Newsletter 3 Term 1

Onerahi School 15 April 2021

Message from your Onerahi School whanau

Kia ora whanau,

As we cover the pool and lock the doors for our term break, it is a great opportunity to look back at the first 11 weeks of learning in 2021. There have been many highlights, with some of these being featured in this newsletter. Others you would have witnessed through ClassDojo and Facebook or experienced firsthand. Please enjoy discussing with your child the times they were challenged and the things they learnt this term.

Plans are well underway for Term 2 and are informed by our new strategic plan that was developed last year. These include:

  • The rolling out of new Te Reo Māori language resources across the school.
  • A community survey that will look at the kinds of school events you would like to take part in. This feedback will help shape our school community event to be held in Term 2.
  • Staff and students will continue to unpack how assessment supports effective learning. We are a school that focuses and builds on strengths. Having children empowered to control their own learning has long been a part of Onerahitanga (the Onerahi way).

As we continue to evolve as a school, we will not always get it right first time. We will, however, learn from those moments. That is what our school provides our staff, students, and whanau: a safe place to dream big, take risks, and continue to grow. Manaaki whenua, Manaaki tangata, Haere whakamua (Care for the land, Care for the people, Go forward).

Thank you to our staff, students, and community for their support this term. From all of us please stay safe, enjoy the holidays, and we will see you in two weeks.

Ngā Manaakitanga,

Danny Hamilton

Deputy Principal


We have had such an amazing Term 1 in the pool this year. All the classes have kept busy working toward their swimming goals, whether it be confidence going under, learning to float on their backs, the foundations of swimming with streamline (rockets) and kicking (long legs, floppy ankles!), or perfecting their stroke work in freestyle, backstroke, and breaststroke. Some awesome Year 5 and 6s have even managed to conquer the basics of butterfly to achieve their Level 5 certificates!

As the water has got a bit cooler over the last couple of weeks we have been mixing it up a bit to keep everyone warm and having fun. The lane ropes have come out and we have been warming up with ‘whirlpools’ so they can gain even more confidence in their floating and water safety. The children experienced how difficult it is to swim against a current.

Last Friday we had our first ever whole school Swim-a-thon, where every class got the opportunity to get in the pool during the day and see how many laps they could complete in their time slot. I was blown away by the enthusiasm and perseverance they all showed with many of them wanting to stay way beyond their allotted time to go as far as possible. We managed to achieve an incredible distance of 246.11km in one day. That's nearly as far as Cape Reinga! A big thank you to all the students and whanau for your engagement in the swimming programme this term. I am looking forward to welcoming you all back in to the pool in Term 4.

Sarah Hall

Swim Instructor

Kapa Haka Festival

On Friday the 26th of March our senior Kapa Haka Roopu performed at the Otangarei Primary Performing Arts Festival. Our tamariki had put in a lot of mahi ahead of this performance and this was evident on the day. They did a fantastic job and represented the school well. Ka mau te wehi!

Year 6 Camp

On Monday the 29th of March our very excited group of Year 6 students headed off to Chosen Valley Camp in Drury, Auckland for their Year 6 Leadership camp. In spite of the unfortunate weather a great time was had by all. A huge thanks to all of the staff, parent helpers, and students who contributed to the trips success. Below are some of the highlights shared by some of our students....

"Go Madi" said Katie. My heart is pumping as I go on to the next tyre. My hands are aching. I hear people dropping in to the water. I feel the rain drops on my hands, the tire becomes slippery. "I don't have much energy left," I say to myself. Four more obstacles left. "Go Madi!" yells Katie, "You can do it". - Madison Platts

"Three, Two, One..Go!!" yelled Duncan as he let go of the rope. I reached out and grasped the cargo net. I felt nervous, all my friends said the Yellow course was hard. I climbed up the cargo net and swung onto the two ropes and shuffled down the rope. It started to shake, I stopped for a few seconds and then trucked on. I made it, eventually. I crawled along the log supporting most of the obstacles and made it to the balance beam. I held on to the rope and crawled along the log, it shook a lot. I finally crossed it and made it to the ladder. It was slippery. "These tyres too hard," I said to myself. I ventured onto the tyres, they were big long distances apart. Reef was in front of me, when he swung off the tyre, they swung back to me. I had a little bit more to go. It passed in no time. I had rope burn all over my legs but I had a great time. - Bella Salase

"Go Akeelah," shouted Amelia. My heart started pounding. I sat down on the wood. 3...2....1..Go! I pushed and pushed and then Zoom! All my friends were screaming out my name. They stopped when I zoomed into the water. I came up in happiness and went for another go. - Sativah Paniora


Students from Onerahi Primary continue to participate in 2021 in a riding programme run by Whangarei Riding for the Disabled. The programme builds confidence, movement, and balance skills. Each week during term time a group of students attend this programme. They become familiar with their horses, the fantastic volunteers, and the procedures implemented at the arena. The students have an amazing time and learn a lot in the process.

