Te Kura o Tihiōtonga

Otonga Primary School

FOUR WINDS NEWS - 26th June 2024


Kia ora Koutou - Dear Parents and Caregivers

Mānawatia a Matariki

This week we are celebrating Matariki. For Māori, Matariki is the Pleiades star cluster and a celebration of its first rising in late June or early July. The rising marks the beginning of the new year in the Māori lunar calendar.
You’re invited to come and celebrate Matariki on Thursday 27th June.
We hope to see you there!
Kind regards
Mr Gareth Cunliffe


Just a reminder that school will be CLOSED this Friday 28th June for Aotearoa's Annual Matariki Public Holiday. Have a fantastic long weekend everyone!


Update from Laura Owen our BOT Acting Presiding Member

Kia ora all

I thought it timely to update you on some recent events and successes at Te Kura o Tihiōtonga, which have happened since I became the Acting Presiding member of the Board of Trustees on 26 March.

As you will be aware we have recently had the Education Review Office (ERO) visit our school. We are awaiting the formal reports on this. The informal feedback we have received is very positive in terms of student attendance, achievement, school leadership, and student and staff wellbeing.

I wish to congratulate Gareth on his recent success. Gareth has won the 2024 Rotorua Principal’s Travelling Fellowship Award. This is an annual award made to one local Principal by the Rotorua Principals Association. The prize includes $10,000 towards international educational study.

Gareth will travel to Scandanavia in term 4 as part of his sabbatical. Part of this travel will involve research about his winning topic of “Leading Staff Wellbeing Through Happiness and Hygge”. Hygge (said “hooga”) is the Nordic concept of happiness. Hygge is a concept broadly including feelings of home, cosiness, safety, being able to be one’s authentic self and living a balanced lifestyle. His research will address the question of ‘Nordic Happiness - Why do Denmark and other Nordic countries consistently rank among the happiest in the world?’

The intention is to foster a greater sense of belonging and camaraderie among staff and students, creating an even more supportive and inclusive school community.
Gareth will also spend time in Finland on an educational study tour.

In Term 4, his sabbatical research will center around developmentally appropriate pedagogy, researching local schools who foster a balance between teacher-directed and child-directed learning with the driving question being: 'What are the students learning when they are not with the teacher?' Time will be set aside to read research about pedagogy that supports this and the fantastic work the Lego Foundation is doing in this space.

Well done, Gareth! We look forward to benefiting from the learning you will bring back to our school.

Finally, congratulations to our newly elected members of the Board of Trustees: Kathryn McMurdo and Joseph Brown. You both bring an abundance of skills and relevant experience to the Board. We look forward to working with you.

A big “Thank You!” to all staff for your never-ending hard work and dedication to our tamariki, school and community.

I wish you all a relaxing and enjoyable long weekend. Ngā mihi o Matariki, te tau hou Māori!


Otonga Board of Trustees 2024 Parent By-Election

Kia Ora Koutou,

As Returning Officer I have the responsibility of informing all voters and the school community of the results of the Otonga 2024 Board of Trustees Parent By-election.

The results of the 2024 BOT Parent By-election are as follows:
71 - Kathryn McMurdo (23%)
68 - Joseph Te Horowai Brown (22%)
59 - Catherine Monkhouse (19%)
48 - Sebastian George Jew (16%)
30 - Mikail Steens (10%)
28 - Jacobus Lukas Marthinus Meyer (9%)
0 - Invalid votes

I hereby declare the following two candidates duly elected:
Kathryn McMurdo
Joseph Te Horowai Brown

Ngā mihi nui
Kind regards

Antonia Magness
Returning Officer

Speech & Drama Competition

We are proud of our students at Otonga who received awards and trophies at the yearly Rotorua Speech and Drama Competition:
Neal Pardal got two trophies:
Dugdale Trophy for own selection poem
Olphert cup for Character Recital in Costume

Neal also received first prize in Character Recital (costume)
First prize in own selection poem
Second prize in Light verse open.
Joshya Banker received second place in own selection poem and second place in character recital in costume.



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

Remember to wear your House Colours on Fridays.

KOS - Keeping Ourselves Safe

In term 3 we will be completing the Keeping Ourselves Safe unit at school for the first three weeks of the term.

What will children and young people learn?

They will learn:
  • to work out when their safety is at risk
  • how to keep safe when they meet and mix with other people
  • who and how to ask for help if they, or someone they know, is being abused
  • to go on asking for help until someone does something to stop the abuse
  • that it is important to make and follow personal, family and school safety rules.
They will know:
  • that abuse is never okay
  • that abuse is never their fault.
For more information please have a look at the website:

Constable Viv will be in to run to two whānau hui to explain more about what is included and answer any question you might have.
Dates of hui: Tuesday 23rd July at 2pm or Tuesday 23rd July at 5:30pm



Term 2, Week 9 - Ako Korimako (Year 6)

Happy Matariki e te Whānau! This year’s theme is Matariki Heri Kai: The Feast of Matariki.

To kick start our week of celebrations, Ako Korimako held a hangi last Friday. The tamariki helped prepare the kai by peeling vegetables, crumbing bread, and packing the kai into foil packs that were placed in our school hangi cookers for its 4-hour cooking time. At 1.30pm, it was time to eat. Ka reka! Delicious!
Boys busy at their mahi while listening to music.
The girls had the job of crumbing the bread for the stuffing.
Miss T and Urvashi had the job of slicing the onions for the stuffing.

Ako Korimako visit to Tangatarua

On Monday, we visited our school marae Tangatarua on the Toi Ohomai campus. Tangatarua translates to "two peoples, together in one place in one land." and is named after a Tūhourangi ancestor, who lived on the land where the campus is situated.

