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