Upcoming Events

  • Last day of term 1 – Thursday 6th April 2023
  • School Holidays – Friday 7th April – Sunday 23rd April 2023
  • Staff only day – Monday 24th April 2023 – school closed for instruction
  • ANZAC Day – Tuesday 25th April 2023
  • IEMs – Wednesday 26th April 2023
  • IEMs – Thursday 27th April 2023
  • First day of timetabled classes for term 2 – Friday 28th April 2023
  • PPTA Proposed Strike Day – Tuesday 9th May – not yet confirmed
  • Kings Birthday – Monday 5th June – School closed
  • Ao Tawhiti Matariki Celebration & last day of timetabled classes term 2– Thursday 29th June 2023
  • IEMs – Friday 30th June 2023
  • School Holidays – 1st July – 16th July 2023
  • IEMs – Monday 17th July 2023
  • First day of term 3 – Tuesday 18th July 2023

Message From Anita

Kia ora e te whānau

Thank you all for your support over term one. It has been a busy term, but as evidenced by the great material in the newsletter, it has also been a great term.

We have a staffing update. Megan Taylor is on study leave for the remainder of 2023. She is completing her doctorate and we wish her all the best for this work. Anne-Marie Hampton is replacing Megan as the Deputy Director for 2023. Steve Hunt has moved into the Kaitiaki role for 2023, but will still be a Community Leader on Floor Four. Rob Miceli is also a newly appointed Community Leader on Floor Three.

I would like to thank and acknowledge the work done by Bene Pass and Steph Marsic. We wish them the best for the future. Catherine Leeper is heading over to work at the Climate Action Campus for the remainder of 2023. Finally, Matt Davis is on leave for terms two and three as he is working as the itinerant woodwind teacher at Hagley College and we look forward to seeing him back with us in term four.

Enjoy your holiday break. We look forward to seeing everyone back at school for term two.

Ngā mihi nui


Messages From Senior Leaders

Adult-led Easter workshop

Thanks HEAPS to Rachael, Dee, Jess and Kelly (who stepped in when Jess needed to be home with several sick tamariki…) for organising and running the Easter activities workshop on our last day of hapori workshops for the term. The vibe was organised and fun with lots of different creative activities on offer. Of course, it wouldn’t be our school without the children going off-piste slightly and bringing their own imaginations to play, and it was cool to see the ideas they brought to life.

Wishing you all a wonderful Easter break, see you in the new term for more awesomeness!

Niki Stephenson

Term 1 happenings

Thanks everyone for a wonderful first term of 2023.

Highlights for me include

– visits to the CAC and seeing the resource being used by lots of students

– seeing the tamariki settle into their HBs and making progress with their mahi

– Cycle Safety for Y6 tamariki

– Athletics day and seeing everyone come together

– welcoming Yolanda back to kura for the next 2 terms and a bit

– Book week

– tamariki and staff showing our Core Values of Aroha and Whanaungatanga as we supported Melva to graduate

– welcoming new Learning Support staff to the Y1-6 team to support some of our tamariki

– Friday hapori workshops. I have actually been blown away by the learning that happens in these workshops, I highly recommend you coming to have a look – even with 6 LAs on a PLD course last Friday, the atmosphere across the floor was calm and there was a wonderful buzz.

If you have not yet been involved in running or supporting any workshops on Fridays but are keen to give things a go, I will be running a ‘How to run a workshop’ workshop early next term, as well as an EOTC workshop. Dates to be confirmed at the beginning of term.

Sadly we said farewell to the lovely Zoe who has worked as part of Learning Support at Ao Tawhiti for 10 years, and we waved goodbye to Music Mary as she moved back to Ireland to be closer to family. We also said goodbye to some tamariki who have moved on too. We are sad to see Jess and Sashvanth leave us. There will be 2 new families joining us in Mel’s HB next term, and I know you will join me in welcoming them.

Also next term we have swimming to look forward to, more days at the CAC, Te Ahi Ora fire display, an open day at the Climate Action Campus, more work, more workshops, more COL and a matariki celebration. We will also be ramping up work on the playground. Emma Woods will come in with a few ideas she will draw up from the children’s ideas. Once we have a final design, we should have a figure we can aim for – then the fundraising fun will begin! I will call another hui for the Playground Committee early in the term.

Have a wonderful Easter break e ngā whānau, looking forward to seeing you all in term 2.

Niki Stephenson

Book Week

Week 9 was Book Week for the year 1-6 community. We had a range of book related activities across the week.

