Baking for Merivale School

Thank you for helping make our recent bake sale such a success.  As you know some of the cakes were shared with the Merivale School students.  The baking was so appreciated and it was a great boost for the students that day.  

We are asking each family to bake once a month until the end of the year.  So if you have more than one child at St Marys, do not feel obliged to provide baking for each of their classes.  We would initially like to trial this idea until the end of the year. This is of course, entirely optional but we have experienced first-hand how much it is appreciated.  It is also a very special way we can serve and bless our local community.

Starting Wednesday 26 July we ask Rooms 1, 6 and 13 to please bring baking to your child’s classroom.

Your support will be greatly appreciated by the Merivale community.

From the Principal - 5 July 2017

Nga mihi nui ki a koutou

A very warm welcome to our new students Faron Mobberley and Bella Ferguson.

At the time of writing we are looking towards the end of what has been another exciting, busy and of course memorable term for St Mary’s.  Our big community shared event this term was our Art’s week that culminated in a sharing of Art works completed by children and the celebration of performing groups and individuals.  The focus of our week was on the wider arts and so included, aspects of dance, drama, music in addition to the visual arts focus you witnessed.  My thanks to all who came along to support our school on Thursday evening and to Pip Berquist for her organisation. 

Collaboration (working together)

As you are aware we are currently exploring ways in which teachers can work effectively together in a collaborative learning environment to enhance learning outcomes for our students.  I am not often one to quote research to parents but current views of researchers such as John Hattie are that the number one factor in influencing student achievement is termed, Collective Teacher Efficacy.  This basically means teachers working together with the belief that through the efforts of many (teachers) we can make a greater difference for students.

The ideal physical conditions to create this are aligned to the design of our new learning environment but as you know many of our buildings are not at this time able to meet such ideals.  As a result, you have seen and will continue to see creative ways of collaborating as teachers in the spirit of the above theory.  Connected to this is approach is students working collaboratively together, again in an effort to achieve collective efficacy as students.  This may make you reflect on how you work best in your chosen profession or how interaction with colleagues makes for more effective outcomes in your field. 

Student Led Conferences 

Our term 3 student led conferences will be held on Wednesday 2 August.  This is a further opportunity for parents and caregivers to connect with examples of their child’s learning and achievement.  Information regarding the booking of conference times will accompany your child’s mid year report.  As in previous years school will close at 12.30pm on this day.  All parents will need to make alternative care arrangements for children from this time.  There will be no afterschool care on this day.

Before School Procedures and Punctuality

Thank you to all who have been making an effort with ensuring children are at school on time.  It definitely makes a difference when a child is set up an ready to learn at the start of the day.  Equally in our colder months it is not ideal to have children waiting in the cold for classrooms to open.  All classrooms will be open and supervised from 8.30am which means children who arrive before this will need to wait in an outside area.   Ideally any time from 8.15 - 8.45 is a good time to get to school.

Late students

If your child arrives to school after 8.50am then they are late.  All late students must report to the school office to be marked present on the attendance register.  

From the beginning of Term 3 your child will need to obtain a late pass from the office and take this to the classroom teacher.  This is a procedure we have adopted to keep your child safe at all times.


A reminder that you must ring the school office if your child is sick or going to be absent from school.  The best form of communication for absentees is by texting our absentee mobile number 021 2969437, alternatively you could ring the school office and leave a message.  This is a tremendous help to our office staff so your help with this would be much appreciated.

75th Jubilee

We look forward to a very exciting Term 3 when we celebrate the 75th birthday of St Mary’s Catholic School.  More information will come home at the beginning of next term to see how you can be involved in this very special occassion.

Happy holidays and keep safe.  

Ben Fuller

Melbourne Study Tour

Growing Leader and Teacher Capacity

Our Board of Trustees is committed to supporting quality professional learning opportunities for our staff so that our learners are well equipped for the future.  This year our board allocated significant funding to the exploration of various learning environments.  All of our staff have had opportunities to both visit classes within our school and in other learning contexts to help develop our pedagogy (how we teach).  

In Week 5 this Term, eight of our staff had the exciting opportunity to visit Victoria, Australia.  Victoria is considered a leading state in innovation, research and pedagogy.  

We worked with Andrew Jones (former Principal, current PhD Student and researcher at the University of Melbourne) visiting seven schools that are considered leaders in innovative and creative curriculum.  

One of the big ideas from our week away was to ‘be the learner we want our learners to be’.  To be a learner we need to be curious, develop relationships, work collaboratively, develop creativity and be problem solvers.  We need to be open to challenge, inquire into our own practice and utilise research to support innovation.  We need to show agency and take responsibility for our own learning.  

So how does this relate to our students? 

We expect the same dispositions and attitudes from our learners.  We want them to be curious, develop relationships, work collaboratively, develop creativity and be problem solvers.  We want them to question, show responsibility and take ownership of their own learning.  They have to have the courage and conviction to take risks along the way.   “Children grow into the intellectual life that surrounds them” (Vygotsky).

