February 2022 – what have we been up to?

The year has started with a hiss and roar. Apologies for taking this long to provide an update!

We have started the year with some strong roll growth and currently have 8 lovely students attending our school. A big welcome to Charlie (10) and to Te Rau (8) and brother Te Awa (5) who have all recently started with us this term. We are also looking forward to welcoming three more students in the coming months. We will introduce them as they arrive.

Over the holidays there were a few property projects on the go. We have a full repaint of the buildings which has really spruced the place up a bit. We also had the long awaited construction of an outdoor learning space. This space has been great during the hot days and once the curtain sides are installed will be awesome in the winter too. It means our younger learners can get outside in all weather and work on their building and painting projects. Unfortunately we were unable to get the pool up and running this season due to some water quality, then quantity issues. This has been rectified now and we look forward to getting our pool back up and going next summer. Thankfully we have still been able to cool off in the afternoons as the Bryants have generously offered use of their pool.

Speaking of water……

We kicked off our school year with the annual trip down the river. As always a huge mihi goes to River Valley for their support of our trip and for making it as fun as always. We had some amazing weather for it and huge whānau support. Some photos of our trip are posted below.

Our focus for this year is Hauora (Health / Wellbeing) and this term we are learning about water health. The first piece of learning we have worked on is about the water cycle. Check out Facebook soon for some videos that demonstrate our learning. Following on from this we plan to explore our local water sources and study their health. Watch this space.

In other news the girls, Keeva and Luca, have started their visits to PTP (Primary Technology Programme) at TAS for this term. Both girls are doing Food Technology and enjoying it so far. We also continue our swimming lesson in Taihape once a week.

Unfortunately due to COVID restrictions there have been several cancellations of events including Athletics and the Weetbix Tryathlon. This is hugely disappointing for those of us who enjoy sport, however at present we all understand why these events cannot go ahead.

That’s all for this update…..until next time….

Kia mau te wehi ngā tāmariki!

If you follow our Facebook page you will have seen a couple of tumeke advertisements for our upcoming seedling sale.

As teachers, Mrs. Whale and I were incredibly proud of what the tāmariki produced. We had spent a few days unpacking what effective advertisements do, what language they use, and so on. From this learning, the children had to write a list of ‘success criteria’ for what an effective advertisement should be like.

After this, they then started planning their advertisement and practicing their script. Once they were happy with their plan it was time to record. They used an app called Clips on the iPad to put their work together. This was the first time they had used the app but as per usual it didn’t take them long to figure it out.

Here are two advertisements for you to enjoy….one from Keeva and one from Rickon. More are on their way!

Overdue Update!

Arohamai! We have been slack at keeping everyone updated with the comings and goings at our school. The dreaded lockdown put a spanner in the works and then it was busy, busy as we tried to finish off some things before the break. Here’s hoping this term a bit more settled!

So due to Lockdown we missed our overnight trip up the maunga to ski. We tried unsuccessfully TWO more times to get a day trip up to Turoa but each time the weather was NOT our friend. So we improvised and instead went for a day trip to Ohakune. We rock climbed, had kebabs at the carrot park then called into the Army Museum on our way home where we were treated to a VIP tour. Check out some of the photos from the day…..

As well as tripping around the rohe having fun we also had our heads down doing some hard mahi. The Fakes and Forgeries Art Display is being held in Mangaweka this weekend so we spend the final weeks of last term learning about NZ Artists, writing biographies then ‘faking’ or forging’ their artwork. We learnt lots about people we’d never heard of and some help literacy skills in the process. If you’re in Mangaweka this weekend (or going through) call in to the Hall to see the school displays. Here’s a sneak peek of ours….

In other exciting news we found this critter:

It was in some of the New World Little Gardens we had left over from last year. After realising that the Little Gardens aren’t made in NZ but in Poland we decided to do the responsible thing and contact MPI for further instruction. They were very interested to know what it might be so we had to send it via mail to Christchurch for analysis. Turns out it was not a foreign species breaking into our country but just a regular old critter from NZ. Still it felt good to do the right thing and protect our flora and fauna. And the bonus was the lovely lady, Laura, send us a parcel with some goodies to say thank you!

As you can imagine with all this excitement we were pleased to see the end of the term. We celebrated with our termly re-design of the classroom and a shared lunch. Here we are enjoying our time together…..

Term 4 has kicked off with a hiss and roar and will only get busier. We have weekly trips to town, with the girls attending PTP at TAS and the boys exploring town and learning outside the classroom. This week we walked part of the Papakai Park track. WOW! So cool and we discovered some ancient history of Taihape on the way. It’s sparked some interest so we plan to learn about bit more about what we found.

We also have kapa haka in Mangaweka for several Monday’s and swimming too. Pet Day is on the 18th of November – the plan being for us to host Taoroa and Mangaweka for a combined day, however the COVID levels may come into play. Watch this space as we’ll update and confirm soon. Later in the term we have Athletics at Papanui and our Bat exploration evening planned too.

Oh and some reading, writing and maths is tucked in there too!

Until the next update…….

Ka kite ano!

August Lockdown

A week ago who would have thought that we’d be plunged into a snap lockdown and that when we left school on Tuesday afternoon the next time we’d talk would be on zoom!

But here we are!

The Pukeokahu Kids have taken to this latest Lockdown with their usual cool, calm and collected manner and are just getting on with things! We had one day ‘off’ home learning to collect our thoughts then on lockdown day 2 we were into it with our daily zoom call and online learning programme underway.

The daily zoom gives us all an opportunity to connect and keep in touch. We do some Go Noodle together then fill the remainder of our time with some chat out home life, activities we’ve been doing and today we even got a house tour which is set to feature daily (some of us requested some time to ensure our home was ‘tour ready’).

Below is some writing done for home learning by Luca. I hope to share some more in the coming days.

Animal Town

I arrived just as an ordinary tourist, there were about 10 to 15 people on the tour. We were having a tour around Animal Town. It Is well known for its animal species. Now that’s enough information let’s get onto the story. It started on the tour bus. I suddenly got starving. I asked the tour guide if he could stop at the next Cafe. I got out without looking. He drove off. What I saw was incredible, I saw that some creatures had the same idea for getting lunch. I felt surprised and extremely hungry. I could smell the juicy burger the bear was eating. I swear I could taste it as well. I could hear the birds singing in the bear burping. I was so hungry the creatures looked harmless so I tried to scoot past the lion but in one gulp I was in the lion’s tummy but at least it was a burger in there. the end 

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!