Kia ora koutou

After all the dramas and disruptions of Terms 1 and 2, we are now planning for and very much looking forward to a much more settled and productive Term 3 which will begin at 9am next Monday, 20th July and run for 10 weeks through to Friday, 25th September.

We have many exciting events on the Term 3 calendar already not least of which is the return of our Wednesday afternoon Clubs sessions. This is a wonderful opportunity for children to learn skills that are outside of our normal curriculum and we are so grateful again to ‘tap into’ the wealth of talent in our parent community and our staff. We also have our Year 7s and 8s doing Technology each Monday for the whole of Term 3 and 4 at Moerewa School. A bus has been organised to transport the children on day 1 of the new term [please refer to our information letter that went out during the last week of last term for further details].

We have also restarted our Kapa Haka tuition with the wonderful Matua Horrace and lined up other exciting events such as a P.T.A. disco, a fun soccer and netball tournament over at Russell School and our school Photo Day [Tuesday, 8th September]. 

Enjoy the remnants of the mid-winter holiday!

Nga mihi

Simon McGowan

Thursday, 11 June, 2020



Kia ora koutou

We are delighted to be back to ‘almost’ normality.

For us, this means that:

  • It is safe for all children now to be at school and we would expect all children to be in attendance unless unwell or for other justifiable and notified reasons;
  • We will cease our staggered finishes and all children will now finish school at 3pm from Wednesday, 10th June;
  • We are instructed by the government to ‘stay vigilant’ and maintain safe practices so we will:

[a]  continue educating children about Health and Safety best practices and continue with our ‘Hand Sanitising’ expectations on entry to and exit from classrooms;

[b] continue our extra sanitising of high-use areas [e.g. door handles] after each playtime;

[c]  continue to request parents to collect their children from the school gates and not come onto school premises unless absolutely necessary or there is a scheduled meeting as “Physical Distancing’ is still ‘encouraged’ at Alert Level 1;

  • We will begin restarting our whole school events. Our whole school morning assemblies and our fitness programme are running again. Our first Sharing Assembly will be on Friday 19th June from 2 to 3pm. Kowhai House will be sharing their work. Our Kapa Haka tuition with Matua Horrace will also begin again as soon as possible.



Nga mihi

Simon McGowan

Wednesday, 13 May, 2020



Please read all the information below and help us to keep everyone safe

Kia ora koutou

We are delighted to hear that we can restart school again on Monday, 18th May and we very much look forward to  managing our children’s return to school safely, effectively and efficiently. 

With safety as our top priority, I have worked closely with our team to ensure all Alert Level 2 expectations are met and our reopening of school is as safe as possible. Following are a series of measures designed to make this happen. These measures are only for Alert level 2 and, potentially therefore, might only be for 2 or so weeks. The P.M. has talked of her team of 5 million; similarly, we now need everyone’s help and co-operation to make the following plan work effectively. Please read the following points very carefully, share them with everyone who is connected to Opua School and assist us in ensuring that our return to school is completely safe.

Main Details of our return to school:

  1. The government’s 2 key Health and Safety principles at Alert Level 2 are [a] MINIMISE RISK THAT SOMEONE GETS INFECTED; and [b] ENSURE WE CAN TRACE / IDENTIFY / CONTACT ANYONE WHO HAS BEEN IN CLOSE CONTACT WITH SOMEONE WHO IS OR BECOMES INFECTED. We will have these as our mantra;
  2. All parents are encouraged to send their children back to school. They will be safe. Online teaching and learning programmes will stop on Sunday and be replaced by in-school teaching and learning programmes on Monday morning;
  3. Our first week or so will be characterised by activities to guide and assist children’s readjustment to school life and work and to support their personal well-being. Any child who remains away from school will miss these important activities;
  4. If a child presents with any symptoms of illness, however low-level, we will isolate the child immediately and ring parents to collect them. PLEASE: there should be no child sent to school who is unwell. Please help us with this all-important expectation;
  5. In general: At Level 2, parents and visitors should avoid coming on site [as they have been used to doing]. If they do come on, they must have made a previous telephone appointment and sign in and out at the Main Office. Dropping off and Picking up times are to be viewed as slightly different from this general rule [See below].
  6. Dropping children off: All parents are to drop their children off at ‘age-specific’ gates [Main Office gate for Rms 1 and 2] and Field gate for Rms 3, 4 and 5]. If there is child anxiety, then parents can come on site with their child but they must come on via the Main Office gate, sign in at the table in the Main Office, use the provided hand sanitiser and record where they are going [to drop off their child]. On leaving, they must go out via the Main Office, fill in who they have been within 2 metres of, use the hand sanitiser and leave via the Main Office gate. 
  7. Picking children up:

    This is to be staggered and we really need parent ‘buy-in’ with this.   

    At 2.30pm: 

    Rm 1 children will be lined up and taken to the Main Office gate where they can be collected;

    Rm 2 will be lined up and taken to the Field gate where they can be collected;

    At 2.45pm:

    Rm 3 will be lined up and taken to the Field gate where they can be collected;

    Rm 4 will be lined up and taken to the Main Office gate where they can be collected; 

    At 3.00pm:

    Rm 5 will be lined up and taken to the Main Office gate where they can be collected.

