Te Kura o Tihiōtonga

Otonga Primary School

FOUR WINDS NEWS - 10th April 2024


Kia ora Koutou - Dear Parents

I would like to say a huge THANK YOU to all of you for making Term 1 and Otonga School Te Kura o Tihiōtonga, a great place to be.
It has been a real pleasure to be here to support you all. Thanks to our children and whānau for being fantastic and to all of our staff for going the extra mile to ensure our students are happy, learning and having fun while doing so. I hope you all have a lovely break with your children and spend some quality time with the whānau.

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

Presentation by Dr Sarah Aiono - Wed 3rd April 2024

It was fantastic to see so many parents attend the presentation by Dr Sarah Aiono from Longworth Education, last week. She spoke about how play not only supports curriculum requirements but also fosters socio-emotional skills, physical motor development and learning dispositions essential for student success. We learnt about how teachers teach in a play environment, the latest educational research and explored how these practices can be implemented to enhance student outcomes and prepare our children for the future workforce.

Here's a short review of the key points of the presentation:
Dr Sarah Aiono
  • Relevance to Parents: The presentation's focus for parents indicated an understanding of their role in supporting their children's education. By attending, parents gained valuable insights into the significance of the developing brain and the role play has in their child's learning journey.
  • Educational Significance of Play: Dr Aiono effectively conveyed how play contributes to various aspects of development, including socio-emotional skills, physical motor development, and learning dispositions. This understanding helps parents appreciate the holistic benefits of play beyond mere entertainment.
  • Alignment with the New Zealand Curriculum: It highlighted how play supports curriculum requirements and demonstrated the practical relevance of incorporating play-based learning approaches in educational settings. This insight reassured parents that play is not just a diversion but a meaningful part of their child's education.
  • Research-Based Approach: By discussing the latest educational research, Dr Aiono presented evidence-based practices to support her claims. This helped parents understand the scientific basis behind the importance of play in education, enhancing their trust in the presented information.
  • Future Workforce Preparation: The emphasis on preparing children for the future workforce underscores the long-term benefits of integrating play into education. Parents appreciated the focus on equipping their children with essential skills and dispositions necessary for success in a rapidly changing world.
  • Practical Implementation Strategies: Exploring how play-based practices can be implemented in educational settings offered actionable insights for parents. They gained a better understanding of how to support their child's learning through play both at home and in collaboration with teachers.
  • Communication and questions - Dr Sarah provided a platform for parents to ask questions or make comments and this was much appreciated by the attendees.
  • We also thank you for the feedback on and after the night:

School Sustainability and Resilience Fund

Large Group Potting Bench with Integrated Herb Garden

We have made an application to Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Council for the School Sustainability and Resilience Fund (SSRF) and our project is now LIVE on our voting page. Please use the link to vote: www.participate.boprc.govt.nz/ssrf
All the information you need about the fund and the voting can be found here too. PLEASE vote for us!

Voting Tips

  • Go to: www.participate.boprc.govt.nz/ssrf
  • Get everyone voting!
  • Share the link on your social media.
  • Get our community involved in the voting
  • Each voter will need to sign in or make an account on our Participate site to be able to vote.
  • Voters will have up to $30,000 to vote with and must spend a minimum of $25,000 to be able to register their votes.

Otonga Progress Plans (OPPs)

Otonga Progress Plans are about goal setting and progress.
The first page is Who am I?’ followed by Me as a Learner. This ensures that we get to know our students before we teach them. Otonga School Values and Learning Dispositions follow. These are a Google Doc and are shared with parents and whānau and via SeeSaw. In this way, they are always accessible, in real-time.
On the Learning pages, we use ‘SMART’ goals based on the Otonga Learning Progressions and an indication of whether or not they have been achieved, along with new goals that are set, to be achieved.

The plans also have a section on ways to support at home. For these to work, we require maximum collaboration from students, parents and teachers. We value this home-school partnership. These will be shared by this Friday on SeeSaw.
Kind regards
Gareth Cunliffe


Carissa (Rm 21) received a silver medal in the NZ Orienteering Championships for the W12 long course last weekend based at Crater Block, in Rerewhakaaitu. The course took her 28 minutes. She still has another year in this age group, such a great result! Well done!


Congratulations to Mila Cowien, whose values slip was drawn to enjoy Ice Cream Friday with our Principal, Mr Cunliffe.

Remember to wear your House Colours on Fridays.


Te Kura o Tihiōtonga

Term 1, Week 11 - Ako Ruru Year 3

Hinemoa and Tūtānekai Watercolour Art

As part of our learning about Hinemoa and Tūtānekai in Room 13 we explored how to use watercolours to blend together different hues of blue and green, in order to create our Moana - Lake Rotorua. Then some of us painted Iririkapua - Hinemoa’s rock and others painted Mokoia Island. Afterwards we added silhouettes of Hinemoa swimming and Tutanekai playing his putorino on our artwork. We were able to express our imaginings and ideas about the story through this media.

Hinemoa and Tūtānekai Learning

Ako Ruru have enjoyed learning about the local legend of Hinemoa and Tūtānekai this Term. We have been inspired to engage in learning that links to our curriculum in a myriad of ways including the science of why things float or sink, sand, water and construction technology, visual art such as puzzle pieces art and dioramas, Drama, retelling the story with puppets and costume making. Here is a snapshot of some of the concepts we explored within the about of this legend.
Making Mokoia Island and Lake Rotorua from sand and water.
Using puzzle pieces to sort into colours and create an art work related to the story of Hinemoa and Tūtānekai.
Creating a diorama related to the story of Hinemoa and Tūtānekai.
Creating dostume art connected to the story of Hinemoa and Tūtānekai.
Retelling the story of Hinemoa and Tūtānekai using
puppets, making a video to post on Seesaw.

