From the Principal - 17 November 2016

Kia ora Koutou Katoa

Greetings whanau, parents and friends of our St Mary’s community.   A very special welcome to Noah Askin and Shadow Yue who have started school recently. 
This is a dynamic time for our school with many events and activities of importance, significance and value apparent.  The end of the year is always a busy time and one for celebration but the month of November 2016 is currently taking this notion to the extreme.  From my perspective such factors epitomises what makes our school such a great community to be apart of.
On Sunday we celebrated our termly Parish School Mass.  My thanks to Father Stuart for his enthusiasm and commitment to our school and our Parish while Father Mark is away.  It was great to see so many families and students attending Mass as a community.

This week has marked two events of significance.  At time of writing we are in the concluding stages of our Education Office Review.  As Principal I am extremely proud of the efforts, from teachers, support staff, students, board members and parents, that have gone into presenting St Mary’s as the special learning institution that we all know it is.  Feedback to date has been extremely affirming and I look forward to being able to celebrate the final report with our school community.
My thanks to those parents and whanau who attended the special liturgy we held for our visiting Cluny Sisters on Monday.  This week a number of Cluny Religious from around the world have been meeting to discuss key aspects of leadership and governance in their own Cluny Retreat Centre.  Having them present in our school has reinforced the place St Mary’s holds in the wider Cluny family and has again made us extremely thankful of the Charism we have been both gifted and get to utilise for the benefit of our students.

In looking ahead to next week we are of course excited at the prospects of hosting the 2016 Tauranga Moana Ra Whakangahau Kapa Haka Festival.  A notice was sent home last night and there is more information within this Newsletter re: the Festival and the encouragement for all to attend during the course of the two days if you are able.  It may be a little early for celebration but I would like to thank the many volunteers and whanau who have been contributing to the leadership and organisation of the event and those who are making themselves available to help in a variety of roles over the two days.  Our combined efforts will no doubt make for a memorable Festival.  Mauri Ora!

Traffic Next Week
Traffic in and around our area over the two days will of course require careful consideration of all.  To help manage the traffic around our school we are operating a park and ride service from Memorial Park, however, it would be advisable to take extra care when collecting and dropping off students.  The eastern end of Harvey Street will also be closed to traffic from 8am until 3pm so please make sure you allow plenty of time to park appropriately and accompany students to and from your cars.

2017 Enrolments
A reminder to all who have children turning 5 next year or know of families whose intention it is to attend St Mary’s at any time during 2017 please ensure enrolment procedures are started as soon as possible.

End of Year change of date
Our last day of school will now be Thursday 15 December, with our End of Year School Prizegiving being held on Wednesday 14 December.

Pacifika Festival
I was very proud and privileged to witness the St Mary’s Samoan Group perform at the Pacifika Festival held recently at Arataki School.  I congratulate you for practising every week for most of the year to perform at the Festival.  Thank you to Charlie and Ati Aaifou-Olive for sharing your Samoan culture with us and keeping it alive in our school community.

Jump Jam
In conclusion I would like to congratulate our three Jump Jam teams who performed recently at the North Island Championships at Baycourt.  A first and two seconds!  You were wonderful ambassadors and outstanding performers for St Mary’s.  We all know that you have worked so hard perfecting your routines with your many practices, giving up your weekends and sometimes even coming to school very early in the morrning.  That’s great dedication and commitment! Congratulations to you all! 
Of course a very BIG thank you must go to Kim Artus, coach extroadinaire, for his passion and enthusiasm for Jump Jam and for our school.  Thank you Kim.

Nga Mihi Nui Kia Koutou
Ben Fuller
Principal

From the Principal - 19 October 2016

Kiaora Koutou

Greetings to our amazing St Mary’s community.  It is great to see that we are well into spring with summer not too far away.  This of course signals a change in sporting codes and it is great to see so many children taking advantage of the amazing opportunities St Mary’s has to offer.  Please join me in thanking our new Sports Coordinator Steve Finlayson for the remarkable job he is doing.
Uniform
New season also signals a change of uniform.  From the beginning of next week all children need to be in the summer variation of our uniform.  The main change being foot wear (black roman sandals).  It is of course, essential that all children have a sun hat from Tuesday. 

Sun Safety
Sun block will be available in classes but I would suggest applying sunblock to your child in the morning before school as an additional precaution.  As I am sure you do as parents we encourage children to manage themselves when it comes to sunscreen.  Our teachers will always give reminders but are unable to apply sun block to their entire class.
We will be reviewing our sun smart policy this term.  Look out for details so that you can contribute.

