End of Year Buses


Route 406 & 552

Last bus for St Mary’s on 14 December.

Route 519

Last bus for St Mary’s is the Morning on 15 December.  

No bus in the afternoon.

Route 5, 6, 9, 553, 657

Last bus for St Mary’s on 15 December at 12noon.

Route 7 & 12

Last bus for St Mary’s on 15 December at 12.15pm.

All buses will be running as normal when St Mary’s commences on 7 February 2018.

Extension to Route 552 and 553 in 2018

The plan is to extend route 552 along Lakes Boulevard as far as Te Ranga Memorial Drive, which adds three new bus stops to the route.  In addition to this change, part of the route from Cheyne Road to Inverness Drive will be removed from route 552 and that section of the route will be added route 553.  Vist the School Hopper website to download the routes and bus stops.

Sports News 29 November 2017

Now that the weather is starting to settle and the sun is out, the students have been getting into the full swing of Term 4 summer sport.  The Flippaball Pool will be warming up and the Touch Rugby players won’t be getting so wet each time they play.

From the recently completed St Mary’s Senior School Athletics Championships we took a team of 41 students to the South Cluster Championships.  Congratulations to Charlie Hammerich, Emma Rogers, Erin Moore, Ferlyn Wijaya, Finn Curragh, Holly Fausett, Isaac Schuler, Kate Finlay, Luka Mahy, Oliver Grosso, Renee Carey and William Pepers who have all qualified for Western Bay of Plenty Championships

We were lucky enough to have two teams entered into the Junior World Cup of Cricket.  Out of twenty four teams the team of Asa Banbury, Darcy Gilbert, Finn Pryor, Henry Scholes, Jack Williamson, Jake Bell, Lockie Aubrey and Max Broadmore won the competiton.  Congratulations on becoming Bay of Plenty Junior World Cup Champions for 2017.

I hope you have all had a fantastic year playing sport at St Mary’s.  I look forward to another action packed year next year, full of fun filled action and sporting excitement.  Steven Finlayson, Sports Coordinator

Aroha Rua - Serving our Community

In Aroha Rua, we understand the importance of service in our community.  Last term, as part of our Student Volunteer Army learning, Ollie Grosso, William Pepers, Sophie Hooper and Harrison Lowry organised a car wash.  They charged $4.00 for each wash, with the proceeds to be donated to Child Cancer.

Thanks to the generous teachers, friends and parents of St Mary’s, this group managed to raise $100.00.  People were keen to pay more than needed to donate money to help those in need.

This photo was when they met Jo from the Cancer Society, and proudly presented their donation.

“It felt really great giving to the Cancer Society and knowing that the money would help sick kids”, said William Pepers.

We congratulate this group of students for planning such an event and striving to make a difference.  Well done!

Pasifika Festival 25 October 2017

The St Mary’s and Aquinas Pasifika Group performed four items.  Our theme was about the Catholic faith arriving to the Pacific Islands.

1st Item Samoa Hymn Song – We wanted to showcase the Word of the Lord coming to the Islands

2nd Item Tonga Entrance dance – Here we wanted to showcase missionaries preaching the Word of the Lord.

3rd Item Samoa Sasa floor Dance – Here we showed the Pacific people sharing the faith and spreading the word through the churches

4th Item Cook Island Dance – Here we are celebrating our faith, church communities and GOD!

There were 19 schools who performed and we enjoyed being part of the day.

Whakapono Marae Visits

A visit to the Marae written by Nina Young Room 5

Last Thursday at 9:15 Rooms 1,2,3,4,5 and 10 travelled to the Wairoa Marae for a visit because we wanted to find out what a marae was like.

When we stood outside the gate girls at the front, boys at the back, and all the teachers dotted around us I felt so amazed because I had never seen a marae before. It was just like Whaea Tamoe and Matua Iwi had described it. The angry tekoteko wasn’t scary at all!!!

And then I heard this beautiful wailing cry and it made me feel so calm, and we started to oh so slowly walk forwards until we reached the steps of the Wharenui which means ‘meeting house’ in Maori.

