News / Panui - Latest Newsletter


Term 3 Week 8

Principal's Message

Kia Ora e te whanau

Well - we made it. We got through another lockdown and have returned to school with smiles on our faces. After receiving numerous emails from students and staff (and the odd parent) saying We miss School! It was great to welcome everyone back. Again we want to thank you for all your hard work during this time. I am posting below my Thanks  message from  Facebook and Seesaw as I think it is worth mentioning again. (See below) We would also like to thank you for following our Level 2 guidelines, dropping off at the gate or door and using our QR scanner. Let’s hope we move to Level 1 shortly.  In the meantime, please be aware there is a tummy bug doing the rounds at school and the community. If your child is sick, please do keep them home. 

Since being back at school, we have been working hard to get students back into routines and settled. This has been very successful and we have noticed the students really enjoying being able to spend time with their friends. Many activities were cancelled due to the Lockdown so we are in the midst of rescheduling events such as our Student-Led Conferences and our Staff Only Day. We will update you as soon as we can. 

This week is Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori and we have been celebrating by using as much Te Reo as possible. There are new songs/waiata being learned, daily words and language activities in most classes. Please feel free to ask your child what they have been learning. 

Please continue to message or email us with any questions or ideas. We will be carrying out a post-lockdown survey before the end of the term to hear how things went for you in terms of our communication and home learning. We look forward to hearing from you all.

Ngā mihi

Whaea Sandra

Level Three and Four Thanks

Kia Ora Whanau

Today's image is a bouquet dedicated to all of our amazing Totara Whanau.

It goes to each and every parent, grandparent, whanau member and friend who supported our amazing Totara Students over lockdown. It also goes to each and every one of you for helping make the pathway back to school a smooth one. We were greeted with your smiles and words of thanks at the gate this morning. You all did a great job of scanning our QR code, and dropping at the gate and door. We thank you.

The bouquet also goes out to our staff. You seamlessly pathed the way for our students to continue learning during lockdown and then to return as if we had simply been on holiday. Your efforts to greet our students and get them back into routine were outstanding - teachers and teacher aides alike. We also thank our Board of Trustees for their ongoing support during Level 4 and 3.

This bouquet also goes to our bus driver who welcomed our students back onto the bus today, like they were returning from  just a weekend break.

And lastly but not least, this bouquet goes to our amazingly resilient students. Today you showed us all of your RICH values. You came back with smiles and a desire to be in routine. You worked hard, played with your friends, and shone as brightly as ever.

It is days like this, when we could have lots to be worried about, that we truly realise how lucky we are to be part of the Totara Bubble. To each and every one of you, a huge thank you.  Now we get to do it all over again tomorrow.

Totara School Staff


Level Two Guidelines

We thought it timely to remind you of our key Level 2 guidelines so here they are. We are also limiting external visitors at this time including pre-school visits to help keep our students safe. 

  • School is open for all pupils. Please notify us if your child is not attending.

  • Children and staff who are sick should stay home.

  • Drop off is at the gate and you need to scan the QR code please. If needed,                 you can walk your child to the door but please stay outside. We do encourage                  parents to wear masks on the school grounds and to limit contact to                     your own children.

  • Hand sanitiser is at the gate and door of each classroom.

  • The school has had a thorough clean and surfaces and equipment will be cleaned regularly.

  • Our initial focus will be on re-establishing routines and getting back into work. We will be limiting visitors.

  • Lunch orders and sausage sizzle start this week. 


Upcoming Events


13 September






a.m. Youthtown Sport lessons


11.50 a.m. Assembly

1.30 RICH Programme



20 September


Gymnastics Festival



North Otago Cross Country


7 p.m. PTA meeting


School Photos


Kaupapa Festival @Kakanui



27 September


7 p.m. BOT meeting



WOW Afternoon

1 October

Date for 2021:
Term 3: Monday 26 July to Friday 1 October
Term 4: Monday 18 October to Thursday 15 December.

Outstanding Student Work

Kōwhai Star Writers - Based on the Picture Prompt

The Cub is tired of walking. So he jumped on his mother’s bottom for a free ride.

By Florence

Stop climbing up on to my back. You can walk by yourself. 

By Gemma.

“Get off” said Mum.

“No. I don’t want to.”

By India

Don’t fart please mum. Thanks for carrying me.

By Louie.

Question and Answer Poetry by Kikorangi



Kakariki Lockdown Writing

The Eye

In the sweltering depths of the misty marsh, it lay there. Waiting.

Your heart was pounding as you stared right in the eye of an inland taipan, the most venomous snake in the world. You knew one bite of this snake you would be dead in seconds. So you are lying on the ground face to face with this snake. You could feel the breath of the snake cold and cool. The tongue tickled, and it felt like a spider was slowly crawling up your face. The snake was so motionless you could have thought it was dead. After 30min the inland taipan slowly went away and once again you made it out alive again, but maybe next time you won't be so lucky.

by Manon

By Aaliyah

By Quin.

By Bailey.

Kakariki Lockdown  Art

By Amelie

By Eryn

By Marlow

By Teddy


We have Brydone Wholefoods on a Wednesday and PTA Sausage Sizzle on a Thursday. Lunch orders can be emailed to the office on or dropped into the office, by 9am, on the morning of your order. If we don’t get an order, we can’t order your child’s lunch.

Brydone Wholefoods Menu - Wednesday 

Chicken Nuggets & Chips




Cheese Roll


Toasted Sandwich

     Ham & Cheese

     Cheese & Pineapple


Sweet Chilli Chicken Wrap


Frozen Juice


Piece of fruit


You can either pay cash to the office or direct credit to Brydone Wholefoods 12-3226-0062099-00.