Year 5 and 6 Camp
I thouroughly enjoyed my opportunity to visit our Year 5 and 6 campers in week one of this term.  Totora Springs is an amazing facility filled with many challenges and opportunities for kids to make the most of.  Thank you to Aroha teachers for their organisation and leadership of such a successful EOTC activity and to the many parents who gave up time from work and family to support the team.

Traffic Safety
You may have noticed an increased presence from both Tauranga City Council and our local Police before and after school.  I have been working with both Angela Joyce of TCC and Emma Buxton of the New Zealand Police to refine traffic management proceedures around our school.  However, the onus sits with parents to ensure they are taking the utmost care when driving around our school.  It has been extremely disturbing to see parents dropping children on the oppostie side of 13th Avenue and expecting them to cross the street unsupervised.  This is an extremely dangerous practise and one that should be avoided at all times.
Please ensure you have plenty of time to park your vehicle appropriately and accompany your child to our school gate.

St Mary’s Pasifika Group
On behalf of our school community I would like to wish the students and parents of our Pasifika group all the best for their upcoming performance at the Bay of Plenty Schools Pasifika Festival being held at Te Aku Ki Papamoa next Wednesday.  Congratulations to all involved for the work you have done leading up to this festival.

No Fireworks Gala in 2016
As previously communicated we are not holding our Fireworks Gala this year.  The reasons, as explained at an earlier date, relate to a variety of factors including work required around meeting new health and safety requirements.  It is my understanding that our PTA hope to do more work in regard to this and stage our Fireworks Gala once again in 2017.

Tauranga Moana Ra Whakangahau Kapa Haka Festival 2016
Thank you to those who have expressed an interest in being a part of this amazing festival.  If being part of Ra Whakangahau excites you please email your name and contact details (phone and email address) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will be in further contact regarding specific roles and responsibilities that may interest you.

2017 Enrolments
A reminder to all who have children turning 5 next year or know of families whose intention it is to attend St Mary’s at any time during 2017 please ensure enrollment procedures are started as soon as possible.
End of Year change of date
Our last day of school will now be Thursday 15 December, with our End of Year School Prizegiving being held on Wednesday 14 December.

New Families to St Mary’s
In closing I would like to personally welcome the following students to St Mary’s since my last newsletter;
Alexis Cardey, Leah Cunningham, Evie Dumbleton, Coco Jacobs, Aaniya Jithu, Connor Kenny, Rex Lu, Elliot Olsen, Johann Shijo, Bethany Stowers, Palmy Townsend, Lola Verran, Zara Willers.
I look forward to welcoming you officially at our New Families liturgy next week.
Nga Mihi Nui Kia Koutou

Ben Fuller
Principal

From the Principal - 11 August 2016

Kiaora Koutou

It was great to welcome new families and children to our school this week.  As Principal it is always a thrill to enrol new students knowing what a great environment we are able to provide to learn in.  Our school is based on honouring the individual, be it spiritually, academically or in reference to special abilities and it is this tenet that makes our kids grow.  We particularly welcome the following new students to our school; Salesa Aaifou-Olive, Baxter Carlin, David Chen, Ian Cho, Andy Chwi, Jane Hartman, Anna Hartman, Logan Kerr, Harin Kum, Caleb Lim, Caden Lowe, Mia Lowe, Madeline Mear, Lauren Osterman, Sarah Rush, Adam Rush, Caique Santos, Hunter Strahan, Leo Tian, Madelene van Vliet and Brielle Verzosa.

As a senior leadership team we have been focusing on the analysis of student progress over this half year.

The efforts that teachers, parents and students have applied to learning has provided us with some pleasing results.  Congratulations to all those students who have made notable academic gains in learning.

On a community note, it has been great to welcome Mr Piceno back to Room 4, albeit on a part time basis.  As you are no doubt aware, Randy suffered an unfortunate and serious fall late in term one which resulted in the need for back surgery.  It is great to have him back and we look forward to seeing the amount of hours he is able to give to Room 4 grow as the term progresses.

Traffic Safety

This is often a reminder I make further in my section of the newsletter, however, due to a number of recent notifications made to me in regard to student and traffic safety I would like to reiterate the following.  It is not acceptable to expect your child to cross any road unaccompanied before or after school.  With limited visibility created as a result of condensed car volumes and buses it is very hard for drivers to spot children running out from behind cars.

I am prompted to make this reminder as a result of a number of witnessed close calls.  A further complication in regard to safety is the speed cars are currently travelling down 13th Avenue, which I am aware are often not St Mary’s parents but I would ask that St Mary’s parents dropping children off are extra vigilant when pulling in and out of parks and turning into and out of driveways.

