especially for our loved ones who have passed away. Father Mark has encouraged all students to be able to recite the following prayer. Please use it at home and pray together as a family for those you love who have died.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, 
and let perpetual light shine upon them. 
May they rest in peace.

Students from Aroha Team after All Souls Mass went to the cemetery where they prayed for the Cluny Sisters who have died.  

Whakapono team led the school in liturgy on Monday and the focus was on Parihaka. Students learnt how following the bible Te Whiti and Tohu encouraged violence to be met with peace.

In the late 19th century, under the leadership of Te Whiti o Rongomai and Tohu Kakahi, Parihaka became a place of non-violent resistance to the confiscation of land. The small village on the western slopes of Taranaki continues to be a place of gathering to discuss issues of the day, and look for a collective response to injustice. 

Catholic Social teaching
Violence has no place in a just society. The Catholic Church teaches that true peace is made possible only through forgiveness and reconciliation. As part of this process, Catholic social teaching asks us to acknowledge past wrongs as a means to reconciling our past and its shortcomings on our way to building a better future.  Te Whiti and Tohu recognised that there must be a better way to fight the injustices that they were faced with. They chose to lead their people in non-violent resistance. They ploughed fields in order to be heard. Te Whiti and Tohu chose not to physically fight eviction and arrest.  Peaceful intentions were at the forefront of their resistance, as was the building of a community committed to finding a way to live together.Caritas Parihaka resource. 


Teresa Rush

From The Principal 15 November 2018

Tena koutou katoa, Talofa Lava and a very warm welcome to everyone in our school community. 

A special welcome to Alexander Carter. 

I am very excited to announce that Ben Fuller is now back from study leave.  Welcome back Ben, it is great to have you back with us!  

Taylor Bros Transport Fireworks & Gala
A huge thank you to everyone who supported our fireworks gala this year.  We definitely wouldn’t have had the success that we have had without the input from so many.  In particular I would like to thank Taryn Joseph (parent and owner of  Thyme Management), Lee-Ann Taylor, Ana McFarlane, the whole of the PTA and St Mary’s staff for your hard work and dedication.  The gala is a huge undertaking and I have a whole new appreciation of the organisation involved.  

We had approximately 5000 people through the gate and it was a busy night.  The fireworks finale was incredible.  I will keep you informed of the money raised once that has been finalised.  

Jump Jam
Congratulations must go to all of our Jump Jam Teams and their coaches.  

1st year 1-4 open Team called Enchanters doing “Magic 2.0”. 

1st in year 4-8 all boys Team called the Misfits, doing “Captain jack”.

1st in  year 4-6 advanced open (the toughest division) Team called Senior Swifts doing song “Shake it off”.

3rd in year 4-6 open, Team called Crazy Circus doing song “Afro Circus”.

4th year 1-4 open Team called Muchachas doing Borriquito.

Learning Through Play
In Week 3, I was very lucky to attend a two day seminar run by Nathan Mikaere Wallis. This was an indepth look at the developing brain!  I walked away with a much deeper understanding of neuroscience research and it’s practical implications. 

Nathan is passionate 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 emphasises the importance for children to develop positive dispositions towards their learning and their culture, and to develop their creative and thinking skills.  

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.


I will be running two information sessions on Play based learning in the BAMJC on Tuesday 20th during our Open Morning, 9 - 10:30am.  

Thank you for your support.

That’s me signing off for the last time as Acting Principal.  Thank you for being such a supportive community during my time in this position, I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it and gained a great insight into the very diverse nature of the role of the principal.  

Nga mihi nui

Anna MacKinnon
Acting Principal

Spring Book Sale

Ex School Library Books. Picture books/chapter books/non fiction.  ALL 50 cents.

When: Monday 5th November to Thursday 8th November 8.45am-3.15pm

Parents welcome to visit during school time and children can buy during class visits. Books will also be available at the Fireworks Gala

From The Principal 26 October 2018

Afio mai tua i vaitaimi fa, welcome back to Term 4!  

As I write this post, we have just returned from a beautiful long weekend of sunshine.  Our pool is 24 degrees, so swimming is just around the corner and just a reminder that we have now changed to our summer uniform with hats (named) now compulsory everyday.  Unfortunately no hat, no play!

A special welcome to our new students Maleyah Abalajon, Conor Amaru, Luke Chang, Tyler Coballes, Joseph Minkhorst, Hannah Minkhorst, Carl Palad, Annabelle Talbot and Ratu Veitaladrua.