PTA Sausage Sizzle - Thursday

$2 per sausage, with or with onions, mustard and tomato sauce. You can either pay cash to the office or direct credit to the PTA account 03-0937-0206673-00


We are having a PTA meeting on Tuesday 21st September, 7pm in Room 1.



Dates: from 1st of November to 6th of December (every Monday)


Venue: Waitaki Recreation Centre, 43 Orwell Street, 9400 Oamaru


Cost: Free



  • Year 1-2s – play 4v4 half court (no Goalkeepers) – 6 players min recommended per team

  • Year 3-4s – play 4v4 half court (no Goalkeepers) – 6 players min recommended per team

  • Year 5-6s – play 5v5 (with Goalkeeper) full court - 7 players min recommended per team

  • Year 7-8s – play 5v5 (with Goalkeeper) full court - 7 players min recommended per team


Times * notice this is a guide and might change slightly depending on the number of teams entered

  • Year 1-2s – 3:30 to 4:00pm

  • Year 3-4s – 4:00 to 4:30pm

  • Year 5-6s – 4:30 to 5:00pm and/or 5:00 to 5:30pm

  • Year 7-8s – 5:30 to 6:00pm and/or 6 to 6:30pm


All games will be 12min halves with 1 min half-time.


No Coaches needed! All you need is an adult to support the team and make the substitutions – we recommend the adult person to sub players on/off every 3 or 4 min.


Term 3 Week 4

Principal's Message

I hope this newsletter finds you enjoying some whanau time and sunshine. Today I am sitting writing this newsletter in a very different context to what I expected. Rather  than sitting in my office, I am at the dining table having just come in from 

counting more lambs.  We have been plunged into Level 4 and once again 

restrictions apply. This time is different though as we have experienced before.

 We have robust plans in place, systems that work and, as always,

 a can-do attitude. Teaching staff have already had their first
Zoom meeting and will be keeping in touch over the next few days.

This newsletter will not be the usual one but contains important information about the next few days and beyond. Of course, we will have to await and see what happens with the announcements before firm decisions can be made. Until then, please connect with us via Seesaw or phone.  Instructions on how to access Seesaw if you are new or need a reminder have been sent out along with a video.  Please do reach out if you have any questions or need assistance. Further information will follow once we know more about next week.

Ngā mihi

Whaea Sandra

School Closure - Wednesday to Friday

The nation is heading into Covid Level 4 as of 11:59pm last night. Totara School will be closed for the next three days, Wednesday 18th August 2021 - Friday 20th August 2021. Beyond those dates we don't know the situation but will advise you as soon as we know more. It's possible that we will stay in Level 4, or move to level 3. At the moment the lockdown is very short so will not impact learning significantly. Over the next three days our teachers will be preparing to deliver home learning from next week, if required. They may put small bits and pieces on Seesaw but please do not expect a full programme of work.  As a school we are very happy for your child to enjoy a mid-term break – read, refresh and rest for the remainder of this week.

You may even want to spend the next three days in quality time with your kids, reading books, playing games, watching movies and generally having fun with them, and reassuring them that they are safe.



Student-led conferences to have been on Wednesday and Thursday  have been postponed.

Whole Ski Day - Monday 23 August - this has been postponed. We have a possible replacement date of Monday 30 August but this will be dependent on a number of factors.




Staff are not able to access the school grounds over the next three days. In the event of an extension to the lockdown, we may be able to get together and distribute devices and learning packs for a home based learning programme.

Upcoming Events - all TBC

Week 5 - Tuesday 24th August -  Youthtown sports activities

Wednesday 25th -  Hockey coaching afternoon

Friday 27th August - RICH afternoon

Week 6 - Tuesday 31 August - Friday 3rd Sept - Year 7 & 8 Technology

Celebrations and acknowledgements

Thanks this week to our staff who have not only made me feel super welcome but every day go out of their way to make sure their programmes meet the needs of each and every child. While we might expect this of all teachers and teacher aides, it is not always the case. Thanks team for always doing a stellar job! 

Outstanding Student Work

Kōwhai Star Writers

“Yay!” I grabbed the parachute.  I threw it up.  “Blue!”  I let go and ran.  I got stuck in the parachute.

By Reihana 12.08.21

“Blue!”  I let the parachute go.  I raced under it to find another blue.  I was dodging everyone.  I got there.

By India 12.08.21

Diamante poetry by Kikorangi.


Kaitlyn S 

Kaitlyn R  




Cross country           Friday 13 August 

After lunch we got on the bus and headed off to Maheno rugby field and set up the tent and tarpaulin. Year group by year group, we walked the track. Then when the Y1s went then the Y2s and so on and so on. Then it was the Y6s turn. “Take your marks, get set, go!!!”  By the time the fence was crossed and I was over the hay bales  my shoe laces had come undone. I had to run the rest of the race with my laces undone… By the time I got to the trees I was pooped.

Then I got ahead of the Hampden girl and then when I got to the hay bale jumps I got excited. I crossed the finish line 2nd.  The Maheno girl came first and the Hampden came second and others came 4th, 5th and 6th. After I lay down I was given a cold refreshing ice block. Then I almost fell asleep on the bus…        Displaying IMG_8924.JPG

By Amelie 

A sample of our students in the Zone Cross Country

Thanks to all the parents who supported us on the day and to our amazing marshall. And a huge thanks to Debbie for the photos.







Subpages (1): Current Newsletter