Whānau Update 27th Jan 2023

Kia ora koutou

Nau mai haere mai ki Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery 2023. 

We are looking forward to welcoming everyone back to school and are excited about the year ahead. 

Apologies in advance, as this letter has a lot of information. However, remember that if you are unsure about anything, then talk to your child’s Home Base Learning Advisor, or email office@aotawhiti.school.nz. We are happy to answer any questions that you may have. 


Our special character is important to our school. It is the point of difference between us and other schools in Christchurch. Our special character is that students are central in determining their own learning pathway to retain enthusiasm and love of learning. We support our students to determine their own pathways by giving them the opportunity to self-direct their learning (SDL). We have changed our language around this in 2023. SDL is now called Arotahi, which means to look in one direction, look steadily, focus on and take aim. 

We have also changed the name of our LMS to Arotahi. You can access this on the website as indicated below at the ‘A’.

Please talk to your child about their goal(s) for Arotahi in 2023 and discuss them with our Home Base Learning Advisor in the IEM. They will be documented and your child will be supported to reach those goal(s). Supporting students to be successful with their Arotahi, or self-directed learning, is the focus of Home Base learning this year.

Calendar Term One and Two 2023

Tuesday 31 JanuaryIEMs. If you haven’t booked then please do so at this link.IEM booking sheet If you are asked for a code then use sj894
Wednesday 1 February IEMs. If you haven’t booked then please do so at this link.IEM booking sheet If you are asked for a code then use sj894
Thursday 2 FebruaryStaff Only Day – school is closed for instruction
Friday 3 FebruaryStaff Only Day – school is closed for instruction
Monday 6 FebruaryWaitangi Day – school is closed
Tuesday 7 February9am – 11am   Mihi Whakatau at the hall in Majestic Church on Durham Street and school will not start until 11:20 am. More details below.
11:20am – Home Base for all students
12:20pm  – Lunch break
1pm – 3pm – Normal timetable 
Wednesday 8 FebruaryNormal timetable
Thursday 9 FebruaryNormal timetable
Friday 10 FebruaryCommunity Day – details will be sent out closer to the day
Friday 17 February5:30pm Fish n Chip evening at Margaret Mahy playground.This is an opportunity for all our whānau, in particular our new whānau, to come together and meet one another and ask questions. All are welcome.
Thursday 23 FebruaryWhole school Athletics Day at Ngā Puna Wai Sports’ Hub. All whānau are welcome to attend.
Thursday 6 April Last day of term one
Monday 24 AprilStaff Only Day – school is closed for instruction. This is a Ministry of Education mandated staff only day to support staff to prepare for the curriculum refresh and changes in NCEA.
Tuesday 25 April ANZAC Day – school is closed.
Wednesday 26 AprilIEMs
Thursday 27 AprilIEMs
Friday 28 AprilNormal timetable for term two resumes
Friday 30 JuneIEMsLast day of term two

Course Selection Years 7 – 13 Term One

Go to Arotahi to see the courses available for term one 2023. It would be good to select your courses now and your Home Base Learning Advisor will enter your selections into the school timetable during your IEM. 

To find the courses go to Arotahi on the website by clicking the A at the top of the page. (If you don’t see A, then click on LMS).

Have a look at the course options for term one. Find them under the AKO / LEARN tab, under Akoranga / Courses. Your Home Base Learning Advisor will enter your selections into the school timetable during your IEM. 

NCEA Level Dance: Because of staff on leave we don’t have NCEA dance in our course options in term one. If your child wants to do NCEA dance can you please let your Home Base Learning Advisor know. Thanks

Mihi Whakatau

We warmly invite our manuhiri –  new students, staff and whānau to our Mihi Whakatau on Tuesday 7 February beginning at 9:15 in the auditorium at the Majestic Church on Durham Street. 

Existing whānau and students are also warmly invited to attend this celebration. Shared kai will be at Ao Tawhiti after the Mihi Whakatau.

School doesn’t start until 11:20 on this day as all staff will be at this event. If you need supervision for your child during this time then Learning Advisors will walk them to the auditorium and bring them back to school after the celebration. 

Unfortunately the venue isn’t big enough for us to seat the whole school community. 

We are struggling to find an affordable indoor venue large enough to accommodate our whole school community, so if anyone has access to a large venue, big enough for over 1000 people, then please let us know. 

Community Agreement

Our Community Agreement outlines what is needed from the school, the students and caregivers to ensure success for a student at Ao Tawhiti. This shared understanding allows all parties to positively participate in our kura. You will be asked to sign this at the IEM. Please have a look at this document before the IEM. If you have any questions about this then contact Anita. 

Link to the community agreement Community Agreement 2023

New whānau information

There are 5 main platforms for communication here at Ao Tawhiti. It would be great if you could make sure that you have access to these and regularly check in with them.

We also have an information booklet available at this link Whānau Information


The following Google form will give you access to the following three areas that require permission… 

  • BYOD – Bring your own Device
  • Education Outside the Classroom
  • Trust Licence (Year 7-13 only)

There are some embedded documents that need to be read by students and parents and then agreed to. This is an annual permission, so it needs to be completed again even if you’ve done it for the last 5 years. 

Permission forms for caregivers to complete

Again, I know this is a lot of information and you will have the opportunity to ask questions at the IEMs. Your Home Base Learning Advisor will make sure that you and your child have access to all the information they need at the IEM. 

You are welcome to come and talk to me on the IEM days. If you can’t find me then ask the staff member at the front desk to ring my cell phone and I will come down and meet with you. 

Ngā mihi nui