Children have the capacity to demonstrate heightened curiosity and genuine interest in the world around them. They naturally show the propensity to explore, investigate and discover; they are in essence, scientists.

The way Matahui students connect to the environment may not necessarily be unique, but it is significant. They enjoy going outside and the school playground becomes a microcosm of scientific opportunities – a living laboratory. When I shared Saxon Russell’s story (which KVH weaved into the report below) with the students in each class and informed them that the beetle he had discovered at school might be a horticultural “nasty,” they headed out on an intense search.

Prior to leaving school a six year old student at Matahui School in Katikati found a stink bug nymph, had his mother take a photo and proudly showed the critter off to his Dad. Being the small world that it is, Dad’s work sometimes relates to the kiwifruit industry and he had been contacted in the past by KVH about the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) so knew to make a report.

Formal identification by the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) found that the bug was a native Australian Green Shield Bug.

 This is a fantastic example of the great awareness of our environment, and all the living things in it (of which biosecurity is such an important element), being built up from the ground level by teachers and principals day-to-day in, and outside of the classroom. Raising public awareness is what we are all about, and our goal is for the whole country to form a team of 4.7 million biosecurity conscious New Zealanders by 2025. (Kiwifruit Vine Health 2018).

“Saxon the Scientist” and his scientific Matahui buddies hardly left a leaf unturned such was the excitement of the challenge to locate and carefully capture the beetle he had seen. Our Matahui scientists recognized the importance of the task ahead and became part of an authentic scientific process, one designed to carefully monitor our environment. They have certainly become biosecurity conscious watchdogs.

We must continue to nurture the innate curiosity of the children we teach and give them authentic ways to demonstrate scientific thinking and methodology, especially in relation to the environment. They will learn that their actions can have an immense impact on the way we care for and sustain the planet on which we live.


Come and meet Kowhai class 2018

Haere Mai! Welcome to Kowhai class.

Here are our self portraits using black paint on a backdrop of primary colours, then mixed together to make a secondary colour.

We have been learning to introduce ourselves and our age in Maori.

Ko Darcy toku ingoa.  E rima aku tau.


Ko Aroha toku ingoa.  E ono aku tau.


Ko Callaway toku ingoa.  E ono aku tau.


Ko Cameron toku ingoa.  E ono aku tau.



Ko Payton toku ingoa.  E ono aku tau.



Ko Kaida toku ingoa.  E ono aku tau.



Ko Charlotte toku ingoa.  E rima aku tau.



Ko Emma toku ingoa.  E rima aku tau.



KoTyla toku ingoa.  E rima aku tau.



Ko Anna toku ingoa.  E rima aku tau.



Ko Phoenix toku ingoa.  E rima aku tau.


Ko Saxon toku ingoa.  E ono aku tau.

Haere ra!




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I read an article by Steve Wheeler* in which he referred to a Maori saying… “Ka mura, Ka muri,” which means ‘walking backwards into the future’.

We recently attended a family  tangi up North where we farewelled Nuki Aldridge, one of the strongest voices for Ngapuhi. He channelled his energy into the affairs of the north and will be remembered for upholding “He Whakaputanga” – The Declaration of Independence. He was a man who consistently referenced the “old ways,” and tried his hardest to maintain traditions pre-European.

At the tangi many people spoke about Nuki. In honouring him, they also remembered their   ancestors, calling upon their wisdom to guide them in the future path they now needed to follow without Nuki at the forefront. They were in essence “walking back into the future.”

Perhaps as Wheeler suggests, when we consider the future, we should possibly follow the Maori tradition and build our upon our future by referencing the past. In the case of Matahui School, we should consider what has gone before, what has been achieved and the course the school has taken in providing an environment within which students are nurtured. Compared to other long standing independent schools, we are young, but we have a rich history we can draw upon.

Wheeler could have been writing about Matahui as this school has always; aimed to educate our children to be resilient, responsive critical and proactive; expected them to solve problems the world has bestowed upon them, as well as new problems of their own making; expected them to approach challenges collaboratively because the changing future will demand this; encouraged them to be creative and learn the lessons of failure and success as they in turn “walk backwards into their future.”




Puriri Term 2

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Airport Visit

On Tuesday the 21 June Puriri went on a class trip to the Classic Flyers Museum and Tauranga airport. We went in the Catalina flying boat and saw a spit fire. We saw an Air New Zealand plane take off and a big yellow fire engine. It sprayed water out of a big hose and from the bottom too.  We saw a skeleton of a glider plus a plane that looked like a shark. We had an awesome day. The class rode on an old fire engine for a tour of the airport. We also saw lots of planes that were being repaired.

By Denley, Lily and Keyarn


Every Friday we get together with our Buddies from Year 7 & 8 (Kauri). This term we have been doing experiments about flight and playing Rippa Rugby with them. We have a lot of fun with them.

By Matilda, Olive and Bella

Cross Country

Every year we do a cross country race. The year 1-3 children run at school and the year 4-8 children run at Wakamarama School. We practise on the farm and orchard next to the school. Only Lily and Gabe were in the Year 3 race as everyone else was sick.