Next we had to pull off our sandals and stuffed them in our bags and then place our bags on either side of the Wharenui, girls on the right boys on the left. After we got seated it was time for the powhiri.

I think after the powhiri we had morning tea and for morning tea we had banana, oranges, sausage rolls, biscuits and a packet of chips. I had everything there!!!!

After that we were let out to play and Jules, Zac and I did skipping. Not very long after that we all had to split into 2 groups. My group Rooms 5, 4 and 10 did Kapa Haka with Matua Iwi and we also learnt about a weapon.

Half an hour later we switched groups and we learnt about carvings. But all too soon we had to pack up and trudge to the bus to go back to school. It was a wonderful day and I’ve learnt a lot!

Marae written by George Holmberg Room 5

Yesterday all the middle school went to Wairoa Marae.

When we arrived at the Marae, we got in line, girls at the front, boys at the back. Then we had a few moments in silence until we heard the faint cry of the Kuia, whaea Tamoe’s mum. Soon we started waddling through the gateway to the Marae ground. We didn’t stop until we were right in front of the Marae. Then the Kuia said a few words and pointed to the toilets.

Afterwards, we entered the wharenui for the speeches. The boys were flanked around the girls, so the boys could protect the girls. Whaea’s uncle’s speech was so long I thought it would last forever. After it was done Whaea’s uncle and mum sang a waiata. Later Mr Fuller stood up and did a speech too. Then we exited the wharenui and entered the wharekai.

Our lunch was served by the marae people and it was delicious. I had a sausage roll, a piece of apple, a cookie and a bag of twisties. The water there had a hint of lemon in it.  At playtime me and my friends played ball tiggy. After lunch we got separated into two groups for activities. I was in Matua Iwi’s group. We did some Kapa Haka and learning about the taiaha. It was extremely fun and I learnt heaps about the taiaha. Suddenly Whaea Tamoe opened the door. It was time to swap.

Inside, Whaea’s mum told us about the carvings. It was so interesting I learnt a lot about the maori war, the maori culture and heaps of things like that. Finally the Kuia sang a farewell waiata and we left.

What a lovely trip and I hope to go again.


Year 6 Camp

Our Year 5 and 6 team had a fantastic start to the term, venturing to Totara Springs camp in Matamata for three days during Week One.  There they experienced a variety of outdoor learning activities, supported by our very capable parent helpers.  This year, the weather was on our side and we were fortunate to be able to maximise the outdoors and the excellent facilities the camp provides us with.  We are blessed to be apart of such a wonderful community, and we wish to thank all the parents who accompanied us on another memorable Aroha experience.

Foam slide at camp - written by Sara Szulakowski Room 8

I saw people face-planting into the foam at the end of the slide.

I felt my heart hammering in my chest as I dived onto the tarpaulin. 

I saw a blur of white stuff (which was probably the foam) as I skimmed across the slide.

I heard a shriek of excitement as another person slid down.

I felt the foam sticking to my face as I landed in the pile of  bubbly substance face-first.

I heard the water dancing around me as a wave of snow white foam flew into the air.

I wondered if we would have enough time for another turn.

Nathan Mikaere Wallis

This weekending 2 November 2017, a large number of St Mary’s staff attended a presentation 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.  

He spoke passionately 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 spoke about the importance for children to develop positive dispositions towards their learning and their culture, and to develop their creative and thinking skills.  

It is 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.  It also verifies the importance of the ‘Key Competencies’ that are the basis of the New Zealand Curriculum.   

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

Anna MacKinnon
Deputy Principal

Sacramental Programme for 2018

The Sacramental Programme for next year will begin in 2018 – all classes (Reconciliation, Confirmation and Eucharist) will take place at St Mary Immaculate Church on Monday afternoons, 4pm – 5.30pm. None of the programme will be taught at St Mary’s School. Confirmation with Bishop Steve is booked for Pentecost Sunday, May 20th.