Our visit to Victoria involved lots of risk-taking for us.  The schools we visited and the dialogue that we engaged in challenged our thinking, affirmed our journey to date, and provided lots of opportunities to test our beliefs about learning.  

As leaders at St Mary’s we need to understand the climate, create the conditions and lead our learning journey.  As a successful learning organisation we are dedicated to achieving our potential and fulfilling our goals. 

Anna MacKinnon
Deputy Principal


Rippa Rugby results 2017

St Mary’s played under the flag of Canada at the recent Rippa Rugby World Cup held at Blake Park.  Our year 3/4 team and our year 5/6 team were joined by 62 other teams in the Western Bay regional tournament.  Each team consisted of five boys and five girls.

Our teams represented their school and Canada with pride and excellent sportsmanship.  The year 3/4 team had a very successful day.  Despite winning all their games in pool play, they were unlucky not to finish top of their pool and ended up second on a count back.  They were unstoppable and didn’t lose a game all day and finished up 5th, winning the Shield divison and missing out by one spot on moving on to the Bay of Plenty competition.

The year 5/6 team also finished second in their pool on a count back.  They meet some tough competition in the subsequent rounds but were up to the challenge and finished a well placed 8th.  A highlight for the children was having black ferns captain Sarah Goss and Kelly Brazier watching and supporting them.  The senior team were particularly lucky and got to have a photo with them and also touch and have a photo with Kelly’s Olympic Silver medal.

It was a terrific day with our teams showcasing some amazing speed and skills.  A big thank you to Mr Barry and Mr Greaves for coaching and sharing their knowledge with the teams.

A letter from Pa Yvan

Pa Yvan recently sent the following letter:

"Ka'oha nui,

Hello my dear friends,

Just before Pentecost, I want to wish you a great feast with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God that also lives in our heart.

And I also want to send you some news about my health situation.

I am still alive, happy and in deep peace despite my MND sickness. What helps me a lot, is to try to have a look at my sickness through the Stations of the Cross, which is a very nice and deep meditating prayer. I have always loved it since my young age.

Nowadays, I can say I am around the 8th and 9th Station. I haven't calculated how many times I have fallen, but it seems to me, I understand it is rather like three stages.

The first one is like not be able to walk without a stick.

The second fall, like second stage, where a stick is not enough anymore and you need to use crutches.

The third fall is when even the crutches aren't helpful anymore and you will be having to use the wheelchair because you can't stand anymore. Well I am about to fall the third time one of these days...

It's going to lead me to the 10th station where Jesus has been prepared to be crucified and this for me is the stage where I will be totally dependent from the health people and home nurse. 

I really try to celebrate Mass every day and so far it's still with standing at the altar, which is good.

The difficulty nowadays is that my pelvis is almost totally disconnected and that makes I struggle to turn around on myself and lift my legs, and in the bed, it becomes difficult to turn too, but so far I still can do it, since my upper body is not weak so far.

Every morning, I see how I can stand up and this tells me how weak I am. I am really living one day after the other, like Jesus proposed in the Good News.

Beside that, I have also some weaknesses in my throat, which makes me start to talk slowly and sometimes not very clearly. I hope and pray the Lord I can still say Mass until my last breath.

My arms are also starting to change a little bit, but I can still write and carry stuff...

Well all my dear friends, there are some news about my humble situation. I try to accept it and to offer it to the Lord for my parishioners and for all my friends like you too.

I am happy to send you this message with my love and prayers and a big hug

Happy Pentecost

Yours in Christ

Motua Yvan+

Diocesan chancellor "


Please keep praying for Father Yvan.

PTA AGM - Notice of Annual General Meeting

Notice is hereby given that the Annual General Meeting of St Mary’s Catholic School PTA will be held:

At: Talk of India
On: Tuesday, 4 July 2017
At: 7.00pm

As per our Constitution, the officers of the association are elected at each AGM. Nomination forms are available at the school office or by contacting the Secretary, Kim Sherlock, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Officer Nominations:


Nominations Close: Monday, 3rd July 2017, 3.00pm

Nominations are to be addressed to: The Secretary, St Mary’s Catholic School PTA, 13th Avenue, Tauranga

Please leave at the school office for collection.

PTA AGM Agenda

1. Opening Prayer/Welcome

2. Minutes of previous AGM

3. Annual Report from Chairperson

4. Annual Financial Statements of the Year

5. Officers resignations

6. Election of Officers and executive committee

7. Appointment of an Auditor

8. General Business.

School / Parish Mass 11 June 2017

There is to be a Parish/School Mass on Sunday 11 June at 10.30am in St Mary’s Church, Cameron Road.

We warmly invite and encourage all families to attend this Mass.  This is an opportunity to show your support and commitment to the Special Character of our school. 

Students are asked to wear their correct school uniform and to sit with their families.  Our Sursum Corda Choir will be singing.

School Mass 1 June 2017

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

You are warmly invited to our School Mass tomorrow at 9.30am to celebrate Pentecost in St Mary’s Church Cameron Road. 
Father Danny will be celebrating this Mass for us and we would love as many parents as possible to be there to meet and welcome him.