From The Principal 6 September 2018

Kia ora koutou katoa, Talofa Lava and Annyeong-haseyo to our whole school community.  A special welcome to Eli Murie and Leila Cafer who have recently joined our St Mary’s whanau.

International students

Last week I was very excited and privileged to be representing St Mary’s at the International Korean Fair in Seoul alongside approximately 25 other Tauranga educators.  I was promoting our city and our school as a high quality study destination and hope to recruit more Korean students to St Mary’s. St Mary’s is a school with a diverse cultural makeup which provides many benefits for our students, in particular this diversity helps our students understand and respect diverse viewpoints, values, customs, and languages.

There are, of course, many benefits for our International students also.  The acquisition of english language skills and the opportunity to learn in a very different educational setting that promotes learner agency are two of these benefits.  

I am looking forward to an opportunity to learn more about the Korean culture and to develop a greater understanding of how we can provide an inclusive experience for our international students.  

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.  

Reciprocal visits

As a part of our Faith Based Kahui Ako (Community of Learning) it has been really great to continue our reciprocal visits between teachers at Aquinas, St Thomas More and St Mary’s.  The teachers visited each others school and classrooms to observe and then have discussion time to share the initiatives that they are implementing at each school.  This has been really instrumental in building relationships across our Catholic Community.  

Key Competencies

At St Mary’s we understand the importance of the Key Competencies.  Over the next term, through the newsletter, I will be looking more in depth at each key competency. So far I have covered ‘Managing Self’, ‘Relating to Others’ and ‘Participating and Contributing’.  This week I am focusing on ‘Using Language, Symbols and Texts’.  

The basis of this Key Competency is the development of literacy and numeracy skills.  “Students who are competent users of language, symbols, and texts can interpret and use words, number, images, movement, metaphor, and technologies in a range of contexts. They recognise how choices of language, symbol, or text affect people’s understanding and the ways in which they respond to communications. They confidently use ICT (including, where appropriate, assistive technologies) to access and provide information and to communicate with others.”  The New Zealand Curriculum - TKI Online

Safety of children

There have been concerns at other schools around Tauranga of students being approached by strangers.  There have not been any incidents of this happening at St Mary’s but we do recommend that you accompany your children each day rather than let them walk alone.  Here are safety tips issued by Tauranga Police to combat stranger danger:

- Walk with a dog or another person.

- If walking by yourself, choose busy times of the day.

- Avoid walking in dusk or when lighting was poor.

- Pause playing music in vulnerable areas to hear people walking up behind.


A reminder to parents, whanau and friends that it is not acceptable to park, or drive on the grass verges of neighbouring properties. Our neighbours have also complained of cars blocking their driveways.  Please be respectful to our neighbours  and do not park on verges or block driveways.  Your help with this would be much appreciated. 

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.  

This year in Tika, Maramatanga and Whakapono Teams we have used 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 Aroha Team, they are encouraged to take on more challenging types of public speaking.  All students in Aroha Team 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 sound conclusion. 

Original and thought-provoking ideas are encouraged. The judges used set criteria that are also used in the South Cluster Competition at the next level. This ensures consistency for all.

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

Tika Team

1st:  Abigail Albert

Finalists:  Alessandro Goodin and William Crowe.

Year 2

1st:  Madeline Mear and Junior Cup Winner

Finalists:  Nadya Broadbent, Sadie Frank and Elliot Olsen.

Year 3 

1st:  Maebh Manning

Finalists:  Matthew Rogers, Tommy Mason and Milli Banbury.

Year 4 

1st:  George Hopkins and Middle Cup Winner

Finalists:  Loimata Paaka, Ivy Barrett-Hodgson and Liae Yang.

Year 5

1st: Gia Dumbleton 

Finalists:  Alana Perrett, Yeva Parshikova, and Imogen Williamson.

Year 6

1st:  Nathan Holmberg and Senior Cup Winner

Finalists:  Briar Grace, Roman Rejthar and Finn Richards.