The programme will be for children who are in Year 5 and older in 2018.

The full programme will be published before the end of this school year – but Enrolment Sunday will be on February 11th and classes will begin on Monday 5th March.

We will need teachers and parents to help with the teaching of the programme (in small groups) – if you are interested, please contact Margie Cooper at the Parish Office (578 6209). Training will be given.

Thank you all.
May God bless you and your families

Father Mark
Parish Priest

Special Character 2 November 2017

Communion of Saints - Classroom learning

Over the next month the students will be learning about the ‘Communion of Saints’

Year 1: In the classroom

Lesson Focus: Mary As a Church one of the ways we honour Mary, the greatest of the Saints, is as the Mother of Jesus. We reflect on how Mary’s holiness was magnified by her encounters with the holiness and power, the Tapu and Mana, of God.

As a family:

Take time to – make a special place at home with an image of Mary in it to use at family prayer time – read the Mary stories from a Children’s Bible at bedtime.

Plan to – leave a message of love under someone’s pillow – tell children a story about something your mother did to show you she loved you

Year 2: In the classroom

Lesson Focus: Saints and Inspiring People Those officially declared by the Church to be Saints because of their virtues, the holiness – tapu and mana of their lives, are now with God. They act as models for the members of the Church on earth, and are linked to them through prayer. The saintliness of ordinary people can also inspire others and lead them to God.

As a family:

Take time to– make a family “Saints’ Place” at home with books, pictures and statues of saints and use this as a focus for family prayer – talking about inspiring people you know or have read about.

Plan to – decide on a few simple things you can do which can help you to become saintly, eg * say something encouraging to each other everyday, * work hard at something you are not good at – buy a book about Saints for your family.

Year 3 and 4: In the classroom

Lesson Focus: Life, Death and Christian Hope Suffering and death are part of life. Catholic beliefs about the resurrection of the body and life after death provide meaning and a reason for hope. The rituals of Catholic funerals and tangi provide consolation for the bereaved. The Church encourages people to remember those who have died and to pray for them.

Lesson Focus: Choices Our life journey – Te Wa, is a journey towards God. The choices we make on that journey have significance in terms of our final destination, our life after death. Traditionally the Church has spoken of life after death in terms of heaven, hell and purgatory.

As a family:

Talk together about – what Christians believe about death, eg * in death, life is changed not ended, * people undergo Purgatory so they will be able to be with God in Heaven – how different cultures have differing burial rituals – how we should support and care for people who experience death in the family

- how life is a journey and how we can all help each other achieve our goals in life by sharing our gifts to help others and by encouragement. Emphasise that effort and persistence are always needed to achieve goals – how you achieved a goal and who helped you to do it.

Plan to  – include in family prayer prayers for people who have died

Year 5 and 6: In the classroom

Lesson Focus: Saints and Inspiring People Catholics believe in the Communion of Saints – the unity or community of all members of the Church, those now living, those who are with God in heaven, and those undergoing purification before entering into the fullness of life with God. The living may pray to the saints for their intercession, and for those in Purgatory. The living and the dead are all joined in praise of God.

Lesson Focus: Mary. From the New Testament we learn that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is a model of faith and discipleship. Catholics honour Mary as the Mother of God, Mother of the Church, and patroness of Aotearoa, New Zealand. This honour is expressed in various forms of devotion to Mary.

As a family:

Talk together– talk about how the Communion of Saints is the bond of friendship between all who have been baptised whether they are living or dead – make a family list of relations and friends who have died and keep it in a place which reminds you to pray for them, include photographs as well if you have them – tell your children stories of their relatives who have died and the good things they did while they were on earth.

Take time to – share ideas about Mary’s life on earth including the sort of person she was – find and discuss various images of Mary.

Pope Francis’  Monthly Intention for November

Christians in Asia

That Christians in Asia, bearing witness to the Gospel in word and deed, may promote dialogue, peace, and  mutual understanding, especially with those of other religions.

Teresa Rush