St Mary's School

Friday 3rd February 2023

'And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.' - 1 Corinthians 13:13

Dear whānau,

Welcome back for 2023 and what a ripper first week (well, 3 days) we've had here at St Mary's. As you'll see further down, we've welcomed some new children and their families to our school this week and they have settled in beautifully. The same can be said for our returning students who have very much enjoyed getting to know their new classmates and teachers for 2023. In fact, they all impressed us so much by showing our value of love, even in 1 million degree heats, in their classes and on the playground, that we thought it was only fair to shout them an ice-block. As you can imagine, they went down a treat!

You may not know this, but when each teacher and their class is rostered on their 'busy week' (Monday Prayers, Friday Gospel, bus duty, gate duty) they're also on Friday morning staff prayers. Staff prayers really are a highlight and the perfect way to start the last day of the week, especially if it's been a long one.

This morning our prayer focus was on the Beatitudes which Jesus delivered to his disciples during the Sermon on the Mount, the story can be found in the Gospel of Matthew 5:1 - 12. We reflect on the Beatitudes often as staff in a Catholic school because we have a point of difference to teachers in state schools in that we are called to serve through teaching our kids about Jesus and how we can live more like Him. The Beatitudes shared this morning had been creatively adapted especially for teachers at start of a new school year, a reminder of how special our job is and how privileged and blessed we are to work with so many different kinds of kids and their whānau in our school community. Here they are:

Blessed are they, the poor in spirit, with open hearts they come to our care, may we listen with the ear of our heart . We are blessed, may we serve with love.

Blessed are they, those who mourn, they come to us with sadness and tears. May we give comfort to those who are lost. We are blessed, may we open our arms.

Blessed are the meek with hearts so humble, they come to us with trust in their hearts. May we honour that trust and be humble too. We are blessed, may we honour with love.

Blessed are those who seek what is right. Open minds, open hearts they seek the truth. May we lead them to be people of justice. We are blessed, they seek truth with us.

Blessed are they, those who are merciful with eyes that are open, they seek mercy. May we be a face of God in their lives. We are blessed, they see mercy in us.

Blessed are they, the pure in heart. Hearts full of love, hearts full of joy. May we guide them to the heart of God. We are blessed, they see God's love in us.

Blessed are they, the peacemakers. Blessed are they, these children of God. May we seek peace, be the change in our world. We are blessed, together in peace.

How good are these? I bet you can see one or more of these that fit your child and what makes them special. As a staff, we've really enjoyed our first week with your wonderful children and we've loved getting to know a bit more about them already.

If you've got something exciting to share, feel free to email me a photo(s) and a short blurb by Thursday 9am each week and I'll pop in the newsletter for us all to celebrate together -

God bless and enjoy your long weekend.



Acting Principal


Look at these wee cuties! Fresh out of Kindy we warmly welcome (top left to right) Jimmy Pope, Cia Mulqueen, Ellie Copland (bottom left to right) Rieley Ege, Asha McArley and Shae McIntosh.

All of our newbies have (or have had) older brothers or sisters already at St Mary's so they know their way around the place. Jimmy is Harrion's little brother, Cia has Nate and Ivy here to look out for her, Ellie's big brother Max is in Room Tui, Rieley's big brother Robert is an ex pupil and is now at St Peter's, Asha's big sister Grier is a big year 4 this year and Shae's big brother Zac has moved up to Room Piwakawaka.

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Another Welcome

We also welcome Maddison, Hannah and Indie Kells, as well as their mum and dad, Renee and Matt to St Mary's School. Maddison joins Room Takahe, Hannah joins Room Moa and Indie joins Room Kea. We're stoked to have you join us and we hope you enjoy your time here.
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Concerns for roll drop in 2028 = Nil

Here are some more wee delights to introduce to you, they're not quite old enough for school yet but their arrival is great for forward planning!

Welcome to the world, Jay Eddie Kubala (top photo) and big congratulations to Caroline, Chris, Lee and Sophie on the safe arrival of this cute wee guy. We know Lee and Sophie will be doing a fantastic job of helping looking after him.

We also welcome to the world and our school community, Hugo William Cunningham (bottom photo) who was born on the 22nd of December - the perfect early Christmas present. Piper and Brock are a doting older sister and brother to this handsome wee chap, a massive congratulations to them as well as mum and dad, Anna and Scott.

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Congratulations Meah!

Meah Paewai was awarded The Emily Branje Memorial Scholarship at Summer Fling in Christchurch over the school holidays for her fantastic Highland Dancing. Mum and dad are super proud of her as this is such an amazing achievement for such a young dancer. We're proud of you too, Meah. Keep up the great mahi!

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2023 South Island Colgate Games

The 45th South Island Colgate Games was held in Timaru from 13-15th January 2023. This is an athletics competition for children aged 7-14 years old. It is primarily for South Islanders but children come from all over New Zealand to compete. St Mary's pupils Lily Wiegersma and Mitchell Chittock were part of the Athletics Gore team that competed. They had a great time at this awesome event!

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Ka pai Brianna, you star!

Late last year we were given the special opportunity to choose a solo artist to be part of creating a music video for this new Andrew Chinn song (you may not have heard of him, but he's kind of a big deal in Catholic schools around NZ). Brianna Moriarty-Kelly was our singer of choice and boy did she do us proud!

If you haven't seen it, here is the link and below is the write up that came in the email with the video from Andrew Chinn if you're interested in knowing more about it.

A special new song for our friends in Aotearoa.

