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. http://is.gd/8stOcd

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.

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

From the Principal - 23 October

Kiaora Koutou

Greetings whanau, and a warm welcome to all those new families and students to our school this term.  It is always great, after communicating and meeting with parents throughout the enrolment process, to see new students in their St Mary’s uniform turning up for school.  This term we have welcomed 18 new students to date and look forward to celebrating this at our new children and families Liturgy on Monday 3 November.

For some students this will be the last term they spend at St Mary’s and so hopefully one that is fondly remembered.  St Mary’s is a school of opportunity and I am sure as our year 6 leavers are evaluating their time here, it will be such the many opportunities to succeed in a variety of areas that are called to mind.  As we progress through the term, events will occur that recognise these opportunities and the successes had within.

Learning, of course, remains a key priority for students and teachers.  At the end of this term students progress against National Standards will be reported on.  It is therefore extremely important that students focus on achieving current and future learning goals in their efforts to best position themselves against the relevant standard.  If you have any questions about your child’s progress then please see the classroom teacher.


We are on the count down to our annual St Mary’s Fireworks Gala and together with you applaud the organisation that is occurring at many levels around us.  It is once again looking like being an outstanding community event that will showcase our community and school.

Thank you to all those who have volunteered a small amount of time.  It is these small contributions by many that make such events so successful.  I am aware of the need for a number of further volunteers in a variety of capacities so if able, and you have not done so yet, please let either your class representative know or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sporting Success 

We had several students achieve at a national level of the holidays.  Of note are India Jarden, Gymnastics; Jess Carey and Cullan Fuller Surf Lifesaving.

India placed third in the vault at the Gym Sports NZ National Gymnastics Championships, while at the New Zealand Surf Lifesaving National Pool Champs Jess won a gold medal in the obstacle relay team and fifth in the 50m fins and Cullan a silver medal in the obstacle relay.

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 being 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.

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 happen.  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.  Please take note of the school events calendar for events that may affect you.

Mrs Sally Washer

As you are aware Mrs Sally Washer is retiring from St Mary’s School at the end of this year.

Sally has been teaching for 38 years, 32 years in Catholic Education and 16 years as our Director of Religious Studies, only taking time away briefly to have her three children, Matthew, John and Emma.  Sally and her husband Peter plan to retire together. We are very happy for them both.

Sally holds a very special place in the hearts of all children, staff, religious and parents of our St Mary’s community and we wish her all the very best for her retirement.  

You are all warmly invited to attend a Mass on Tuesday 8 December at 1pm to celebrate and thank Sally for her many years of dedicated service.  

Ben Fuller


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


From the Principal - 23 September 2015

Kiaora Koutou e te Whanau o Hato Maria

Greetings to all St Mary’s Families. As you are no doubt aware we are at the conclusion of an extremely busy and dynamic term of learning and opportunity at St Mary’s Catholic School.  I am sure, as students think and reflect on this term, there will be a number with primary school highlights and lifelong memories in place as a result of participation in one of the many activities this term.

Reporting Term 3

By now you should have received notification that your child’s interim report in Writing is available to view in their online portfolio.  This report completes our interim reporting requirements for the academic year.  If you have not yet seen this report and the attached learning story please take time to view it with your child.  Should you have any questions or queries in regard to the content of the report then these should be addressed to the classroom teacher.

Art Week

In 2013 we celebrated an amazing week focused on the visual arts.  It was the success of this week that prompted the immediate planning of a follow up Art Week this year and the inclusion of a longer term visual arts focus on an alternate year basis.  

What the children have accomplished this term in Art is truly amazing and the compilation of this work is a testament to our focus and value placed on the Arts.  I therefore strongly recommend that you make the effort and time to come in and view your children’s work and if able attend our Arts evening on Thursday where a number of our performing groups will also be on display.

Of course a week such as this would not be possible without effective leadership and organisation.  Laura Grace and Sally Washer have been the team driving this organisation and supporting teachers to help students to produce the amazing work I have referred to.  

My thanks, as Principal, to them both.


Next term we will move across to the summer season which will signal a change in uniform to varying degrees.  For all students currently in our new uniform this will simply mean a change in footwear.  Black shoes and socks will be substituted for black roman sandals.  For all students still wearing our old uniform, it is the summer version that should now be worn.  The change over date for the summer uniform is Monday 19 October.  

WBoP Winter Sports

This year we have had a total of 8 teams progress to the finals of the Western Bay of Plenty Winter Sports tournament, with all bar our two football teams winning the right to compete in the division one finals and verse the top teams from the six other clusters.  At time of writing I am unsure of results across the codes but do know that our rugby boys, though up against some much bigger opposition, have represented our school well.

2016 Enrolments

We are currently experiencing high levels of inquiry in regard to prospective 2016 enrolments, with some year levels already at capacity.  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.  Therefore if you have a child who is turning five at any time before or during 2016 please ensure enrolment procedures have been completed.

Self Review at St Mary’s

Currently we are asking for feedback in relation to several aspects of school operation.  Last week you would have received notice of a survey regarding the reporting of student achievement.  In addition to this we are reviewing our complaints and behaviour management policy at at governance level.

Walking School Bus

We are exploring the following options for the walking school bus.  

Route 1.

Meet at the corner of Fraser St/16th Ave – walking along Fraser St across 15th Ave & 14th Ave then turning down 13th Ave to school. 

Route 2.

Meet at Memorial Park car park (Mini golf/railway end)  OR  QE2 car park, then walk along Fraser St, Harvey St (entering at back entrance of school) OR walk along Grace Rd to 13th Ave – school. Look out for a meeting early next term for more information

Nga Mihi Nui

Ben Fuller