From the Principal - 7 February 2017

Kia ora Koutou Katoa

Greetings to you all,  happy new year and welcome to the start of the 2017 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 the coming year.  I also look forward to interacting with you as members of our community.

We started our school year with 423 students which is a record starting roll for St Mary’s.  Among those are  46 new enrolments who I am sure will make the most of the many opportunities within our school community.

There are many events within, and involving our community coming up, including a full school parent meeting at 5.15pm on Thursday 9 February, our new children and new families liturgy in week 3 and our Ash Wednesday liturgy on 1 March.  Please check our website and / or other sources of communication for these and many more events, which we welcome you all to.

New Teachers to St Mary’s
We welcome two new teachers to our St Mary’s community.  Mrs Lisa Walter will be teaching in Room 4 and Miss Amber Simonsen will be teaching in Room 13.  Both Lisa and Amber are new to their respective careers in teaching and we are extremely excited to be in a position to witness their growth and development.  I am sure you will join me in welcoming them to our school.

Parent Meeting 5.15pm Thursday
New Zealand and global education is a rapidly changing landscape.  However, in negotiating this landscape at a local level it is important that schools continue to explain and evaluate the merits of proposed change.  This year we hope to provide a number of opportunities to involve parents in this process.  The first being a focus on collaborative practices across our school and within our Aroha team.

New Building
As you may well have noticed, work has started on the construction of our new classroom block.  This project is being managed by Aspect Construction.  To date initial excavation work has occurred with more progress to follow.  There are of course many health and safety considerations that accompany construction work on a school site.  As the build progresses and these become more relevant I will ensure both students and parents are informed of all pertinent and related safety information

We have now completed our transition to our new school uniform, meaning all students should be in the correct uniform as outlined on our website.  Seeing the full school last week in uniforms that were sparkling was extremely impressive so my thanks and compliments to all parents who ensured their children were well prepared for school.

Sun Safety
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 Hours:

Monday to Friday: 8.50am – 2.55pm

Morning tea:   10.35am – 11.00am

Lunch:   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.

Traffic Safety
The safety or our students is paramount. We therefore request that all parents take due care and diligence in respect to driving and parking around our school.  The best place during summer months to drop off and collect children is our Harvey Street boundary.  If this is not possible please remember that no child should be left to cross roads by themselves after being dropped at school.

Nga Mihi Nui Kia Koutou

Ben Fuller


Christmas present delivery to Merivale School by the Young Vinnies

On Friday 2nd December 47 students of the St Mary’s Young Vinnies group went to Merivale School. We brought a shared lunch and a Christmas present for each of the students at Merivale School. The Young Vinnies have been working on this project all term by sorting, wrapping and labelling the donated toys. We are pleased to have had the opportunity to share a bit of Christmas joy with the Merivale School students.  It was lovely to see the excitement in their faces as they unwrapped their presents.

The Young Vinnies brought along a shared lunch for the Merivale Students and the St Mary’s students to enjoy.

The Merivale students did their haka as a way of saying thank you to the Young Vinnies for the shared lunch and the Christmas presents that they were soon to receive. 

The Young Vinnies sang Mo Maria then performed their Haka Powhiri in gratitude for all that they had experienced throughout this year.

Liz Driver

Bus price increase 2017

Bus fares on Tauranga’s Schoolhopper bus network will increase at the beginning of term one 2017.
For Schoolhopper students, the new cash fare is $2.00 per trip from $1.90, just a 10 cent increase; and if using a Smartride concession card the new fare is $1.60 per trip from $1.51.

New gold group member - Kaleidoscope Child Care

Opening early in 2017 we welcome to our Gold Group Sponsor family Kaleidoscope Child Care.  A family owned and managed child care centre at 106 Eleventh Ave., Tauranga.
Email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
For more information please email our centre manager Marama Vryer.

Jump Jam Champions!!!!

