Newsletter LogoWednesday 16th November 2022          No. 18

Te Kura o Tōtara Grove

Tōtara Grove School

Kia ora koutou

This week I would like to handover te kōrero to our wonderful Deputy Principal, Vanessa Peters…


Kia Ora e te whānau,

It’s hard to believe that I have been part of this awesome kura for the last six years, but truly connected here for much longer as my daughter once attended this kura also, she is now 30 years young.

I also remember relieving here after I had my son, who is now 20 years old. I think back and how lucky I was to bring my new baby in with me to teach and how the tamariki loved having a baby in class for the day. Those were the days, Wow!

I returned to Tōtara Grove School in 2016 as a reliever and a significant year for me with the passing of my dad. I then applied for the team leader position in the senior school which I was successful in and was to start in January 2017.
Around this time, while contemplating the new job position, I had a special encounter with a Ruru (owl) sitting in a Tōtara Tree.
In Te Ao Māori, the sighting of Ruru is a sign/symbol of a dear loved one who has passed.
For me, that was a tohu (sign) from my dad that ‘Tōtara Grove School’ was the right place for me at this place and time.

I then moved from being a classroom teacher /team leader into wearing a few other potae over the last couple of years, Acting Deputy Principal, Acting Principal and recently the Deputy Principal.
What a journey, especially during the covid season. We were never trained or prepared for this crazy time, but I do want to say, we survived and made it through the other side safely and well. I believe this was due to our committed staff, the tamariki and you, our whānau and community. We all worked together and communication was the vital key. He waka eke noa! We are all in this waka together!

I can’t recall the amount of wonderful kaupapa that we have created in my time here at Te Kura o Tōtara Grove. Things that started out as seeds of curiosity and ideas that blossomed into amazing tangible outcomes. Things such as whānau fun days, Y6 dine and dance, tāniko roopu, passion groups, moko kauae portraits, our school story, authentic learning experiences and this year, a dawn ceremony to celebrate Matariki.

So to decide to leave Tōtara Grove School hasn’t been an easy decision but one that signals my response to the karanga (call) from my whānau, hapu and iwi to return home to my ūkiapo (safe haven) in the Hokianga to live and teach once again.
I will be leaving at the end of this term and I am looking forward to my move home.
It has been an absolute privilege to serve and lead my Tōtara Grove School community , from our incredible tamariki to our amazing kaiako and whānau, I will miss you all. He mihi aroha ki a koutou katoa.

I look forward to catching up with you all over the next few weeks to say goodbye and thank you.
I wish continued success to the greatest kura in the universe! – Te Kura o Tōtara Grove.

Tū mai rā, He Kura, He Tōtara!
Whaea Vanessa

Whaea Ness is an outstanding leader and an exceptional educational professional. In the short time I have known Whaea Ness I have thoroughly enjoyed working with her and have been most impressed with the huge dedication and commitment she has shown to supporting the Totara Grove School community. She is a highly valued and respected member of our school who will be hugely missed by everyone. On behalf of us all, I would like to wish Ness all the best as she returns home to the Hokianga to support and be with her whānau there. Arohanui and thank you Ness.

Ngā Mihi
Principal Tumuaki



Caught Being Good

Winners of books for the previous two weeks were:

Rm 3:  Brandon, Te Ririmu

Rm 4: Phoenix

Rm 5: Rivaan, Rewi

Rm 6: Mauri, Ava

Rm 7: Harlem

Rm 9: Cloey, Livera

Rm 10: Anthony, Nivaeya

Rm 14: Cael


Ngā Mātāpono Awards

Rm 3: Rylee, Amaia-Lee, Artemis, Harper

Rm 4: Hadassah, Jake

Rm 5: Eerika, Shylas, Riya, Nolan

Rm 6: Willow, O’Shea, Pertice, Nikau

Rm 8: Didi, Kace

Rm 9: Rainy, Khale, Waekamania

Rm 10: Addison, Liam, Lincoln, Delivyryance

Rm 13: Dean, Archer, Ava-Leigh, Hemi

Rm 14: Te Tihi


Free school lunch programme

Please see attached the menu for the next fortnight. More detailed information is published on the lunch by libelle website: (click here).

This Fortnights lunch menu:


Summer reading programme -Y3, Y4, Y5

We are offering this awesome opportunity for all of our year 3, 4 and 5 students.
Each child will receive 8 – 10 books at or above their reading level to read during the school holidays. These books are theirs to keep.
We are holding an information evening in our hall: Tonight, 5:30pm on Wednesday 16th November.

Each year 3 , 4 & 5 child who attends this meeting with an adult whanau member will be given a voucher.

Please feel free to contact Whaea Pam through the office if you have any questions.


Teacher Union Meeting 

On Friday 18th November at 1.30pm our teachers will be attending a Paid Union Meeting at Kamo Intermediate School.

As our teachers will not be here we will only have a limited programme in the afternoon.  If you are able to collect your child at 1.00pm that would be most helpful.


Kotiro Touch Festival

Kia ora Totara Grove Whanau,
On Wednesday 2nd November Totara Grove became part of history. Jon and Steve from Touch New Zealand hosted the very first Kotiro Touch Festival in Te Tai Tokerau. This was played by girls and refereed by girls. The day had a great feeling of whanaungatanga.
Totara Grove took a year 5 team and a year 6 team. Each game was 15 minutes long and they played 7 games. Both teams had 6 players, no subs. They were very tired at the end of the day but had a great day. One of our girls won a touch rugby ball as a spot prize. Yes!
As expected our girls represented TGS with much respect. Thanks girls, we are proud of you.
Thanks also to Jon, Steve and Josina from Touch New Zealand.

Pass it forward programme

Last week we were one of the lucky school’s to receive 50 sports balls from the pass it forward programme. Thank you to the Tania Dalton Foundation, Silver Fern & Rebel sports! Check out the website to see what it’s all about.


Dream Car Art Contest: Toyota New Zealand

See the link below to a colouring competition for kids to design a futuristic car and go in the draw to visit Japan! You have until the 2nd of December to submit your entry.


Scholastic Bookclub

Any orders for the current scholastic book club brochure (issue #8, 2022) need to be back in to school by Wednesday, 23rd Nov. Please return the order form with the child’s name, room number, selected books and the correct money owing. Orders past this date can be made directly online, however they won’t be delivered through the school and postage costs will be added to your order.


Duffy $5 Parent offer – cut off date extended to 18th Nov

Duffy is presenting a $5 summer reading offer to parents – all books are $5 each. Order forms have gone out with the children and need to be back in – with the correct cash payment – to the office by Friday 18th November. Spare forms available at the office if needed.

School Board
The next Board of Trustees meeting is to be held at school on Wednesday 7th December at 6pm.


Te Manawa Tahi Timetable

If you have a concern about your child’s language development, learning progress, social and emotional wellbeing, or behaviour, TeManawa Tahi have specialists available so you can discuss your concerns directly with them.

This is a free service and each site will be identified by a Te Manawa Tahi flag. Drop into a hub or make an appointment by phoning 0800 5248 4256 or emailing


Upcoming School Dates


Term 4          17th October – 13th December

29th Nov – Book Character Day

8th Dec    – Prizegiving at Tiki High School

8th Dec    – Y6 Dine & Dance

13th Dec  – last day of Term 4, school will be closing at 12 noon


25th Jan – Enrolment day, TOD

Term 1          1st February – students return

Community Notices