St Mary's School Term 4 Week 1 2022

Te Kura O Hato Mere

Pānui/Newsletter - Thursday 20 October 2022


Kia ora koutou, kumusta, talofa lava

Twenty years ago this week I was appointed as the principal of St Mary’s School. Mrs Nicola Anthony had just begun her teaching career and Mrs Maria McDonald, our former Deputy Principal, was the new entrant teacher in Room 1. We had just 3 classes in the school with 52 students. Things were very different and the school’s future was not certain due to the roll decline it had experienced in the preceding years. Over time the school grew and we were able to add a fourth class in 2005 and then a fifth a few years later.

I have really enjoyed meeting so many students over the past 20 years at St Mary’s and now have the pleasure of enrolling the next generation of students whose parents I once taught.

St Mary’s School is a very special place and that is why I love working here. Our parent community is incredibly respectful and supportive and this along with the great people I work with makes it the best school to work in.

I would like to acknowledge two wonderful ladies that I have worked with who have passed away in the past few years, Mrs Joan Hill my former secretary and Mrs Bridget Awan our former new entrant teacher. These two ladies meant a lot to me and I feel privileged to have worked alongside them. Additionally, I have worked with many wonderful teachers and teacher aides over the years who have all added to the history of the school. I have also known some wonderful parents and grandparents over my time at St Mary's and these men and women have been a special part of the St Mary’s School family for me.

In conclusion I thank God for giving me this wonderful opportunity to work in the best school in Christchurch and with the best students and teachers! I look forward to a very exciting future as our school continues to adapt and grow.

Mā te Atua koe e manaaki, e tiaki

May God bless you and protect you

David O'Neill

Principal / Tumuaki


18/10 Tuesday

19/10 Wednesday
22/10 Saturday
24/10 Monday
26/10 Wednesday
27/10 Thursday
30/10 Sunday

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Labour Day Holiday- Monday 24 October- No School

Mr O'Neill Day

This week Mr O'Neill has been principal of St Mary's School for 20 years. Staff surprised him today with a fun day where he was competing in various events against students. This has been a very memorable day and hopefully one both he and our students will remember fondly.
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Keeping Ourselves Safe

Over the next few weeks we will be teaching the personal safety programme Keeping Ourselves Safe.

Keeping Ourselves Safe has been designed to give students the skills to cope in situations involving abuse. The programme was designed by teachers and the New Zealand Police. It is part of the current Health and Physical Education curriculum.

It has three overall aims:

● to develop and strengthen children’s skills to keep themselves safe with other people, both online and face to face

● to support and encourage abused children to get help from caring adults

● to make teachers and parents and caregivers more aware of the need to keep children safe from abuse by adults or other children.

Keeping Ourselves Safe will be taught by your child’s teacher, with support from the local Police School Community Officer Constable Meg Moynihan who will assist the teachers in the teaching of some lessons of this programme.

Resources for Parents/Caregivers

To download a ‘Safely Home’ booklet for parents/caregivers to keep your kids safe please visit:

Should you have any questions regarding this programme please feel free to talk to your child’s

teacher or talk to Mr O’Neill.

Science Roadshow- Year 6-8

This week our year 6-8 students went to the Science Roadshow. The Science Roadshow offers school children an opportunity to explore various science and technology concepts by ‘touch and feel’. It provides a unique, informal learning opportunity that:

  • excites and enthuses visitors;

  • nurtures curiosity and discovery;

  • improves motivation and attitude;

  • adds to teacher knowledge;

  • supports numeracy and literacy;

  • encourages social interaction and co-operative learning;

  • provides memorable real life contextual elements and exemplars.

Congratulations Yeshua

We are proud to say that Yeshua (Yr 8) played in the Canterbury Regional Basketball team last week at a tournament held in Ashburton. We have certainly got some talented students at St Mary’s!

Sacrament of Confirmation

Congratulations to the following Year 8 students upon receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation last Sunday: Cameron, Angel, Sofia, Han, Mia and Yeshua.

Teamwork, Participating and Contributing

As part of their learning about teamwork and participating and contributing the Arataki Team students completed an activity where they worked together to make a parachute to keep an egg safe as they dropped it from the top of the fort.

Thankyou to Pub Charity for paying for our Year 7&8 camp

Pub Charity have generously donated $6,104 ex gst to pay for our bus and camp costs. We are very grateful.

Thankyou Lion Foundation for our reading books

We are very thankful to the Lion Foundation for paying for new junior reading books worth $1,763.00 ex gst.

TEACHER ONLY DAY- Monday 14 November- No School

Teacher Only Day

Monday 14th November 2022

October- Month of The Rosary

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Each morning in October we gather at the grotto to pray a decade of the Rosary. Please join us if you are available.

