Ao Tawhiti Newsletter 13th April 2022

Upcoming Events

  • IEM -14th April 2022 (school not open for instruction)
  • School Holidays– 15th April-1st May
  • IEM-2nd May 2022 (school not open for instruction)
  • First day of Term 2– 3rd May 2022
  • Queen’s Birthday– 6th June (school closed)
  • Matariki– 24th June (school closed)

Messages From Anita

Kia ora koutou

Thank you to the Ao Tawhiti community for the support shown to our school as we have carefully navigated our way through term one with the unpredictability created by Covid. Your children have experienced relief teachers, learning from home, online learning and sudden changes to programs and they have been wonderful in their willing adaptability. Students have continued to take advantage of educational opportunities and we celebrate a number of them in this newsletter.
I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the work done by the staff and parent volunteers this term. They have come to work unsure who was going to be on-site and if they were going to have to cover classes, or take on responsibilities for unwell colleagues. They have embraced the hybrid approach to catering for students who are isolating at home as well as students sitting in classrooms. I feel very proud to work at this school with such a great community of people.
We will work on an updated Health and Safety plan for Term Two. This plan will address education at the orange traffic light setting and I will share this plan with you all before the term starts.
In the meantime, I hope everyone has the opportunity to have a break and relax over the Easter holiday.

Ngā mihi nui


Messages from Senior Leaders

RAMs Training sessions, Term 2

Kia ora koutou. We love to have your support when taking students out on trips. RAMs training sessions run regularly for whānau members and caregivers who would like to get involved. The sessions go over the basics of what to expect when volunteering to support an activity off site. I’ll be running two RAMs session in Term 2 on the following dates: – Wednesday May 11, 2:30 – 3:00 pm – Friday June 10, 8:30 – 9:00am Please RSVP via email if you’re hoping to attend:

Megan Taylor

Cycle Safety

Huge thanks to Christchurch City Council for bringing their awesome Cycle Safety programme to Ao Tawhiti this term. This is a free, 2-day course for Y6 tamariki, and many of our Y6 ākonga signed up to take part. On day one the team bike to Hagley Netball Courts for a morning of theory and instruction and the afternoon on the courts where they learn to signal, turn and manoeuvre safely before going on the road on the second day. Thanks Jan, Yasuko and the rest of the team for an awesome 2 days, and to Sara Norton at Hagley Netball Courts for use of their indoor space and the courts.

Certificates for Cycle Safety will be handed out next term.

Niki Stephenson

Term 2 Fridays in Y1-6

Despite a bit of upheaval this term, the Y1-6 hapori on Fridays have been hugely successful, with students following passions in nature play and making and creating.

Next term we are going to mix it up a little. The first 2 hours will be used to focus on students’ literacy skills. As you are aware we are implementing a structured literacy programme across Y1-6, which is wonderful for teaching the skills students need to be able to read and write. We also recognise that part of being literate is loving books and stories, and we aim to support a love of literature in our ākonga through reading and telling stories, and using some storyways strategies. We are looking forward to having an extra 2 hours a week dedicated to supporting strong literacy skills in all of our tamariki.

This means that hapori will fall in line with the Y7-13 timetable, beginning at 11.20. We plan to offer a variety of student, parent and LA-led workshops for the rest of the day. We understand that we have not been able to have as many of you wonderful parents in school as we like this term, but are hopeful that many of you will begin to return next term and will offer to run workshops/ take groups out. As I always say, ‘We cannot do what we say we do without you’ and we are excited to welcome many of you back! There will be a form for parents to complete by Wednesday each week, watch out for the link in the Y1-6 newsletter.

Niki Stephenson

Celebrating Hapori

The Friday hapori are off to a great start. It is awesome seeing students deeply immersed in their passion areas on Fridays. Many of them have to be reminded to take a break at lunch time! We have launched a website to showcase the various activities on offer and to celebrate some of the student learning. Enjoy browsing the site. We’ll be updating it regularly across the year. To find out more about the hapori, check in with your HBLA, CL or with Megan T.

Megan Taylor

Palettes needed!

On Wednesday 18 May we have the Compost Princesses (2 lovely students from Rotorua studying at UC) coming to the Climate Action Campus to help us get our compost on. We need palettes to create compost areas across the campus. If you have any/ know of any/ can get hold of any please take them directly to the Cowlishaw St part of the campus and leave them behind the greenhouses against the back fence before 18 May.

Any issues/ queries etc, please contact Niki.

Niki Stephenson

News / Notices

Extreme Makeover – Backyard Edition

In 5MAT with Jess, we have been looking at units of measurement and how to calculate area, volume, and perimeter of different shapes.

As a way to put these skills into practice, students were tasked with creating and designing a scaled down version of a backyard design. They needed to calculate the actual measurements of their yard space including the area and the perimeter. They also needed to calculate the volume of water needed to fill their pool.