On Monday we had Whānau Reading Day, where whānau were invited to come and read their favourite picture books to small groups of ākonga. The tamariki enjoyed hearing from aunties, uncles, cousins and grandparents who then got to enjoy a shared kai morning tea.

In the afternoon, parent and author Sarina Dickson came to speak to HB Horopito (Mel’s HB) to talk about her book Rising Tide which the HB have been reading. Sarina also read her new book Mumapalooza to the HB, who the wrote reviews of the book for Sarina’s publisher. Finally Sarina ran a writing workshop for some of our keenest writers.

On Tuesday, although the weather was too wet for an outdoors Teddy Bear’s Picnic, we still went ahead and had our picnics in HB, in the dry. There were teddies and stories and food and reading – all the crucial elements of a good Teddy Bear’s Picnic!!

The horizontal rain on Wednesday had us postponing our dress-up Parade until Friday, but we were still able to go ahead with the visit by illustrator Jenny Cooper, who presented to the year 4-6 ākonga. Her drawings and paintings were an inspiration to everyone, and we were really privileged to see the art for her brand new book Who Took the Toilet Paper? She showed the process she uses when she illustrates a story and did an amazing drawing of one of the tamariki on the spot. We were amazed!

On Thursday, author Robinne Weiss came and discussed the novels she’s written, including the Dragon Defence League series and the new book she’s working on. She talked about her 14 step writing process and everyone was amazed at how many steps were editing!

The Favourite Book Character Dress-up parade to Turanga took place on Friday. We had Harry Potter and his colleagues, various story book animals, fairy tale characters, superheroes and villains! Everyone looked fabulous and it was really exciting to parade down to Turanga, dressed-up out in public.

For Hapori in the afternoon there were book week based adult-led workshops. It was a fabulous week of book based activities and we’re looking forward to next year’s book week already!

Niki Stephenson

Proposed Strike Day

This is advance notice that PPTA members have voted to take a strike day on Tuesday 9th May. If the strike goes ahead then we will be unable to open on that day for students in Years 7 – 13, as we will not have enough non-union staff to safely supervise the students. School will remain open for students in Years 1 – 6. I will confirm the strike day when I receive confirmation from PPTA. Thank you.

Anita Yarwood


Just a reminder that there is a Ministry of Education mandated Teacher Only Day Monday the 24th of April, the first Monday of Term 2. Tuesday the 25th is ANZAC day.

Term 2’s IEMS (Individual Education Meetings) are scheduled for Wednesday 26 April & Thursday 27 April. The IEM is the most important element of a student’s Learning Journey and it is vital that you book one.

For our IEM booking process we are using the “School Interviews” system.

To use this system use the following link to find the booking website…

Should you need the code to book it is 68uxs.

The whole process is pretty user friendly but we have created a guide to support your use of the process should you need some support. Use the following link to access the guide

If you are in Year 1-6 and need supervision for the IEMs please use the following link

Ian Hayes


Athletics Day 2023

We enjoyed a fantastic Athletics Day this term. Thank you to Megan G, Dean and Clint for their organisation of the day.

EFS Field trip to the Waikirikiri River

A dodgy forecast, lack of transport, and a slashed tyre on the minivan. The EFS trip to the Waikirikiri/Selwyn River was not looking good.  Nevertheless, we were lucky enough to have parents Annika, Pritham and Bianca to help with transport, some finding out at the last minute they were really, really needed.  We were also lucky to have Hannah and Beth change the tyre and Jonelle to hire us another van when the spare tyre didn’t look good enough. 

After that start, what did we find out at the river?  As in previous years, the nitrogen and phosphate remain well above safe levels. However, our aquatic invertebrate search revealed stone and mayfly nymphs which are an indicator of good quality water. Life finds a way.  The issue we will look at in class is eutrophication.  Particularly, how the nutrients cause excess plant growth and subsequently lower oxygen levels.  

Kate Armour

RS Feva Championships

Alongside the SailGP F50s racing last weekend on Whakaraupo Lyttelton Harbour, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime: to be part of the SailGPInspire programme at the RS Feva Championships. I was selected to be part of this programme as I am a keen sailor and have been sailing dinghies since I was eight years old. For this SailGP Inspire programme, I was sailing a Feva boat, which is a double-handed dinghy with three sails.

