Te Kura o Tihiōtonga

Otonga Primary School

FOUR WINDS NEWS - 20th March 2024


Kia ora Koutou - Dear Parents

Gala 2024 Thank You!

A heartfelt thank you to our incredible community and the Otonga School Te Kura o Tihiōtonga Gala Committee for making our Gala a resounding success!

The energy and enthusiasm that filled the air last Friday was truly remarkable. From the vibrant stalls to the joyful rides and yummy food, every moment was a testament to the strength and unity of our community. We are immensely grateful to each and every one of you who contributed your time, talents, and support to make this event possible. Whether you were a sponsor, volunteered at a stall, donated goods, or simply came along to enjoy the festivities, your participation made a meaningful difference. Together, we raised not only vital funds for our school but also priceless memories and connections that will last a lifetime. This Gala exemplified the spirit of togetherness and collaboration that defines Otonga School, and we couldn't be prouder of our community.

Mā te kōtahitanga e ngā hau e whā, ka kaha whakatupu ngātahi tātau.
United by the four winds, we grow stronger together.

Please complete this very short Gala Survey here: School Gala 2024 Feedback Survey

"Play and the Brain - Why It's Not 'Just Play'"

Join us on 3 April at 6:30pm in the school hall for "Play and the Brain - Why It's Not 'Just Play'" - presented by Dr. Sarah Aiono, international speaker, researcher, and thought leader in the field of Learning Through Play. With a wealth of experience in integrating developmentally appropriate pedagogy into educational settings across New Zealand, Australia, Canada and India, Dr. Aiono will guide us through the fascinating connections between neuroscience and the critical role of play in learning.
Discover how play not only supports curriculum requirements but also fosters socio-emotional skills, physical motor development and learning dispositions essential for student success. Learn about how teachers teach in a play environment, the latest educational research and explore how these practices can be implemented to enhance student outcomes and prepare our children for the future workforce.
This event is a must-attend for all parents interested in understanding the science behind play and its impact on children's learning and development. Don't miss this opportunity to gain valuable insights into the future of learning and how we can support our children to thrive in an ever-evolving world. It's not 'just play' - it is how our brains are wired to learn.
Kind regards
Gareth Cunliffe

Tuesday 2nd April Easter Tuesday

Please note that Tuesday 2 April is a school holiday. School will be closed on that day. School resumes on Wednesday 3rd April.
Easter: Good Friday 29 March, Easter Monday 1 April, Easter Tuesday 2 April (a school holiday)
School terms and holiday dates – Education in New Zealand

Our Kids Online Parent Evening

Thursday 11th April 6:30pm at Rotorua Boys' High School

Attention all parents! We want our schools to be a safe place. Because of the rapidly changing times, our tamariki are growing up in, and the mounting challenges and harms they are facing online, we need to start talking about and tackling this as a community. As such, we have organised Filmmaker, Author and Speaker Rob Cope, producer of the documentary "Our Kids Online" to come and give what promises to be a humorous and eye-opening evening talk to our parent community.

His talk will cover:
● Cyberbullying - How bullies can reach our kids 24/7
● Social media - How social media is affecting the mental health in 3 out of 5 Children. FOMO, depression, anxiety
● Gaming and the developing brain – An oversupply of dopamine leading to dopamine deficiency, synaptic pruning, and the underdevelopment of social skills and empathy
● Naked Selfies - The pressure to send nudes from intermediate up through high school
● Online predators - The methods they use, how to spot them
● Online porn vs healthy sexuality - How consuming online pornography as a child or teen can create a sexual template where violence, aggression, and dominance are seen as normal, and consent can become very blurry.

● Filters - Which filters are best and how to install them
● Smartphones - How to lock down a smartphone to make it a safe phone
● Boundaries - How to put good boundaries in place around device use
● 3 golden rules - The 3 golden rules that will keep your kids safe
● Talking to your kids - How to have difficult conversations with your kids
● Challenging our own phone and device usage - Reconnecting as a family.

Here is a promotional video for you to watch Our Kids Online Parent Evening.

The talk will be held at Rotorua Boys’ High School War Memorial Hall on Thursday 11th April 2024 at 6:30pm. RSVP on Eventfinder Link: Our Kids Online 2024 - Rotorua - Eventfinda Spaces are limited!