Learning Term 4
This term our learning is all based around curiosity and inquiry.  Inquiry learning is driven by the curiosity of students about their world.  Inquiry encourages ‘connection, cooperation and collaboration’ with others in real contexts.  It is purposeful and authentic learning.   

Taylor Bros Transport Fireworks & Gala
It is now only 2 weeks until our extremely popular annual fireworks gala. We are still looking to our community to support this event through volunteers, sponsors and / or donations for our winning wheel.  

Tickets are being sold online only this year through eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.nz/e/st-marys-fireworks-gala-tickets-51494323909 or https://bit.ly/2NRjDqS.

Aroha Camp
Thank you to Aroha teachers, students and parents for making our Senior camp an amazing experience.  The teachers spent many hours preparing for our three day camp, and we certainly couldn’t have had such a wonderful experience without the input from our parents and the positive behaviour from our students.  It was great to see that the students rose to the challenge of some of the harder activities and gave everything a go.  The range of activities made camp an experience of a lifetime and I know that our students will remember it for many years to come. 

It is great to see our Whakapono students utilising and exploring our amazing asset right on our doorstep - the estuary.  Emma from Tidal discoveries came to take some of our students, parents and teachers into the estuary to spend time observing, monitoring and discovering.  Tidal Discoveries is a school led estuary, stream and dune monitoring program focusing in and around Tauranga Harbour. 

Learning Through Play
Next week, I am very lucky to be attending a two day seminar run 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.  

It will be 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.  I’m sure that it will also verify the importance of the ‘Key Competencies’ that are the basis of the New Zealand Curriculum.   

I look forward to sharing my learning with you in the next newsletter.

Jump Jam North Island Championships
This weekend our Jump Jammers will be competing in the North Island Championships.  After many months of practising they look awesome with their new haircuts and costumes and the final routines are polished.

We wish Kim, Gabby, Camella, and the Jump Jam students all the best

We have a very busy term ahead of us so please take note of the important dates within this newsletter and also on our school calendar. 

Nga mihi nui
Anna MacKinnon
Acting Principal

Special Character 26 October 2018

Month of the Rosary
October is the Month of the Rosary, students started the term with a Rosary liturgy and have been praying the rosary in the classrooms.

We focus on how our Mother Mary takes our prayers to God and intercedes on our behalf. 

To Mary by Joy Cowley
Mary, Mother of God,
you are the woman who is always there.
You celebrate with us the Bethlehems and Nazareths of our daily family living.
You stand by us in our Calvarys and are with us at Pentecost.
Whatever our need or wherever we are,
Mother of all seasons you are there. 
The images we have of you will change with our life’s journey.
You are the warmth of home and hearth.
You are the fertile full moon embracing land and tide.
You are the little secret thing, the kauri seedling rooted in earth and growing upwards,
outwards, to the Queendom of Heaven.
You are the Ark of the New Covenant. You are the clay chalice which holds the wine of Life.Ko te koha koe
Ko te koha koe
You are the silent space of prayer in our lives.You are the yes to God, our yes to growth, our yes to the birthing of Christ in the world.
And however we see you or fail to see you, you are always there.

Religious Education Term 4 
This term our focus is on the Sacrament Strand.

How am I called to be holy and serve?

Aroha team: The focus is on the Sacraments of Healing and how we are Confirmed in the Spirit.

Whakapono: The focus is on the Sacraments of Forgiveness and Food for Life.

Maramatanga and Tika: The focus is on the Sacraments of Welcome into holiness through Baptism.

Congratulations Eric and Ella Chea who were Baptised in the school Chapel on Thursday after the class mass. May God always be at your side. 

Teresa Rush, DRS.

From The Principal 27 September 2018

Kia ora koutou katoa, Talofa Lava and Nimen hào to our whole school community.  This week is Chinese language week so a special time for our three students at St Mary’s who identify as Chinese.  I love this Chinese proverb that I came across this week, which epitomises the collaboration that we are striving to achieve at St Mary’s -


A special welcome to Liam Rhind, Sophia Ferdinando and Vivian Pham.  Eli Murie and Leila Cafer who have recently joined our St Mary’s whanau.

Open Day

We had a great turn out of parents and whanau at our open day last week.  It was awesome to see the children sharing their learning.  We will do this again next term! 


This week we sadly farewell Mr Bryan Crowe, who is moving to Korea with his family.  We thank Bryan for his contribution to our school and wish him and his family well for their future endeavours.  We are very lucky to have Louisa Strange and Christelle High joining our staff for Term 4.  Louisa will be starting our new New Entrant class in Room 3 and Christelle will be working in Whakpono Tahi in place of Bryan.  

