Mauao Book Launch

Kia Ora koutou,

Many of you may be aware that I have recently written and illustrated a bilingual picture book which tells the oral tradition of Mauao, and very soon it will be available for purchase in book shops everywhere.

This came about because as a kapahaka and reo teacher at St Marys Catholic School, we draw on the story of Mauao constantly to share with the kids – but we have never had a resource to show them. One day I visited the library to look for a single book and after finding nothing on the shelves, I asked the librarian, ‘Do you have any Maori picture books that tell local Maori stories?’ She shook her head to say no, but then she said ‘maybe you should write one…’

Two or three years later and that book that I was trying so hard to find in the library, is the book that I have now completed. I couldn’t find it, so I wrote and illustrated it myself.

One of the greatest things about this project was being able to draw on my passions; writing, storytelling, drawing and Te Reo; to complete the whole book myself. I didn’t have to wait on anyone else and just worked at my own pace - which was still relatively fast. The only thing I did have to wait for was for my kids to go to bed so I could get my paintbrushes and art materials out and paint in peace. Like Mauao, I was waiting for the cover of darkness to get moving.

For my upcoming book launch, I would be extremely humbled to have some of our St Marys kids and whanau there.

Like the very last line of ‘E Hika’ says;

‘E kokoia e ara e’

That line translates to mean, ‘The birds have awakened. Dawn has come.’ For Mauao, this meant the stark realisation that he would not fulfil his wish however, for us I think this line can represent the awakening of our wairua, our learning of Maori traditions and our connection with Mauao. All in all, bringing a new dawn too - for us the people and also for our hometown.

Naku noa, Tamoe Ngata
St Mary’s Kapa Haka Tutor

Support Staff Day

On Wednesday 16th May we celebrated International Support Staff Day.  Our support staff are amazing and we couldn’t do without them.  They make the following things possible: Belonging, productivity, success, empowerment, achievement, inclusion, confidence and safety.  

We thank our following support staff;  Debbie Nowell, Jodi Carey, Lee Roper, Nicola Meehan, Jannet Underson, Duncan Vietch, Natasha Parry, Si Yeong Hong, Heather Kavanagh, Steven Finlayson, Carol Hitchcock, Karen Mulhern and Theresa Dunston.

Board News 17 May 2018

Hello to all. Hopefully the first few weeks of the new term are moving along nicely for everyone.

First of all, we’d like to welcome our newly selected Parent Representative on the Board, Tania Wilson.  Tania has two children here at St Mary’s: Isabella and Benjamin, and will start her work with us this week. We’re really looking forward to working with her, and gaining from the wonderful skills and experience she’ll bring to our team.   

Our staff and students are also working very hard right now on preparing for another amazing school Production, and I’m sure you’ll all come along and support them on the performance nights.  We give our thanks to the team at Gobsmacked also for their tireless efforts coaching our children to brilliance.

Thank you to all those who contributed to the Policy Reviews for Term 1.  Your responses are being reviewed and any agreed amendments will be updated by next term.   Term 2 Policy reviews will be for the ‘Reporting to Parents’ Policy: very timely with our new reporting structure rolling out this term now we are no longer using National Standards.  The links to this will come out in the next couple of weeks.

So, for now we wish you the best of luck for Cross Country, and hope you enjoy the rest of the term.

Claire Stott
Board Chair

PB4L - Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) 

The Positive Behaviour for Learning School-Wide framework, otherwise known as PB4L, is helping many New Zealand schools build a culture where positive behaviour and learning is a way of life. This framework was introduced to our school three years ago, and through collaboration between children and staff, is tailored to our own St Mary’s school environment, special character and cultural needs.  PB4L is not about changing the students, it’s about changing the environment, systems and practices we have in place to support them in making positive behaviour choices.

Key to the framework is consistency, that behaviour is explicitly taught in the same way academic skills are taught. 

We have 3 school rules

Be. respectful to self

Be. respectful to others

Be. respectful to the environment

We practise our 3 school rules through the values of:   

Truth         Tika

Wisdom     Maramatanga

Faith          Whakapono

Mercy         Aroha 

Each week we have a behaviour expectation that is taught from our school Behaviour Matrix.  Please note the following behaviours that we will be focusing on during the first five weeks this term:

Week 1:   Revise Classroom treaty agreed to in term 1

Week 2:  I am ready to learn

Week 3:  I am proud of the work I do and try to do my best

Week 4:  I use my inside voice

Week 5:  I look after my belongings and classroom equipment

The children earn Be. Tokens for following our school rules and matrix expectations and at the end of every term we have a Celebration Assembly.  The House with the most Be. Tokens wins an ice block for everyone in their House. 

Congratulations to Cluny for being the winners in term 1! 

We look forward to bringing you more information regarding PB4L in our newsletters.

Lisa Broadmore
PB4L Leader/Coach

Special Character 2 May 2018

This terms focus is: How do I let the Holy Spirit work through me?

