From the Principal - 29 November 2017

Nga mihi nui ki a koutou

A very warm welcome to our last enrolments for the year.  Isaiah Deo, Toby Williams, Charlie Williams, Rylee Jury, Miah Jithin and Caitlin Schofield and Mina Aaifou-Olive.  We finish our school year with 496 students.

With less than three weeks of school remaining the acceleration towards year end is definitely in action.  There are many end of year events, activities and procedures that we all need to be aware of at this time.  Please ensure you take note of dates, times and information as it is distributed by differing means and appears from different sources.  I am definitely looking forward to sharing in the many events to come this end of year.

2018 Parent information evening

My thanks to all those who came along last Thursday evening to share in the presentation of our school organisation for next year.  The key organisational change is of course the move of our year 0-1 students to a class based foundation for 2018 and conversely the opportunity to work with Whakapono within a collaborative, connected space.  For those parents who were unable to attend, the presentation from the evening is on our website under information.

2017 Ra Whakangahau

Also on the Thursday of last week was our opportunity to hand over the Mauri of Tauranga Moana Ra Whakangahau.  The spirit of the event we have held since hosting last year.  This occurred as a part of the Powhiri and was well supported by whanau.

Our Ropu then followed with the opening performance of the festival.  It is was the fifth time in recent years that our school has performed at the Tauranga Moana Ra Whakangahau and having been present each time can honestly say the strength of the group continues to grow each year.  My thanks on behalf of you all to Lisa Broadmore for her leadership, both Iwi and Tamoe Malcolm for their tutorial expertise and all whanau for their continued support.

2018 Appointments

There are quite a few changes in regard to staffing for 2018 due to promotion, retirement and staff opting to take leave.  Though much of the following has already been communicated it doesn’t hurt to summarise.  

  • We congratulate Deanne Willemse for her career as she retires from teaching at the end of this year.
  • We also congratulate Fay Warnock who has won a promotion to the position of Deputy Principal at Papamoa Primary School in 2018.
  • Both Donna Vincent and Pip Berquist have been granted leave for the 2018 academic year.
  • New appointments include the following leaders and teachers
    • Miss Jasmine Maddock - Lead teacher Maramatanga
    • Mrs Tania Yorke - Lead teacher Whakapono
    • Mrs Angela Cochrane - Aroha
    • Miss Adelle Mayhall - Aroha

We are currently within the process of appointing a new Assistant Principal.

2017 School Magazine

As you are aware, we are once again putting together a school magazine which is of course a great collection of our year’s highlights and achievements from classes and the many groups contribute to make our school great.  These are available to purchase from the school office. 

Second Hand Uniforms

If you are in possession of a second hand uniform that is no longer required by your family we will gratefully accept them at our office.  There are a number of families in need within our community who will be extremely accepting of item received.  If your items are of value to you and you would prefer to sell them a good place to do so would be through our parents facebook page (STM’s Parents!).

2018 Enrolments

We are at capacity in most year levels of the school for 2018.  It is important that we are aware of any intentions to leave St Mary’s School. Also, if you have children turning 5 next year or know of families whose intention it is to attend St Mary’s at any time during 2018 please ensure enrolment procedures have started. 

Ben Fuller




From the Principal - 2 November 2017

Nga mihi nui ki a koutou

Greetings to friends and family with a special word of welcome to any new members of our school community, especially our new students Isaiah Deo, Toby Williams, Charlie Williams, Zainab Syed, Somyeong Chu, Faith Santos, Beau Lock, Jope Veitaladrua, Maunga Kingi, Daya Devin, Henry Collings, Maggie Collings, Sally Collings, Luuka Pink, Marcello Goodin, Layla Brunsden, Eirene Jaswil, Indie McKenzie, Ethan Lowe, Sophie Fitzgerald, Isaac McMah, Yaelim Kim, Richard Salanoa, Meila Butcher, Rufus Rejthar, Tyler Richards, Mason Richards and Tommy Lumsden.  

With our new Sr Gabrielle Learning Environment now in operation we have been able to continue to accept new enrolments this term.  Previously we have had to restrict this due to a lack of classroom space.  The result is a number of new families to our school and a move towards that ever closing roll number of 500 students.  At time of writing we will finish the year with 498 students.

Reasons for Celebration
Our students have been the focus of a number of amazing experiences, performances and achievements in the first few weeks of this term.  Our Aroha team started the term with another great camp experience at Totara Springs.  This experience would not have been possible without the commitment of teachers and the untiring support of parents who accompanied the team.  Thanks to all on behalf of our community.

