Friday, 24 February 2023

Principal's News Term 1 Week 4 2023

Ash Wednesday


This week we celebrated Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. 


Lent is the period of 40 days (six weeks) leading up to Easter.  It is noted as a period of fasting (giving something up), alms-giving (helping others), and prayer.  Lent leads us into Holy Week where we remember the Last Supper and how Jesus sacrificed His life to save ours.  This was followed by Easter Sunday when Jesus rose from the dead after three days thus allowing us to also have eternal life.  This is the most important event of all time.


The year 3-8 children all went to mass at the Basilica where they received the cross of ashes.  The years 1 and 2s had a liturgy in their classroom where they also received the ashes. The ashes are made from the burnt palm leaves from the previous year’s Palm Sunday and remind us that we are made from dust and to dust we return, but we have an immortal soul.


Father Wayne’s Farewell

All families and children are encouraged to come to Sunday mass on Sunday March 5th at 9.30am.  This is Children’s Day and St Joseph’s will be leading the children’s mass.  We will also be taking the opportunity to farewell Fr Wayne who is retiring.


Please bring a plate of food for a shared morning tea after mass.  You can take it to our school hall before mass. 


We need some parents to help serve tea and coffee and clear up afterwards.  Fr Wayne will be providing ice creams for the children.


St Joseph’s wants to contribute to the parish gift for Fr Wayne and encourages you to contribute.  If you would like to do this please deposit in the parish bank account with the reference “Gift Fr Wayne.” The bank account number is: ANZ 06-0901-0054874-15


Student Leadership

Our year 7 & 8s enjoyed a day getting to know each other and exploring our local Steampunk heritage.

Then this week the year 8s all went to the recreation center to train to be Physical Activity Leaders. I enjoyed teaching the year 7s while they were away.

Goal Setting Meetings

Thank you for your participation in our goal-setting meetings. We had a great parent turnout with 97% of our learners having a parent-student-teacher meeting.

Structured Literacy

The teachers have been testing classes in order to set up spelling programs.  We are taking a structured literacy approach, where the sounds and rules of spelling are broken down into steps and each step leads to the next.  It involves very explicit teaching and a sequence of learning.


We have seen very good results from using this approach in the early years at school and hope to see this start to spread through the rest of the school this year.


Dominican Choir

Congratulations to our Dominican Choir who sang at the citizenship ceremony at the opera house.  They did a great job.



 This year we hope all children from years 3 to 8 will be swimming at our swimming sports.  Those who have been learning to swim will do short demonstrations of some of what they have learnt.  We have fewer competitive swimmers than we have had in previous years which will make the whole event a little more relaxed and we estimate it will be finished by 11.30am.  We look forward to seeing you there. It starts at 9.30am next Tuesday 28th February at the Waitaki Aquatic Centre. Further information is on another page in the blog.

Complaints Procedure

Toward the start of the year, I always remind families of our complaints procedure which can be found on our school website.  The key feature of our procedure is if you have a concern please take it to the person and discuss it.  Our complaints procedure then explains what to do if this doesn’t work.


The word “Bullying” is a very mis-used word often referring only to something a child hasn’t liked. Bullying is repeated, it involves an imbalance of power and is intended to cause hurt.  Please let us know if you have any concerns about how your child is interacting or how others are interacting with your child.  We will look into it.  Often there is a bigger story and both sides have a story to tell and we can help children sort it out.  If it is bullying we need to know so that we can take steps to put a stop to it.

Diary Note

Next Tuesday, (swimming sports day) our teachers have a union meeting in the afternoon. Mrs Fatafehi and myself will be left at school with any remaining children. Although we will be open, we invite you take your children home for the afternoon, or even after swimming sports if that suits you better. In the afternoon we will be in the hall.

If you take your child home from swimming sports please let their teacher know. If you take your child home from school at 12.30pm you can pick them up from class and let their teacher know. After that please come to the office and sign them out. Thank you.

Ma te Atua e manaaki a aroha,

(God bless, and love)


St Joseph’s School
School Board By-Elections
Parent Election Notice
Nominations are open for the election of 2 parent representatives to the school board.
All eligible voters will receive a nomination form. Use this form to nominate yourself or someone in your community. You will also receive a nomination cover letter calling for nominations. Information on who is not eligible to be a board member is provided with the nomination form.

