Introduction and COVID update

Hello, Kia ora, Talofa Lava, Malo e lelei

I am really excited to be able to introduce myself as the new director of Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery. I would like to acknowledge the mahi done by the founding director Steven Mustor and the impressive legacy that he has left at our kura. I am looking forward to meeting our tauira (students) and whānau as we head back into our schooling year for 2021. Please do feel free to come and introduce yourself when you are next in Ao Tawhiti. I am interested in developing productive relationships with our whānau, so I will be holding a range of hui over term one. I will email invitations for these hui throughout the term. 

I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate our programme for the beginning of the year. 

Tuesday 2nd February and Wednesday 3rd February are staff only days. 

Thursday 4th February and Friday 5th February are for Individual Education Meetings (IEM). Please do make sure that you have booked a meeting with your Home Base Learning Advisor. New students and whānau will have information emailed to them over the next couple of days so you are able to access the Individual Education Meetings. 

Monday 8th February is Waitangi Day. 

Tuesday 9th February is our normal timetable – so all tauira (students) will start at 9am in their Home Base class.

Wednesday 10 February is the date of our pōwhiri to welcome manuhiri into our community. The pōwhiri will be held at Majestic Church on Durham Street and will begin at 9am. We will send out more information closer to the date. 

Please do not hesitate to ring the kura if you have any questions. Another excellent source of information is the website that has the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section. The link to this is Please do keep an eye on our website for the latest news.

I would also like to take this opportunity to provide a COVID update. New Zealand remains at Alert level 1 and everyone is doing the right thing to prevent the spread of COVID-19, so we’re pleased to say it’s business as usual.

With over 100,000 people coming back to New Zealand through managed isolation facilities, our very low number of community cases is a reflection of the quality of work by the managed isolation staff and health authorities. Overall, 1.5 million people have now been tested.

Unfortunately, we have to expect COVID cases to emerge but we can be reassured by the speed, breadth and depth of the health response. As noted by Minister Hipkins, New Zealand is top equal with Australia in the world as having the highest rates of testing per positive case. We know that the approaches being taken in the MIQ are at a very tight forensic level.

According to the Lowy Institute, New Zealand has been ranked the best at responding to the COVID-19 outbreak out of nearly 100 countries.

We continue to have a large amount of control over how we can prevent the spread of COVID. For our school we will:

• display QR code posters for the NZ COVID Tracer App

• keep our visitor register, attendance register and timetables up to date

• be monitoring for illness and asking anyone who is unwell to remain at home, or to go home

• encourage people with relevant symptoms to seek medical advice through Healthline or their GP and get tested for COVID if recommended to do so

• reinforce the importance of good hand washing and drying

• reinforce good cough and sneeze etiquette

I can reassure you that we will continue to regularly clean all parts of our school.

Ngā mihi

Anita Yarwood