Message from Principal - 17 March 2016

Kiaora Koutou

A very warm welcome to Eva Phizacklea, Finn Phizacklea, Areta Kahura, Kiwa Kahura, Maia Kahura, Phoebe Kirk and Tom Mason who have joined St Mary’s since our last newsletter.

We are over half way through our first term of 2016 an have ticked off a couple of great events and are eagerly looking forward to more. The Outdoor advernture day of last week was a great example of us as a community. My thanks on behalf of our all to the PTA for running such an amazing event.

This week we completed auditions for our school production ‘Trek to the Top’. Congratulations to all who have won lead parts in this production which will involve all year 2-6 students. To those who put themselves forward but were not successful again my congratulations for getting involved. I look forward to seeing you in action in your respective class parts.

Next week is Holy Week the most significan week in our Church’s year. There is further information in regard to how we will be celebrating Holy Week within this newsletter and I encourage you all to join us at the liturgies.

Our school week will conclude with the praying of the stations of the cross on Thursday followed by the Easter Vigil Mass on Thursday evening at St Mary Immaculate.

We would like to welcome and congratulate Mrs Sandi Valentine who will be joining us in a full time capacity next term. Sandi will be joining Lisa Broadmore in Room 13 and teaching our Term 2 new entrant children.

We would also like to congratulate Anna MacKinnon who has won a position as a lead teacher across our Community of Learning (COL). Anna will still be our Deputy Principal but released for time to complete her COL resposibilities. Our COL is lucky to be able to benefit from her skills and attributes.

Emergency Procedures
I would just like to repeat the message I sent home via email last week.

As you may be aware schools are required to be prepared for many potential emergencies and be able to maintain the safety of students should an unforeseen event occur.  Traditionally we have practiced and prepared for the unlikely event of earthquake or fire. We also have plans in place in the event of a Tsunami and if required to go into lock down.

Recently schools throughout New Zealand have been the subject of bomb threats. Evacuation for such an occurrence would involve students being evacuated to a non- disclosed site adjacent to our school grounds unless advised otherwise.

We practice one emergency procedure each term and as there are a range of emergencies we are required to prepare for, we carry out a different drill each term. Emergencies we prepare for include:

*Evacuation Procedure: Fire and Post Earthquake


*Reverse Evacuation (Lockdown)


*Determined threats to safety

If you would like to examine our Emergency Planning and Procedures in more detail please look at our school doc’s policy site

Enter the user name (stmarystga) and password (1959)

In the event of an emergency a key aspect of responsibility we take very seriously as a school is the need to communicate with our parent community. Within our current communication systems is the ability to contact parents by email, alert (via our St Mary’s app) and text alert. In the event of an actual emergency we would enact communication via all such means.

Included in the information would be brief details regarding the nature of the emergency, actions taken and further actions required by parents which may include the need to collect children from a detailed location. In doing so it is important that all parents / caregivers follow communicated instructions to ensure the safety of our children as they are likely to be based on the advice of authorities.

Extra Curricular Activities

Next week registration forms for Term 2 winter sports codes will be sent home with your child.

Please note we will be enforcing changes to our processess made last year.

As you are aware, sport and other activities outside the classroom are “optional extras” and as such, will be treated as pay before you play!

This means, payment must be made at the time of registering your child, by eftpos at the school office, (no cash please) or by our preferred method of payment, which is internet banking. Please do not tick the internet payment option on the form until you have made the deposit into our school bank account. The bank account number is displayed on the registration forms. Your cooperation with this process would be much appreciated.

Payment must be received BEFORE your child will be registered into the sport of their choice.

Should you have any questions in relation to payment of either your school or sports account, please do not hesitate to contact Karen at the school office on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Ben Fuller

From the Principal - 23 February 2016

Kiaora Koutou

Greetings to all family and whanau of our school and a very warm welcome to the following 42 new students who have started school this year.