Tauranga Moana Ra Whakangahau Kapa Haka Festival 2016

As previously announced, this year Hato Maria (St Mary’s) will be hosting the 2016 Tauranga Moana Kapa Haka Festival on the 24th and 25th of November.  As the first Catholic School to host this event we will be looking to work with our other Catholic Schools and wider Whanau to impart Kaupau o Katorika (aspects Catholic) throughout the festival.

In moving forward we will be looking for volunteers to form a part of the 100 plus work party required to fulfill a number of tasks and responsibilities over the two days of the festival.  If being part of Ra Whakangahau excites you please email your name and contact details (phone and email address) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will be in further contact regarding specific roles and responsibilities that may interest you.

Absenteeism 

There has been a number of recent media commentators making reference to the number of families who are taking time away from school during term time for holidays.  There is no argument that this is a cheaper time to travel financially but it can have consequences educationally for children.  Our Ministry of Education now sees absence from school for this reason as Unjustified and we are therefore required to record it as such.  The ministries view being that, while as parents you are able to explain why your child is absent from school it is not viewed as a justifiable reason for which to remove your child from school.

Of interest in our recent analysis of student achievement was that 87% of students who are currently below National Standard at St Mary’s also have an attendance record of less that 90% or are away from school more than 1 day in 10.

A further related issue is the number of children who are turning up late to school.  Our bell to signal the start of the day goes at 8.50am.  All children should therefore be at school in advance of this, ideally at 8.30am so as to ensure they have time to prepare themselves for the day.  Children who are late to class often disrupt beginning of day prayer and organisation meaning learning of all is affected.

St Mary’s Catholic School 75th Jubilee

2017 marks the 75th Anniversary of the commencement of St Mary’s Catholic School in Tauranga.

St Mary’s Catholic School began in September 1942 managed and staffed entirely by the Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny, many of whom came to New Zealand from Ireland.  To celebrate this significant event in the life of the school a Jubilee weekend is planned to take place on September 22, 23 and 24 September 2017.

Please register your interest by visting our school website or by following us on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/stmarystga.school.nz.  or by contacting This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To make the jubilee a success we would be grateful if you would pass on the above information to past pupils, parents, staff and friends of the school.

Ben Fuller
Principal

From the Principal - 13 September 2016

Kiaora Koutou

Greetings to our wonderful school community.  A very special welcome to Emelia Allen, Lucia Allen, Bethany Stowers and Abby Moore, who have joined us since our last newsletter.  

Last week I had the opportunity to visit Korea and meet with families of students interested in studying at our school.  It was great to both promote our school within another country and also to connect with the culture from which our many Korean families and students come from.  I was impressed with the level of hospitality afforded by the Korean people and look forward to welcoming some of those I met with to St Mary’s either next, or in following years.

Next term sees our Aroha team start with a camp which I know all are looking forward to.  We are also hosting the Tauranga Moana Ra Whakangahau Festival which will be the highlight community event for the term.  In week 6 we welcome the Education Review Office to our school and we will of course look forward to summer sporting codes getting underway.  A busy and exciting term is on the way.

PTA Quiz Night
Congratulations to our amazing PTA for the hosting of yet another successful fund raising event.  I am reliably informed that once again it was the St Mary’s Staff who topped the ‘assisted competitive’ section of the night (lucky for them) but of course the benefits of the night are in the funds raised for students.  Once again the night brought in excess of $10,000 which will make a substantial contribution to the funding of our strategic direction.  My thanks therefore on behalf of our students and wider school community.

No Fireworks Gala in 2016
As previously communicated we are not holding our Fireworks Gala this year.  The reasons, as explained at an earlier date, relate to a variety of factors including work required around meeting new health and safety requirements.  It is my understanding that our PTA hope to do more work in regard to this and stage our Fireworks Gala once again in 2017.

2017 Enrolments
As this term draws to a close and next year beckons, it is important that we as a school are aware of any intentions to leave the area and / or our school.  Presently we have approximately 20 students on our waiting list for next year and it is important that we communicate with their families accurately in regard to a potential place.  

Likewise, as in 2016 it is likely that we will be over subscribed in regard to New Entrant numbers in the coming year.  Therefore if you have children turning 5 next year or know of families whose intention it is to attend St Mary’s at any time during 2017 please ensure enrolment procedures are started as soon as possible.