If you need more nomination forms, contact the school office.
Nominations close at noon on 22 nd March 2023. You may provide a signed candidate statement and photograph with your nomination.
The electoral roll is held at the school and can be viewed during normal school hours.
As nominations are received, there will be a list of candidates’ names kept at the school up until election day, which you can view. Voting closes at 4pm on 26 th April 2023.
Anne Rzepecky
Returning Officer

2. School Notices, Week 4, Term 1 2023


Birthday greetings for the fortnight 
Ivan B, Manaia D, Nova Rose F, Annabel G, Reynaldo M, Celina M, Sephrin S and Alefosio S.

After School Speech & Drama Class
Michele Fatafehi, one of our school's teacher aides is offering speech and drama classes to students after school at St Joseph's.  She has limited spaces available and if you wish to enrol your child, please contact Michele on 021 142 7732 or email

It's cricket season again and North Otago Cricket have got a boys summer smash and girls smash cricket games happening in term 1.  It is an introduction into games and development of skills using soft balls and a fun 6 a side game format.  
Music is blasting through the speakers, t-shirts and playing equipment is provided.  Registration fees cost $20.00.  The games will be held at Centennial Park on Mondays started this Monday 27th February from 3.45 pm to 4.30 pm.  

For more information or questions, contact the cricket development officer at

Forms Going Home
In the next two weeks, each family will receive a form with their contact and medical details, generic permission and the Education Outside the Classroom (EOTC).  Please check these forms and return them to the office by Friday 10th March. If your details are unchanged, we still require the pupil profile sheet to be signed, marked 'no changes' and returned back to school. The generic and EOTC forms are renewed annually and need to be filled out each year.

A winter sports sheet with information regarding basketball, miniball, football, hockey, rugby and netball will be sent out as well.  The only sports being offered by St Joseph's this year is basketball, miniball and netball.  Children wishing to play football, hockey and rugby will join a club outside the school.

Lost Property
We have a number of polar fleeces and other items of lost property including a couple of scooters in our school. Please come and check if they belong to your family.

Music Classes
Jae Bedford School of Music
We are pleased to offer music lessons here at St Joseph's through Jae Bedford school of music. Lessons offered are: guitar, singing, DJ, bass, ukulele, piano, artist mentoring, music theory, harmonica and songwriting. Please contact Jae directly if you are interested on 027 418 2136 or visit his website on

Weston School Music & Art Classes
Open to all North Otago children aged 8 to 12 year.  Hosted by Weston School.  Excellent tutors, small class sizes.  Music classes just a $20.00 donation annually.  Art classes $40.00 per term for materials.  Music classes offered are ukulele, guitar, drums, chanter, bagpipes and art classes.  Please note numbers are limited for ukulele, guitar and drums so please enrol promptly.  Information and enrolment to or phone the Weston School office on 434 5445.

Rippa Rugby Tournament
Some children have indicated they wish to play in the rippa rugby tournament being held on Wednesday 29th March at Whitestone Stadium during the day.  Teachers have emailed their parents asking for permission to attend the tournament, if they can manage a team and/or to provide transport to the venue.    Each team will have 10 players consisting of 5 boys and 5 girls and they will play in these year groups:-
- years 3-4, years 5-6 and years 7-8.
Please email your child's teacher if your child wishes to play in this tournament.

Subway Lunches
Please support the Subway lunch programme on a Friday because if we don't use it, we will lose this service.  6 inch rolls cost $6.00 which includes a cookie and an apple.

Touch Teams
The 2023 touch season started on Tuesday with the children enjoying their first games.  Thank to to our parents and older siblings who have offered to coach our teams this year.  Thank you to Mrs Misilio for organising the teams.  The draw will be sent out each Monday or you can look on the North Otago Junior Touch Facebook page for the weekly draw. 

The 2023 team lists are:

Tigers Team- Mixed Year 1/2

Ian R

Zoey C

Zion L

Lillie C

Gihansa P

Alefosio T

Chris G

Felisi T

Mary B

Ngaluega G

Coach: Teagan C

Rockets Team-Mixed Year 3/4

Gavin P

Jayden H

Angelina P

Manaia D

Michaela C

Maria H

Lucy F

Ryan B

Sam F

Tala T

Jane V

Coach: Max Fatafehi

Team Full

Ferns Team-Mixed Year 5/6

Theo M

Milah A

Reynaldo M

Hila’atu L

Emma H

Jenutololi T

Taylor D

Moana H

Ivan B

Mikayla P

Zachary C

Coach: Michael Pine

Team Full

Dynamos Team- Mixed Year 7/8

Molly M

Clarence C

Liam L

Tevita L

Sephrin S

Millie F

Analiese W

Eva F

Coach: Judith Leo & Adele Whiston

Walk n Wheel Week
We warmly welcome the following students to our school, even though we mentioned some of their names we did not have a photo of them.
- Emily M, Amanda T, Jenutoldi T, Alefosio T, Nicholas R, Manu H, Sam L, Kaveinga T and Ngaluega G.