Our Pasifika Group again participated in the Western Bay of Plenty Pasifika festival, this year held at Tahatai Coast School.  It has been great to see this festival go from strength to strength, as has our own Pasifika group.  The performance on the day of our combined St Mary’s and Aquinas group was definitely a standout and further testament to the work, dedication and commitment of our Pasifika families to the identity and celebration of Pasifika.

Our Jump Jam Teams! This was our best ever Nationals. Such a great effort from everyone involved to make it happen.  

1st: Junior Team  (Y1-4 Open)

2nd: Senior Team (Y4-6 Advanced Open)

3rd: Boys Team  (Y4-8 All Boys)

Excellent peformance:  Girls Team

Some facts that may interest you:

St Mary’s now has 11 titles including 4 National titles. This is the first time three of Kim Artus’ teams have come home with medals from Nationals. St Mary’s was the only school to win three trophies.  We won four distinctions for the seniors, a first for any Yr 4-6 team.  This was also the first time all three of our teams gained distinction for presentation. St Mary’s also received special recognition for having the most students at the Nationals.

I am sure you will all agree this is a superb achievement and one that we all should celebrate.  Congratulations to our coach Kim Artus with the help of Gabby Cardey, and the many parents who worked hard to support the teams.  Check out photos within this newsletter.

Fireworks Gala
I don’t have to tell you how thrilled we are as a school to once again be a few days out from another memorable St Mary’s Fireworks Gala.  There has a been a lot of work go on behind the scenes with the final organisational touches falling into place as I write.  It is testament to the passion within our school community and the support of our PTA to see this event back on our calendar.

I would like to thank our major sponsors, Taylor Bros Ltd, Vegepod, More FM, Willis Towers Watson, Terrace Views Papamoa and Zariba Properties for their support of this event.  We also have a great turnout of community members who have agreed to sponsor the wheelbarrow race.  They include

Lysaght Consultants, Little Sweethearts, Aspect Construction, Pacific Saw Mill Engineering, Harris Tate Lawers, Men’s Shed Charitable Trust, Fulton Hogan, Pero’s Hairtek, Cooney Lees Morgan, Firewatch, Smart Business Centre, Tasman Plumbing, X Span, Sharp Tudhope Lawyers, First National, Forestaire, Immerse Nail and Beauty Therapy, ASB Bank, Wish for Fish, Pacific Sawmills Engineering, Cooney Lees Morgan.

In preparing for the night please be advised that this year, unlike previous years, we have a maximum number of people we are able to grant entry to.  It is therefore important to get your tickets early as we cannot guarantee that there will be gate sales on the night.

If we have to postpone the Fireworks due to bad weather we will notify you via the radio, school website, email, facebook and app alert.

Postponement date Saturday 18 November.

Visit to Cluny Mother House
In the last week of last term I was privileged to be able to stay at our Cluny Mother House in Paris.  This is the house that Blessed Anne Marie Javouhey purchased in 1851, two years before her death, for her growing congregation.  For many, our connection to the order of St Joseph of Cluny is unknown but for those who understand the story of Blessed Anne Marie Javouhey will support me in expressing how extremely fortunate we are to have been established by the order she founded.

My time at the mother house reaffirmed for me the amazing gift and opportunity we have been given here in Tauranga to be apart of this community.  The founding principles on which our school was established are still apparent today and therefore we must continue to recognise them in all that we do.

Blessed Anne Marie Javouhey believed in the sacredness of each individual, be it a child in need of education or a slave she helped emancipate. This was the premise for Catholic Education first applied by our Cluny Sisters here in Tauranga and our continued mantra for education at St Mary’s today. Cluny statements that are pertinent to our vision include;

  • To stand as counter witness to the spirit of our day and age.
  • To search for God’s Will in the challenges of today’s world.

I would like to take the opportunity to present some of the information and findings I encountered during my time in Paris with our school community at an opportune time in the future.  I would also like to thank our Board of Trustees for allowing me the time away from school.

Traffic Management
It is important that we remain aware of our obligations as road users when driving and parking around our school neighbourhood.  As previously communicated please ensure your vehicle is parked appropriately in a designated space before stopping to pick up or drop off children.  Unfortunately complaints from neighbours have increased recently due to parents once again parking on grass verges and across driveways.

2018 Enrolments
As this term draws to a close and next year beckons, it is important that we as a school are aware of any intentions to leave the area and / or our school. Also, if you have children turning 5 next year or know of families whose intention it is to attend St Mary’s at any time during 2018 please ensure enrolment procedures are started now and contact the school office.