We would request that at least one adult from each family attend, this topic is too big for us not to pay attention. As a bonus, Rob and the team from Our Kids Online are gifting every parent who attends this event a one-years complimentary subscription to "The Big Reconnect" A cybersafety parenting course designed specifically for NZ families - This usually retails for $99 per family. So, show up and get it for free! Course details here: https://our-kids-online.teachable.com/p/the-big-reconnect-for-parents

"We need to tackle this as a community so that all of our kids are safe. When I protected my kids online, I also protected yours, so please, please protect your kids online so that you are also protecting mine" Rob Cope.

Otonga School

"I Need BONE MARROW to get Better!"

Kia ora All

I have just received an email from the Nan of Te Waarakihi - one of our lovely Year 5 students - and I said that I am sure we could help out. The family have been involved with Otonga School for many years and mum, Sherene, is an ex-student. Unfortunately, Sherene has had to give up her work/career for now due to his illness.

Here is a link to the Give a Little page if people would prefer to donate $ or cannot donate blood. https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/what-is-aplastic-aneamia

The family hopes to do a big drive for bone marrow (which is a swab or blood donors can go on the bone marrow registry when they give blood.) They will do a drive once they get more information from the registry.

'The cards, games, and little thoughts given to Te Waarakihi from school were very much appreciated, he felt very special, and is missing school very much.' Kind regards Mahara (Nan)

Kind regards,
Gareth Cunliffe

Room 19's BAKE SALE for Te Waarakihi (T-Boy)


Te Kura o Tihiōtonga

Term 1, Week 8 - Ako Kārearea Year 5


The children in Ako Kārearea have had a science focus this term. Our first series of lessons inspired the children to grow their curiosity about the world around them, asking questions and being inquisitive.

Our students have been exploring the Nature of Science using the “Notice, Think, Wonder” approach, engaging in hands-on experiments to understand basic principles of physics. Through captivating activities such as crafting balloon rockets to explore air pressure, and constructing balloon hovercrafts to understand friction, our young scientists experienced the fascinating interplay between air and objects.

They have been learning to think like scientists observing closely, gathering and recording data, making predictions and testing hypotheses.


The children have had a focus on writing memoir pieces of writing. Recalling events in their lives and recounting their experiences. This work has been supported by an expert in writing who has come into our classrooms to deliver lessons.

BOT News

Mr Richard Cottrell has recently been selected onto the Otonga School Board of Trustees, replacing Mr Bahram Pishravi who resigned from the board at the end of last year.

Introducing Mr Richard Cottrell

Ko Kohukete te maunga
Ko Tūtaekurī te awa
Ko te Whanganui ā Orotū te moana
Ko Ngāti Kahungunu rātou ko Ngāti Raukawa ko Tūhourangi ngā iwi
Ko Richard Cottrell tōku ingoa

Kia ora, my name is Richard. I have two children, Anya and Lachlan, who both love being at Otonga School Te Kura o Tihiōtonga and are in year 1 and year 3. Outside school, we like biking, swimming, or just general play.

I work as an Operations Engineer in the waters team at Rotorua Lakes Council. Before moving to Rotorua, I worked as an engineer in New Zealand and overseas, planning and managing large construction projects. I think that I should be able to make those skills useful in this role.

I’m a big believer in the value and importance of a good education. I’m really looking forward to being more involved with the school, there is a wonderful team there, and it will be great to be a part of it.

By-election to be held

In the coming weeks we will be conducting a by-election for two parent representatives on the Otonga Board of Trustees. The calendar of events for this is below:
Elected board members will be in place for approximately twelve months as the usual triennial trustee elections will take place next year.

If you would like to access further information on what it means to be a trustee, please follow this link: https://www.schoolboardelections.org.nz/becoming-a-board-member/

Rotorua Sarapu Cup - Junior Chess Tournament

Joshya Banker (Room 2) won the Knights division at the Rotorua Sarapu Cup held at St. Mary's school on 10th March 2024. Joshya received the Sarapu Cup trophy and a certificate of distinction. He earned 6.5 points with 6 wins and 1 draw in 7 games. He is now promoted to the upper division. Congratulations!


Ice Cream Friday!

Congratulations to Axle Bain whose value slip was drawn to enjoy a treat with our Principal, Mr Cunliffe.

Remember to wear your HOUSE COLOURS on Fridays.