A play hub for tamariki in school years 3-8.  The opportunity to engage in cultural, traditional, recycled, outdoors and tamaraki play activities in a safe and positive environment.  Held at Pembroke School every Monday to Thursday with term 1 starting Monday 6th March from 3.30 to 5.30 pm.  Costs $10.00 per week or $5.00 per session.  Book now through or contact Corinth Andzue at

4. Diary Dates - Week 4, Term 1 2023


February 2023

Monday 27

Board of Trustee meeting *

Tuesday 28

Year 3-8 school swimming sports in the morning 

Teachers Union meeting after lunch - children can be collected at lunch time otherwise they will be supervised till 3.00 pm. *

March 2023

Wednesday 1

Technology for Yr 7 & 8 at St Kevin’s at 11.15 am 

Thursday 2

School Parish Mass at 9.15 am 

Sunday 5

Fr Waynes Children’s Mass at 9.30 am 

Wednesday 8

Technology for Yr 7 & 8 at St Kevin’s at 11.15 am 

Thursday 9

Last school mass with Fr Wayne 

Friday 10

All school forms & winter sports due in *

Sunday 12

Parish Celebration Mass at 9.30 am 

Wednesday 16

North Otago Swimming Sports 

Technology for remaining Yr 7 & 8 children *

Thursday 17

School Parish Mass at 9.15 am 

Monday 20

Otago Anniversay Day - school closed 

Wednesday 22

Technology for Yr 7 & 8 at St Kevin’s at 11.15 am 

Thursday 23

School Parish Mass at 9.15 am 

Tuesday 28

Board of Trustee meeting at 5.30 pm 

Wednesday 29

Technology for Yr 7 & 8 at St Kevin’s at 11.15 am 

Rippa Rugby tournament for Yrs 3-8 *

April 2023

Thursday 6

School finishes for term 1 

Friday 7

Good Friday 

Sunday 9

Easter Sunday 

Monday 24

Term 2 starts 

3. School Swimming Sports


Year 3 - 8

Held on Tuesday 28th February at the Waitaki Aquatic Centre

Dear Parents

Below is a breakdown of our swimming sports and what happens.

  • The swimming sports is for the Yr 3-8 children and they will race in either the demonstration, races, non competitive or competitive races.

  • The first race starts at 9.30 am and will be finished by 11.30 pm

  • All the children need to be at school by 8.50 am sharp as they are walking down to the pool

at that time.  The roll will be taken before they leave school.
  • The sports will still go ahead if it is raining and the children will be bussed to the pool.
  • Children are not allowed to go straight to the pool as teachers need to do their roll and the

children will not be supervised at the pool.

  • Children come to school in their PE uniform and change into their house colours at the pool.

(no face paint, glitter or vivids). They have two sets of clothes as the clothes they wear for their
houses, generally get pretty wet while at the pool

  • They need to bring plenty of food and water, togs, towels and their goggles

  • Helpers - if you can help on the day, please let Mrs Frances-Rees know either on the day or

leave a message at the office.
  • All children who enter a race will receive house points
  • All competitive races will be timed as there are no finals

  • Some of the competitive swimming children will swim their races against one another and their points will go towards their respective age groups.

  • Children swim in their age group as of 15th March 2023 (date of North Otago swimming sports)

  • North Otago Swimming Sports- children who have qualified for the North Otago Swimming Sports will be required to perform the stroke correctly.  There will be someone checking on technique at the sports and the children will be disqualified if they are using an incorrect technique.

  • Entry for the North Otago sports is taken on times and not placings.  

  • The North Otago Swimming sports are on Wednesday 15th March and the swimmers who

qualify will be notified.

Friday, 10 February 2023

1. Principal's News Term 1 Week 2 2023

Special character - respect and reverence

We have started the year with our whole school prayer focus around our values of respect and reverence.  Another word for respect is manaakitanga.  Mana means internal strength or personal authority.  Aki means to grow or develop.  So respect means actively growing other people’s strength.  This is a really good way of looking at respect because sometimes we think of respect as just having good manners and not doing anything to offend.  However, manaakitanga means more - it means actively doing things which help to grow a person’s mana and make them a better person.  

