Te Kura o Tihiōtonga

Otonga Primary School

FOUR WINDS NEWS - 29th November 2023


Kia ora Koutou - Dear Parents and Caregivers,

With only a few days remaining in the school year, we have our end of year functions and events coming up as well as an opportunity for children to spend time with their 2024 classmates and teacher next week at ‘Meet the Teacher’. Please take note of the dates in the newsletter as well as on SeeSaw.

Congratulations to the Junior and Senior Kapa Haka rōpū. Your performances were remarkable and well received by the audience. The Senior who performed at the Ahurei were outstanding. I would like to thank Whaea Arihi, Willow, Whaea Sheena and Whaea Adelle for their passion and time in leading this kaupapa that is alive and strong at Te Kura o Tihiōtonga!
This week we had our final BOT meeting for the year. I would like to acknowledge our Board for their contribution and input during 2023. We have a team of parents on the BOT who are committed to supporting the school staff and ensuring the best possible outcomes for our students. Thank you, Werner, Jono, Nancy, Bahram, Laura, Arihi and Antonia for all that you contribute to our school in the governance role.

Student Progress and Achievement

Teachers plan and assess Reading, Writing and Maths using the Learning Progressions Framework and then track this using overall teacher judgements twice a year through the Progress and Consistency Tool (PaCT).

These, along with Otonga Progress Plans (OPPs) and SeeSaw, form a holistic way of assessing progress and achievement of our students while showing real-time reporting of their achievements.

This is a brief summary of the End of Year (EOY) Progress and Consistency (PaCT) data for the Whole School - Expected and Exceeded NZ Curriculum Level

Mid Year 2023 Reading achievement data compared to EOY 2023:


  • Areas of note:
  • 80% of students across the whole school are working within or above the expected NZ curriculum level in Writing.
  • Writing achievement levels across the school for girls is 78% and boys is 73%.
  • Y1 and Y2 students are all students (including Māori) working within or above curriculum Level 1.
  • Y1 and 2 Ako have purposefully used provocations which promote writing and fine motor skills into the Learning Through Play as well as focused on providing teacher-directed instruction in writing.
  • Y0 and Y1 teachers have noticed an improvement in oral language across the team.
  • At Mid Year, 83% of Y3 students were working at Level 1 and at EOY, there are 32%. A big shift but this still remains a target group for Y4 next year.
  • At Mid Year 76% of Y5 students were working at Level 1/2 and at EOY, there are 56%. A pleasing jump but this still remains a target group for Y6 next year.
  • Māori boys writing is 62% and target groups are in Year 4 and 6.
  • Across the Rotorua Central Kahui Ako the primary school Principals have all noted that the writing results are of concern.
  • As a staff, we need to ensure our writing programmes are targeted toward strategies that enhance the learning of boys and their interests.
  • Encourage the use of learning provocations to 'provoke' possible actions and guide the outcomes and invitations to invite students to explore, construct and represent their learning in an open-ended setting.
  • We have received Ngati Whakaue Education Endowment Trust funding for 2024 for Authorship in our senior school. This is a programme that focuses on the environment, best teaching practices to support all our learners to support all students to be successful writers, this approach also really suits our boys and supports them to be more successful as authors.
  • Explicit and intentional small group instruction - Delivery of explicit teacher-led instruction that meets students at their current learning level and scaffolds their knowledge and skills to the next developmentally appropriate level.


Areas of note:
  • 87% of students across the whole school are working within or above the expected level in Reading.
  • In Reading, Māori boy’s data (82%) is 2% higher than other boys at 80%
  • Across the school more girls are at the expected or above the NZC level for Reading than all boys.
  • There are now 5 students working at level 2 in Y6 of which 2 are Māori. Therefore 18 students have made accelerated progress and are now working within the curriculum level.
  • Explicit and intentional small group instruction - Delivery of explicit teacher-led instruction that meets students at their current learning level and scaffolds their knowledge and skills to the next developmentally appropriate level.
  • Encourage the use of learning provocations to 'provoke' possible actions and guide the outcomes and invitations to invite students to explore, construct and represent their learning in an open-ended setting.