Showquest 2021

Onerahi Primary School will be participating in Showquest Tai Tokerau this year at Forum North in July. We have a troupe of students who will give a visual arts performance about the myth of Reitu and Reipae as a story of how Whangarei got its name. Tickets to the event are on sale now and there is likely to be a limited number of door sales on the night.

Accord Teacher Only Days

The school is required to have held an additional 6 accord teacher only days by mid 2022. We have held our first one on the 3rd of February, ahead of the start of school and our second one on Thursday the 1st of April ahead of Easter (more on how that went later.) We have scheduled the remaining days for Friday the 4th of June, ahead of Queens birthday weekend and Friday the 27th of August ahead of our Mid-Term break on Monday the 30th August. We ask you to make note of these days as the school will not be open to students and appreciate your support as we continue to develop our practice. The remaining two days will be held in 2022.

Local Curriculum - Staff Exploring Onerahi

On the 1st of April the staff of Onerahi School were not just hiking around! They were participating in an Accord staff only day, to refresh and deepen their knowledge of the local curriculum. The experiences provided offered many opportunities to think, reflect, and learn.

Onerahi has an interesting background story and our Principal - Mrs MacGregor - shared her knowledge of the local area and its history. The staff then headed over to Matakohe/Limestone Island. Mr Candy introduced Jo, the ranger who cares and looks after the island. Jo went through the range of learning experiences that the island provides for learners of all ages. The staff were buzzing with enthusiasm about future learning opportunities for the students. What a fabulous taonga we have!

The staff were then left to explore the island. There were reflection points around the island that teachers in their teams were able to discuss and record their ideas. It was also a time for the strategic leaders to share what they are currently thinking and working on for future directions of the school. Key discussions and thinking don’t always happen around a table, and what a beautiful spot to reflect on the journey the school has been on and what the future could look like.

A key takeaway from the staff was the concept of turangawaewae - a place to stand. Onerahi is a special place to be connected to. The day was followed up this week with Mr Baldwin and Miss McInnes running a staff meeting to unpack education outside the classroom by looking at the procedures, opportunities, and expectations. The staff are excited and motivated to explore our local area and the learning opportunities it provides our students.

Initial Student Reports

Term One is a time that relationships for the year are formed. Teachers, students,and whanau are getting to know each others strengths and where to next. It was wonderful to see all the whanau participating in games and chatting about their children with the teacher in the school’s open evening. Throughout the last couple of weeks, students have been working with teachers to identify their strengths and goals. These have formed their initial reports. The reports will be handed out through week 1 and 2 next term. This will be a time for the student, teacher, and whanau to come together, share the report, and discuss how they will work together. Your child’s classroom teacher will inform you when they are ready and you can make a time to come in discuss it.


The school continues to receive reports of near-misses occurring outside our main gates on Church St. There is concern one of these may result in harm to our students or their whanau. Please ensure that when you are on foot you use the pedestrian crossing, and when driving you do not fail to stop for pedestrians at the crossing. Give great consideration as to whether your driving maneuvers are safe in an area heavy with foot traffic, especially given the often unpredictable movements of young children. U-Turns are NOT advised, particularly near the cemetery, in the school driveway, or entrance to Pine Park Rd. There are places you are able to safely turn, such as the end of Pine Park Road and we urge you to take the extra time to do this to ensure the safety of our community. Thank you.

School Lunches

We have 2 options for school lunches. Both are ordered through your lunchonline account. If you do not yet have an account head to and sign up to take advantage of this service. Orders must be in by 8am on the day of delivery or they will not be processed. A further reminder to ensure that all student information is updated regularly in your lunchonline account, including room numbers to ensure that ordered lunches reach their recipients quickly and easily on delivery.

Tuesdays-Hell Pizza

There is a range of 6 options for pizzas available, in snack size (7.5 inches). Please note that only these options may be ordered.

Thursdays—West End Sushi

A range of sushi, dumplings and bento-style options will be available.

Upcoming Events

  • Friday 16 April - Last Day of Term 4
  • Monday 3 May - First day of Term 2
  • Friday 4 June - Accord Teacher only day
  • Monday 7 June - Queens Birthday
  • Tuesday 6 July - ShowQuest 2021



With the weather turning and cooling and rain becoming more likely we would like to remind you that it is a good idea for children to bring raincoats and a change of clothes along to school. Covered shoes are suggested. We would like all of these items to be clearly named so they can be returned to your children if the weather changes.


School gates open 8:15am

School begins 9.00am

1st Play Break 11:00-11:30am

2nd Play Break 1:30-2:00pm

School finishes 3.00pm

School gates close 3:15pm

There are two eating breaks within the day, taken at times that suit each class. Please ask your child's teacher when their times are.


Medication: If your child requires medication be brought to or kept at school, please be aware that due to health and safety concerns, this must be kept secure in the school sick bay. It is not to be kept in children’s schoolbags during the day. This is to protect the safety of not only the child requiring the medication but also all other students. All medication requires an accompanying permission/approval form signed by their parent or caregiver. This includes epi-pens for allergy management, inhalers for asthma or any other medication your child requires on a short-term or as needed basis.

Community Notices

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