The Wilderness Planting Day

On Thursday 8th July we held a planting day to add more natives to our Wilderness Area here at school. We were lucky enough to be awarded a grant through Horizons to be able to complete this activity.

In Term 1 we had prepared by making a plan for the area about what plants we’d like and where would be best to plant them. Then at the end of Term 2 we invited members of our community to help us with planting. Following this we held a short ceremony to mark the occasion and afterwards it was back to the classroom for some delicious soup and bread.

Thank you to all the parents, grandparents and community members who joined us and a BIG BIG thank you to Rowena and Sarah from Horizons EnviroSchool for their help. We look forward to watching our trees and plants grow over the next few years, much like some of our parents did when the first Wilderness Area was planted.

Matāriki Celebrations

As you may well be aware Matāriki star cluster returned to the skies this morning signalling the start of a new year. Matāriki, like the more well known New Year at the end of December, is a time for communities to come together and celebrate. Coming together to share kai, learn about our ancestors (whakapapa) and reflect on the year are some of the ways we have decided to celebrate Matāriki this year.

We have spent some time learning about what the word whakapapa means. One student’s interpretation was that “Whakapapa is your family tree its all most like your pepeha. You can see how you relate to other families. You can figure out your history.”

This understanding helped leverage us towards asking questions about our own whakapapa. We had some basic questions we needed to answer about ourselves then create further questions that we wanted to ask of our whānau. We then spent time learning how to interview before spending time with our family getting the information we needed.

Once our interviews were completed it was time to make sense of what we’d heard and found out. We recorded the answers then worked together to create a shared classroom display of what we’ve learnt about our families.

To continue our Matāriki celebrations, next week we are holding a planting day in our Wilderness Area starting at 10:30am with the planting of our natives bought with a grant from Horizons then we will have an official opening ceremony and sign unveiling. Our get together concludes with a celebratory lunch of soup and bread.

We’d love you to join us so please let Stacey know if you haven’t already so we can make sure we have enough soup.

Camp Wellington 2021

Firstly we start with an apology for not getting this post out much sooner! Since our return from Wellington school and life has kept us all occupied AND we have been working away on a little something to share our learning so read on to hear all about our trip to Wellington.

We had a WONDERFUL trip away. We based ourselves in Porirua for most of the week at Camp Elsdon. Day one was our travelling day and we kept it pretty easy with just a visit to Ngā Manu Nature Reserve where the children got to feed the eels and explore the reserve.

Day two started with a trip to Awesome Bounce where kids and adults alike had a great time. The facility was well set up with a rock climbing section, trampolines, bouncy castles and an epic playground. After lunch we headed into Wellington to have a tour of Weta Workshops. Again the kids and adults both rated the experience where they got to check out the sets for the latest Thunderbirds movie and learnt how props and costumes were made for a variety of movies.

Day three kicked off with a trip to Wellington on the train. Some of the children had never been on the train so it was truly an experience for them. After a quick bus ride we arrived at Te Papa for a learning session about volcanoes. We honestly could have spent hours looking around all the exhibits – there was so much to see. We then headed back to Porirua via bus (a double decker no less!) and train to head to the Aquatic Centre. The day was pretty miserable so it was nice to have a lovely warm swim. The slide was extremely fun as was the wave pool!

Day four started a bit more relaxed as we had to pack up in preparation to head to our next overnight destination. As we didn’t need to be at our next learning activity until the afternoon we took a bit of time to explore the local Kmart then headed to Island Bay for our Rocky Shore experience…not before exploring the beach and getting a touch wet! The Island Bay Marine Education Centre was pretty amazing with it’s touch pool where we got to actually hold spider starfish and other creatures. Following this we stopped off at Bowlerama for some ten pin bowling action and dinner before our final stop of the day the Zoo.

At the Zoo we were lucky enough to have an overnight experience where we got to have a tour of the zoo at night, meet the giraffes and Tasmanian devils, and learn about feeding animals. Then we slept the night AT the zoo next to the monkey enclosure, who then became our alarm clock at 6am when the gibbons woke up and did their hilarious morning song. We had another tour of the zoo then it was time to start the long trip home.

A big thank you to Mrs Whale, Kylie, Roger, Melissa, Janey and Tom for their help during camp. Also a big shout out to the kids for making it a great week too.

Below are some Scratch videos the children made relating to camp. Their task was to pick some learning that we did, find out more and create something we could share with others. Through this they used literacy and digital technology skills.


