Kia ora koutou katoa, Talofa Lava and Annyeong-haseyo to our whole school community.  A special welcome to Eli Murie and Leila Cafer who have recently joined our St Mary’s whanau.

International students

Last week I was very excited and privileged to be representing St Mary’s at the International Korean Fair in Seoul alongside approximately 25 other Tauranga educators.  I was promoting our city and our school as a high quality study destination and hope to recruit more Korean students to St Mary’s. St Mary’s is a school with a diverse cultural makeup which provides many benefits for our students, in particular this diversity helps our students understand and respect diverse viewpoints, values, customs, and languages.

There are, of course, many benefits for our International students also.  The acquisition of english language skills and the opportunity to learn in a very different educational setting that promotes learner agency are two of these benefits.  

I am looking forward to an opportunity to learn more about the Korean culture and to develop a greater understanding of how we can provide an inclusive experience for our international students.  

Newsletter online

We are very pleased to announce a trial of our newsletter as an online document.  This is one step that we can make towards taking care of our environment and streamlining the workload of our office administrators.  We will have a small amount of paper copies available in the office for those who prefer to read hard copies.  Our newsletter will be emailed and available on our website and official facebook page.  

Reciprocal visits

As a part of our Faith Based Kahui Ako (Community of Learning) it has been really great to continue our reciprocal visits between teachers at Aquinas, St Thomas More and St Mary’s.  The teachers visited each others school and classrooms to observe and then have discussion time to share the initiatives that they are implementing at each school.  This has been really instrumental in building relationships across our Catholic Community.  

Key Competencies

At St Mary’s we understand the importance of the Key Competencies.  Over the next term, through the newsletter, I will be looking more in depth at each key competency. So far I have covered ‘Managing Self’, ‘Relating to Others’ and ‘Participating and Contributing’.  This week I am focusing on ‘Using Language, Symbols and Texts’.  

The basis of this Key Competency is the development of literacy and numeracy skills.  “Students who are competent users of language, symbols, and texts can interpret and use words, number, images, movement, metaphor, and technologies in a range of contexts. They recognise how choices of language, symbol, or text affect people’s understanding and the ways in which they respond to communications. They confidently use ICT (including, where appropriate, assistive technologies) to access and provide information and to communicate with others.”  The New Zealand Curriculum - TKI Online

Safety of children

There have been concerns at other schools around Tauranga of students being approached by strangers.  There have not been any incidents of this happening at St Mary’s but we do recommend that you accompany your children each day rather than let them walk alone.  Here are safety tips issued by Tauranga Police to combat stranger danger:

- Walk with a dog or another person.

- If walking by yourself, choose busy times of the day.

- Avoid walking in dusk or when lighting was poor.

- Pause playing music in vulnerable areas to hear people walking up behind.


A reminder to parents, whanau and friends that it is not acceptable to park, or drive on the grass verges of neighbouring properties. Our neighbours have also complained of cars blocking their driveways.  Please be respectful to our neighbours  and do not park on verges or block driveways.  Your help with this would be much appreciated. 

Speech Finals

At St Mary’s School we recognise that oral language (both listening and speaking) is vital for students to be able to communicate effectively.  

This year in Tika, Maramatanga and Whakapono Teams we have used poetry as a basis to recite and read aloud. We talk about voice projection, good expression, modulation and pace. With the students we identify ‘what good listeners do’ and discuss eye contact and the use of body language. 

As the students progress through to Aroha Team, they are encouraged to take on more challenging types of public speaking.  All students in Aroha Team are supported to prepare and deliver a 3-5 minute formal speech around a topic of their choice. This process includes defining the purpose of the speech and constructing an effective introduction, body and sound conclusion. 

Original and thought-provoking ideas are encouraged. The judges used set criteria that are also used in the South Cluster Competition at the next level. This ensures consistency for all.

We are extremely proud of the standard of speeches this year.  Congratulations to all of this year’s finalists:

Tika Team

1st:  Abigail Albert

Finalists:  Alessandro Goodin and William Crowe.

Year 2

1st:  Madeline Mear and Junior Cup Winner

Finalists:  Nadya Broadbent, Sadie Frank and Elliot Olsen.

Year 3 

1st:  Maebh Manning

Finalists:  Matthew Rogers, Tommy Mason and Milli Banbury.

Year 4 

1st:  George Hopkins and Middle Cup Winner

Finalists:  Loimata Paaka, Ivy Barrett-Hodgson and Liae Yang.

Year 5

1st: Gia Dumbleton 

Finalists:  Alana Perrett, Yeva Parshikova, and Imogen Williamson.

Year 6

1st:  Nathan Holmberg and Senior Cup Winner

Finalists:  Briar Grace, Roman Rejthar and Finn Richards.

Good luck to Nathan Holmberg, Finn Richards, Alana Perrett and Gia Dumbleton who are representing St Mary’s at the South Cluster finals next week.

sin-ui chugbog (God bless)


Anna MacKinnon

Acting Principal