New children and new families liturgy
On Tuesday 7 November we invite all new families and welcome 35 new students to St Mary’s since our last welcome in Term 3.  All families are very welcome to attend this very special liturgy.

Sun Safety
Sun block will be available in classes but I would suggest applying sunblock to your child in the morning before school as an additional precaution.  As I am sure you do as parents we encourage children to manage themselves when it comes to sunscreen.  Our teachers will always give reminders but are unable to apply sun block to their entire class.  A reminder also that it is compulsory for students to have a school sun hat.

Ben Fuller

From the Principal - 30 August 2017

Nga mihi nui ki a koutou

Greetings St Mary’s community, at an extremely busy and exciting time for our school.  A very warm welcome to our new students Declan Finlay, Claire Ma and Tomas Hooper. There is always a reason to be excited and this term we have not been without reason!  

As I write we are counting down to our school’s 75th Jubilee Reunion event.  Enclosed in this news letter is some specific information regarding the reunion weekend later this month.  Please take some time to look over this information as it is going to be a great event for our school and one that we all should be looking to take part in.  I would definitely encourage all to look at putting a table together for the dinner on Saturday night as a follow up to the family day of fun we have planned at School during the day.

Last week was an extremely proud moment for our school and particularly for myself as Principal.  We opened what is the first purpose build Innovative Learning Environment on our school site.  The Sister Gabrielle O’Neill Learning Environment.  The suggestion to name our new building after our special Cluny Sister was a great one and one that I am extremely pleased our Board approved.  

Being able to honour Sr Gabrielle as we did on Friday was one of the most rewarding moments of my time as Principal of this great school.  For those who were not able to be present below is a small excerpt from the dedication I made on behalf of our school community past and present.

Everyone who enters into our school community brings with them skills, commitment and a love for St Mary’s.  This is what leads people to contribute in the many ways that makes what happens at St Mary’s great.  You have heard me describe this in many ways, I talk about all of us combining to create the fabric of St Mary’s.  However, Sr Gabrielle as a Cluny Sister and as a Principal has not just been a part of the fabric or contributed to it, she helped weave it and though our school today may be very different to the one you led Sr it is still very much connected to your work and the work of your order.

In keeping with a focus on how lucky we are to be a Cluny School, earlier this term we host 18, yes 18! Cluny Sisters from around the Pacific region.  They all attended Mass on the Thursday and treated us with some of their singing.  An amazing treat for us all and a reminder of the amazing gift the Catholic Community of Tauranga has received from these awesome ladies.

New Gold Group Sponsor - First National

As a father and daughter team, Rod Sampson and Tammy Francis have blended their love of family with their passion for property - combining their strengths for a fresh approach to benefit all their clients.  

Rod, and his wife Lyn raised their family in the Bay of Plenty and as such, has a real passion for the region and a broad knowledge of what it has to offer.  

Tammy with her tenacity and determination has made real estate a natural transition for her, one that she is enjoying very much. With her son, Mason, at St Marys she is actively involved in the school and loves the sense of community that comes with being a part of that. 

They both understand that for vendors and buyers alike, property sales can be a stressful and emotional time. They do their utmost to make things as smooth and enjoyable as possible for all their clients by providing exceptional service, feedback and communication. To them, success is matching the right buyer to the right property, resulting in both a happy vendor and purchaser. 

We look forward to working with you and discussing the special offer we have for our St Marys families.

Nga Mihi Nui Kia Koutou

Ben Fuller


From the Principal - 28 September 2017

Nga mihi nui ki a koutou

Great to write to you at this time of celebration for our school.  The planning and preparation for our Jubilee provided a time to reflect on the very special place our school holds within the wider community of Tauranga Moana.  We are not just a Catholic School, we are one of the first schools established in our area.  However, the fact that we are indeed a Catholic School, commissioned by Bishop Liston and established by our Cluny Sisters richens this.  The place we hold in Tauranga Moana is significant for the growth of our Church and our city.  It is therefore fitting that we celebrated it as we have.

A very big thank you to all those who attended our Jubilee and a special thank you to all those who worked so hard and assisted in making it such a memorable weekend.

We had many past pupils return to the school from all parts of New Zealand and from overseas. All attendees appreciated the school’s hospitality, especially the students participation in the Kapa Haka welcome, the performances on Saturday and the Sursum Corda and Pasfika Group at Sunday’s Jubilee Mass. Our Year 6 students who offered to conduct tours of the school did an amazing job.

It was great to see so many of our families and pupils taking part in the peformances and old fashioned games at the Saturday picnic. 