In the Year 4 race Polly came second. It was a really hard race across paddocks, up hills and through the bush and gorse bushes.

We were very tired at the end.

By Isabel and Abygale

Archaeological Dig

At lunchtimes we can go to the archaeological dig area. The dig site is where can dig up cool stuff. You need to get a kit with spades, sieves, trowels and brushes and then can pretend to be archaeologists and find treasure. We have found lots of interesting items.

By Mila and Asha

Go For It

Go for it is where we get to learn lots of fun sports. This term Sandy came to teach us soccer, volleyball and tennis skills. It is a lot of fun and we have learnt lots of new sports.

By Polly, Nikora  and Gabe


Our inquiry for term 2 has been about flight. We did a lot of experiments about air pressure, lift, thrust, weight and drag. We made all sorts of flying ‘machines’ and had a paper plane completion. We had to make one paper plane that could fly a long distance and one that could stay in the air a long time.

Denley’s plane flew the furthest and Isabel’s stayed in the air the longest.

By Emma-Poppy and James

Insect Art

During our inquiry unit we some pastel and paint insect art. We think our artworks are awesome.



Kowhai class explores character writing and portraits

Mum By Sam Danielle is my Mum. She has short hair and green eyes. She has a happy smile. I love going on bike rides to the marina with her. It is a special time for me and Mum. I love my Mum. She’s the best!
My sister is the best! By Kaida Haven is the best sister in the whole world. She is little. She is cuddly as a lamb. I am happy when my sister is happy.

Baby Bear By Cameron Baby Bear is happy in the morning. He is the littlest bear in the family. He plays with his kite. I feel sad because Goldilocks ate his porridge.
Mumma by Darcy Mumma is as cuddly as a bunny. She is so beautiful. She is as beautiful as a butterfly. I love my Mumma.
Dad By Saxon Dad is busy as a bee. Dad goes to different countries. I feel sad when Dad is gone and happy when Dad is back.

My Dad by Aroha
My dad is the strongest in the world.

My Dad is tall like a giraffe.

I love him and he loves me.

Aunty D by Blair

Aunty D is my Mum’s sister.

She has blue eyes. She has beautiful clothes.  She has long, blonde hair.  She is beautiful.

She spoils me by giving me treats. I help her in the farm.  

I love Aunty D. She buys chocolate.  I eat it with her.  I snap a piece off for her and me and we eat it all.

I feel happy when she is by me.  Aunty D is very kind.

Pohutukawa Term 2 Reflection

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Term 2 has been fantastic, we have had lots of great opportunities to extend our learning.  Here are a few of our highlights.

Cross Country 

Breaking news! Today year 4 to 8 students will be competing in Small School’s Cross Country at Whakamarama School. For some a chance to prove their athletic ability but for me living nightmare!

We all did really well, our class’s best placed athlete was Jesse who came 12th.  As for me I helped out one of my classmates who was injured and came 39th aka 2nd to last, but I know I did the right thing.

By Daniel


Our inquiry this term was

Examining evidence form indigenous cultures provides insight into how and why they have changed in response to their environment.

To start our investigations we went on several trips

  • Waikato Museum. Here were discussed their Maori artifacts, learnt about the creation story and about Matariki.  We saw a 200 year old waka and a very technical bird snare.
  • Katikati Museum. We saw the Samuel Middlebrook exhibition, there were lots of interesting Maori artifacts to investigate; a Maori anchor, whale bone mere and some beautiful woven kete and pois.
  • Historic Otumoetai Pa site. Here were thought about the way Maori lived using their environment.  We talked about the changes that happened when Europeans arrived. 

We then investigated a Maori object that interest us.

By Serene, Isaac and Flynn



BREAKING NEWS!!!!!   The ePro8 Challenge was on the 16th of June. 2 teams from our school went to take on 10 of the best teams from other schools. The ePro8 challenge is a problem solving, engineering challenge. Some of the challenges were hard like the balloon fly challenge, where you had to fly a balloon 2.4m high.

Our teams had great ideas, worked well together and were placed 3rd and 6th.


By Leo and Alexander.

Starlight Express

At the start of term 2 the Year 5’s to 8’s went to St. Peters School to see their production Starlight Express, an Andrew Lloyd Webber Musical. It was not just any musical but a musical on roller skates!

The story is about a big train race between many engines including Greaseball, a steam engine, Rusty, a coal powered train and Electra, a modern electric train.

My favourite part was the final race between Rusty, Greaseball and Electra where they were fighting for first place.  It came down to Greaseball and Rusty.

The costumes, makeup and music were extraordinary.



Amazing Race

The amazing race was held at Mount Drury this year. It is a problem solving, running event.  It was challenging but we made it to the end. The team was Isla, Serene, Bradley, Michael, Jesse and Louis. We learnt that it was important to listen to everyone’s ideas and we needed to stay together as a team.

By Bradley

Maori Art

Over the term we have studied a variety of Maori art forms and artists.  Tracy Tawhaio inspired these pieces of art.  We used chalk pastels on black paper.




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We are constantly bombarded with neologisms and one that was coined as far back as 1990 was “Helicopter parents.”