All students are learning about the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit working within us.

The school will focus on the value of Mercy this year. Mercy is defined as empathy or love that manifests itself in action that is practical and thoughtful, warm and open, respectful and enabling. The value of mercy is inextricably linked to compassion, justice, dignity, excellence, hospitality, stewardship.

We continue our focus on ‘Service.’ To support at home you can talk to your child about the service that they do at home. Even the daily small tasks we do can be to glorify God by doing what we do with love and care for others. 

Sursum Corda. Sursum Corda is taking a break until after the Production. The will no longer be singing at the Saturday night mass on the 12th May.

Sacramental Programme. Please continue to pray or the students who are now preparing to receive the sacrament of Confirmation. Bishop Steve will be Confirming them on Sunday 20th May 2pm.

Praying the Rosary every Monday afternoon at 2.30pm

Learn how to pray the Rosary every Monday the Cluny Chapel.  Books are available to follow along.  

Teresa Rush 

From the Principal 2 May 2018

Kia ora koutou katoa, Talofa Lava, Malo e lelei, Ni Hao, Anyoung haseyo, Magandang umaga, Konnichi wa, Guten tag, Bonjour, Ola, hello and welcome back to Term 2.  We hope you had a relaxing break and enjoyed spending the extra time with your children. 

Last term our learning was focused on the theme of ‘Diversity and Globalisation’.  It is wonderful to see and celebrate the diversity within our school, and if you had a chance to see the map in the foyer last term you would be aware that we are a very diverse community in terms of our whakapapa.  There are three nationwide events this term that will celebrate our diversity - New Zealand Sign Language Week (Week 2), Samoa Language Week (Week 5) and Matariki (Week 7+).  We will be celebrating these within our classes and / or through Liturgy and Assembly.  

A warm welcome to our new students...
Abigail Albert, Seoyeon Choi, Maverick Damasco, Cassidy Dobbs, Paige Eastergaard, Maxwell Hirst, Arthur Inglis, Gabriel Lewis, Luke Swanson and Lucija Walker. 

We look forward to welcoming all new students at our New Families Liturgy on Tuesday 8th May at 10am.  

Term Two Learning
The term ahead is looking extremely full and exciting and I am looking forward to the opportunity and challenge of being Acting Principal for the next 2 ½ terms whilst Ben Fuller is on study leave.  

All students and teachers will be busy practising their songs and dances for our Gobsmacked production ‘Mad Pearse Takes Flight’ which will be performed at Bethlehem College Performing Arts Centre at the end of May.  

Our school production fits in perfectly with our learning this term which is focused on two main themes:

1: Innovation and Enterprise, related to Richard Pearse and flight (through technology and the Arts)

2: Our Catholic Values and the Key Competencies.  The production will be used as a source to  teach and reinforce our Catholic values and how we treat people.  The show provides many learning opportunities in relation to the challenges that Richard Pearse faced in his life and how he overcame this adversity. 

We have two events that will further support our learning in these areas this term:  Bully Free Week (Week 3) and Life Education Trust (Week 5 - 7).  

Our School Values
Our school values of Trust (Tika), Mercy (Maramatanga), Faith (Whakapono) and Love (Aroha) underlay all we do at St Mary’s School.  Our newsletters this term will include fortnightly ‘snapshots’ of how we use ‘Positive Behaviour For Learning’ (PB4L) to support our values and our behaviour expectations.  We will use this opportunity to promote the positive things we are doing as a school to reinforce great behaviour.  We believe that staff and students come to school every day to give their best and be the very best they can be. 

Our new way of reporting starts rolling out this term and all students who are at St Mary’s for a full year, will receive two reports.  The first students to receive their reports this term will be those who have their school start anniversary or interim (halfway between) in March, April and May.  

These reports have seen input from many.  The report is student driven and shares your child’s current strengths and next steps.  There is a strong focus on our Catholic Character and the Key Competencies.  The focus has shifted away from placing your child according to the National Standard and we aim to celebrate the progress that your child is making in Reading, Writing and Mathematics and the attitude that they bring to each of these curriculum areas.  

I will be holding 20 minute ‘Reporting Information Sessions’ in the staffroom over the next couple of weeks.  Please check the calendar within this newsletter for dates and times.  

End of School Day
The safety of our students is of utmost importance and children left at school to wait for parents are a concern.  A duty teacher will roam the school at 3:10pm and collect all students who are not being supervised by an adult.  They will be sent to the office to wait for their ride home, so please pick them up from there.  If your child is still here by 3.30pm you will need to consider enrolling them in the After School Care service held at school. Please contact the school office or phone Shelley the After School Care Coordinator on 0273102090 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Our new Facebook page
Please join our page if you haven’t done so already.  We encourage you all to follow the great things that are happening at St Mary’s and keep informed through this  link:

We look forward to a successful term ahead, with lots of learning across the curriculum.  Thank you for your continued support.