Term 1 Diary

(Please note: dates/events may be added or changed without prior notice)
18-20 Mar Y6 Ako Korimako - School Camp at MiCamp Taupo
19 Mar NZEI Paid Union Meeting - School closes at 12:30pm
22 Mar Whole School Waiata
25 Mar Schoolwide Celebrations - Holi Festival
26 Mar RATS Kids Duathlon
BOT Meeting
29 Mar EASTER - Good Friday - Public Holiday (School Closed)
1 Apr EASTER Monday - Public Holiday (School Closed)
2 Apr EASTER Tuesday (School Closed)
3 Apr CBOP Swimming
3 Apr 6:30pm "Play and the Brain - Why It's Not 'Just Play'" - presented by
Dr Sarah Aiono from Longworth Education in the School Hall
5 Apr Whole School Waiata
9 Apr Y2 Ako Kiwi - Paradise Valley Trip (9am - 12pm)
11 Apr 6:30pm Our Kids Online - Rotorua Boys' High School
12 Apr Hui-a-Kura - Hosted by Rm's 4 & 9
Last Day of Term 1 – School closes at 3pm

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
(Rotorua Central Kahui Ako Teacher Only Day – Mon 27th May - School Closed)
(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.

End of the day Pick Up for Year 1 Students

All Year 1 students are brought up to the wall at 2:45pm daily to be picked up by parents. School finishes at 3pm for all other year levels.


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.

Lost Property

Please ensure your child's clothing, sunhat, book bag, drink bottle and lunch box are named so that if they are left behind at school they can be returned to your child. Any unnamed items will be placed in the Lost Property shed beside the hall. This will be open daily. On Thursdays (weather permitting) all items from the shed will be on display on the wall at the rear of the hall for students and parents to check.

Notice of Rotorua Central Kahui Ako Teacher Only Day on Monday 27th May

Just a heads up that on Monday 27th May school will be closed for students for a Teacher Only Day.


Please see below a list of the schools where the Community Oral Health Service dental teams are located. If your child requires an appointment please call 0800 525 378. These teams are open Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm and during the school holidays.
If you have a high school student (Year 9-13) with oral health concerns, please see the list below of Dentists who provide free dental treatment for adolescents. You will need to phone and check whether the dentist has vacancies for new patients.


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.

Pedestrian Crossings and Roundabouts

We need to remind our children that road crossing (at any point) should only be done at walking pace (ie not running or riding) this gives drivers an opportunity to see people crossing roads and react if necessary. While pedestrian crossings are the safest place to cross, they still need to be used safely.
Crossing the Road
Students should cross the road using kerb drill:
Stop one step away from the kerb, or edge of the road.
Look all ways that traffic might be approaching.
Listen for traffic.
When the road is clear, walk briskly across, looking each way for traffic.

Using the Pedestrian Crossing
Students should use the pedestrian crossing if there is one available. The law says that if you are within 20 metres of a pedestrian crossing or traffic lights, you must use them. This is very important to pedestrians who cross over Springfield Road by Jackson Park Kindergarten as some are crossing straight over the road without using the crossings.

Children sometimes believe that being on the pedestrian crossing is quite safe and that cars will automatically stop. They need to be reminded to use the kerb drill in the usual way.

More useful resources:

Produce from our Community Garden

Our Community Garden is currently bursting with a diverse range of fresh vegetables and aromatic herbs, ready to be enjoyed by all!

Feel free to swing by the office and collect some of these delicious goodies completely free of charge. From freshly dig potatoes to juicy tomatoes, fragrant basil and humongous courgettes/zucchini, there's something for everyone to enjoy.

Please note the produce available may vary from day to day depending on what's ripe and ready for harvest.

Riding Safely in Otonga School

Spare Clothes

Please ensure that all students have a set of spare clothes packed in their bags at all times. The weather can be unpredictable and accidents do happen. Slipping over in the mud & getting wet through are regular occurrences, as we encourage outdoor play in all weather. It is bound to happen at some stage, so best be prepared.

Sun Safety

Please ensure your children are coming to school with a sunhat and sunblock applied every day during Term 1 and Term 4. Even on overcast days, you can get burnt. Hats are really important. A full drink bottle for water is a must. Students without hats will need to play in the shade while outside.


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.

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.


Are you going overseas for the school holidays?

When you return, you can now complete a digital New Zealand Traveller Declaration (NZTD) before you fly back into New Zealand – replacing the need to fill out a paper declaration card on the plane.

Everyone coming into New Zealand needs to complete an NZTD. You’ll answer questions about your trip and what’s in your bags. You can complete it at a time that suits you, on the NZTD website or by downloading the NZTD app, and submit it 24 hours before your trip back to New Zealand.

Download the NZTD app today!
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