Year 8 End of Year Dinner: Monday 12 December 5pm - 7pm

Year 8 parents and caregivers please book this evening in for our traditional Year 8 graduation dinner to be held at The Bealey Hotel -263 Bealey Avenue. Year 8 students and parents/caregivers only.

Final Mass and Prizegiving- Note: Date has changed

Tuesday 13th December 7pm. All students to attend in school uniform

Term Dates For 2023

Term 1: Tuesday 31 Jan 2023 - Thurs 6 April

Term 2: Mon 24 April – Fri 30 June

Term 3: Mon 17 July – Fri 22 Sept

Term 4: Mon 9 October – Friday 15 December


David- Room 1

Evelyn- Room 1

Theresa- Room 1

Ben- Room 5

Our Catholic Faith Fact

The Rosary is a Scripture-based prayer and we have a focus on the rosary in October each year. It begins with the Apostles' Creed, which summarizes the great mysteries of the Catholic faith. The Our Father, which introduces each mystery, is from the Gospels. The first part of the Hail Mary is the angel's words announcing Christ's birth and Elizabeth's greeting to Mary. St. Pius V officially added the second part of the Hail Mary. The Mysteries of the Rosary centre on the events of Christ's life. There are four sets of Mysteries: Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious and, added by Saint John Paul II in 2002, the Luminous Mysteries.

Upcoming Events


  • LABOUR DAY HOLIDAY- Monday 24 October
  • Kotahitanga Team Mass- Thursday 27 October- 9.15am (All welcome)


  • Arataki Team Mass- Thursday 3 November- 9.15am (All welcome)
  • SHOW DAY HOLIDAY- Friday 11 November
  • TEACHER ONLY DAY- Monday 14 November
  • Kotahitanga Team Mass- Thursday 24 November- 9.15am (All welcome)
  • Year 7 and 8 Camp Woodend- Wednesday 23 Nov-Fri 25 Nov


  • Arataki Team Mass- Thursday 8 December- 9.15am (All welcome)
  • Year 8 Dinner- Monday 12 December 5pm - 7pm
  • Final Mass and Prizegiving- Tuesday 13 December 7pm
  • Term 4 Ends- Friday 16 December


  • Term 1 Begins- Tuesday 31 January 9am

Teacher Professional Development

Our teachers are learners too. They are undertaking a variety of professional development opportunities this year to increase their learning so as to increase our students' learning.

  • UC Early Writing Success: Focus for Teaching and Assessment for Years 1-2
  • Te Ahu o Te Reo
  • Just in Time Maths PLD
  • Teaching Sexuality in a Catholic School
  • Improving Literacy through storytelling

School Polar Fleece

Our school polar fleece can be purchased from the school office at a cost of $50.00. Payment can be made with cash or via internet banking (Use your child's name and polar fleece as reference).

School Bank Account number is: 03 0855 0436803 00


The number of spaces remaining on our school roll in the upcoming years is limited. If you have a child that you would like to attend St Mary’s that you haven’t already advised us about can you please make sure you talk to Mr O’Neill or Mrs Odams otherwise there may be no space for your child.

Closing of School Gate

Please ensure that when you enter and leave the school grounds you shut the school gate properly after you. This is to ensure the safety of all of our students.

Carpark Safety

A reminder to all parents/caregivers to reduce speed in our driveway and carpark areas to ensure the safety of our students as they walk down the drive or across the carpark.

Student Absence

Please remember to send the office a notification via the school app if your child is away from school. If your child is going to be away for a planned reason such as an appointment or holiday during term time you can advise us in advance with the dates and reason for their absence.

Lunchonline - Subway or Sushi

If you would like to order your child’s lunch for delivery on Fridays this can be done via Lunchonline. You can click on the lunchonline image or link below to take you directly to their website or login to . Follow the instructions to create an account if you don’t already have one. Food must be ordered before 8.30am on the day of delivery. If you already have an account you can update your child’s classroom by logging on and clicking on Members.
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Change of Policy – Attendance Dues Debt Recovery

Please be advised that at the May Cathedral Parish Finance Committee, the committee signed off on a new Attendance Dues Debt Recovery Policy. This enables the parish to engage an external debt recovery company (Under Control Collections). This will always be used as a last resort, when we have been unable to get a family to engage with us in relation to their outstanding Attendance Dues.

Any queries should be directed to Kirsten Tester – Attendance Dues Administrator - Ph (03) 595 1053 or

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School App

If you haven’t downloaded our school app it is very important you do so as this is our primary means of communication with our school community and you may miss out on important information.

Please email the school office to obtain a secure link to download the app.