  8. If raining: At 2.30, Rm 1 will line up under the archgola outside Rm 5; Rm 2 will line up under archgola outside Rm 4. Teachers will look out for parents at gates and send their child off when a parent indicates their readiness to receive them at the gate. The same process will happen with Rm 3 and 4 but Rm 3 will line up outside their classroom between Hall and Rm 3 and Rm 4 will line up outside their own room. Rm 5 will also line up outside their own room.
  9. Older children [who collect and go home with younger siblings] are allowed to leave at the same time as the youngest in their family. The older child should collect their younger siblings, join that room’s line and leave at the earlier time when the teacher says it is safe to do so.
  10. Mr McGowan and Ms Ridge will manage the gate / crossing from 2.30pm to 3.15pm. There will be no Room 5 children on crossing patrol until Alert Level.
  11. It is vitally important that these times are adhered to and that we don’t have parents dropping their children off late in the mornings and, particularly, that all parents help us by collecting children at these times in the afternoons and are not late in doing so.
  12. The playground and field are all out of bounds from 3pm and children need to be going home not ‘hanging around’ at school;
  13. All children will be taught to and expected to use the available hand sanitisers on entry and exit to classrooms;
  14. We will be disinfecting and cleaning surfaces daily including table tops, chair backs, computer screens, keyboards and all handles. Our bathroom areas [specifically, taps, handles and high touch zones] will be disinfected and cleaned after playtime, after lunchtime and after school each day;
  15. All children will be educated about ‘Moist Breath’ zones and we will do our best to keep children one metre apart [this, though, can’t be guaranteed];
  16. Children will be in their normal classrooms and, during Alert Level 2, there will be no assemblies, no whole school kapa haka, no ballroom dancing and no Friday Sharing Assemblies;
  17. Children will not do their Fitness Programmes as Houses all at the same time. They will do Fitness as a room with their teacher at different times and/or in different areas of the school;
  18. We can and will make some sports equipment and outdoor play areas available but children must wash hands after use. The selection of sports equipment made available will be put in our special bin or left by the Sports Shed mural if too large to go in the bin and monitors will use disinfectant to spray the equipment after each use;
  19. We encourage all children to use only their own Water Bottles, not the school water fountains. Please help us by sending children to school with their own named water bottles;
  20. The importance of contact Tracing: we don’t need contact details from parents who have made an appointment and who have to come on site other than their name [because we have your details on our school system] but we do need to have everyone who enters the school site to sign in and we must have a record written down of who they’ve been in contact with and where they have been. So, to save hassle and just for Alert Level 2, please only come onto the school site if you absolutely have to and if you have given us advanced warning by ringing and setting up appointment time.

Opua School Moving from Alert level 3 to 2 soon

Friday, 8 May, 2020

Kia ora koutou

Re. Preparing for Alert Level 2

Like me, I am sure you have followed with interest the announcements made by the Prime Minister. It is reassuring to hear how well our country has done at minimising the impacts of COVID-19. Alert Levels 4 and 3 have not been easy and I thank you for your ongoing support for the work we are doing regarding the remote teaching and learning of Opua School children.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister advised that in Alert Level 2 schools are safe environments for children, young people and staff and that additional public health control measures are in place to prevent the spread of disease and to support contact tracing. The good news is that when we are able to, we will be ready to welcome all students and staff back to our school site very soon. The exact date will be confirmed on Monday by the Prime Minister.

Most importantly then, next week [Monday 11th – Friday 15th, May], we all need to remember that school is still at Level 3 and no new children should be attending the site.

 The key Public Health approach is to minimise the risk that someone gets infected in the first place, and, secondly, to ensure we can identify and contact anyone who has been in close contact with a person, if someone in a school is infected. As we have done in Alert Level 3, you can be assured that in Alert Level 2 we will know who is at school, who our staff and students have been in close contact with and take appropriate measures to keep everyone safe.

The key principles for Alert Level 2 are to:

  • reduce the risk of someone getting infected in the first place;
  • ensure we can identify and contact anyone who becomes infected;
  • understand that Level 2 is not business as usual.

Physical distancing is a good precaution to prevent the spread of disease. We do however know it is challenging in schools, so good hygiene practices and regular cleaning are even more important here. This includes staff and students coughing into their elbows, handwashing and drying and regular cleaning of commonly touched surfaces.

Under Alert Level 2, we advise any students and staff to stay at home if they are sick, and we will send anyone home immediately if they show any symptoms.

 Our school has safe and sensible practices to maintain the health and safety of everyone on the school site. As described by Dr Payinda in his NZ Herald article, “Covid’s not measles or chickenpox, it doesn’t hang in the air for hours waiting to infect passers-by. It travels on invisible drops of spit. You don’t have to cross the street to avoid anyone. Just avoid getting in their ‘moist breath’ zone”. We all just need to remember to have some breathing space at Alert Level 2!

 It’s important however that not just at school but at home, safe hygiene habits are practised by everyone, as this is essential to minimise the risk that someone gets infected with Covid-19.