Key Competencies

At St Mary’s we understand the importance of the Key Competencies.  This week I am focusing on the final Key Competency of ‘Thinking’.  

The Key Competency of thinking really weaves it’s way through all of the other Key Competencies.  Without thinking we couldn’t ‘Manage Self’, ‘Relate to Others’, ‘Participate and Contribute’ or ‘Use Language, Symbols and Texts’.   Having said that, we do need to focus solely on thinking to grow this competency. 

 At St Mary’s we are developing our students thinking skills by giving them opportunities to reflect, problem solve, ask questions and draw from the knowledge they already have.  

“Thinking is about using creative, critical, and metacognitive processes to make sense of information, experiences, and ideas. These processes can be applied to purposes such as developing understanding, making decisions, shaping actions, or constructing knowledge. Intellectual curiosity is at the heart of this competency.”  TKI Online.

Now for a skite!  Recently we participated in the National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement (NMSSA), conducted on behalf of the Ministry of Education.  This involved an external teacher working with a number of Year 4 students.  The study looked at children’s learning in mathematics and social studies.  Although we don’t get the results, we are extremely proud to say that all of the children that participated showed amazing thinking and collaboration skills.  I think that is a great testament to the teaching and learning here at St Mary’s.  

Learning Through Play

You may have noticed that I am very passionate about play!  Next term I will be focusing on play in the newsletters.  I will also be running a ‘play’ workshop for those of you who may want to know more about the importance of play and the research that supports this.  Watch this space for dates for this workshop.  

Newsletter online

We are very pleased to announce a trial of our newsletter as an online document.  This is one step that we can make towards taking care of our environment and streamlining the workload of our office administrators.  We will have a small amount of paper copies available in the office for those who prefer to read hard copies.  Our newsletter will be emailed and available on our website and official facebook page.

Summer Uniform

Just a reminder that we change to our summer uniform next term.  We move from wearing shoes and socks to wearing sandals.  The St Mary’s School hat is compulsory for the whole of Term 4.  There will be disignated play areas for children who do not come to school with a hat.

Music Scholarship

Thank you to everyone who applied for the Music Scholarship for guitar lessons in Term 4, 2018.  

Congratulations to Vani Panchal and Maddie Parry who will receive tutoring from Michael Nicholson. Thank you to Suzuki Bay of Plenty.  We are excited to be able to provide this opportunity and we are sure that both girls will really benefit from these lessons.  Look out for the Coding/Computer Scholarship notice coming home soon.

 We hope you have a safe and happy term break and look forward to an exciting final term of the year.  


Anna MacKinnon

Acting Principal

Special Character 27 September 2018

Tika and Maramatanga Jesus Strand key teaching and learning

Jesus is a human person who was born into a Jewish family around 6-4 BC. He lived as a child just like us. As an adult Jesus invited the apostles to be his friend and follow him. What Jesus did when he lived on earth he continues to do today with the help of the Holy Spirit. We get to know Jesus through the bible stories. Jesus showed love and respect for the tapu of people in different ways; talking, listening, sharing meals, touching, healing and showing he cared for them. Jesus wants us to be like this.

Service Highlight

The school would like to recognise and thank the students who performed at the Parish Meal to welcome Father Rico. The Jump Jam was a great way to start the evening. Serrie Park played the piano beautifully and Nathan Holmberg was amazing on the saxophone. It is great to have such talent at the school and for students to be involved in active service. 


Song for Sunrise — Joy Cowley, New Zealand

Hey, beautiful morning, we’re singing your God song, a psalm of seas and mountains, of empty roads and houses yawning under a new blue bowl of sky.

It’s the song of the bellbird, of steaming cows in sheds, of freckled trout quivering in deep dark pools, and dew on cobwebs lacing trees.

Hey, beautiful morning, stay in our wakened hearts so we can carry your God song into the busy day.

Remind us that newness is an ongoing gift and that every moment is potential reborn, but if our ears become full of other concerns, and we lose the freshness of your song, then comfort us with the knowledge that you will sing with us again tomorrow, oh beautiful morning, oh song of God.

From Psalms for the Road by Joy Cowley, 2005 (2nd Edition 2014), Pleroma


Pono Tahi have been learning about the rosary. They used play dough to sculpt the beads on a mini whiteboard and label the prayers we say. This was then posted on Seesaw in our RE folder.

Teresa Rush


My speech experience by Gia Dumbleton

This week I had the privilege of representing St Mary’s and the South Cluster at the Western Bay of Plenty speech finals. I particularly enjoyed listening to all the other speeches.There were some really interesting topics. The winning speech was on paper, scissors, rock and how it got its name.  I felt very lucky to come third.