Nga mihi nui

Anna MacKinnon
Acting Principal


From the Principal 28 March 2018

Tena Koutou Katoa

Welcome to Holy Week.  This week is of course an extremely significant one for our Catholic School.  Holy Week is of course when we follow the last week of Jesus’ life on earth with us and anticipate his resurrection.  However, the lead up to Easter Friday is a solemn one and we hope to reflect this through the daily liturgy and final stations of the cross on Thursday.  It has been great to see the children of several classes involved in the organisation and performance of key liturgy.

A warm welcome to our new students....
Tara Lock, Sumatra Mark and Spencer McIntosh.

Thank you to the PTA for the Outdoor Adventure Day
I am going to throw it out there and suggest that the PTA Outdoor Adventure Day of 2018 would be one of the best yet.  Looking around, watching kids and talking to parents it was clear that the objective of this day was clearly achieved.  A fun event for our children and our community.  It was great to see a full field in the parent and teachers race.  For those of you who were there you would of noted that I was not very close to the front of the field but probably glad I wasn’t given the injuries suffered by the front runners.

Our new Facebook page
We had some issues with our school facebook page earlier in the year but now have it up and running and bullet proof.  I would encourage all to follow the great things that happen at St Mary’s and keep informed through the link below.

Lateness and Absence
We have concerns about frequent lateness and absence of some students at St Mary’s.

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. 10% of a child’s time at our school (Year 1 – Year 8) is 32 weeks (3 terms), and 20% is 64 weeks (6 terms) Children who are not at school 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.

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)

Children’s lunches and rubbish
As a parent I know the challenges in trying to ensure children have a good lunch to eat during the school day.  This of course involves packing and wrapping food items.  As you know in an effort to reduce our landfill rubbish as a school we ask that all food related rubbish is taken home.  It is great in theory!  Unfortunately we are finding a lot of zip lock plastic bags around our school site.  If there is an alternative or a way that we can eliminate packaging all together I would encourage you to explore it.

Ben Fuller

Special Character 28 March 2018

Congratulations to our students who made their First Reconciliation last Friday at Church and today at School. Reconciliation: Forgiveness of Sins, A graced encounter with God.

In the Sacrament of Reconciliation we acknowledge that we sometimes make bad choices; that we sin and ask God to forgive us. No matter what we have done God longs to offer us forgiveness.

Easter - Te Wa o Pakate
Sing Alleluia! The 50 days from the Sunday of the Resurrection to Pentecost Sunday are celebrated in unbounded joy and exultation as one ‘great Sunday’.

Easter Triduum
The unity of these three days from evening prayer on Holy Thursday until evening prayer on Easter Sunday celebrates the passion, death and resurrection of the Lord. It is the culmination of the entire liturgical year. 

Christ redeemed humankind and gave perfect glory to God principally through his Paschal Mystery: dying he destroyed our death and rising he restored our life. Therefore the Easter triduum of the passion and resurrection of the Lord is the culmination of the entire liturgical year. 

The fifty days between Easter and Pentecost are a time of joy and thanksgiving for what Christ has done for humanity. The paschal candle is in a prominent place in the sanctuary of the church and is lit for all liturgical celebrations.

In New Zealand the Ascension is celebrated on the Seventh Sunday after Easter. The feast of the Ascension commemorates the ascension of Jesus into heaven after his resurrection.

One week after the Ascension, on the 50th day after Easter, the feast of Pentec

Pentecost is celebrated. Pentecost commemorates the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the apostles, which empowered them to go out and begin spreading the Gospel. 

Praying the Rosary every Monday afternoon at 2.30pm
Learn how to pray the Rosary every Monday afternoon in the Chapel.  Books are available to follow along.  

Teresa Rush

Emma’s Mission 

Almost a year ago Emma Mischewski collected feijoas from trees in our backyard and decided to try and sell them at a little stall outside the front of our house. Kind passers-by and neighbours bought some feijoas and Emma decided that she would like to give the money to the homeless. So we started to think about how we might be able to do this. Handing over the few dollars that Emma had made wasn’t really going to go too far in assisting these folk.

So, we decided to keep our support simple and manageable and something we could do from home. “Emma’s Mission” was born and we started to put together small ‘care packs’ for men, women and families that we could distribute to existing charity organisations to support their programmes, such as The Salvation Army, Women’s Refuge, Under The Stars, Kai Aroha, All Children Matter and others. The packs contain personal toiletries for those in need: toothbrushes, toothpaste, plasters, lip balm, deodorants, soap, wipes and a Gospel Tract. Emma was nominated for a competition for ‘deserving children under 14 years of age for their community support’. 

This week we heard that Emma is one of nine children nation-wide who has won a trip to Wellington next week to join an Easter Egg Hunt at Premier House with the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern. ‘Emma’s Mission’ has a Facebook Page and people continue to donate money and items to go into the ‘care packs’. To date Emma’s Mission has given out over 300 care packs.  Awesome Emma!! Follow Emma here...