Good luck to Nathan Holmberg, Finn Richards, Alana Perrett and Gia Dumbleton who are representing St Mary’s at the South Cluster finals next week.

sin-ui chugbog (God bless)


Anna MacKinnon

Acting Principal

Special Character 6 September 2018

Parish School Mass

St Mary’s Parish / School Mass will be held Sunday 9th September, 10.30am at St Mary Immaculate Church.  Please wear School Uniform.
There will be a bake sale and sausage sizzle after Mass to raise funds for the 2019 Samoa Malaga.

Parish Pot Luck Dinner 

“Build Community” We are having a pot luck dinner to welcome Father Rico.  This will be on Friday 7 September at 6pm, in the Blessed Anne-Marie Javouhey Centre. All welcome!

Whakapono Jesus Strand key teaching and learning

Jesus is truly present in special ways in the meal that is the Eucharist. When people receive the Eucharist they grow in holiness tapu. Eucharist is the best way to give praise and thanks to God with Jesus through the Holy Spirit. Jesus invites people to grow in holiness by sharing in his life and following his example. Grace is the gift of God’s presence and action in the world that helps people to become holy like God. When Christians live as Jesus did with tika, pono and aroha they help to bring about God’s kingdom on earth Jesus taught people what God was like and how much God loved them and this helped people to be reconciled with God Te Atua.

Teresa Rush


ESOL - English as a second language

Mayoral Visit

Last Monday we went to the council chambers to meet the Mayor Greg Brownlees. There were lots of other students that come from different countries and lots of our friends from Korea were there. We were all in our school uniform and it was nice to be together. We all received a small Tauranga pin from the Mayor to remember our special day. We watched a video all about Tauranga where we live and it reminded us all about just how beautiful Tauranga is. The Mayor said that the people of Tauranga love having international students coming to live in our city because it makes our city interesting and helps us to get to know other cultures. We had lots of photos with the Mayor and our friends. Afterwards we had a lovely morning tea and the sausage rolls and lolly cake were yummy!!

By Jooyeon Kim & Jessica Kum

Why is St Mary’s School Special?

St Mary’s School is very special because it has three playgrounds and a library, a swimming pool, the estuary, a tennis court, the field and the most important thing, it’s got Jesus.

By Rohan Moby ( Maramatanga)

From The Principal 17 August 2018

Kia ora koutou katoa, Talofa Lava, Malo e lelei, Ni Hao, Anyoung haseyo, Magandang umaga, Konnichi wa, Guten tag, Bonjour, Ola, hello to our whole school community.  A special welcome to Jessica Radley and Isabelle Reeve who started in our new entrant class.

I can’t believe how fast this term is flying by already and when each fortnight comes around for me to write my piece I feel like I’ve only just finished the last one!

As I walk around the school and visit the classrooms it is so great to see the children so enthusiastic about practising their poems and speeches in preparation for presenting to their peers.  I’ve seen many of our Tika students showing innovation and  creativity with their costumes to support their poem.  We are all looking forward to the finals in Week 6.  


On Tuesday night I attended the PTA Annual General Meeting.  On behalf of the staff, students and the wider community I would like to thank the PTA for the awesome amount of effort they put in to supporting our school.  Listening to the annual reports from the Chairperson Ana MacFarlane and the Treasurer, Tracey Phizacklea it is quite impressive to hear just what has been accomplished over the last year.  The PTA is incremental in providing support physically for events e.g. Discos, Quiz Night, Adventure Day.  They also provide monetary support for those extra projects that may not be afforded otherwise, the Junior Sandpit is a great example.  Thank you to the PTA, we could not survive without your huge input.  

Industrial Action

Thank you to all of our parents for being so supportive and understanding when the teachers went on strike this Wednesday.  

We are hoping that our action sent a strong message to our government that we believe they are not valuing our profession or the importance of teachers.  The current offer on the table is not addressing the key issues of the teacher shortage, challenges teachers have in the classroom with workload, and the lack of funding for children with special needs. This is not just a claim for extra pay as has been reported in the media; it is a campaign for the changes we see as essential to providing the best education possible for your children.

Key Competencies

At St Mary’s we understand the importance of the Key Competencies.  Over the next term, through the newsletter, I will be looking more in depth at each key competency. So far I have covered Managing Self and Relating to Others.  This week I am focusing on ‘Participating and Contributing’. 

