Dear Families,

A very warm welcome to a new school year and to our first newsletter of 2020.

This year our connected curriculum focus is Taonga or ‘Gifts’. Throughout the year we will be learning about our own and others’ taonga as well as the taonga which is part of God’s creation in our natural environment. Our mission through the year will be to acknowledge these gifts and explore ways we can protect and nurture taonga in ourselves, others and the world.

Our Term 1 focus is entitled ‘Explore’ where we will be developing understandings around taonga and how our gifts can be shared and protected for the future.

Beginning of the Year Picnic

On Thursday 27 February 5.00 – 7.00 p.m. we are holding our annual school Beginning of the Year Picnic (top field) to which you are all invited.  The PTA will provide a free sausage sizzle, and with our much-loved waterslide in operation, it should be a great evening.  Drinks and ice blocks will be available for purchase.  Bring your picnic blanket, togs, towel and sunscreen and join in the fun.

Holiday Works

You will have noticed on your return to school last week that our admin and the internal quadrangle area of our school has had a real spruce up over the holidays. This is the first part of our painting project which will see all of the school buildings transformed over the next few years. Thanks to those who have shared their delight at the new look. We are very pleased with the outcome of the first part of the school painting project.


Celebrating Chinese New Year

You will also have noticed when arriving at school that our fabulous Jia Family Group has decorated our school environment with red lanterns as part of their celebration of the Chinese New Year. It was wonderful to start our school year in such a festive way. We thank our Jia Family Group for their efforts.

Staffing Update

We welcome four new staff to our learning community at the beginning of this year. They were blessed and introduced at our beginning of the year assembly last week and have begun their journey with us with energy and enthusiasm. I am sure you will make them feel very welcome when you see them around school.

Miss Alice Shin Classroom Teacher in Room 10/11 Year 1

Greetings students and families of Our Lady Star of the Sea School! My name is Alice Shin and I am thrilled to announce that I will be teaching Year 1 this year. This will be my first year teaching at Our Lady Star of the Sea School and I am excited to meet the students who will be embarking on this journey with me. I am originally from Korea but I completed my teacher training in New Zealand. I have taught students ranging from New Entrants to Year 2 and am also a certified Reading Recovery teacher. In my spare time, I enjoy travelling and watching movies. As a new member of the school community, I look forward to getting to know all of you soon!

Mrs Raneen Kettoola Classroom Teacher in Room 22 Year 5 and 6

Kia Ora. My name is Raneen Kettoola, and I am the new classroom teacher in Room 22. I am so thrilled to be a part of Our Lady Star of the Sea whānau this year. After three years of teaching at Everglade School, I decided that it was time to embark on a new journey. In particular, it was my desire to join a Catholic school as I was also educated in one and from which I have many fond and beautiful memories. I am originally from Iraq and belong to St Addai Chaldean Catholic Church in Papatoetoe. My husband and I have two gorgeous boys; Christopher who is nearly six years old and Gabriel who is three and a half. I am looking forward to a successful year ahead.

Mrs Helen Burger Classroom Teacher in Room 20 Year 5 and 6

My name is Helen Burger and I am new to the school. I live in Cockle Bay and was raised in Howick. My husband Roelof is South African and came over from Durban about 12 years ago. We have two sons – Peter (Yr5) and John (Yr2). My main interests have always been in linguistics. I studied French, German and Spanish at university and went on to travel to Europe where I lived in Germany for a few years teaching ESOL. I also like cooking (much to my husband’s delight).

Mrs Claire Couchman Academic Support Staff Room 22

Hi, I am Claire Couchman (photo to come!). I am so excited to be back in the community as a learning assistant at Our Lady Star of the Sea. I have three daughters that have all been to the school with very fond memories. I look forward to the year ahead.

Coronavirus Update

We are very grateful that our families who have had any concerns about potential exposure to the Coronavirus while overseas have been supportive of the 14 day isolation period. As it currently stands, NZ remains free of the illness. We are continuing to keep a close eye on the Ministry of Education and Health updates and following their advice on an ongoing basis. If anything changes we will be in touch with an update.

Developing our Chapel Space

You will read below in the Director of Religious Studies section of this newsletter that we are in the initial stages of developing a chapel space in our school. We are looking to put curtains up in the space to create a calm and peaceful environment. If you are good with a sewing machine and keen to lend a hand to sew the curtains we would love to hear from you! Feel free to contact me or our DRS Detta Fairweather by emailing [email protected]

We have had a very successful start to 2020 with lots of fun and energy as teachers and students get back into the routine of school life. Thank you for helping your children to remember to wear their hats and drink plenty of water as the days are very warm. We look forward to continuing into this term with the same positivity that has begun the year.

Wishing you all a happy and safe fortnight between now and the next time we share school news in our next newsletter.

Ngā mihi nui
Louise Campbell


Teaching staff are currently working through a Catholic Tertiary Institute Religious Education paper entitled Spirituality for Teachers. Part of the paper challenges us to consider what our images of God are. Are they still the same as the images we had as a child? Have they grown as we have  grown? When we pray, what names do we use for God? Loving Father, Creator, Te Atua, Good Shepherd, God of Wisdom, Master, Matua, Saviour. This term the Religious Education teaching and learning programme will focus on the God strand. Students, at their level,  will explore their own images of God and be introduced to some of the many names for God. This is something you could explore with them further at home through your family prayer time or your everyday discussions. 

“Prayer is a plant, 

the seed of which is sown at the heart of every Christian, 

but its growth depends on the care we take to nourish it”

Catherine McAuley

Bishop Pat will be celebrating Eucharist, Tuesday 18 February at 7pm for all teachers involved in Catholic Education across the Auckland Diocese. All teachers in Catholic schools are expected to be involved in ongoing Religious Education Professional Development and during this mass teachers who have completed a qualification will be acknowledged. We congratulate Tracey Elder, Catherine Sheffield, Lee Marten, Brooke Curtain, Zahira Salejee for their respective certificates. 