One of the highlights at the Saturday night dinner was having two past pupils Kevin Farrelly and Jeremy Redmore entertain us with their singing. Jeremy, a former member of the band Midnight Youth.

Michael Cooney spoke about the origins of the school paying tribute to the Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny and proposed a toast of thanks to the Sisters for establishing the school.

In her reply Sister Allison said how the Sisters were delighted that the charism of their foundress Blessed Anne Marie Javouhey is still being kept alive and how all members of the school community strive to live by her motto “To do a little good each day”.

The Jubilee Mass celebrated by Bishop Steve, Fathers Mark and Danny and Father John Joliffe was a wonderful and very fitting conclusion to our weekend.

In the words of Pope John Paul the second our Jubilee did express our gratitude for the past, our enthusiasm for the present and we pray that God will continue to abundantly bless St Mary’s School community in the future.

This week I have been visiting the Cluny Mother House in Paris.  A trip I have been looking forward to and anticipating for a long time.  When I first started at St Mary’s I was introduced to the history of our school and quickly made a connection with our origins and the success of today.  One of the key ingredients of this is our Cluny Charism.  

I had initially thought of Charism as a gift, and it is, but it is a gift that we need to develop, enhance and in turn pass on to those that will follow into our community.  We have an obligation to add to the amazing work of those who have made St Mary’s what it is today.  To contribute to the many qualities our school is so proud of and for whom our students benefit. 

It is my intention to therefore better understand the Cluny Charism on which our school was built and has prospered and hopefully return with an enhanced ability to continue the work our Cluny Sisters started so passionately 75 years ago.

Start of Term 4
In starting the new term the expectation is to see a major focus on personal uniform standards. A slight transition to summer footwear and the retirement of any visible under garments should take place by Monday 16 October. 

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.

Late arrivals to school
We have noticed a growth in the number of students who are arriving late to school.  I realise that, on occasion, this cannot be avoided but unfortunately we have a number of students who arrive regularly after 9.00am.  The start of the school day is 8.50am.  It is important that students are here before this to ensure that they are ready for learning and do not disrupt a functioning class on their arrival.  

An alarming statistic at St Mary’s is that of all students who are late or absent for more than 15% of the school year, over 50% have achievement concerns.  Something that I believe is easily addressed.  Please make a big commitment next term to be at school on time.

Ben Fuller

From the Principal - 11 August 2017

Nga mihi nui ki a koutou

A very warm welcome to our new students Flynn Gardiner, Lucy Hertnon, John Clarke, Brayden Nix, Ella Madams, Mitchell Parry, Jessica Cha, Clover Palairet, Hunter Signal, Olivia Lilly, Samantha Bint, Coen Bint, Kale Bint and Thomas Woo. 

First Holy Communion
On behalf of our school community I would like to congratulate all students who received their first Holy Communion over the last two weeks.  This completes your recent sacramental journey and significant step in your young lives as Catholic.  I must also thank and congratulate all who prepared our candidates from when the programme began last year through until now.  As a school we had many teachers involved in the preparation of students for the receipt of the three sacraments but key leadership came in the form of Mrs Donna Vincent, Mrs Elizabeth Driver and Mrs Teresa Rush.

Personalised Learning at St Mary’s
Like many educators I sat eagerly waiting to watch Seven Sharp’s story on Modern Learning Environments.  I won’t say I was disappointed in the story but it was a shame that the focus was on the physical environment as opposed to the pedagogy (way of learning) that is the feature of an effective innovative learning environment.

The key area of focus that I would encourage you as parents to continue to connect with is that change from a structured, teacher dominated, industrial model (factory) to a less formal student led or centred environment.  This approach brings aspects of learning that sit alongside the traditional content based approach.  A key goal for us at St Mary’s is ‘skilling’ the students to be independent and self managing learners.  For this to occur it is paramount that students understand their role and responsibilities as the learner and also the learning process.  This is of course not an ‘overnight’ process, it requires a process of learning to learn integrated into the classroom programme.

I am sure you will agree that everything is hard before it gets easy.  We therefore want our students to develop skills to cope with the ‘hard’.  They need to be able to persist, think flexibly, be creative, and take responsible risks.  The space does have a role in enabling students to test new ideas, make mistakes and use what they know.  Hence the flexible nature of our developing learning environments where students can adapt to a setting that gives them confidence.  This is why you will find many settings within the setting of an innovative learning environment … including desks!

Community Information Evening
We are delighted to host a Community Evening with Andrew Jones (Melbourne University).  Andrew will talk about what the very best learning organisations are focussing on; the skills and competencies learners will need for the future and how this fits with our focus on collaboration. 