Our reading this week in prayers asked us to turn our attention to God.  This is a reminder of our second value which is “reverence” the particular respect and awe given to God.  In our Catholic school, we are extremely lucky that we have another and much bigger dimension as to why we care for each other.  Not only do we have to actively grow each other’s strength and wellbeing but we are able to say we do this because God has made us and we are like God and loved individually by God and so we love each other, strengthened by our love for God.  That’s what it means to be Christian and we are so lucky we can make this explicit at St Joseph’s.


We started the year with a couple of powhiris (welcomes).  The year 8s had a formal welcome ceremony for the new year 7s.

The whole school also welcomed Mia Norwood our new year 5/6 teacher and students.

Fr Wayne’s Retirement

We are celebrating mass for Fr Wayne’s retirement on Sunday 5th March at 9.30am mass in the basilica.  It would be really great if all families could please attend the mass as this is our school farewell to Fr Wayne.  I will be sending out separate information regarding this.


Swimming is off to a great start and it’s been a welcome relief for the children to cool down on our hot afternoons.

What happens when….

If you bring something to our attention that you’re worried about we will always look into it. 

Often when things go wrong between children it is easy to describe it as bullying.  We will always look into allegations of bullying.  This means looking at all sides of the story.  Bullying is when one person or a group of people have power over another, they are doing things to cause emotional or physical pain and they know that what they are doing is causing distress.  It does happen and if it happens we take it very seriously and there are consequences as well as actions for improvement.  However it is rare, and usually distress between children is unintentional, or an angry response or about children learning what is acceptable and not acceptable.  So often when we look into things, all parties, and bystanders have something to learn or take into account.  So please know that an allegation of bullying may not lead straight into a consequence for the named bully but that the situation is usually complex and complex and individual responses are required.  You will appreciate this if your child is ever identified as a bully - we don’t just look at the surface we try to get to the truth of all that is happening and address the whole picture.

So please, if you have any concerns about learning, behaviour, or children’s relationships, have a conversation with your child’s teacher and let them know so they can take action. I'm writing this right at the beginning of the year to encourage you to talk early if you have any concerns about anything at all.

We really flourish on feedback, whether it is good or bad, so please let us know and don't hesitate to let us know when you're happy too as this makes us very happy.

Improvements over the holidays

The junior verandah roof has been replaced.  All areas of required maintenance and painting in the junior and middle building have been attended to.  We also have two lovely new water fountains thanks to last year’s parent fundraising.  Now we are just waiting and hoping that our rebuild will start soon.

Camps in 2023

Our intermediate department has two different types of camps.  In even years we have a Winter/snow camp and in odd years we have a Summer camp.  That means that our intermediate students experience two very different camp experiences during their two years with us.  This Summer the camp is booked at Raincliff and Peel Forest.

The year 6s will also have their camp this year and that will be at Herbert.

Goal Setting and Parent/Teacher/Student Interviews

Children will be sharing their goals through Educa in the next couple of weeks.  Please check in with your child’s teacher if you do not have access to the Educa App.  I will also send out a renewed general invitation for parents to join.

School will close at 12.30pm on Monday 20th February.  All families need to please book in to see their child’s teacher between 1pm and 7.30pm.

To book your interviews go to

and type in the code:  rmp7h

Upcoming Closures

School closes at 12.30pm on Monday 20th February, please arrange for your child to be picked up at 12.30pm, there will be no buses for us that day.

We are closed for professional development in the new NZ curriculum on Monday 24th April, the first day of term 2.  Many schools in North Otago will be closed on that day.

Laudato Si’ – Caring for Our Common Home

‘... to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice’ ( Sirach 15:15)

Our choices and our decision-making- it can be so complicated. Everyone’s life is different-

we all need God’s mercy and love and other people’s mercy and love.

Earth, our common home, also needs our mercy and love.

“Saint Therese of Lisieux invites us to practise the little way of love, not to miss out on a kind

word, a smile or any small gesture which sows peace and friendship. An integral ecology is

also made up of simple daily gestures which break with the logic of violence, exploitation

and selfishness. In the end, a world of exacerbated consumption is at the same time a world

which mistreats life in all its forms.” [LS 230]

Ma te Atua e manaaki a aroha,

(God bless, and love)