Milli Banbury, Isaiah Barry, Nieve Barry, Alexander Bayliss, Niamh Byrne, JayJay Carter, Ella Chea, Kristy Chennoth Smithesh, Minhee Choi, Adam Dillon, Tara Dillon, Mason Francis, Satsuki Fujimoto, Greta Gilbert, Cuinn Harrop, Milla Harrop, Lola Hertnon, Esme Holmberg, Henry Hopkins, Aaniya Jithu, Haeun Kim, Henry Kirk, Maebh Manning, Mia Martin, Gabriel Olvina, Matilda Parry, Madeleine Parry, William Pepers, Lucy Rabbidge, Callum Roberson, Matthew Robinson, Addison Sands, Hazra Syed, William Taylor, Janelle Tustin, Karlah Wadley-Freemantle, Hunter Waites, Amelia Winders, Willem Winders, Liae Yang, Yewon Yue and Yejin Yue.

Summer just seems to keep on happening with some warms days to continue.  It is great to see our children wearing their hats and ensuring they are protected from the sun and with the odd bit of rain they have plenty of grass to play on.  Hopefully there is more of this fine weather still to come particularly for summer sport.It has been great to hear of the many students taking the opportunity to play one of the codes on offer this term.  I certainly enjoy talking with students on Monday and during the week in regard to their sporting experiences.  In celebrating our student involvement we also thank our parents and volunteers for their involvement and commitment.

Meet the Teacher

It was great to see so many parents take the opportunity to meet with teachers last week to discuss their children’s learning.  As you are aware, parents are our first educators and so make a vital contribution to learning.  It is therefore extremely important to be informed about, and involved in the learning process as it applies to your children.This was the second time this year that we finished early as a school.  The first being when our staff attended the launch of our Faith Based Community of Learning.  I would like to thank parents for the support of both these events and the changes that may have had to be made in regard to family organisation.

Community of Learning

Our Community of Learning (COL) was launched with a Mass and key addresses on Thursday 11 February.  This was a great occasion and one that highlighted how advanced we currently are as a community of learning.  For those unaware of what a COL is, it is a group of schools who combine to collaborate on the achievement of key achievement challenges.  We have been lucky to combine with eight other Catholic Schools in the formation of one of our country’s first Communities of Learning.

Board of Trustee Elections

All of New Zealand’s state and state-integrated schools have a board of trustees. The board of trustees is the Crown entity responsible for the governance, and the control of management of the school. Boards are responsible for setting the strategic direction in consultation with parents, staff and students, and ensuring that the school provides a safe environment and quality education for students.Standing for election for a board of trustees is a practical way of influencing the quality of your children’s education.  A truly successful school is reliant on a dynamic board - one that can create the kind of supportive learning environment that drives education achievement.  This year our Board of Trustee Election will be held on Friday 3 June. Interested persons are invited to contact Ben Fuller or any existing board member for more information. An election timeline is overleaf.


The safety of our students is paramount. We request that all parents take due care and diligence in respect to parking at the school. Please do not park in the bus stop.  If you are parked on the other side of the road, we ask that you meet your child/ren on the school side and escort them over the road.  It is also important that you avoid grass verges when you park your car.  Last week we had a visit from a parking warden who issued several infringement notices.A reminder also not to drive your car into the school grounds to drop off a child unless special permission has been granted.

Gold Group Sponsor La Brioche Patissiere

We welcome Manish and Sushma Khot from La Brioche Patissiere as Gold Group Sponsors.  Manish and Sushma supply our very popular school lunches on Friday.  La Brioche is located at 70 St John Street, T auranga.Please ring the school office if you are interested in becoming a Gold Group Sponsor.