A helicopter parent (also called a cosseting parent or simply a cosseter), is a parent who pays extremely close attention to a child’s or children’s experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions. Helicopter parents are so named because, like helicopters, they hover overhead, overseeing their child’s life.1

Marcia Sirota provides an interesting insight on Helicopter parents in an article titled “Helicopter Parents Are Raising Unemployable Children.” 2 She maintains that such parents feel they are doing what is best for their off spring when in fact they are hurting their chances of success, particularly in terms of landing a job and keeping it. One example she gives is that Helicopter parents don’t want their children to get hurt. “They soften every blow and cushion every fall” and so the children never learn how to deal with failure, loss or disappointment, which Sirota suggests are inevitable aspects we all need to face in our lives.

Now for a Matahui School insight – there are no Helicopter parents here. In fact, just the opposite. The Chicago Tribune would refer to our parents as “Free Range Parents.”3 Another neologism that may well describe our community is “No rescue parents.”

However we choose to define the parents at this school, the fact is, that you subscribe, condone and advocate the philosophy of this school – one which enables children to “flex their risk muscles.” Far from being unemployable, Matahui munchkins have big futures as the resilience, skills and “can do” attitude that has long since defined New Zealanders, is alive and well here at Matahui School.

1. Wikipedia definition: 2. Marcia Sirota “Helicopter parents are raising unemployable children” 3. “Kids given free range to explore their world” 0116-free-range-kids-20130116_1_parents-children-monica


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Watching the America’s Cup Challenger series has been gripping, largely because the conditions have pushed the boats, the crew and support teams to the limits of endurance. The level of resilience required by Emirates Team New Zealand to repair their boat after the disastrous start they had in Race 2 against the British was immense, but they overcame this set back and resumed their challenge once more. They learned from their mistakes.

Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling said their spectacular capsize was their own fault but insists the damage is repairable and the syndicate will bounce back.” 1

Now of course, they need to draw on an even greater level of hardiness as they face Oracle in what may be an epic duel, given we start from minus one!

 One of our aims here at Matahui School is to give our students genuine opportunities to meet with triumph and defeat by providing them with educational experiences that guide them in making the most appropriate choices even in difficult circumstances. The point is to get them to understand that from making mistakes we can learn, and through acquiring resilience to cope, this will help shape their character. Yes, our students could well be part of Team New Zealand, possibly not at the tender age they are currently, but at some point in the future      






At the moment our 17 month old grandson is totally enamoured with reading books, so usually we spend considerable time reading whatever he has chosen. What is fascinating to watch is how much his imagination is stimulated; how long he can concentrate and focus his attention on still images; how much information about the world he is absorbing, articulating responses initially through sounds and now a repository of “words.”

His older sister, aged 4, recently re-enacted her book “Tangled” (based on the movie about Rapunzel). Using her dolls and an assortment of carefully selected “props,” she replaced the scenes depicted in the pictures with her own interpretation. Adding her own dialogue she let her imagination transport her into the story, all stimulated by the images she referenced in her book.

So a reminder to everyone who is a parent, grandparent, caregiver. Give the children every opportunity to “read” books using still images. The pictures and illustrations in books don’t rely on an ability to decode language but are “effective in getting children close to people and situations; and able to take children into complex situations in a straightforward but valid way.”1

This week our Year 5 – 8 students and a number of parents were treated to a musical spectacular performed by students at St Peter’s, Cambridge. Starlight Express was brought to life by an ensemble that had obviously spent hours rehearsing. The entire cast and crew transported the audience into an imagined world where personified trains battled for supremacy in an international race. We were captivated.

Dramatic performances breathe life into narratives and provide an audience with the opportunity to suspend disbelief. Theatre is centered on thinking and imagining, two processes that are also evident when we read.

If it is wet this weekend get out the picture books and some props for you and the children, and let the power of still images and drama stimulate your imagination.



As well as provide students with a restful and often much needed break from school, the holidays can present families with quality time to share experiences. Though sometimes the plans made don’t always come to fruition.

Often times we set ourselves things to do – tasks or undertakings to accomplish, but  circumstances are such that we don’t necessarily get to complete anywhere near what we wanted to achieve. The thing is, we shouldn’t angst over this or feel bad. In fact, I would suggest that at times we need to “abbreviate” our to-do-lists and just focus on the essentials or else, as you endeavour to neatly organise your life by creating lists, the stress can rise.

In an article by Cari Romm titled “Why You Should Try Decluttering Your To- Do-List,” Romm shares a strategy suggested by Stephanie Lee in terms of dealing effectively with to-do- lists and that is, to explicitly focus on each days tasks with the following statement in mind….. “If this was the only thing you did today you’d be satisfied.” 1 Do that thing – everything else can wait.

When my family are around, they sometimes point out to me that my to-do-list is excessive, so spending time with our grandchildren over the holidays the idea of de-cluttering my to-do list took on new meaning.

We played games (pirates is still a favourite); drew; picked flowers; went to the beach; collected “stuff;” built a Tinkerbell house; tidied the garage together; made a range of “Frozen” playdough objects……… Yes, spending time with the grand children was the only thing we did each day. And we were well satisfied.

 Tinker Bell’s newest home



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