We want our children to be active participants.  This includes being involved in local communities like family, whanau, school, our Catholic Parish, sports groups and cultural groups.  This can spread much wider to being involved in national and global initiatives.  “This competency includes a capacity to contribute appropriately as a group member, to make connections with others, and to create opportunities for others in the group.  Students who participate and contribute in communities have a sense of belonging and the confidence to participate within new contexts. They understand the importance of balancing rights, roles, and responsibilities and of contributing to the quality and sustainability of social, cultural, physical, and economic environments.” TKI Online

As teachers and parents we need to provide purposeful learning experiences that give our students opportunities for this involvement.  We need to give them experiences that develop their knowledge of what is possible and what it means to be a productive member of a community or group.

Have a great couple of weeks, no doubt Week 6 will be here before we know it!

Reminder about Absence and Lateness 

It is a concern for us that several students have high absences from school and many students arrive late to school on a regular basis.  Children who are not at school or are regularly late do not learn as easily or with the same rate of progress as other children. Staff, parents, children and the community have responsibilities in this area.  Ayn Harris and I will be contacting parents early next term if we are concerned about your child’s absence or lateness.  

Children are considered to have unsatisfactory attendance at school over the course of the year if they miss 16 days of school or 8% of their time at school. This means that if a child has had 4 days off school in a term the school is concerned.  

It is interesting and alarming to note that 10% of a child’s time at our school (Year 1 – Year 6) is 32 weeks (3 terms), and 20% is 64 weeks (6 terms).  

“If students experienced more than a day between one opportunity to interact with a new idea and a subsequent opportunity to interact with the new idea, then forgetting occurred and instructional opportunity was wasted” 

(Alton-Lee, 2003, p.50). 

Fa’amanuia le Atua (God bless)

Anna MacKinnon

Acting Principal

Special Character 17 August 2018

Welcome Father Rico

We would like to welcome Father Rico to our school community. He was officially welcomed at our New Families liturgy. We look forward to getting to know Father Rico. 


Well done to the Young Vinnies who carry out Service. They have been visiting local Rest Homes, playing games, doing yoga, performing magic tricks and performing musical and dance items. 

Monday 6th August -  Hodgson House Rest Home. Monday 13th August - Cedar Manor Retirement and Care.

They plan to visit - Fraser Manor Retirement Home and another Home this term. 

Sacrament of Baptism

If anyone would like to find out more about having their children Baptised please contact Margie at the Church office 578 6209. Or you can email Teresa Rush This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information.

Senior Jesus Strand key teaching and learning

Catholics believe that Jesus Christ is both fully human he tino tangata and divine he tino Atua like God. People come to know Jesus through reading and reflecting on the stories about him in the New Testament. Through the stories people can get a sense of the people, the times and places Jesus lived in that influenced his life and his work. 

Each gospel writer records Jesus’ life from a different perspective and this enables people to develop a deeper understanding of Jesus’ life, his mission and his death and resurrection. Jesus came to make known to people that God is his Abba, Matua. Jesus’ life was God’s gift of love to the world because God loved people so much. Jesus taught that the Holy Spirit strengthens people to turn away from sin and live as he lived. Jesus lived with faith, hope and love and he invites his followers to do the same. Christians express their faith, hope and love through worshipping God and loving actions.

Teresa Rush


From The Principal 2 August 2018

Tena koutou katoa, kia orana kotou and a very warm welcome back to Term 3.

Grandparents and Grandfriends

We were blessed with a huge turnout for our special celebration liturgy of our grandparents and grandfriends this week.   

It’s our hope that all of our grandparents feel that they are a part of St Mary’s and as I moved around the school on Tuesday morning, the unconditional love that they were sharing with their own grandchildren was evident. 

Education is changing rapidly but something that hasn’t changed, and in fact has become even more important, is the ability to build relationships with and relate to people of all ages.  Relationships is an area that we spend a considerable amount of time on at St Mary’s.  