Tauranga Moana Ra Whakangahau Kapa Haka Festival 2016

As previously announced, this year Hato Maria (St Mary’s) will be hosting the 2016 Tauranga Moana Kapa Haka Festival on the 24th and 25th of November.  As the first Catholic School to host this event we will be looking to work with our other Catholic Schools and wider Whanau to impart Kaupau o Katorika (aspects Catholic) throughout the festival.

Thank you to those who have expressed an interest in being a part of this amazing festival.  I will be in touch shortly with more details in regard to possible tasks you can involve yourself in. If being part of Ra Whakangahau excites you please email your name and contact details (phone and email address) to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will be in further contact regarding specific roles and responsibilities that may interest you.

75th Jubilee
2017 marks the 75th Anniversary of the commencement of St Mary’s Catholic School in Tauranga. St Mary’s Catholic School began in September 1942 managed and staffed entirely by the Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny, many of whom came to New Zealand from Ireland.  To celebrate this significant event in the life of the school a Jubilee weekend is planned to take place on September 22, 23 and 24 September 2017.

For more information please see our school website, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or follow us on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/stmarystga.school.nz

To make the jubilee a success we would be grateful if you would pass on the above information to past pupils, parents, staff and friends of the school.

Ben Fuller
Principal

From the Principal - 8 July 2016

Kiaora Koutou

Greetings to all parents and members of our school community.  It is amazing how quickly a term goes when you throw in a school production in week 5!  Trek to the Top was of course the highlight of this busy term and the memories of the experience, I am sure, will remain for some time to come.

Welcome to Teresa Rush

Next term we welcome Mrs Teresa Rush to our staff as Director of Religious Studies.  As previously announced to our community, Teresa brings experience as a DRS and a teacher from St Mary’s in Rotorua.  We look forward to welcoming her and her family into our school community.

In welcoming Teresa we also thank Gavin Hesqua for the work he has done acting in the role this term.  With the support of staff Gavin has ensured our Religious Education programmes and our Liturgical observances have remained to the high standard traditionally displayed at St Mary’s.  On behalf of our school community my thanks to you Gavin for the commitment you have shown to the role.

Tauranga Moana Ra Whakangahau Kapa Haka Festival 2016

As previously announced, this year Hato Maria (St Mary’s) will be hosting the 2016 Tauranga Moana Kapa Haka Festival on the 24th and 25th of November.  As the first Catholic School to host this event we will be looking to work with our other Catholic Schools and wider Whanau to impart Kaupau o Katorika (aspects Catholic) throughout the festival.

To date we have presented to the combined Whanau of St Mary’s, St Thomas More and Aquinas College and as a combined whanau community have a clear understanding and commitment to staging an amazing festival for our wider Tauranga Moana Community.  In moving forward we will be looking for volunteers to form a part of the 100 plus work party required to fulfill a number of tasks and responsibilities over the two days of the festival. If being part of Ra Whakangahau excites you please keep a look out for further information early next term.

PTA Math-a-thon and Disco

This term our PTA has been extremely busy supporting many aspects of our school.  Our thanks on behalf of students and whanau for the efforts put into our major fundraising effort of the term, our Math-a-thon and the fun provided through our ‘Crazy Hat’ disco.  We are extremely fortunate to have such a hard working group of people supporting our school.

In closing for the term I would like to extend my thanks and appreciation to the many people who contribute to the success of our school in so many ways.  I wish parents and children a safe, fun and (if able) relaxing holiday break.

2017 Enrolments

With a growing demand for places at our school we are now looking at places for 2017.  At the time of writing we have approximately 20 new entrant places for students who will turn 5 during 2017 and a number of spaces across other year levels.  Our first priority is to ensure all siblings of students currently enrolled are in receipt of a place at our school and Catholic families within our community have the opportunity to attend our school.

Therefore, if you do anticipate having a child start at our school in 2017, please ensure enrolment procedures are completed asap.

75th Jubilee September 2017

2017 marks the 75th Anniversary of the commencement of St Mary’s Catholic School in Tauranga.

St Mary’s Catholic School began in September 1942 managed and staffed entirely by the Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny, many of whom came to New Zealand from Ireland.

To celebrate this significant event in the life of the school a Jubilee weekend is planned to take place on September 22, 23 and 24 September 2017.  A committee, under the chair of Michael Cooney has been formed and planning is underway to make this a very memorable occasion.  Registration and programme information will be available on our school website and Facebook page in the next few weeks but in the meantime we ask that you register your interest here http://bit.ly/29lzbz0.

To make the jubilee a success we would be grateful if you would pass on this information to past pupils, parents, staff and friends of the school.

Once you have submitted this form you will be emailed a registration form in the near future.

Ben Fuller

Principal