Areas of note:
  • It is pleasing to see that overall, 95% of students are achieving within or above the expected NZC level for the end of the year.
  • Y1 and Y2 students are all working within or above curriculum Level 1.
  • Boys Maths achievement is higher at 95% compared to girls at 89%.
  • 19% of Y5 students are still working at NZC curriculum Level 2
  • All Y6 are working At or Above the expected curriculum level in Mathematics.
  • Māori boys in Maths are achieving at 93% at or above the expected Level and higher than other girls at 89% and Māori girls at 85%.
Have a lovely week.
Kind regards
Gareth Cunliffe

Junior Kapa Haka

Ka rawe to our students who participated in the Year 1 - 3 Kapa haka last week what an awesome job you did! You must be very proud of your achievement! We were so proud of the amazing performance you gave to our school community. A big thank you to all the whanau who came to watch us. It was so lovely to have you there to see the result of all our hard work. We were very excited to perform for everyone and we really enjoyed ourselves. Can't wait to do it all again next year!!
Whaea Sheena, Whaea Arihi and Whaea Adelle

Kapa Haka

Last Monday, the school and community were treated to performances from our junior and senior kapa haka rōpū. It was a dress rehearsal for the seniors in preparation for Ahurei on Tuesday evening. After many practises, their efforts paid off with a stellar performance by each of our 57 passionate and eager kapa haka performers.

Congratulations to the rōpū, you should all be proud of yourselves for your mahi, and the ihi and kaha you showed to be the best you could be. Tauke!

Mā whero, mā pango ka oti ai te mahi - Working together to accomplish the task.

Click here to view our performance at the Te Ahurei o Nga Kura - Rotorua Primary School Festival.

Whaea Arihi

We Take Play Seriously!

Learning Through Play in Year 6 Ako Korimako

Making a Difference

As part of our learning about climate change, Room 22 transplanted tiny native seedlings into bigger pots. We have explored how plants and trees help balance our ecosystem, and we hope these will help make a difference. We will look after them until they are big enough to plant in areas around Rotorua.

Climate Change Inspiration Room 21

After learning about Climate Change and investigating the changing weather patterns in Rotorua we turned our attention to an eco-friendly way of keeping birds from eating the produce in our School Community Garden. Great discussion was followed by planning and the building of 6 fantastic scarecrows. We learnt a lot about cutting and sewing fabric, attaching embellishments and how to tie tight knots as we made our frames, made and attached our heads and dressed our creations. Some of us decided to stuff our scarecrows and some left the clothes empty to flap in the wind. Some groups named their scarecrows and others decided not to. A huge amount of learning about working with others and considering the ideas of everyone in the group took place. School values were at the forefront of our learning. There were ups and downs along the way but finally we all pulled together, and our scarecrows were ready to be placed in the garden and take up the job of protecting the plants.

Celebrating Diwali

Room 21 found out that many rangoli patterns are symmetrical. In India they are drawn outside doorways of homes with coloured sand or rice. We decided to make our own with rice that was dyed different colours. We used cardboard, pencils, rulers and compasses as well as bottle tops of different sizes. After drawing our patterns we glued the rice onto the cardboard. This stopped our designs being spoiled by the wind and people walking by. Making our patterns was fun and we are proud of our work.

Eco building through Minecraft

In Room 20 we have been learning about climate change. We looked at examples of eco homes. We read a School Journal about a child who had designed an eco-home through Minecraft. We used this as inspiration to design our own eco homes. Thinking about all the things we need to do to make the designs ecofriendly. The children have created some great designs and explain their eco features. Lots of them also chose to build their homes with a partner. This involved great cooperation and communication.

Structured Literacy - Writing

The Writer's Corner - Ako Kiwi Year 2

Ako Kiwi have been writing letters to their Year 3 Teachers. We started with a plan and brainstormed ideas about what makes us special, what we enjoy about school, what we find hard, what our hobbies are and our favourite foods etc.)
We then took this plan and turned each idea into a sentence, either simple or compound (if we wanted to challenge ourselves). The main focus here was sounding out our own words, using the sounds we have learnt in structured literacy to help us. Our teachers helped us with the correct spelling above.

The final step was to publish our letters and include a drawing of ourselves with it.

Check out some of our awesome finished pieces:


What is a Strategic Plan?
A planning document by the BOT until 2025 that communicates strategic goals and priorities and describes plans to achieve these.

Please have a look at our draft plan here:
Otonga School Te Kura o Tihiōtonga Strategic Plan

The 2024 annual plan to support implementing our goals is being developed at the moment.

If you have feedback for us on this, please feel free to email: botpm@otonga.school.nz or gcunliffe@otonga.school.nz or place feedback at our Celebration of Learning Day.


Drop Off / Pick Up Zone

This area in front of the school (adjoining the school crossing, inside the blue bollards) is a 5-minute loading zone only. Cars are not to be left unattended or parked for longer than 5 minutes. As this area is a drop off / pick up zone only - your child must be able to get in and out of the car by themselves.

Admin/Office & Staff Car Parks

These are Staff ONLY areas – Strictly No Entry for Parents/Pupils. Please DO NOT use these areas as a drop off or pick up zone. Our staff car park cannot fully cater for all the staff cars. For safety reasons, parents and visitors are asked to park on the road paying careful attention not to park on the yellow lines or across our neighbour's driveways.

