Newsletter No 6, 8 March 2017

No 6 : 8 March 2017

Kia Ora,

Hello Everyone,

Another AWESOME Gala Day. Thank you, thank you all for your fantastic support. It is the biggest crowd I have seen at one of our gala days and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves at this great St Mary’s community event. Thanks to the many people and businesses who donated goods and services. We had lots of people volunteer many hours of work; it was truly a team effort. It was also fantastic to see so many JPC students helping out at the Gala.The success of the Gala Day was due in large part to our hardworking PTA Gala team. Lizzy Gaston and her team have worked tirelessly coordinating our big day. A huge thank you to them. We have made a profit of approximately $16,000. Check out the many photos on our Facebook page.

Thanks to the St Mary’s families who donated part of their grocery raffle they won at the gala day to be distributed to needy families. What a great gesture. Following are the raffle winners -

Ray White Bike: Zasha Ostrowska
BBQ: James Smith
Principal for a Day: Jade Moller

Next week a couple of our Senior classes head off on their camp to Ruaihona Marae at Te Teko as a base for accommodation, games, activities and cultural activities. The children are also rafting the Tarawera River and tubing the Rangitaitai River. This year each class will be going on their own camp and next year the Year 5 & 6's head off to the Auckland camp. Please keep our Senior School in your prayers that they have an awesome, safe camp and for fine weather. I am looking forward to seeing the camps in action. Please keep them the children in your prayers.

Kahikitea Team (Middle team) are focusing on monarch butterflies in their ‘Communities’ studies. The team is involved in the tagging project. Here is some information on the project:

‘In North America each autumn more than 250 million Monarchs leave the United States and Southern Canada and journey south for up to 2,500 miles to their overwintering roosts in the mountain fir forests of West Mexico City. Their numbers have been declining and scientists are worried.
In NZ we know even less about our Monarchs and their overwintering behaviour. Where do they overwinter? How many sites are there?
Monarch butterflies are known as ‘indicator species’ as they are easy to see and also not afraid of humans. They are considered today’s ‘canaries of the coal mines’. With the information from our tagging programme we will be better prepared to protect Monarchs and measure changes to our environment – not only for Monarch butterflies but what affects other insects too. If insects are affected, our very survival will be affected. This is one way in which citizen scientists can participate in a real science project.
The aim is to find out about the Monarch’s winter behaviour, so we try and tag the overwintering generation,
not those butterflies that emerge through spring and summer.’

Our children are enjoying the project, and from March 1st they have been tagging the hatching Monarchs in the enclosure. It is interesting that Monarchs in NZ seem to end up North during the winter. Our school has a butterfly enclosure with swan plants and lots of caterpillars on them. We bought the enclosure from a firm in Auckland and I would like to thank Tony and Claudine Bradley from Heli Resources for transporting the enclosure from Auckland to Rotorua.

Last Friday, during Golden-time, we had our Inter-house TUG of War competition. It was a fantastic event with the children really getting in behind it and having lots of fun. You can see the photos on our facebook page. Results: 1st Pompallier 2nd = MacKillop and Whakaue, 4th Mill Hill.

On Friday 20 March we are celebrating St Joseph's Day. Please join us for Mass at 9.00am.

Finally, I would like to farewell our cleaner Maduthemp Jelish. Jelish and his family are relocating to Hamilton for employment opportunities. Jelish has been a wonderful, hardworking cleaner and we will miss him and his two children, Ann Maria and Immanuel. Today we also farewelled Susan Townes for her many hours of teaching commitment and service to the students and staff of St Mary’s. We also had the opportunity of thanking Kay Leamy for the tremendous work she has done at our school over many years. God bless to these three special people.

God Bless ... and go the Canes!

David Macmillan, Principal.


Maths Whizz - Information for parents of Years 3-6 students.

Last week, we had Ross Perkinson from Maths Whizz visit all our Year 3-6 classes. Students were given some tips re how to make best use of their time on Maths Whizz in order to accelerate their learning. We are thrilled with the progress many of our students are making on Maths Whizz, but would like to encourage parents to help us ensure ALL our Year 3-6 students are making good use of this online, personalised maths programme.

We recommend parents view the following links
Parent Guide Introduction to Maths-Whizz
Explanation of Maths-Whizz Maths Age

Usage Targets
Our Year 3-6 students are encouraged to use Maths Whizz for 60-90 minutes per week, which covers usage at both school and home. (Note: If any child doesn't have internet access at home could you please let Mrs Cato know so she can try and provide the child with some practice time. Email or leave a message at the school office)

It is important that students use their Maths Whizz time effectively. The following are guidelines for usage.

Tutor mode – recommendation 4 progressions a week, approx. 60 mins per week

Identifying and filling in the gaps! Students will receive lessons at the right level for each topic. As they pass an exercise, they receive a test, if they pass a test, this is recorded as a ‘progression’ and they will automatically be given a lesson for a new learning objective. Do not help students in their tests as their performance in these assessments allow Maths-Whizz to set their individualised learning programmes.

Replay – consolidation on lessons received in Tutor - target 30 mins

All exercises passed in the tutor will appear in the Console and students will be able to try to beat their own time in a ‘no medal exercise’ and gain a Gold Medal. They can also challenge other students but only on exercises where they are at the same level. Challenges won will earn them 10 maths credits. All students in the school can
compete on the weekly leader board for maths credits – this is reset to 0 at the beginning of every week.