The SailGP Inspire programme is about widening access to all and offering career pathways through sailing. Sailors got to experience a SailGP technical tour, meet some of the athletes racing on the F50 racecourse and receive coaching from numerous incredible coaches, including world champion Feva and Waszp sailors Simon Cooke and Sam Street, respectively.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the 33-strong fleet of Feva sailors raced in 9 races. It was mixed weather, with some light winds and shifty conditions.

Me and my teammate (Karusha Nolan) finished 8th overall and 1st South Island team and 1st mixed gender team.

A big thank you to Naval Point Club Lyttelton for hosting the event, the SailGP Inspire team for organising such a fantastic time for the sailors and to all the volunteers and helpers during the event.

Ben Catton

The Big Little Sponsorship

Nominate here:

Spotlight on Arotahi

If you are into some chill drum and bass, one of our students has been using his Arotahi time to create music. When Pasco leaves school, he is keen to pursue a career in sound engineering or something in the music industry. So, for his Arotahi, both at home and at school, Pasco has been teaching himself how to produce music using Ableton and create artwork to support his music. So, if you want some chill music while you cook dinner or go for a walk, check out his tunes on spotify here: Playlist

Craig Perry

Student Podcast

Enjoy Elroy, Archie, Kingi & Otis discussing all things sports with special guests such as Martha Mataele, Manasa Mataele & Tamaiti Williams! You can listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and follow them on instagram: Instagram Page

Canterbury Bowls Tournament

Three of our students competed in the regional bowls championship for secondary schools this term. Our doubles team finished sixth out of twelve, and our singles team finished twelveth out of fifteen.

Megan Gould


Ruby-Grace Miller, Y11, is one of the 16 students selected from over 1000 Y12 and Y13 New Zealand hopefuls to attend the BizVenture China 2023 Domestic Programme in Auckland during these school holidays. This is a week-long business course where she will learn about the world of Chinese Business and Culture. Ruby-Grace sees this opportunity as an enriching experience to develop both personal growth and business skills. 

Ruby-Grace has already been successful in being the first student this year to receive a Student Initiative Grant from Ao Tawhiti towards her lip balm business – Little Beesness. 

Emma’s Home Base is very proud of her.

Emma Kneller


Our year 4-6 Futsal team has been travelling to Hagley Park every Friday during term 1 to compete in regular summer sports. They have been practising during lunchtimes. 

Megan Gould

Recognising Arotahi on Level 3

Arotahi is about having a focus and pursuing it. This could be following a passion, interest or addressing a need (like finishing an assignment). Whatever it is, it is mostly self directed and requires self motivation. This can be tricky and hard so we have been asking students to share how Arotahi is going for them and to share what they have been putting their efforts towards. Whether it be finding a project or pursuing their passion. Some of this is on display on the Third Floor and it has been awesome to be able to see that wide range of self directed learning that students have been pursuing.

This display is to recognise effort and is a way of sharing and perhaps helping others catch an idea. If you are in the building, you are welcome to come up to the third floor and have a look.

Craig & Rob

EpiPen Funding

Epipens are now fully funded under a Special Authority criteria for use in New Zealand. We encourage patients to get in touch with their doctor to determine if they qualify for funded supply of Epipens.

Under this funding stream patient’s can get two funded Epipens therefore parents may like to have one for school and one for home. A reminder that any child with an allergy should also have a Ascia Action plan at school (this also needs completed by their doctor).

Gemma Greenwood – Public health Nurse

Exciting things happening at the Climate Action Campus

Kia Ora!

There have been lots of exciting things happening at the Climate Action Campus throughout Term One and there is plenty more planned for the rest of the year. This term students have been sampling the rewards of their mahi from the garden and diving into painting projects across the campus, as well as preparing for the arrival of our first chickens. Te Waka Unua and Hagley College Duke of Edinburgh group have both begun establishing bases on the campus and we are looking forward to Avonside ECC starting work on creating their garden with us at the start of May.

Our focus for Term Two is Rangi- all things nature, sky and Matariki related. We are looking forward to engaging with as many kaiako, tamariki and whanau as possible this term on the CAC for lots of nature play, art and craft activities, outdoor story sessions and more. We will shortly be sending all primary school LA’s a list of proposed activities relating to Rangi which Rachel and Catherine are able to help you set up and run next term during your days out at the CAC. If you have any other ideas of activities you would like to see running on the campus, and would like help facilitating these, please reach out to one of the CAC team (Niki, Rachel & Catherine)- we would love to help you make it possible!