Writing to retell the story of Hinemoa and Tūtānekai.

We read the book Hinemoa and Tūtānekai by Aunty Bea, which is a local Māori legend that links with our school Pepeha. Hinemoa and Tūtānekai actually once lived up at Tihiōtonga and they whakapapa to our school hapu Ngati Whakaue. For this writing task after reading the story, we identified the beginning, middle and end of the story and then we drew a picture plan showing each of the three parts of the story. After our picture planning, we wrote about each picture to retell the story in our own words.

Library & Information Technology Centre News

School Holiday Reading

Remember that it's important to foster a love for reading:

Here are some simple ways to help:
* Make sure the reading is fun and enjoyable.
* Little and often makes a big difference.
  • The Rotorua Public Library School Holiday Programme has some fun activities and reading challenges so please click on this link to see more:
April School Holiday Programme 2024 - Rotorua Library, Te Aka Mauri

Update on Overdue Books:

There are 125 overdue books on loan to students at the moment and reminder notices have been circulated to classrooms.
If children return their overdue books this week they will be allowed to borrow books and return them after the school holidays.
Have a safe and happy holiday.

Mrs Pauline Atkinson, Library Manager


Lost Property will be out everyday this week (weather permitting). There are lots of hats and shoes. On Friday all remaining clothing will be donated to charity groups in the community.

MUD KITCHEN - Resources Needed

Our mud kitchens are a hive of activity and we are on the lookout to add some more resources to them.

If you have any old pots and pans etc for our mud kitchens. We appreciate the contribution.

Please send them to the office.


OTONGA PTA - Fundraising Initiatives


Our Kids Online Parent Evening

LAST CHANCE TO Register https://www.eventfinda.co.nz/2024/our-kids-online-2024/rotorua

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
If you would like to support Te Waarakihi's journey while he fights
to get healthy again, here is a link to his give a little page if
you would prefer to donate $ or cannot donate blood.

Waiariki Women's Refuge - Call for help!

WWR is needing to a big supply drive for whānau that are coming into the service. At the moment, there are 3-4 families in crisis accessing the service. (Rotorua has one of the highest incidences of Family Harm in New Zealand, so our help will be very much appreciated.)

What they need help with, (and would love our school to be involved in) is:
Nappies (all sizes), Wipes, New underwear and socks for our mamas and tamariki, Shampoos and bodywashes for our mamas.

Non-perishable food items such as: Snacks and lunch items for tamariki, pasta sauces, food preparation items, tinned sauces and foods, food bases, gravies, sugars, coffees, long life milk, and other food items, breakfast cereals, ready to heat meals (like noodles, soups etc.).

Things for the deep freezer like bread, frozen veges and frozen food.
Please drop these things off next week in the school office.

During the holidays, they are happy to accept donations in person between 9am-3pm at 1281 Hinemoa Street, Rotorua or arrange a time with Sarah at 0274233542.

Term 1 Diary

(Please note: dates/events may be added or changed without prior notice)
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 2 Diary

(Please note: dates/events may be added or changed without prior notice)
29 Apr Pōhiri - Whole School at 9:15am
1 May PTA AGM 6pm in Staffroom
3 May Mini Marathon
6-10 May NZ Sign Language week
10 May Hui-a-Kura - Hosted by Rm 3 (11:45am - 12:30pm)
17 May Pink Shirt Day
21 May Otonga School Cross Country
23 May Otonga School Cross Country - Postponement Day
24 May Hui-a-Kura - Hosted by Rm 2 (11:45am - 12:30pm)
27 May Kahui Ako Teacher Only Day - SCHOOL CLOSED
28 May BOT Meeting 6pm
29 May Tackle 5's
3 Jun King's Birthday - Public Holiday - SCHOOL CLOSED
7 Jun Hui-a-Kura - Hosted by Rm 17
11 Jun Central BOP Cross Country
11 Jun International Play Day
11 Jun Perform Education - Musicals 9:15am - 12:15pm
12 Jun Otonga OPP Meetings
13 Jun Otonga OPP Meetings
18 Jun Otonga OPP Meetings
21 Jun Hui-a-Kura - Hosted by Rm 18
25 Jun BOP Cross Country
25 Jun BOT Meeting 6pm
27 Jun Matariki Celebration Day
27 Jun Hui-a-Kura - Hosted by Rm 13
28 Jun Matariki Day - Public Holiday - SCHOOL CLOSED
5 Jul Last Day of Term 2 – 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.

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/

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.


If your child needs to be seen by the Community Oral Health dental team please call 0800 525 378.

The following clinics will be open during the holidays (week days only):

Monday 15th April - Thursday 24th April
· Rotorua Intermediate School dental Clinic, Malfroy Rd (07 347 1495)
· Selwyn School Dental Clinic, Old Quarry Rd (07 348 2650)

Monday 15th April - Wednesday 17th April
· Mokoia Intermediate School Dental Clinic, Brent Road (07 345 6670)

Monday 15th April and Tuesday 16th April
· Westbrook School Dental Clinic (07 347 6242)

After hours or emergency – please contact Lakes Primecare or
ED at Rotorua Hospital


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. Please be vigilant towards pedestrians and cyclists!

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
Watch out for cyclists!
• 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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