Topic Bank – when specific practice needed. Topic bank consists of all previous exercises up to 3⁄4 of a year below the students’ current level in each topic. This is an ideal area if parents want to help students practice an exercise they are struggling with. It is user-led and gives students, teachers, and parents ownership over students’ learning journeys by letting them focus on remedial content. It can be used to reinforce topics.


School Camps 13-17 March : 20-24 March

Years 5 & 6 Room 1, 13 - 15 March
Years 5 & 6 Room 2 15 - 17 March
Years 5 & 6 Room 3, 20 - 22 March
Years 5 & 6 Room 4, 22 - 24 March



Our students really looked fantastic in their national costumes last Friday. We have so many different cultures and it is great to have the opportunity for them to display their heritage. Our senior students are enjoying learning about water safety with Henk Gruepink in preparation for their up-coming camp. The middle school will also have some instruction from Henk soon. Again a massive thanks you to our wonderful school community who support events at our school-gala, swimming sports, liturgies, and help in the classrooms. We are so fortunate to have such ‘treasures’ who give of their time and energy!

Check out some of the links below regarding Lent.


Explain Lent to a child


Blessings, Bernie Hall DRS.

Catholics Returning Home :
You are invited to attend a refresher course for Catholics wanting to return to the practice of their Catholic faith. This will run weekly on Thursday nights commencing Thursday 9 March 2017, for four weeks, until 30 March 2017. Commences at 7pm in St Mary's Church corner of Seddon and Ranolf Streets.
Further enquires please email Fr Eamon Kennedy at

Parents - If you have a Chromebook needing a screen repair, you might find it useful to contact Paul Hintz 021 024 30817

Dry Douglas fir/pine
Cut firewood
$80 for 1 cubic metre.
Phone Al : 0272298325


Congratulations to the family of Mia Wheeler (Room 12) on the arrival of a new baby boy "Keller" - and incidentally a nephew to our Jamie the assistant caretaker. Wishing you many blessings for the years ahead.

Our prayers and condolences to the family of Arieana Rayners (Room 18A) who lost their granddad this week. May he rest in peace.



A reminder that camp is next week and fees are now due (unless you have a payment plan already in place).
If you have any queries regarding camp or the fee please do not hesitate to contact the office or Mrs Mason

Can anyone help?
If anyone is able to repair a skateboard ramp we would love to hear from you. Please contact our caretaker Michelle on 0226375800

An easy and affordable iron on name label for all types of clothing - orders can be placed via or to Lynne
027 2787 - 07-3459472, Postal Box 2272 Rotorua.

Extra activities available at school -

Gymnastic classes are available to pupils on Wednesdays/Thursdays in the school hall from 12.30pm to 1.15pm. Please contact Marie Hughes to learn more about this activity. Phone 34566275 (h) or 027 362 5645.

Kapa Haka:
Will be commencing later in the term.

Choir Practice:
Choir Practice will be held every Monday in Room 14 at 12.30pm. All children in Years 3 - 6 welcome. Mrs Nielson is in charge of Choir.

Band Practice:
Band practice is at 11.45am on Fridays in the school hall. Musical parents are most welcome to come and help at these sessions.

Pasifika Group:
Pasifika practice every Friday at 11am in Room 15.If you enjoy learning songs and dances of other Pacific cultures come along. Mrs Wallbank is in charge of the Pasifika Group.

ICT Club:
Will be starting later in the term.



Click Here for more information


ST MARYS APP - Download now

For sports notifications, please download the St Mary's APP (see above) the more we have sign up the more you will know what is happening with your child/rens games.

RATS Duathlon


Congrats to our St Marys students who entered the RATS Duathlon yesterday. All did really well, but I do think a special mention goes out to DON, DJ, Cyris and Sara who were left behind at the start and did amazingly well to catch up and pass so many of the kids in an effort to do the best they could given the disaster in the beginning of the race.

We also had a hilarious incident whereby Don had sworn somebody had taken his helmet as the one on his bike was different. He carried on and rode off....we then found out be seeing a lonesome bike that Don had actually taken off on another kids bike. A big WHOOPS, the other party saw the funny side and we all had a great laugh.


Parents this is a fantastic event, we really need more students to participate in this event next year.

Touch Rugby

Cancelled today - Wednesday 8th March


will resume next week

Winter Sports

It's that time again, winter sports registration will be coming home next week. Please keep an eye out for them as all teams will be based on a first in first serve basis. I will create a waitlist should be have extra players wanting to play a sport. Should there be enough, another team will be created. Once the letters go out, all info will be placed on the St Mary's website.

School Holiday Programmes


Rotorua Development Flyer.pdf


Rotorua Netball 2017.pdf


RCA Girls Cricket Programme 2017.pdf

Playtopia or Kid Central

Should you require assistance over the holidays with childcare, Playtopia and Kid Central have Holiday Programmes availible.

Call either
350 1341 for Playtopia - Website
350 1344 for Kid Central - Email:

Sports Uniforms

Still a few uniforms to come parents, please check your child/ren draws, wardrobes for any St Mary's uniforms.

Team Photos

Coaches/Parents please take some team photos for the website and the year book. You can email them to me with the team name: We also have a St Mary's Facebook page, so feel free to tag your photos to our page.

If you have any ‘special mentions’, (sports related or otherwise) that you would like to add to the sports news, please let me know. If you have a photo to support the ‘special mention’ then please also email as well.

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Offer from NZ Catholic Education office: Discounts at Noel Leeming -




Term 1: 1 February to 13 April
Term 2: 1 May to 7 July
Term 3: 24 July to 29 September
Term 4: 16 October to 15 December