Te Kura o Tihiōtonga

Otonga Primary School

FOUR WINDS NEWS - 31st January 2024


Kia ora Koutou - Dear Parents

I hope that you are well and have had an amazing holiday. It has been great chatting to you at our ‘Know me before you Teach me’ meetings yesterday. 2024 is going to be an amazing year and I am looking forward to once again working with all of you for the benefit of our students and school community.

The Cunliffe Family have had a fantastic holiday as we spent three weeks visiting South Africa.

Our teachers have put fantastic effort into setting up their learning environments.

Mr G has got the school looking clean and tidy and I am sure that you will agree that Te Kura o Tihiōtonga is looking extremely welcoming and exciting for the start of 2024. It has actually never looked this good!

We welcome our new staff once again:

Whaea Aroha

Kia ora, my name is Whaea Aroha and I am so excited to be joining the Otonga School whānau next year. I am married to Josh Porteous and have two beautiful girls named Alina and Kiara. We love family walks, time at the beach and a good cafe! I look forward to meeting everyone.

Miss Lewthwaite

Kia ora, my name is Mairead and I am looking forward to rejoining the Otonga School whānau in the new year! I have recently moved home to Rotorua after studying in Auckland for the past three years. I spend most of my free time outside with my partner Bronson and our dogs, and we love camping, exploring and fishing.
I am looking forward to meeting all your tamariki and supporting them on their learning journey!

Whaea Sarah

My name is Whaea Sarah. I grew up locally, trained at the Dunedin College of Education and have done most of my teaching in and around Rotorua. I am married to Allan and have two children, Caleb and Renee. When I am not busy following their sport and adventures, I love to run the trails in the redwoods, visit extended family or head to the beach. I'm looking forward to joining the Otonga School team.

Whaea April

Kia ora and Annyeong-haseyo! My name is Whaea April, and I'm thrilled to join the Otonga School whānau this year. Born in South Korea, I spent a decade in Singapore, immersing myself in the diverse cultures of Southeast Asia. With Rotorua being my home for the past six years I’ve embraced the unique culture and beauty of Aotearoa New Zealand. I’m looking forward to bringing my experience into the classroom and creating an engaging and inclusive space for our tamariki to thrive in.

Whaea Tracy

Kia ora, my name is Whaea Tracy, and I'm excited to become a part of the Otonga School community. My husband Craig, and I relocated to New Zealand from South Africa nearly six years ago with our two boys, Benjamin and Mathew. Our family has a deep love for the outdoors and enjoy exploring the natural beauty of New Zealand.
I look forward to sharing this learning journey with our tamariki in 2024.

Mr Cunliffe’s Holiday Challenge

Thank you to Asher and Caden Kingston who have shared their holiday adventures with us.

Filmed by Caden, Asher sent a video (and these photos) about having lots of fun making a fire on the beach to toast marshmallows.

Please come to my office to get a little treat.

‘Know me before you teach me’ Meetings

At our school we value whānaungatanga and working together with families for the success of our students. This is for teachers to learn from children and whānau about their students’ interests, aspirations, passions and how we can best support their learning throughout 2024.
We have once again received really great feedback about holding our Otonga Progress Plan (OPP) ‘Know me before you teach me’ Meetings before school starts. Thank you for attending.
Kind regards
Gareth Cunliffe


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

Otonga Sports - Registrations NOW Open

Otonga School Gala - Friday 15th March

Term 1 Diary

(Please note: dates/events may be added or changed without prior notice)
30 Jan 'Know me before you teach me' OPP meetings
31 Jan First day of all at school
6 Feb Waitangi Day - Public Holiday (School Closed)
14 Feb Y5 Ako Kārearea - Beach Safety
6 Mar Top School
15 Mar School Gala
18-20 Mar Y6 Ako Korimako - School Camp at MiCamp Taupo
19 Mar RATS Duathlon
29 Mar EASTER - Good Friday - Public Holiday (School Closed)
1 Apr EASTER Monday - Public Holiday (School Closed)
1 Apr EASTER Tuesday (School Closed)
3 Apr CBOP Swimming
12 Apr 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
(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


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.


After School ART Lessons

With Janet Keen - enrolling NOW. Drawing, painting, mosaics,
over 30 lessons to choose from.

Wednesdays and Thursdays
3:30pm to 4:30pm & 4:35pm to 5:35pm.

Enrolling for term 1 , 2, 3 and 4.
Small classes, friendly, safe,
organic environment.

Enquiries welcome:
Phone 027 351 3887 or email janet@jkeen.net
374 Clayton Road, Rotorua
facebook website