Car Parking and Pupil Safety

In the interests of child safety, we ask that parents take particular care when driving or parking near the school.

A reminder for everyone!

No U-turns along Otonga Road outside School.
There is an official traffic no U -Turn signposted.
• No parking in the bus bay.
• No parking or blocking driveways.
• No double parking.
• No parking on the grass verge.
• No parking on traffic islands or yellow lines.
• No blocking or stopping on pedestrian crossing
• Only cross Otonga Road at the crossing with your children.

The main issue concerning the roads and traffic flow is CONSIDERATION of others. Please: CONSIDER Children’s safety, on foot and on bikes. CONSIDER local residents’ access. CONSIDER other drivers.

Suggestions for making traffic flow easier:

• Arrive a little later to pick up children (by 3:10pm, Otonga Road is half empty)
• Find pick-up/drop off points a little distance away from the school.
(eg above Kiwi St going up Otonga Rd)
• Use the McDowell Street circuit to put you on the school side of the road.

FILL THE BUS is back again!

Only ONE More Week to Get Your Donations In!

Once again 2023 has provided a range of challenges for an increasing number of our local families. And that is why Paul Hickey and the team at The Hits Rotorua are once again facilitating the annual FILL THE BUS campaign, supporting the Rotorua Salvation Army Christmas Foodbank Appeal.

Just a reminder about what FILL THE BUS is all about; Paul and the team spend a full day driving all over Rotorua visiting schools, shopping centres and businesses, collecting cans and non-perishable food items.

Last year they collected 10,041 items during the day, which equated to a whopping value of just over $25,000 of food for the cause!

Once again, we would love your support in making this worthwhile cause a huge success, by bringing donations (cans and non-perishable food items) to the school office before 9am on Wednesday 6th December 2023. Every little bit makes a BIG difference to those in need. Thank you.


Annual Stocktake Update

Thank you everyone for the great response to return Library books.
Today I am still waiting for 74 books that have not been returned from children! There is an amnesty in place so please check at home for any school Library books or Readers that may be lying around. We would love to see them back at school before the end of this Term!
A text message will be sent to parents/caregivers and Invoices (for replacement costs) will be issued this week for books that have not been returned.

Thank you everyone for your support.
Mrs Pauline Atkinson, Library Manager


Looking for that lost sunhat or piece of clothing?
Check out the Lost Property shed.All items in the shed will be displayed outside the hall Thursday this week and then everyday starting Wednesday next week.
We hope you find what you're looking for.


Did you know that if a child stops reading over the summer break, it is common for their reading to slide. Children can lose as much as six months of reading gains over the summer holidays! So, that means that for at least the first term, that child may only be catching up on where they were at the end of the previous year!
This summer holiday we are encouraging all of our children to read, read, read! Next week children will receive a pack designed to keep them reading even though they're not at school.
Children who enter the Summer Reading Challenge will need to keep a list of the books they have read (forms will be supplied) and these returned to the Library in Term 1. Children who take part will be presented with a Certificate of Participation Summer Reading Award.

If they wish, children can write a review of a favourite book (from their summer reading list) together with a drawing illustrating some part of the book i.e. character, setting etc. At the beginning of Term 1 next year these will be displayed in the Library on a 'Summer Reading Wall' for all to enjoy.

Look out for the Summer Reading Pack next week - it has some great ideas to get children reading during the holidays.

Mrs Pauline Atkinson, Library Manager

Term 4 Diary

(Please note: dates/events may be added or changed without prior notice)
30 Nov Celebration of Learning Day
Y3 Ako Ruru - Unison Swim Magic
1 Dec Road Patrol Fun Day
Y4 Ako Kererū - Unison Swim Magic
Hui a Kura 11:45am-12:20pm – Hosted by Room 4 Ako Tui
4 Dec Y4 Ako Kererū - Unison Swim Magic
5 Dec Y5 Ako Kārearea - Unison Swim Magic
Interschool Year 4-6 Athletics
Year 2 Ako Kiwi - Fun Day 10:30am - 3pm
6 Dec Y5 Ako Kārearea - Unison Swim Magic
Y6 Ako Korimako - Graduation Dinner and Disco 4:45pm
FILL THE BUS - Please bring donations to the school office by 9am
7 Dec Y6 Ako Korimako - Unison Swim Magic
Y3 Ako Ruru - Whakaue Marae 9:15am-2:15pm
8 Dec Y6 Ako Korimako - Unison Swim Magic
12 Dec Leavers Assembly 11am -12pm
13 Dec Last Day of Term 4 – School closes at 3pm