Once these important design decisions were make, they then needed to scale down their measurements to make them easier to create a model of.

Students did a mix of digital creations and physically creating models out of paper and cardboard. Here are photos of some models that student completed.

Jess Dewhurst, Mathematics LA

Sarah’s Community News

Over term 1, our resilient learners have taken part in lots of activities including:
– Banqer
– Wordle (and all it’s variations)
– City Walk
– Dance lessons
– Yoga
– Independent projects
and much more…

Next term we will run a programme each Friday morning called LETS GET ACTIVE.
This will give students an opportunity to engage in different activities each week in a safe and friendly way.
Some of the activities include:
– mini golf
– indoor bowls
– table tennis
– badminton
– ice skating
Students will also have the opportunity to work towards a level 1 achievement standard during this time.

Sarah Marshall

Seaweek 2022 – Art sculpture Competition

This year’s competition for Seaweek was to create art from things you find at the beach i.e. sand or driftwood sculpture or other detritus reflecting Seaweek’s theme of Toi Moana-Toi Tangata: Celebrate connections with our seas.The artwork must be ephemeral – it could disappear back into nature with the tide, in the wind or over time.

Ruby Cowley in Year 9, designed and created a dinosaur sculpture titled: See the Past to Sea the Future. Her awesome sculpture scored her second place in the year 9 – 13 category and as a prize she won a book on New Zealand rock pools.

Jess Dewhurst, JESD HBLA

University of Canterbury

On 31 March 16 senior science students attended a BioChem lecture at the University of Canterbury. Kirsty can help you ask to sit in on a lecture. It is a useful way of exploring your academic interests. You can also book to attend Open Day at the University of Canterbury on Friday 9th September.

Kirsty McMillian

Wednesday Breakfast Club

We welcome everyone to Level 4 Cafe area for breakfast club on Wednesday mornings from 8.30am till 9am. We have fresh pancakes and cereals, and social time with students of all ages. We are looking for more helpers to set up from 8.15am, and then to cook pancakes and do washing up, finishing at 9.30. Students often make enthusiastic pancake cooks and we are keen for their help, as well as any parents who might be available at that time, or at other times to help with shopping. Please contact Miriam for more information, or come along any Wednesday morning to join us!

Miriam Denney

Wednesday DnD Club

Despite Covid’s best efforts, the Wednesday DnD club has taken off this term. We have one large self-directed group running homebrew each week, and a second smaller group preparing to start a pre-written campaign in term 2.

The second group would like to invite 2-3 more players to join the new campaign. Beginners are welcome as we will start the campaign at level one. In Term 2, week 1, we will start with character creation and then jump into our campaign – Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, a treasure hunting adventure.

If you are Y7+ and interested in joining the second group, please email me:, or come along on Wednesdays at 2pm in 2C.

Canterbury Rams Visit

On March 23rd, the Canterbury Rams came to school to conduct a training session with the students. 

Learn to play Canoe Polo

Mainland Canoe Polo Association are running beginner indoor Canoe Polo sessions at Jellie Park on Wednesday nights in term two. There will be learn-to-roll kayak sessions on 4 & 11 May, plus 8 June. There will also be 7 weeks of canoe polo games (18, 25 May, 1, 15, 22, 29 June, 6 July). Students and parents can get more information and sign-up at:

Matt Parkes

Meeting the Artist Kophie Hulsbosch

HB Tūrangawaewae had a lovely experience recently sparked by one of the journals we were reading in the HB. The story explained the reasons behind the murals and street art throughout Christchurch after the Earthquakes. The HB was so inspired we popped across St Asaph to look at the cool new mural being created as part of the Flare Art Festival. Our excursion became even cooler when we bumped into the artist Kophie Hulsbosch. She was so kind and stopped what she was doing to come over and be interviewed by a HB of very keen short people who had a myriad of ideas and questions.She explained how music has supported her generation and this mural is her love letter back. It was great to be able to see the artwork in progress and gain such a rich understanding of the huge planning process involved in these fabulous pieces of art that add so much to our City scape. It was a wonderful moment of learning in the community and we were very lucky Kophie shared so much time and enthusiasm explaining her work.

Melva Gill

Jogging Club

The students participating in Monday-Wednesday after-school jogging club have pushed themselves to astounding new heights (or more accurately, distances). At our first few runs this term, we dusted off the lazy summer cobwebs with the usual 2.5 km loop we did each week last year, but then everyone seemed to discover some sort of secret to taking their running to the next level. Jhett McNeill ran 9.5 km in one of our last runs, Sam Teulon ran 8km, and Lulu Cronje ran 7 km. Congratulations to everyone for coming out week after week and pushing yourselves a bit further while enjoying some fun times and socialising. We need to enter into some cross country events!