Senior school LA’s- we are hoping to set up a meeting in the near future to discuss any learning goals your Homebase students have that could be explored at the CAC. We are also very keen to hear your aims for the campus, plus any logistical issues that currently prohibit you accessing the CAC so we can try to address these.

Keep an eye out for our brochure on the wide range of CAC activities and NCEA opportunities we hope to have available at the Climate Action Campus over the rest of the year. It’s currently in the works and should be completed in the near future!

tēnā koutou,

Catherine Leeper

Witchcraft, Murder and Madness in Drama

5Drama has been learning about Shakespearean Theatre this term. They covered lots of theory about life in Elizabethan times, the language, sword fighting and entertainment.  They put all the theory to practical use by exploring the two famous plays; Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet. The students then used all of their practical knowledge to bring the two plays to life with a modern twist, as breaking news stories. They had lots of fun producing Elizabethan adverts and recreating key characters and moments from their chosen plays.

Emma Kneller

Court Theatre Ambassadors 2023

Congratulations to Ella O’Toole and Mac Tyler who are this year’s Ao Tawhiti representatives on the Court Theatre Ambassadors’ Programme.

As Ambassadors they attend workshops and shows for free as well as connecting with theatre industry professionals such as directors and designers.

Ella and Mac are passionate about drama performance and they will liaise with other interested students, promoting shows and other Court Theatre opportunities.

Emma Kneller

Winter Sports

If your student is interested in playing a winter sport in term 2 & 3 please print and fill out the attached form and either hand it into the front desk or email back to by Thursday 27th April 2023

Megan Gould

4Science River Trip

Thanks to three fabulous parents, our science class was able to go down to the Ōtakaro/Avon river the other day to check out the environment.  We found so many invertebrates including very sensitive ones like caddis fly larva and dobson fly nymphs, which don’t like polluted water.  In these photos taken by Nadia Maxwell, you see Olive in her waders, Aggie checking out the mill wheel and a group finding a lime scooter under the bridge.

Kate Armour

Ao Tawhiti Production

Kia Ora All,

I’m putting on a play to give students from year 9-13 a chance to perform a production for the end of the year! It’s a spin off of the movie’s Jumanji. A group of kids get trapped in a board game and have to go on a big journey to collect special items to help them get out of the game, they come across some special people on the way.

If you are interested in being part of this please feel free to email me if you have any questions. No experience is needed, this is about having fun! Big and small roles available. 

I will be holding auditions at the start of term 2. If you’re interested, fill out this form. 

2023 Production Form


Charlotte Tindall

Te Ahi Ora

We are thrilled to announce that Te Ahi Ora are coming to Ao Tawhiti on May 3rd, 4th & 5th to run workshops. Te Ahi Ora offers free performing arts lessons to school, free lunchtime demonstrations, followed by free evening Fire Performances and lessons to your community.

As part of this exciting event we will be having a Fire Festival where the students work with fire rakau at the CAC on May 4th Be With You. I am looking for DJs, choirs, performers, cooks/helpers to create ‘garden to table’ soup as well as the fire pit makers. The students will work with fire rakau and we aim to create a special event.

Fire performance is an emerging community activity that is rapidly spreading across the country. This exciting discipline engages the mind, connects the body, and is incredibly fun and stimulating.

Te Ahi Ora has 5 main goals:

  • Encourage students to participate in physically challenging and satisfying activities
  • Boost self-confidence, encourage experimentation and foster creativity
  • Provide opportunities for personal growth and development
  • Build a sense of community through shared celebration and performance
  • Counter the negative effects of excessive screen time and digital addiction

Te Ahi Ora Video

Jenny Ward

Ao Tawhiti Film Festival


Calling all filmmakers and creators. WE WANT YOU! If you are interested in film, stop motion, digital animation, comedy, drama or documentaries. WE WANT YOU! Students and extended whānau are welcome to submit a short film. The date for the Ao Tawhiti Film Festival at Lumiere is confirmed –  Monday 27th November 2023. We hope to have two evening screenings this year for whānau to come along as well as a film panel.  Submissions due beginning TERM 4! 

Jenny Ward


Last year, students Rhys Lewis and Pietro Moses formed the Ao Tawhiti Maverick robotics team to compete in the VEX high school robotics competition. The group met after school and on weekends to design and build a robot capable of moving discs into goals, spinning coloured rollers, and whipping around a competition field faster than anyone else!

The VEX national competition was held over two days in Auckland this February. Our robotics team competed against more than 60 teams from all over the country. At the end of the first day of competition, Maverick had taken out the top spot on the leaderboard! After an intense second day, Maverick finished in the top 16 team pairs. We’re incredibly proud of their performance and sportsmanship over this event. We can’t wait to see how they do next season.