Term Dates 2023

TERM 4: Mon 9th October – Wed 13th December
(Labour Day – Monday 23rd October)
(Teacher Only Day - TOD) - Monday 13th November

New Entrant – Cohort Start Dates 2023

TERM 4 Cohort 8: Term 1, 2024

Term Dates 2024

TERM 1: Tue 30th January - Fri 12th April
Tues 30th January - OPP ‘Know me before you Teach me’ Meetings Day
Wed 31st January - All students back
(Waitangi Day - Tues 6th February)
(Good Friday – Fri 29th March)
(Easter - Monday 1st April)
(Easter - Tuesday 2nd April)

TERM 2: Mon 29th April – Fri 5th July
(Teacher Only Day - TOD) – Mon 27th May)
(King’s Birthday - Mon 3rd June)
(Matariki - Fri 28th June)

TERM 3: Mon 22nd July – Fri 27th September

TERM 4: Mon 14th October – Fri 13th December (TBC)
(Labour Day – Mon 28th October)



Students may only come to school at 8:15am please as any time before that creates a health and safety issue as there are no teachers available before this time unless in exceptional circumstances. Children will not be allowed into the classrooms until after 8:15am. Students arriving early need to be enrolled in before school care. If you need care before school or after school, this service is provided in the hall. To enrol your child or for more information please contact Leandri on 027 348 7707 or email info.otonga@osprograms.co.nz


If you would like to view our BOT Minutes, please contact Antonia Magness our BOT Secretary via amagness@otonga.school.nz.

BYMC (Bring Your Managed Chromebook)

A reminder for 2024 that chromebooks are encouraged
to be brought to school for years 4-6.


Head lice and nits are a common problem among school-aged children and can affect the whole school community. Lice and nits can easily spread from one person to another through close head-to-head contact or sharing personal items. The Ministry of Health recommends that students with live lice should stay away from school until treatment has started.
Parents/Caregivers are primarily responsible for identifying, treating, and preventing head lice by:
  • checking their child's hair regularly for signs of head lice or nits
  • treating the head lice or nits (e.g. combing and using a head lice shampoo/lotion)
  • informing the school if their child has head lice so that notification and treatment information can be shared as appropriate.

KINDO - Helpdesk Ph 0508 454 636

Kindo recommend that if you are having a problem using KINDO either on your computer or on the mobile phone app, that you contact the Kindo Helpdesk straight away. This way you can explain the exact problem you are having and KINDO can troubleshoot the issue while you are on the phone. Issues can arise for various reasons, usually they have to do with the web browser
(Firefox/Safari/Google Chrome etc) or the app platform (such as Apple iPhone/Android Google Play) being used. Because of this the issues can be quite different and not the same for everyone.
Please Note: St Andrew’s Bakery is no longer able to provide school lunches on Monday's for the indefinite future.


Absentee Email Function

A number of parents have contacted us to advise that they are having issues with our SchoolApp Absentee function, not being able to scroll down further on the screen to be able to type in a reason for the absentee. It seems this problem occurs if you are using an out-of-date version of our SchoolApp or if you are using an iPhone. Please make sure you are using the most current version of the SchoolApp, you may need to go to the Apple App Store or Google Play to download this. If you have an iPhone, when entering an absentee email, you need to select an 'Absent From' Date and click DONE before it will allow you to scroll further down. The 'Absent From' date automatically appears in the box, however you still need to click on this box, select a date and then click 'DONE'. If you have any further problems, please let us know.

SCHOOLDOCS - School Policies

We invite you to view/review our school policies at https://otonga.schooldocs.co.nz (Note that there is no "www.")

Our username is: otonga and password is: fourwinds

VisTab Sign-in Sponsor Needed

We are in search of a business to sponsor our VisTab - People Management System. All visitors sign in and out using VisTab on arrival/departure at reception in the school office. We will add your company logo at the bottom of the default screen. It is seen by many, even through the window when the school office is closed. The cost is $63.25 per month. Please contact the school office if you would like the opportunity. First in first served.


Do the kids fancy themselves as the next Tom Abercrombie? Take them along to a BNZ Breakers game and show them the best of New Zealand basketball.
There are 8 home games remaining in Auckland this season and every game will have epic basketball and entertainment for the whole family. Mark your calendar and get behind the BNZ Breakers. Tickets on sale now at www.ticketmaster.co.nz
Homestay Families Wanted
John Paul College International Office is looking for families to host international students. This is such a great experience for the whole family. Anyone interested please contact Jo directly, Phone (07) 347 8795 ext 8863 or 021 355 280 or email homestay@jpc.school.nz to request an information pack and application form.
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