Zack Williams

Manawanui hapori tramp – Mt Thomas

A small group of manawanui hapori students chose a tramp up Mt Thomas over the hotpools option last week, and we enjoyed a bluebird day! The native bush and all of the very vocal bird life was a real treat as we ascended the Wooded Gully Track, and contrasted sharply with the monoculture pine forest that was barren of bird life on the descent along the Summit Track. We had great views of many mountain ranges on the summit that will surely inspire us to take on more adventures. Unfortunately, a student suffered a foot injury shortly after we started our descent, but the students were really fantastic with supporting her down the hill – amazing teamwork and kaha, everyone.

Zack Williams

4SCI and 78EFS Look out for our local awa, Ōtākaro

Perhaps you know that Ao Tawhiti has started monitoring the stretch of the Ōtākaro Avon river by Mill Island? Some staff were trained by ecologists from the Nature Agents project at the end of last year and an initial practice trip took place with students. This term the Purple 4 Science class and some of 78 Education for Sustainability students, along with two Ara students (former Ao Tawhiti students Grace and Ella) monitored again.

We got wet and had fun, but what did we find? Well, the clarity was good, but the river is still inhabited by medium and low sensitivity species such as amphipods (little shrimps), horsehair worms, pea clams, and worms. This tells us the water isn’t high quality, which is perhaps what you’d expect in an urban environment. Our information will add to the growing data managed by EOS ecology. It’s cool to think our data will be used by future Ao Tawhiti students as they look for changes over time.

Kate Armour

Other Notices

Term 2 bookings are open for new guitar, ukulele and singing group pupils. There
is no need to rebook if your child has been having lessons in Term 1. But please
email Mary if you do not wish to continue.
Instrument lessons are 20 minutes long and cost $10 for group and $15 for
Group singing is approximately 30 minutes long and is $5 per session. (Year 1-3
singing group also includes movement and instruments)
Please email for more details.


Have you got some concerns or wonderings about parenting or your child’s wellbeing that you’d like to discuss with our liaison Mana Ake Kaimahi, Makera?

Our Mana Ake Kaimahi is able to have a one-off 20-30min korero with you regarding any concerns you may have about your tamariki. They can be a listening ear, navigate you to the right support, link you to resources and strategies, and give other advice/guidance to set you on the right track.

Being a parent is a tough job and from time to time we all need a little help and encouragement.
These sessions are confidential and free of charge. If you have any concerns about your child’s wellbeing or if you would to set up a time to meet with Makera, please contact for students in Y1-6, or for students in Y7/8


Is your child struggling to manage their big emotions like anger, fear or anxiety? This course will help them become aware and regulate their own emotions, and help you develop:

• An awareness of their children’s emotions

The ability to use children’s emotional experiences as an opportunity for closeness and teaching

Skills in assisting children to verbally label and manage their emotions

Skills in assisting children to problem solve

Support to guide children’s behaviour with appropriate limits.

SUPPORTING ANXIOUS CHILDREN – Thursday 31 March – 7-9pm – via zoom – Free

·         Learn different strategies and skills to help your child manage anxiety and stress, and help them build resiliency

·         Understand how anxiety works in the body and mind

·         Feel more confident to manage anxiety in your child

·         Understand resilience and how to build in your children

·         Learn parenting strategies and skills to support children

SUPPORTING YOUNG PEOPLE AND CHILDREN THROUGH CHANGE – Tuesday 5th of April 7-9pm – via zoom – free

·         Understand the changes that children and young people may face

·         Understand what makes certain changes more difficult for some people, especially in the context of modern life

·         Learn strategies to support children and young people through change

Explore the important role adults play in supporting and managing change

Snow Gear Sale

This winter St Martins Scouts are having a second hand snow gear sale to fundraise for our Scout group. Saturday 7th May 9am-3pm St Martins Scout Den, 297 Centaurus Road, Christchurch Come and grab some bargains on skis, snowboards, boots, jackets, pants, gloves, goggles and any other winter gear. If you have gear to sell, bring it along Friday 6th May, 2pm to 6pm.  Either donate it to the group or we’ll sell on your behalf for 30% of the sale price.

Whanau Awhina Plunket online Babysitting Course

Plunket Education in Schools’ Babysitting Course is available for teenagers all over Aotearoa.

This course is designed to give high school students the knowledge and skills to babysit children of all ages. It’s written for first time babysitters; students don’t need to have previous experience to enrol.

The course ideal for students aged 14 and above and takes around 2-3 hours to complete.

Students work through nine sequential modules and on completion of the course and the final quiz will receive a certificate certified by Whanau Awhina Plunket to show employers that they have completed this course and are ready to babysit. As well as the certificate the students are sent a Babysitter’s Manual that supports all the information they have learned in the course.

During the course the following topics are covered:

• the role of the babysitter, including the expectations of the families you are working for

• ages and stages of children from birth to school age, their basic needs and their care

• professional behaviour including your presentation

• how to engage with children of different ages, including activities for each age group and 

 behavioural information

• safety, including emergency situations, keeping yourself and the children safe, and basic first aid

• how to get a babysitting job.