When:  Monday 14 August 2017; 6:00pm

Where:  Blessed Anne Marie Javouhey Centre

Come along and enjoy some light refreshments, and hear the future direction of education. 
So we can gauge numbers for catering please indicate your attendance via this link to the online form

Student Led Conferences
It was great to see so many parents embrace the opportunity to share in their children’s learning journey through our Student Led Conferences last week.  As a form of student led reporting, our student led conferences are now an integral part of our reporting to parents process as they provide authentic examples of progress in learning through the sharing of and interaction with actual examples of learning.  As always, should you have anything you wish to discuss with your child’s teacher in relation to the conference, examples of learning shared or current achievement information please do not hesitate to make contact with them.

New Learning Environment
Our new learning environment is now ready for final council internal inspections and sign off, however, there are a few external areas needing to be completed before it can be effectively occupied by students.  

Prior to this we will be blessing the building (Kawanga Whare) in conjunction with local iwi at 6.15am on Tuesday morning (15 August) before holding the official opening on Friday 25 August at 9.30am.  You are all welcome to attend both events. 

The liturgy on Friday 25 August will be led by Bishop Steven Lowe who will be dedicating the building to a significant member of our school community.  As with an event of such a nature we welcome all current and former members of our school community.

75th Jubilee Reunion of our School 
You will be aware our school is celebrating its 75th Jubilee on the 22 - 24 September his year.
This is a very significant milestone in our school’s history and we are marking the occasion with various activities over the weekend.

Friday 22 September 2017

4.30pm:   Registrations
              Tours of the school

6.00pm:  ‘Mix and Mingle
              Kapa Haka 
              School Students Performance
6.30pm:  Bar Open and light nibbles will be served 

Saturday 23 September 2017 - St Mary's School

On Saturday there will be various activities in the school grounds (bouncy castle for the children) with the day finishing with a jubilee dinner at the ASB Arena BayPark.

11.00am:  Roll Call
                Decade photographs
                Tours of the school

1.00pm:  Picnic lunch (you can supply your own lunch or use the option available on the registration form)

Saturday (Evening) 23 September 2017 – Baypark ASB Arena Stadium Lounge

6.30pm:  Drinks
7.00pm:  Dinner

Our MC for the evening is ex pupil Sam Kelway. You may know him as the popular TVNZ news reporter. Sam was born in Tauranga and moved to Wellington before being lured by the bright lights of Auckland.

Sam’s a passionate story teller, with immaculate hair, who doesn’t mind getting his suit dirty for a good story.  A TVNZ-er since 2012, he’s game for anything and will stop at almost nothing in telling the stories that matter.  We look forward to hearing some of Sam’s stories.

Sunday 24 September 2017

The celebrations will conclude with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Steve Lowe at St Mary Immaculate at 10.30am on the Sunday.  Full details of all activities are available on the school’s website, facebook and a hard copy of the registration form is available from the school’s office.

We are encouraging ALL members of our past and present community (pupils, parents, teachers, anyone who has had a connection to St Mary's) to join us in the celebrations of this weekend.

We look forward to a wonderful and memorable celebration.

New Gold Group Sponsor - Harveys Rural Property

Richard Greaves offers a focused, results - based real estate service across theBay of Plenty and in particular Tauranga Central and Rural Bay of Plenty.

A proven property deal maker, Richard easily forms trusted working relationships with his clients and leverage off the market advantages that the respected

Harveys brand offers to streamline the sale of your property. With strong family values, a well-developed sense of community spirit and extensive networks,

Richard is making his mark in the Bay.

Through Harveys in Schools, we can offer a range of skill sets and resources to extend the reach you have in your community and to bolster fundraising initiatives.

• The Harveys Photo Booth – a great attraction at school galas, fun days, quiz night, school dances/ socials (subject to availability)

• A Harveys Master of Ceremonies

• Our charity Auctions bring fun and a touch of theatre to your school event; we know what works, how to source items for the auction and how to coordinate a memorable experience.

• Individual agents with specialist sports knowledge/ interest could sponsor school teams and assist with branded gear.

• We pledge to donate $1000 from each successful sale of a property referred to us via the schools parents, neighbours and supporters network.

A little about myself..... I moved to Tauranga at the beginning of 2017 with my wife Joanna and our three children who attend St Mary’s School, Hannah, Jack and Lucy.  We have enjoyed our first six months at St Mary’s and look forward to getting to know the St Mary’s School Community better.

Ben Fuller