Ben Fuller

2015 Final Message from our Principal

Ng mihi nui kia koutou katoa

I would like to start by expressing by warm and sincere wishes to all members of our St Mary’s Catholic School Community as we
farewell another year of learning and progress. I would also like to thank each and every one of you, parents, children, teachers and friends for the special qualities you each contribute to this school of faith.
As a Principal I am lucky to have the opportunity to visit a variety of learning environments throughout a school year as I evaluate and
determine future strategic priorities for St Mary’s. As I look at other schools, or am furnished with information in regard to modern
approaches to learning, I naturally measure this against what I see on a daily basis at our school. In doing so I am never envious of what others may have but, conversely, am constantly reminded of the unique sense of actuality that St Mary’s allows us to experience every day.
There will always be new objectives and strategic priorities as timely areas of focus and development. It is the essential spirit of our school, our foundational Wairua, that we are constantly engaged with. In doing so we not only benefit from the traditions
that have shaped our school culture but take the opportunity to contribute and grow our community as one that benefits all.
The more time I spend as Principal of St Mary’s the more I recognize that we are a school that is at the forefront of Catholic primary school education. Evidence of this is manifested in many ways including student achievement, pedagogical development, co-curricular
opportunities, and spiritual growth. Our teachers and staff are definitely one of our keys of success, something reflected in improving
student achievement.
Our teachers work hard for the betterment of the students they serve. I personally would like to thank you all for the effort and passion you have brought to your roles this year. You collectively recognize and demonstrate what it means to be an innovative practitioner. I look forward to sharing in this continual journey of
growth and development with you.
I would like to congratulate our departing year 6 students, leaving our school but still very much a part of our community. The memories each of you take from St Mary’s will be individually special, unique and yours to cherish. The completion of your primary schooling should be seen as both an achievement and a stride towards your future goals and achievements. Most of all, it is a
time to be immensely proud of who you are. I look forward to touching base with you in the future, sharing your successes and hearing of your aspirations.
In closing, I want to thank all those from within our community who have contributed to the success of this year. The commitment and
enthusiasm so many of you actively display towards our school truly makes this a place to embrace. I am looking forward to 2016 with
the promise of welcoming new students and families to our amazing school. I wish you all a happy and peace filled Christmas.

Mere Kirihimete.

Ben Fuller

2016 Welcome message from our Principal

2 February 2016

Kiaora Koutou
Greetings to you all,  happy new year and welcome to the start of the 2016 academic year at St Mary’s Catholic School.  Special greetings and welcome to all those new to our school community.  I look forward to sharing in the success of your children as they progress through our wonderful school.  I also look forward to interacting with you as members of our community.

The start of the year is always busy with many organisational matters to attend to.  In order to make sure parents are as well informed as possible in regard to this we will attempt to convey messages and information in as many ways as possible, including email, through our website, written communication and  app alerts.  Please look out for this and take note of that which pertains to you or your children.

There are many events within, and involving our community coming up, including our first School Mass this Friday, our New Families Liturgy in week 3 and our Ash Wednesday Liturgy on 10 February.  Please check our website and / or other sources of communication for these and many more events we welcome you all to.

Personnel Changes
Over the break there have been a couple of personnel changes that I would like to inform you about.  As you are aware we sadly farewelled Mrs Kellie Low after 11 years as our St Mary’s Sports Coordinator.  It is with pleasure therefore that I introduce and welcome Mrs Cathy Pini to our school to take over this role.  Cathy has extensive experience in sports administration and is a trained teacher, having completed her final practicum here at St Mary’s last year.  I am sure you will all join me in welcoming Cathy to our school.

As you know we joined as a community to celebrate the career of Mrs Sally Washer when she announced her retirement.  Acting in the role of DRS this term will be Mr Gavin Hesqua. Gavin will be assisted by a great team of people and we wish him well in his leadership of the most important area of our school.

Mrs Julie Scott has worked in our school for several years as a teacher of Special Learning Needs but made the decision late last year to move back to Wellington where her mother and daughter both live.  Unfortunately, given Julie made the decision and move during the holidays, we are not in a position to farewell her formally at this time.

Another change within the special learning needs area is the appointment of a new teacher aide, Mrs Monica Hamilton.  Monica relieved during term 4 so is known to some children and staff. 

As I indicated at the end of last year, Miss Jana Benson was successful in gaining study leave for this academic year, however, she will be in school throughout the year at different times to gather information in relation to her research.

As previously informed we are in our final transition stage to our new uniform.  All students with the exception of year 6 students must be in the new uniform available from NZ Uniforms on Cameron Road.  Please ensure your child comes to school in correct uniform and that all items are clearly named.

As it is summer all students must also have a school hat that needs to be worn when outdoors.  Please ensure this is named and stays at school.  It is also recommended that you apply sunscreen to your child each morning if required as further protection.  We do have sunscreen available in classes should students require it.

If your child is absent from school, please notify the school office by phone or text before 9.00am on the morning of the absence. The school absentee mobile number is:  021 2969437. 
When a child returns to school after an absence please give a written explanation to his/her classroom teacher.