Video 1 – Mikaire, Video 2 – Rickon, Video 3 – Keeva, Video 4 – Luca

By Mikaire
By Rickon

Wheels Day

On Friday 16th April we finished Term 1 with an invitation to join Moawhango School for their Wheels Day with Constable Peter Marks.

We started the day in the classroom where the Moawhango tamariki showed us all their amazing STEM and Digital Learning equipment. It was great to see different products in action and how it challenged the children to work on problem solving and key competency skills. Our tamariki certainly walked away with a long list of things they’d love to have at school.

After this is was time to head outside with Constable Marks who showed us the right way to care for our bikes and make sure they’re safe for riding. He set out an obstacle course which we had to ride around. There were tricky corners and challenging ramps to ride over which we had to do while also being aware of our surroundings and the other 17 or so children also riding their bikes! It was a great way to simulate what it can be like riding in town or on the road.

To finish the day we joined Moawhango for their end of term awards and rewards, then it was time to head home.

Some photos of our day are below:

Trillian Trust Trek Visit

We had the COOLEST day at school today!

Papanui School came over to visit because we were lucky enough to get a visit from the Trillian Trust Trek Crew.

This amazing group of people tour the country each year visiting schools and raising money for kiwi kids in need. We were first treated to a lovely bbq lunch….burgers to die for! Then the cool cars arrived. Old police cars, fire engines, limos to name a few. The ‘trekkers’ gave out lots of treats like lolly pops and balloons and every child got a goodie back filled with cool stuff.

While they visited they played with us and we got to hear from Mark who told us what it’s like to have cerebal palsy. He inspired us with his honesty and the things he has achieved in his life. Then it was around to the pool to watch our very own version of the America’s Cup boat race. This was great fun.

But the biggest excitement of the day was the very generous donation of $950 for the purchase of the zip line and guess what? They brought the zip line along with them and installed it too!

We are SO, SO lucky!

We need to say a tremendous THANK YOU to the Trillian Trust crew for their generous donation of the zipline (and all the other amazing goodies), to Hautapu Pine for their donation of materials towards building the zipline and to JB, Charles, Fraser and John Gilbert for their donations of time getting the poles ready in time for today.

They say a picture is worth a 1000 words so here’s a few of our day.

Week 9 – a busy week of learning.

The term continues to fly by and with Easter gifting us this short week of 3 school days we got our teeth into a 2 day intensive inquiry in relation to our Wilderness Area.

Late last year we were lucky enough to be awarded around $500 from The Pat Kelly Enviro-school Fund to help fund an enviro project. At our 2019 bronze reflection it was identified that we’d like to plant more trees in our wilderness area and continue to develop it as a native bush area. As you might remember from previous blog posts we’ve done some ground work learning around native birds, native trees, bats, lizards etc so developing our bush block is a great follow on from previous building blocks of learning.

So….what did we do? We started by ‘roaming the known’ or exploring the current situation. We brainstormed what we had in our bush already, putting this information into categories such as animals, native trees, exotic species etc. We headed out into the wilderness to explore some more. We took loads of pictures of what we found and areas that potentially needed development. Back in the classroom we worked in small groups to design our ideal wilderness area. This was our time to explore alternatives. It was awesome to see the children truly collaborating their ideas, negotiating, discussing and making compromises.

Once we’d made the dream plans we came together share and find some common elements. Then we had to refresh ourselves about the different types of native trees that we could possibly plant. We read some fact cards and shared with the group some info about different trees. Using this information as well as what we knew from our visits to bush to make a list of all the trees that we felt would grow in our area. After that it was off outside with our list, our dream plans and another piece of paper to properly map the area. We had to draw a map of the Wilderness, showing where we had trees already and where there was space to plant more. On our map we planned space for pathways, where we wanted to put a seat, lizard habitats and other key interest areas.

We used a measuring wheel to measure spaces and used this information to decide what types of trees would fit where. After we’d finished outside we came back in to draw the final map as the first one got a bit messy as we changed our mind a bit! The last thing we did was then decide exactly which trees we wanted to plant in the spaces. Everyone had their favourite type that they wanted and luckily we managed to please everyone. Our next step is to get these trees ordered and ready for a planting day in the winter.

The intensive inquiry was a great way for the students to use literacy, maths and key competency skills within an authentic context.

With our Wilderness Project well and truly on track we dipped back into some other learning we had been doing earlier in the term.