Grandparents are often the ones who reinforce the values that we are instilling in our students.  The St Mary’s values of Truth (tika), wisdom (maramatanga), Faith (whakapono) and Mercy (aroha).  They are often also the ones that bring our Catholic faith alive.  We never underestimate how important grandparents are for us as a community and to develop that special relationship with their grandchildren.  


A special welcome to Ella Saunders, Vincent Hodgson, Shania Addlington, Francis Morado, Jodi Gilmour, Jules Youn, Sally Ryu and Wonjun Jung who have joined our school family.

Term Three Learning

The term ahead sees the teachers and students inquiring into our brain.  In particular thinking about thinking (metacognition) and having a growth mindset.

Term 3 has historically been our term for the performance of speeches and poetry.  Our finals will be held in Week 6.   

Key Competencies

At St Mary’s we understand the importance of the Key Competencies.  Over the next term, through the newsletter, I will be looking more in depth at each key competency.  Last term I wrote about Managing Self.  This week I am focusing on ‘Relating To Others’.  This is at the forefront of my mind after the Grandparents Liturgy on Tuesday.  

Relating to others is about interacting effectively with a diverse range of people in a variety of contexts. This includes listening, recognising different points of view or being able to ‘walk in another’s shoes’, negotiating, and sharing ideas. Knowing when, and being able to ask for and offer help, is also an important aspect of this key competency.  

Students who relate well to others are open to new learning and can take on different roles in different situations. They are aware of how their words and actions affect others. They can work together with others, collaborate and cooperate.  


August is the final month for first reports to go out to parents and whanau.  If you missed an interview it’s not too late to book one in with your child’s whanau teacher.  


Congratulations to Angela Cochrane who has been appointed to Team Leader for Aroha Team until the end of the year.  

We are very sad to farewell Bryan Crowe from his permanent teaching position and Siyeon Crowe from her ESOL / International teaching position.  Siyeon left at the end of last term and Bryan will be leaving at the end of Term 3.  Bryan and Siyeon are heading back to Korea to teach.  We thank them for all their hard work and wish them all the best.  There will be a more formal farewell for Bryan at the end of the term.  

We welcome Donna Vincent as teacher of our ESOL and International students.  Donna will be working closely with teachers, students and their families to provide an effective English Language Programme to our English as Second Language and our International Students. Donna will work both within the classroom and in small groups to provide this instruction.  

Nuts and Bolts

Lost property: The lost Property bin is getting so full that we can hardly close it each night.  One fine day over the next week, we will be laying out the lost property on the tennis courts.  All un-named remaining clothing will then be washed and kept in the office for spare , to give to families in need, or to resell.  We will alert you by Facebook, app and email so that you have a chance to come in and pick up what belongs to you.  We will also be encouraging the children to have a thorough look.  

After School: We will be encouraging all children to wait inside the gate for parents at the end of the day, in order to keep them safe.

Lunches: Please ensure lunches are healthy options for your children and packaging is kept to a minimum so that we are doing our bit for the environment.  

Health and Safety: We are currently going through the process of practicing our evacuation procedures.  These include lockdown (reverse evacuation), fire, earthquake and tsunami.  If any parents are on site during these drills, it is important that you follow our procedures also.

Fa’amanuia le Atua (God bless)

Anna MacKinnon

Acting Principal

PTA Defibrillator

CONGRATULATIONS to all our students who got in behind the school cross country fundraiser; 

you raised just over $2,000 for the PTA’s defibrillator. 

It is times like this that I am reminded what a fantastic school community we have.  Thank you very much to all of you.      

Steven Finlayson

Special Character 2 August 2018

Please pray for Ben Fuller and his whanau

Ben’s mother, Freda passed away unexpectedly last weekend.  Please pray for Ben, Gen and family during this very sad and difficult time. 

Hehu Karaiti-Jesus -  Term 3 Religious Education

This term our teaching focus is on Jesus- Hehu Karaiti and our school value Truth- Tika

Students will be reflecting on the main question: 

How can I be an excellent follower of Jesus?

The focus for each area of the school is:

Tika and Maramatanga:  Jesus my friend, Jesus showed his love in different ways.

Whakapono: Jesus gives himself in the Eucharist; Jesus came to show people how to live and lead them to God.