Arriving late to school
If your child has an appointment and is going to be late to school then a call or text to the office is much appreciated.  When you arrive to school you must come through the school office and sign your child in.

Signing in and out - Heath and Safety
If, for whatever reason you are going to be on the school grounds, then please come through the school office to sign in and out.  If you are taking your child out of school early then please, also come through the school office to sign out. 

School App
St Mary's School  have a Mobile App for notices, events and other important school messages. To download the app for free on iPhone or Android search 'St Mary's Tauranga' in the app store, or click this link.

Tomorrow the following forms will come home:
- Permission form and update of current contact details
- Cybersafety Use Agreement
Please take the time to read through, and discuss the Cybersafety Use Agreement with your child.

School Hours:
Monday to Friday
8.50am – 2.55pm
Morning tea:
10.35am – 11.00am
12.30pm – 1.20pm
As a general rule, pupils should not be at school before 8.15am or after 3.30pm.  Please ensure that your child is at school on time for the start of the school day. This gives the opportunity for a well prepared and settled beginning to classes.

The safety or our students is paramount. We request that all parents take due care and diligence in respect to parking at the school. Please do not park in the bus stop and if you are parked on the other side of the road, we ask that you meet your child/ren on the school side and escort them over the road. Do NOT drive your car into the school grounds to drop off a child unless special permission has been granted.

From the Principal - 18 November

Kiaora Koutou

Greetings to all.  As I am sure you are aware we are nearing the final stages of term four 2015.  I don’t have to tell you how many shopping days left til Christmas as I am sure you will soon be reminded.  However, in progressing through the term please stay alert for notices and information that pertains to end of year events and activities.

New Families Liturgy

It was my pleasure to join Father Mark and the rest of our school in welcoming a number of new students and families to St Mary’s at our termly New Families Liturgy.  This is a special Liturgy that we all look forward to as it signifies a start in a journey and a joining of community.  To all those new to St Mary’s this term, again an extremely warm welcome on behalf of us all.

School Parish Mass

Thank you to all who attended our school parish Mass on Sunday 30 October.  It is always great to see our school well represented at this termly event.  As always our Susum Corda Choir contributed well to an extremely meaningful celebration.  Our thanks to Father Edwin for saying Mass for us on Sunday.

End of Year Events

Term four is traditionally dynamic and one of celebration and as a result we have a number of events that start to occur.  It is important that careful attention is paid to all forms of communication to ensure nothing is missed and your child is well prepared for all that is set to occur.  

2016 Enrolments

We are now at capacity in years 1, 3 and 6 meaning all future enrolments in these year levels for 2016 will need to be placed on our waiting list.  We still have places for students turning 5 during, or after the month of April (New Entrant Year 0’s) but anticipate this year level also be at capacity in the near future.  We will, of course, give priority to those children who already have siblings at St Mary’s but in order to do so we must have completed enrolment forms on file.  

Callplus and Slingshot ‘Better Schools’ Programme

We are now part of this wonderful programme whereby Slingshot customers can choose to have a percentage of their monthly bill donated to the school. Each month Slingshot will send us a cheque to use as we see fit. How big that cheque is depends on you! 

Friends and parents can join the Better Schools Programme by calling 0800 89 7733 and registering against your school or by going to Extra Stuff in your My Account portal and selecting St Mary’s. 

Self Review Survey

Thank you to all who particpated in and contribute to recent aspects of self review, in particular those who gave good feedback in regard to our current forms of assessment and reporting.  Review is an important aspect when determining future organisational direction so I thank all that have contributed to this process.

Fireworks Fireworks Fireworks

I am sure all who attended our Fireworks Gala a little over a week ago will firstly agree that it was yet another fantastic community event and, secondly, join me in congratulating our amazing PTA.  It was a great event that continues to grow and evolve and one that we are obviously famous for.  Though the weather threatened early we were left with a great night to showcase a magnificent display.

Michelle Pine, ably assisted by Tracey Nirmalaraj, once again led the fireworks subcommittee and our thanks goes to you, as it does to all who performed a variety of roles and gave up time in ensuring such a successful event.

Thanks again to our major sponsors of the night.



Ben Fuller