The St Mary’s Jump Jam squad once again had a successful time at the end of year championships, and for the third year running was the most successful school in the country. The North Island Jump Jam Championship was held in Tauranga at Baycourt on Saturday 5 November. The Boys Team were crowned North Island champions, the fourth year in a row they have won a title.
While not winning, our other two teams, the Seniors and the Juniors, both had great success in taking out second places in their divisions. The juniors coming second by the slimmest of margins for the second year in a row, and the Seniors doing an amazing job to come second in the toughest category of all. The person in charge of backstage was full of praise for all three teams as to how they conducted themselves, which was very pleasing to hear.
Once again I would like to give a huge thank you to all the parents who made this success possible. Especially the assistant coaches Tammy, Laura and Amy who take on such a big job and just go for it.
Kim Artus

Nutcracker with the Imperial Russian Ballet Company

Last weekend Alana Perrett and Isabella Marsh saw their dreams come true as they danced in The Nutcracker with the Imperial Russian Ballet company, in front of a sold out theatre.
The ballet company is conducting a tour of New Zealand and Australia, which sees local children performing alongside their professional dancers.  Isabella played a child and an angel, and Alana a mouse.
The girls had a very busy 6-week rehearsal schedule in the lead up to the two performances.  When the girls arrived at BayCourt for their final rehearsal they were surprised to see the Head Coach of the Russian Ballet Company instructing the professional dances in his All Blacks rugby jersey!
The dancers and staff spoke very little English so there was lots of hand movements and miming to communicate with each other.  The show included the most amazing stage props, beautiful costumes and magical moments including snowing on stage!
What a wonderful experience Alana and Isabella.  Congratulations!

Ra Whakangahau reminders

Key Times
The festival will start with a Powhiri at 8.30am, this will be closely followed with our school performance at 9.15am.  Both St Thomas More and Aquinas College Kapahaka Students will be present at the powhiri and will follow on from the performance of our school.  The first day will conclude at approximately 2.30pm. Performances start again at 9am Friday morning, with the final performance again at approximately 2.30pm.

School Based Organisation
Classes will run as normal during this time but teachers have been encouraged to spend as much time as possible taking in the unique opportunity the festival presents.  There are a number of food stalls that will be in operation during the day and children will be able to purchase items at interval and lunchtime should they wish to.  More information in regard to this is again available on our school website.

Key Messages for Parents
With over 5000 people expected to visit our school site over the two days there will firstly be a lot of extra people around our school site and surrounding area.  To help manage the traffic in 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.
As parents we would like to, of course, encourage you to take the time to come down and enjoy the festival.  There is no charge to enter and morning tea and lunch times would present opportunities for you to watch the festival with your children.  As mentioned, food stalls are operating with many options for you to enjoy.
Food available at the Food Stalls
Hangi - $10
Raw Fish - $4
Mussel Fritter with Bread - $4
St Mary’s Maori Burger - $4
Pies - including the famous ‘Boil Up’ Pie - $4
Sausages Rolls & Savouries - $2
Sausage Sizzle - $2
Smoothies - $4
Ice Blocks & Ice Cream - $2 - $4
Fruit Cups - $3
Juice, Bottled Water - $2 - $3
Cakes, slices, muffins - various prices

St Mary’s Samoan Group at the Pasifika Festival

Talofa lava and warm Pacific greetings to you all.
On Friday 28th of October, the St Mary’s Samoan group were excited to attend the Pasifika in the Bay Festival which was located at Arataki primary school.
Our group was one of 15 schools who performed on the day. The day was full of amazing culture, beautiful costume’s and delicious food. We all were so happy it was such a privilege to represent our families, culture and school
I’d like to thank Mrs Broadmore for organizing the Kapa Haka Extension students and their parents to come and support us. I’d also like to thank Mr Fuller for coming and for your continued support for our group, we were so happy to have you there with us.
To our Amazing tutors Charlie and Ati Aaifou-Olive for giving up their time in helping us to bring our culture alive through song and dance.
Viía le Atua  ia outou uma
Faafetai Lava.
Mariah Gardiner Hano

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