Commissioning Mass will be celebrated in the parish church, 11am Friday 21 February. Senior students who are taking on a role or responsibility will be acknowledged at this mass. 

At the bottom of this newsletter you will see a flyer advertising 6 short sessions during Lent. Fr John will lead us on a journey,  Making Sense of the Centre of our Faith “THE MASS”. It will be A Lenten Journey with Food for the Soul and the Mind. This is a great opportunity for us all and we thank Fr John for leading these sessions. Further information is on the flyer. 

It is with great pleasure and excitement we announce that Room 1 will become our temporary school chapel. This is a much awaited development for our school.  This space will provide another dimension to school life. A quiet reflective area for prayer, as well as a place to celebrate and connect with our parish church. Our sacred furniture and vessels will be housed here and buddy class masses will be celebrated in the temporary chapel during Terms 2 and 3. We hope to have a blessing of the temporary chapel before the end of this term. As part of the refurbishment of this space we are in great need of people who can sew. If you are able to assist please email me directly [email protected]

Prayer intention:

That we extend the Mercy value of Hospitality to those who are new to our school, parish and wider community, in all we do, think and say.

Detta Fairweather 

Director of Religious Studies



Your Board previously advised our community of the compulsory attendance dues and voluntary contributions for 2020.

  • The Diocese has set the compulsory attendance dues for 2020 at $448.00 per student
  • The Diocese have also requested a voluntary special character contribution of $50.00 per student.
  • Your Board is also requesting a voluntary contribution of $500.00 per student.

The voluntary contribution goes towards the funding and staffing of the additional educational and support programmes in place at our school such as: learning support assistants and information centre support staff, additional resources, ICT provision and technical support, additional Professional Development for teaching staff and curriculum development tools and support

Your contribution will also be used to fund those other activities such as online learning media, Education Outside the Classroom, class trips, end of year outings, visiting performers and artists.

As you know, this voluntary contribution is tax deductible with the added bonus of families not being approached throughout the year for the individual cost of the activities as mentioned above.  The total of compulsory attendance dues and voluntary contributions therefore comes to $998.00 per student for the 2020 school year.

Further information including how to pay, and a copy of your statement, will be emailed to you later next week.

Vaughan Fraser

BOT Chairman


Its that time again !!
Our biggest fundraiser for the year kicks off on Monday 17th February.
1 x box of chocolates will be sent home with each family.
In the box there is a newsletter with all the information you will need and what amazing competitions we are running !!
Thank you for your continued support with our fundraising efforts.
Our annual AGM will be held on Monday 9th March at 7.00 pm in the staffroom.
We are looking for people to join the PTA this year.
It is extremely rewarding and a fantastic way to be involved in our school community and meet new people.
If you would like to find out more about what is in involved please email me on [email protected]

Nicole Kelly

PTA Chairperson

As we look forward to another exciting year in the Information Centre, let’s take a look at a last year in review 2019 …..

Top 3 authors

Liz Pichon (Tom Gates series)

Danielle McDonald & Meredith Costain (Ella Diaries)

Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy kid)

Top 3 books

Pokemon classic collector’s handbook

Yes, No, Maybe (Tom Gates series) by Liz Pichon

65 Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths

Number of books borrowed: 

Senior fiction: 4,396;  Junior fiction: 3,421;  Picture books: 3,131;  Sophisticated picture books: 331;  Non fiction: 3,153; Graphic novels: 988

Over 15,000 books were read by our students, that’s amazing!

4 fabulous authors and 2 illustrators visited us and inspired our students.

What a fantastic year! 



We have started 2020 with the exciting news that some of our students are published illustrators! 

Last year, Mrs Rebecca Sentch and Room 17 students studied the distinctive illustration style of Peter Gossage whose books retelling Maori legends are classics in NZ children’s literature. They produced their own interpretation of stories such as How Maui slowed the sun

Mrs Sentch submitted their fantastic artwork to Toitoi which is a New Zealand journal for young writers and artists. We are so proud to see that the art work of four of our students was chosen for publication in the latest issue! 

Congratulations to  Toby Currie, Ruby Burnnand, Ryan Tam and Emily Lazarte-Simic.



Helping Hands has been part of Our Lady Star of the Sea’s culture for quite some time.  It is where our school community comes together to help those in stressful situations i.e. a parent or grandparent being very ill, a family bereavement or a new born baby to the family.

We would like those in need to know we care!  If you would like to be a part of this wonderful group of caring people who are called upon once or twice a year to either make a meal or bake a cake,  please click on the link hands and fill out the online form.   Cakes and meals are delivered to the school office and we will distribute them.

As we all know – “we are in this together”.

If we can assist your family or if you hear of any family in our school community please let the office know.

Thank you  

Lisa-Marie Samuel

Helping Hands Co-ordinator


Term 1   Monday 3 February to Thursday 9 April  (teacher only day 3 Feb)

Term 2   Tuesday 28 April to Friday 3 July  (ANZAC DAY holiday Monday 27 April)

Term 3    Monday 20 July to Friday 25 September

Term 4    Monday 12 October to Friday 18 December






BARADENE COLLEGE – OPEN EVENING will be held on Thursday 5 March, 2020 at 6.30 p.m. 

We welcome all prospective parents and students to visit the College.  Entry at Gate 2 to the Auditorium.

Enrolments for Year 7, 2021 are presently being accepted and will close on Friday 13 March 2020 at 3.00pm.  A limited number of places in Year 9 will be available and applications will close on Friday 13 March 2020 at 3.00 pm.