A special thank you to Kiwibots NZ for organising and running the competition, Caliber Design for sponsoring our team, and all staff who helped and supported the team get to where they are. Finally, thank you to the Canterbury school robotics teams, who have fostered an amazingly supportive culture and space for students to develop STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) skills.

Any senior school students interested in learning about robotic systems, sensors, and coding techniques, can email Hannah Harrison for details. ATUD Robotics will return in Term 2 on Wednesdays from 2-4 pm. 

Hannah Harrison

Homebase Kōwhai goes to Sumner Beach!

On Wednesday morning Homebase Kōwhai (Bonnie’s Homebase) along with Sarah and Jacinta went on a trip to Sumner Beach to complete lots of tamariki SDL goals. We started our day with a walk across to the Bus Exchange, searched for Platform A and counted down until the Number 3 Bus arrived. We all lined up, held our bus cards and scanned in, then sat on out seats with our buddies. 

We got to Sumner Beach, had some kai, played, explored the beach and then had a lesson with Tracy who is an Environmental Educator. We learned all about the zones of the beach such as the ocean, the sandy shore, and the sand dunes. We gathered man made and natural items, discussed how to protect our sea creatures, and wrote messages in the sand about looking after our beaches. 

At the end of the day we got back on the bus, read some books, played I-Spy and made it back to school. It was a great day for HB Kōwhai!

Bonnie Dalton

Alyssa Greenland – Etsy, Crochet Patterns Business

Alyssa in Year 10 has started a business creating and selling crochet patterns. Below are some examples of the amigurumi bunny patterns she has created so far. If you are interested please follow the QR code below to visit her Etsy store or follow this Link

Jess Dewhurst

Hangarau Hapori – Term 1

In Hangarau Hapori this term we have been working hard at exploring and creative things using our hands. 

In the kitchen students have been learning the ropes of working together as a collective as well as working in small groups to produce delicious food. 

Within Soft Materials students have been working on individual projects ranging from embroidery, screen printing to designing outfits for the upcoming Toi wearable arts competition in Term 2. 

Downstairs in the garage the hard materials group have been focusing on the Imagine and Plan stages of the design process. We look forward to seeing what the group produce as they move onto the create and test stage next term

Jess Dewhurst

Years 1-6 at the Climate Action Campus

Homebases from the Year 1-6 Community have been present at the Climate Action Campus most weeks this term, though horizontal rain did put us off a couple of times…

We have been tidying, cleaning, organising, painting, planting, weeding, harvesting, foraging, experimenting, weaving, drawing, exploring, discovering, playing, climbing, building… Oh, and doing literacy and numeracy!! There is so much to do and experience and learn. And yummy things to eat – who knew, yellow-fleshed watermelon!

We invite you to come and spend some time at the CAC, enjoying our shared space. Come and make a cuppa (there’s tea, coffee, hot chocolate, sugar and UHTM milk!) and share the knowledge you have to help us build this amazing space.

Suze Keys

Other Notices

Dance Showcase

Setu Mosegi teaches at Euphoria Dance Studio and two teams are competing at nationals to qualify for worlds in August. All information is down below:

Our team Elation from Euphoria Dance Studio are going to compete at the Hiphop International New Zealand competition in Auckland on the 21st and 22nd of April. 

Come watch, meet & support the team before we fly to Auckland to wish us luck!

All funds will go towards paying for flights, accommodation, food & costumes. 

We appreciate all your love & support


95A Sawyers Arms Rd, Papanui 

Entry: child 4 below – FREE entry 

Adult : $15 

We’ll have Raffle, prizes, games & more

*For tickets pls contact me or my team 0225662549

Riverside Dental

Tayla Lashbrooke has recently joined Riverside Dental as an Oral Health Therapist. Tayla is able to provide free dental care funded by the government to adolescents aged between 13-18 years of age. This includes check up’s with x-rays, cleaning, protective coatings, fillings, the removal of primary/baby teeth and more. Please feel free to see their website for more information about Tayla, our other staff members and the clinic. 

Tayla can provide care and encouragement to students to access this free dental care while under the age of 18. We believe this is very important as it allows us to work together to equip students with the skills and knowledge to move into adulthood with healthy habits for a lifetime.  

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or would like to speak with someone in person. INFO@RIVERSIDEDENTAL.CO.NZ