1 song giving thanks and praise for the Land of the Long White Cloud

30 schools from all 6 dioceses of Aotearoa/New Zealand

40 voices from Auckland to Gore

This song began with a discussion I had with my friend, Susie McCreery, at St Peter's Catholic School in Cambridge, Aotearoa- New Zealand, in 2019. Her Year 7/8 class had done a New Zealand version of my Australian Blessing, changing the words to suit their country. I said that we could go one step further and write one just for Aotearoa. So we did.

In June 2022, with Susie's help, the Year 7/8 class of that year brainstormed around what they were thankful for about their country, how they had been blessed by God. While recovering from Covid in Perth and isolating, I worked their words into a poem. Then with the help of my mate and collaborator Drew Lane, we came up with the music.

During Term 4, 2022, schools from across New Zealand were invited to have one or two children from each school record a line for the song. We had schools from all six dioceses in New Zealand, from St John's in Mairangi Bay on Auckland's North Shore to St Mary's In Gore, 30 schools in all. We also asked the students to record a video, either outside their school or in front of a local landmark.

Drew then took on the enormous task of putting these voices into the right places. That took many, many edits but on January 18 we had the final edit. From January 23-25 I worked on putting all of that together in video. Most people know of my great love for Aotearoa.

I calculated that, collectively, I've spent nearly a year of my life there. It's a spectacular country, rich in nature's beauty. But much more than that it's the people I love and the friends I've met along the way. I once wrote that there's only two places I ever get sad when leaving: my home and New Zealand.

Thank you to all of the children in the "Virtual Choir", to their teachers who helped with audio and video, to Susie for the inspiration, and to Drew Lane for an amazing job on the audio.

Healthy Active Learning - Whānau survey

Kia ora rā e te whanau,

This survey is about your tamaiti/tamariki (child/children) aged 5 to 13 years. It aims to understand how they experience physical activity and Health and PE at kura or school. It also asks about their opportunities to be physically active in their community.

It should take approximately 10 minutes to complete and you could be in with a chance of winning one of seven $100 supermarket vouchers.

Noho ora mai rā – stay well and thank you so much for taking the time. Your contribution is greatly appreciated.

Healthy Active Learning Whānau Survey

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Upcoming Events Calendar

Week 1 (1st - 3rd Feb)

Monday Prayers and Friday Gospel - Miss Hood

Friday 3rd - no assembly - instead, iceblocks for hot and tired kids

Week 2 (6th - 10th Feb)

Monday Prayers and Friday Gospel - Room Kiwi (Prayers), Room Moa (Gospel)

Monday - Waitangi Day - school closed

Tuesday - Jack in for cricket - whole school

Thursday - Board Meeting - 6pm

Friday - Assembly - 2pm in the Church

Week 3 (13th - 17th Feb)

Monday Prayers and Friday Gospel - Mrs Butterfield and Room Kea

Monday Prayers - 8.50am in the Church

All week - Healthy Active Living in to work with senior students

Friday - Assembly - 2pm in the Church

Week 4 (20th - 24th Feb)

Monday Prayers and Friday Gospel - Miss Sutherland and Room Tui

Monday Prayers - 8.50am in the Church

All week - Healthy Active Living in to work with senior students

Tuesday - Whole School Athletics Day

Wednesday - Ash Wednesday - Mass to celebrate with the parish

Thursday - Caritas in to visit school, staff Caritas in Invercargill after school

Friday - Assembly - 2pm in the Church

Week 5 (27th - 3rd March)

Monday Prayers and Friday Gospel - Mrs Christie and Room Piwakawaka

Monday Prayers - 8.50am in the Church

Thursday - Commissioning Mass for Teachers - 4pm

Friday - Assembly - 2pm in the Church

Sunday - Whole School Beginning of year Mass - kids in quad at 9.45am

Week 6 (6th - 10th March)

Monday Prayers and Friday Gospel - Mrs Knowler and Room Kereru

Monday Prayers - 8.50am in the Church

Tuesday - Eastern Athletics

Thursday - Eastern Athletics Postponement Date

Postponement Thursday 9th

Friday - Assembly - 2pm in the Church

Week 7 (13th - 17th March)

Monday Prayers and Friday Gospel - Miss McRae and Room Ruru

Monday Prayers - 8.50am in the Church

Friday - St Patrick's Day - games and activities

Friday - Assembly - 2pm in the Church

Week 8 (20th - 24th March)

Monday Prayers and Friday Gospel - Miss Bond and Room Takahe

Monday Prayers - 8.50am in the Church

Monday - Friday - Swimming for Pukeko, Kereru, Tui and Kea (more info to come)

Friday - Assembly - 2pm in the Church

Week 9 (27th - 31st March)

Monday Prayers and Friday Gospel - Mrs Cruickshank and Mrs Thacker and Room Pukeko

Monday Prayers - 8.50am in the Church

Monday - Friday - Swimming for Ruru, Piwakawaka, Moa, Takahe and Kiwi (more info to come)

Friday - Assembly - 2pm in the Church

Week 10 (3rd - 7th April)

Monday Prayers - 8.50am in the Church - Miss Hood and Room Moa

Thursday 2pm - Holy Week Liturgy in the Church

Thursday - last day for term 1

Friday - Good Friday, the beginning of Easter

Sadie went to Scotland

Sadie had an awesome time meeting all her Scottish whānau, including some cousins she’d never met and seeing where mum, Claire grew up. What a special way to spend your holidays ... and it works in perfectly with our continued inquiry topic, Turangawaewae - the place where we stand. I must say I'm a bit jealous!