We gathered at the waharoa before the pōhiri and Kaumatua Ken talked to us about the pōhiri process including the giving of koha (donation) to the hau kainga (home people).

After the pōhiri, Papa Eru the kaumatua of Tangatarua gave a korero on the stories behind different pou in the whare. The tamariki learnt various tikanga (customs) e.g.
‘Women could not sit in front of the pou but to the side”; “Pou represents an ancestor”; “The carving of Ngatoroirangi was the oldest”
We had three activities to complete which were kemu rakau with Whaea Nadia, waiata with Whaea Arihi and Whaea Aroha and art with Whaea Jann.
It was wonderful to reconnect with the marae and we will continue with yearly visits for our tamariki to enjoy. Ngā mihi to Mr Cunliffe for taking us onto the marae.
If you want to learn about Tangatarua Marae, visit the Toi Ohomai website

These two learning experiences enriched the cultural capability of our tamariki which would not be possible without the tautoko of our whānau with koha kai and supporting us on these days.
Ngā mihi maioha - Ako Korimako teachers.


Overdue Library Books:

A BIG 'Thank you' to pupils who have returned overdue books. To date we have 102 books more than 7 days overdue!
'Overdue Borrower' reminder lists will be sent to classrooms this week. If your child comes home with a notice please help them search for the book and return it to the Library. If they have not finished reading the book they can simply bring the book to the Issue desk and it can be renewed.

If children have an overdue book they will not be allowed to borrow a book next week for reading during the school holidays. Thank you.

Rotorua Public Library School Holiday Programme:

Please click on the link below to see the great range of activities available during the school holidays. There are lots of creative craft workshops suitable for inside play, fun activities and reading challenges.
Be in early and check out the website.
July 2024 School Holidays - Rotorua Library, Te Aka Mauri
"Ngā mihi o Matariki"
Mrs Atkinson, Library Manager

OTONGA SPORTS - Registrations Now Open

First Credit Union - KIDS FIRST Newsletter

The KidsFirst newsletter is back! and it is packed with tips/information to help whanau achieve their financial goals and this term there is a Matariki themed colouring competition where the kids can WIN one of 5 x $20 Warehouse Gift Cards.

Colouring competition closes at 4:30pm on Friday 5 July!
Bring your completed entry to the office or email them to marketing@firstcu.co.nz.

Please click on the
link to view a pdf of this newsletter.

Term 2 Diary

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

27 Jun Matariki Celebration Day
28 Jun Matariki Day - Public Holiday - SCHOOL CLOSED
1-2 Jul Y4-6 Auditions for 'The Rainbow Fish'
4 Jul Y4-6 Auditions for 'The Rainbow Fish'
4 Jul Room 18 - Science/Art Fair Trip (12-3pm)
5 Jul Hui-a-Kura - Hosted by Rm 19
5 Jul Last Day of Term 2 – School closes at 3pm

Term Dates 2024

TERM 2: Mon 29th April – Fri 5th July
(Rotorua Central Kahui Ako Teacher Only Day – Mon 27th May - School Closed)
(King’s Birthday Holiday - Mon 3rd June)
(Matariki Holiday - 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)


Otonga Sports Uniforms

Just a reminder that our sports uniforms are available to order at https://uniformhub.co.nz/collections/otonga-school.
We also now have a school hoodie available to compliment our sports uniform or to wear as everyday clothing. Check it out on the website!


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

Head Lice

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.
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.

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 Tuesdays and Fridays (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.


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

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:

Protect against MEASLES

Just a reminder to be vigilant in the face of an increased risk of measles around the motu. Keep registers up to date and remember the best protection against measles is two doses of the MMR vaccine.

Check your immunisation register:
Measles information – Ministry of Education

Find out if you need a measles vaccination – Te Whatu Ora

Te Whatu Ora has more information on measles on its website:

Measles – Te Whatu Ora

Riding Safely in Otonga School


A reminder for everyone!

No U-turns and No 3-point-turns along Otonga Road outside School.

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.

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.

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 4:35pm to 5:35pm and Thursdays 4:35pm to 5:35pm
Enrolling for remainder of term 2, and terms 3 & 4.
Small classes, friendly, safe, quiet, organic environment
All Enquiries welcome.
Text or Phone 027 351 3887 or email janet@jkeen.net. 374 Clayton Road, Rotorua

Matariki Drone Show

AROUNI Indigenous Arts Festival with First Lights presents ‘Matariki’, a drone light, sound and story event this midwinter at the Rotorua Lakefront, Aotearoa. Created by Māori artists Cian Elyse White (Ngāti Pikiao) and Mataia Keepa (Ngāti Whakaue), Matariki (the Māori name for the cluster of stars also known as the Pleiades) tells the stories of environmental markers connected to this star cluster, as well as the large Waka or Canoe (Te Waka o Rangi) and it’s captain Taramainuku.

Throughout the year, Taramainuku traverses the sky with a large net, collecting the souls of our loved ones who have passed away across the year. During the month of May, Te Waka o Rangi sails beneath the horizon, rising again in June/July. When it rises, Taramainuku casts his net into the sky, releasing the collected souls to be immortalised forever as stars. Signalling the start of a new year, ‘Matariki’ invites audiences to look to the night sky and consider their human connection to the celestial realm.

When: Thursday the 27th and Friday the 28th of June
Time: Rotorua Night Markets from 5:00PM.
Drone light show starts at 8:00PM on the dot.
Where: Rotorua Lakefront | Kouramāwhitiwhiti
Cost: Free and suitable for the whole whānau

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.)

Please drop the following off at the School Office:
Nappies (all sizes), Wipes, New underwear and socks for our mums and tamariki, Shampoos and bodywashes.
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 veggies and frozen food.
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