For more information about the public health measures at Alert Level 2, you can visit the covid19.govt.nz website: https://covid19.govt.nz/

I have put our current Health and Safety Plan for Covid-19 on our website under the BoT tab and then the Important Docs link. Here is also a direct link to it:  Covid-19 Safety Plan . This plan could be modified on Tuesday, 12th May after the latest news from the P.M. and after our staff have discussed the way we will manage moving from Alert Level 3 to 2. If you have any questions about our health and safety plan, please contact me.

We will be in touch again soon to update you on our plans.

Nga mihi

Simon McGowan


Opua School Moving from Alert level 4 to 3

Kia ora koutou

We hope that Term 2 and our distance learning programme has been a success for you so far. We know there will have been any number of challenges for you to deal with but we have been getting some great feedback about the learning that is happening and thank you for all your support.

Yesterday the Government decided that we will move into Alert Level 3 on 28 April. That means we will be open to receive a very small number of students from Wednesday, 29 April. We are starting to prepare our site from today.

The key message for you is that, if you can, you should keep your child at home still. You should only physically send your child to school if you absolutely need to and have no other alternative arrangements. If your child has a health condition that means they are at a greater risk of a severe illness you must keep them at home. If your child is sick you also must keep them at home.

In order to ensure the safety of those children and our staff who do come to school, we will be operating with strict enforcement of health and safety measures.

I want to assure you that we will continue to support your child’s learning at home as best as we can.

Please send us a message or ring us to confirm whether your child is staying at home from next Wednesday or if you absolutely have to send them in to school. If we don’t have a message from you by Friday morning, we will start contacting you to find out what your decision is for your child [ren].

For now, we will continue to support your child’s learning by distance while we progress our planning for what Alert Level 3 will mean for you and for our school. We will be in touch again soon with more information. As you have been doing, please keep connecting with your teachers with any questions you might have.

S McGowan

Find Out More…

For the latest information please visit the government’s Covid 19 website covid19.govt.nz

Opua Primary is a small school, around of 100 children, aged from 5 to 11 years which is dedicated to student learning through creating innovative and creative classroom programmes. We offer a wide range of high quality of teaching and extra-curricular activities and promote an ‘extended family’ attitude to our students.

We place a strong emphasis on caring and sharing as students, families and members of the wider community. We pride ourselves on providing a rich supportive structure for all students to flourish academically and emotionally as they develop their strengths and unique talents.

Opua School is very lucky to have a dedicated Board of Trustees in addition to a well-supported Parent Teacher Association which works with the staff and parent community to fundraise and organise a wide range of events and activities. We are very proud of our school and we invite you to come and see for yourself why Opua School would be an excellent choice for your child.

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E hoa ma, whakakotahi ai tatou, ki te manaaki i o matou whakaaro, me nga whakaanga katoa, kia noho ponotia ai i runga i te rangimarie, hei akoranga atawhaingia ai tatou katoa.

Na, ka whakarongo ki te kawenga, kia whai ake matou i to tatou pepeha – manaakitanga me te awhina.

My friends, together we will respect each other’s feelings, creativity and thinking by being honest, reliable and kind learners. We will listen and take responsibility by always following our motto – Caring and Sharing.


Our school will provide a caring and sharing environment that will educate and equip the child for life.

We value:

Achievement:    By setting high standards and promoting a ‘better than before’ attitude and striving for personal excellence.

Curiosity:             By being passionate about learning, taking an inquiry approach and using new learning in new situations.

Hauora                By having a strong sense of self identity and caring for our physical, mental, spiritual and social well-being.

Community:        By being respectful, responsible, inclusive and committed to being active participants in our community.

OUR CHILDREN will receive an education that is challenging, engaging, inclusive and co-operative.

OUR SCHOOL will be safe, well-resourced and stimulating.

OUR BOARD and STAFF will communicate with honesty, integrity, trust and respect.

Developing Literacy and Numeracy ability so students can access all aspects of the curriculum.

Developing regular physical activity and promote healthy eating.                   

Identifying individual needs and providing appropriate programmes and support.

Recognising and catering for diversity.

Providing opportunities to develop skills for future learning and being responsive to the concept of holistic learning.

Fostering social and communication skills.

Developing attitudes of caring and sharing.

Continuing the development of curriculum areas, specifying achievement expectations and monitoring Maori students’  progress.

Our Karakia background

We are very proud about how we came to the wording for our kura’s karakia. We wanted it to be student driven. Together, as a whole school, we brainstormed thoughts about our school and what we most valued. With all these ideas on the whiteboard in the hall, we then worked collaboratively to synthesise the ideas into connected sentences. We edited and re-edited the sentences. Finally, at the end, we all discussed and agreed that it was exactly what we saw at and felt about learning at our kura.

We then asked our wonderful kaumatua and ex-principal, Mr Joe Tipene, to reflect on it and to translate it into reo for us. He was very impressed with it and also felt it was an excellent representation of this school and the children’s attitudes to learning.

We have, since its construction, saying it and learning it together, once each day. Some children already know it ‘off by heart’ and are so proud of presenting it to the rest of the school in assemblies.



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Covering the school’s latest news, up-coming events, field trips and sports events.