We had been tasked by the Stoney Whānau to do some investigating into some old graves they became aware of on their farm. This led us into exploring who lived in our area early last century and what Pukeokahu was like many, many years ago. It took quite a bit of work but we managed to get a general idea of who the graves may belong to. Today the Stoney’s took us on a walk through their farm to the site. As we walked we talked about what we knew and Steve was able to share some stories of our local iwi who lived in the area. On our way back to home base we also explored an area which has some very, very old fruit trees. We picked some of the fruit to try and grow some seeds. Many thanks to the Stoney Whānau for inviting us to their farm, the children enjoyed their walk and seeing the many pets at the end!

Weetbix TRYathlon

What a wonderful day we had yesterday in Palmerston North for the Weetbix TRYathlon.

Four out of the five of us were able to compete with Lennon and Johnan spending the day supporting everyone.

First up was Luca with the 10 year old girls. She was pretty nervous but once she got going there was nothing but smiles (and maybe some relief at the end when she finished!) Well done Luca, you did a great job. Next to race was Mikaire. He was also pretty nervous but despite this he pushed on and tried really hard throughout his race. Congratulations Mikaire for rising to the challenge. After Mikaire it was Rickon’s turn. He had a ball and knew exactly what to do. He even explained after that he ‘passed heaps of people’. Awesome stuff Rickon! Finally we had Keeva race. She’d had to patiently wait most of the day for her turn and like the others was all smiles right through the race. Fantastic race Keeva!

It was a really fun day out for all. Thank you to Melissa, Janey, Kylie and Miranda for coming along to support the children. There were some tired kids on the way home no doubt! Stacey’s passenger slept the entire drive home!

Check out these pictures of the kids in action.

Swimming Sports

Huge congratulations to our swimmers who were like speedy fish in the water on Friday.

In the learner pool, Johnan showed off his cool learning to everyone, including putting his head under the water! Awesome progress. Then Rickon showed us how he can freestyle and backstroke, as well as dive through a hoop.

In the afternoon the length pool events began. In the widths races Mikaire came first in both freestyle and backstroke! Well done to you Mikaire and looks like you’ll be swimming lengths next year!

Both Keeva and Luca swam in the Year 7 girls lengths races with the following results.

Keeva – 1 length freestyle = 1st, 2 lengths freestyle = 1st, 1 length backstroke = 3rd, 2 lengths backstroke = 2nd, 1 length breaststroke = 1st, 2 lengths breaststroke = 2nd, 3 length medley = 1st

Luca – 1 length freestyle = 3rd, 1 length backstroke = 1st, 1 length breaststroke = 2nd.

Following such stunning results both girls have made the Rural School Interschool Team and will represent us this coming Friday (19th March) at the Taihape Interschool Event. We wish them the best of luck!

Huge thank you to the parents / grandparents who came along to support the children. Special shout out to Janey and Melissa for taking part in the parent-student relay at the end where we placed 3rd.

Ripper Skills

On Friday we took a trip around to Te Kura o Moawhango (Moawhango School) as they had invited us to come and join their Ripper Rugby skills session with Simon from Whanganui Rugby. What a fabulous time we had mixing with a different set of children as well as learning some new skills. This kind of social interaction is vitally important with our roll of 5. While we are like one big family and enjoy hanging out together, it is also important that we get out and about with other people.

Check out the pictures of us in action.

Rafting, Caterpillars and Tadpoles

Wowser! It’s been a busy start to the term.


Last week we went on our annual raft trip. It happened to coincide with two days of freezing weather so we decided to camp overnight at the Lodge rather than down the river and have a 1 day scenic trip. It was a great time to bond (girls vs boys) with each other and take part in some outdoor learning experiences.

At the Lodge we learnt about tracking or trail signs then made trails for each other to follow. We made our pizzas for Roger to cook in the pizza oven and watched a movie. On river we had many chances to challenge ourselves. Janey taught us about safe river crossings and we had several practices at that. For some of us the water was very swift and it scared us! We spent some time checking for invertebrate in the water, however it was super cold at our lunch stop so we didn’t stay there long. Near the end of the trip we were allowed to jump into some small rapids and practice rapid position which is on your back with your feet facing down river. Entertaining to watch and for those in the water it pushed them to their limits of challenge.

A HUGE thank you to Janey, River Valley Lodge, Ollie, Kylie, Roger B, Roger G and Melissa for helping us during our trip. Without this help we couldn’t take part in such amazing experiences.


In the classroom we are caring for and learning about the life cycle of both frogs and monarch butterflies. It’s been exciting for us all (adults included) to watch the daily changes, especially the caterpillars who seem to grow before our eyes.

Check out the photos of what we’ve seen.