Aroha:  The Life of Jesus; Jesus - the fullness of God’s revelation.


This week I would like to highlight the great service provided by the students who run the “Fun Factory” This club is open on Tuesday and Thursday lunchtime by room 10.

Milli Banbury, Lottie Mann, Willow Murie, Fenella Price, India Scholes, Niamh O’Connor and Cleo Sands from Whakapono.

“The Fun Factory is where kids who don’t have anyone to play with can come to play games, do art, read books. When they are here we talk to them and see how they are going.” -  Milli Banbury.

“We started it because when I was walking around the school one day we noticed people without friends sitting around trees doing nothing.”  - Willow Murie

“We thought that we should do something to help people make friends.”  - Lottie Mann

Farewell Father Danny

Students, Staff and community farewelled Father Danny last week with a Liturgy. We gave God thanks for Father Danny and all he has done for us. We wish him well in his new appointment as Parish Priest in Melville and Hospital Chaplin. 

Father Danny has done many things for our school. You have taught many students the wonders of God and I have learnt an amount from you too. If you hadn’t have come to St Mary’s, I don’t think I would know much about R.E as I do now. You’ve made a huge contribution to our school in the time you’ve been here. We will all miss you and we wish you the very best in continuing your journey as a priest. 

(Samuel - Aroha)

Dear Fr Danny I’m so sad that today I am writing to say goodbye to you. so, I have decided more to focus on the positive memories you have made at St Marys. 

You are a truly amazing person and you inspire me to love God with all my heart and to continue to do so all my life.

Your beautiful kind spirit has touched the hearts of not just the children but the school staff and the teachers too. 

(Sophia - Aroha)

Thank you Father Danny for your committement and service to St Mary’s School.  We will miss you! 

School Feast Day

Thank you for all your support on the School feast day. All the students had a great day. It was fantastic to see the students interacting with learning in their house groups and the way the seniors helped the junior students. The learning based on Blessed Anne Marie Javouhey was excellent and many students really amazed us with their knowledge and thoughts about how we serve God today.

Teresa Rush


Sports News 2 August 2018

Sports Exchange

After last year’s successful term 3 sports exchange with St Thomas More, we have decided to expand this year’s event.  We are really happy to announce that St Mary’s Rotorua will be joining St Mary’s Tauranga and St Thomas More on the last week of term 3 to compete in Netball, Basketball and Football.  This sports exchange will be open to all our Year 5 and 6 students.   As soon as all the information is finalised we will send more information.

National Taekwondo Champhionships 

Jazmine Oficial competed in the 9 – 12 year old age group at the National Taekwondo Champhionships finishing an amazing 1st in Sparing, 1st Pair Poomsae (forms or defined pattern of attack and defensive movements), 1st Individual Poomsae.  With two more years in this category, I am sure she will continue to have great success. 

Miniball World Cup

In the last week of term 2 a St Mary’s team of Areta Kahura, Louie Gash, Kees Schiphorst, Makae Fuller, Alexander Bayliss, Loimata Paaka, Joshua Fausett, Cormac Gardiner, Kahlia Gardiner-Hano and George Hopkins competed as Russia in the Miniball World Cup.  Out of the 32 teams who competed at the tournament, our St Mary’s team WON THE COMPETITION!!!!! 

To top off what was a fantastic day, they also finished 2nd in the best dressed competition.  On behalf of everybody involved I would like to say a huge thank you to Wayne Fausett, who coached the team for a very full on and long day.

I would also like to congratulate Areta Kahura, who was named in the tournament team from the Miniball World Cup.  This team does not play any games, but is made up of the best players  from every team who competed.

Soccer Success

During the July school holidays, Benjamin Petrik competed in the Christchurch International Cup.  There are over 1,000 players at this football tournament,  for teams from the Asia-Pacific region.  Congratulations to Ben and his team who finished 4th against some very high quality teams.  Ben has also been chosen, as part of the Tauranga All Stars Football Academy to travel to Scotland and England in December this year to play against four academies there (Rangers FC, Kilmarnock FC, Manchester City FC and Burnley FC).