Week 1 -  Term 4  -  2019

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Calendar of Events - through to Week 10 of Term 4:


Kia Ora, Talofa Lava, Malo e Lelei, Bula, Namastē, Namaskar, AyubowanKia Orana, Taloha Ni, Kumusta,  Aloha Mai E, Fakaalofa Lahi Atu, ‘Alii, Malo Ni, Halo Aloketa Aloha, Nī Hāo, Sawatdeekhrap  Sabaidi, Terve, Dobradan, Bonjour, Hola, Guten Tag, Ciao, Salaam, Olā, Zdravstvuyte, Konnichiwa, Ahn Young Ha Se Yo, Hoi, Merhaba, Jambo, Yasou, Shalom, Salamat Siang, Ahoj, Xin Chāo, Sawubona, Bok, Yiassoo, Hej, Dia Dhaoibh, Cham Reap Sour, Hoi, Vanakkam.


Welcome to Term Four:


It has been an exceptional year so far and we have ten weeks left to see if we can add to our awesome list of achievements - by "seizing the day “ (Carpe Diem) as each opportunity arises.

Ten weeks is not long and there is a great deal to be fitted in - see our calendar of events for the term below.


It is good to be back and to be able to welcome all 720 children and 60 staff members back for our final term. They make this job a joy rather than a job, as I have said before.


This Week’s Thoughts:


What's Good Is Better Than What's New.

We live in amazing times—times of faster technological change than ever seen before in human history. With that technological change have come incredible changes in the way we live our lives.

Although schools are historically slow to change, we are now seeing rapid changes in the way schools operate. More students are taking courses online.  Teachers are bringing new


technologies into the classroom every day. The digitisation of student performance has led to a new focus on analysis of data in a way that has never been seen before.

While we should be sure to evolve our schools and work to incorporate new ideas into our schools, we should also remember that very smart people were teaching before us. In our haste to rush to the new – the shiny – we must not forget the lessons we have learned in the past.

To that end, we must be scholars of our own profession. We must work to understand the reasons that schools have become the institutions they are, and we must understand how innovation has — and has not — happened before. When we do this, we will be more equipped to innovate and evolve.

What we cannot do is just blindly follow whatever trend is hot this week, changing when the trend fades and leaving schools always playing catch up with a set of core values to serve as anchors.

The best ideas we can create are when we take the best ideas of the past and marry them to the world we live in today. We can create something new, grounded in the best of what we have been, but with an eye toward what our kids need to become today. To that end, when we look to innovate, we must ask ourselves “What’s good?” more than we ask ourselves “What’s new?” New fades. Good endures. That is a goal worth chasing.


Stage One of Our Middle School Upgrade:


While the children were away, others were hard at work at our school making sure everything is set up, cleaned and organised and ready for the new term. Special thanks to Caretaker Kat and cleaner and offsider Crystal, and the Crew Care team for making sure our school is looking great for the new term.

We had other hard workers here too - Stacey Basham ripped out our old deck and verandahs, installed additional foundation piles and built our new deck. He will replace our grimy and brittle old clear light roofing - it is an eyesore and at risk every time I retrieve sports balls from the roof.

The Shade Sail Company are in the process of installing an awesome new shade sail above the new deck. This will allow children to have a break-out area for independent work. The next stage of this project is to install large sliding aluminium doors in rooms 16, 17 and 18 to allow easy indoor/outdoor flow and access to this independent work area. The interiors of these three rooms will also be considerably upgraded at this time - all over the Christmas Holidays period.

Because of the rules around when we can spend the various allocations of property money, our middle school upgrade has to happen over a three year period. This means rooms 19, 15 and 14 can begin after July 2020, and rooms 13, 12 and 11 can begin after July 2021. We wish we could do them all now but the rules are the rules unfortunately.


Stacey often brings in Presley - one of our dads at Western Heights. They do great work, are honest, reliable and listen to what you want.

Good builders - who are also available - are so hard to find, so it is great we have been able to build (sorry about the pun) such a good relationship with Stacey and get him and his son and Presley working on so many projects here.


Congratulations to Our New WHS Office Manager - Debbie King:


Our Office Manager of 25 years, Joy Waddell, finished her time here last term. We were able to give her a lovely but low key farewell- the way she wanted it. 

It is sad to see Joy go, and normally losing such a knowledgable, experience and respected leader such as Joy would leave a huge gap to fill. Fortunately for us though the ideal person was waiting in the wings.


We are extremely pleased announce Debbie King is our new Office Manager. We have made quite a few changes to the role, so our Office Team will be three - Debbie, Julie Owen and Monique Talbot.

Julie has increased her hours - as has Debbie - and Monique will be working in the Office at peak times - early morning and the 3pm rush, and working with children to support their learning in between times.

This is a ‘dream team’ of experienced people who work well together. Debbie brings quiet tenacity, huge experience, deep common sense, a sense of humour and strong technical skills to the role. We are very fortunate indeed to have her ready, willing and able to step into this new role.


EPro8 Competition Success for Western Heights:


Western Heights School entered four teams in the EPro8 Competition this year, under the guidance of Mr Jo Merritt. These children meet with Mr Merritt each week to train and develop their technology and problem solving skills. Teamwork, communication and planning are also key factors if a team is to be successful.

Of the four teams we entered, we gained a second, third and fourth placing. This means two of our teams will go on to the semi-finals. This is a great achievement and we are really proud of everyone involved. It is a very challenging competition - as the explanation below shows.

The EPro8 Challenge is a competition, an engineering and problem solving race.  Every year over 10,000 students from 900 schools from throughout New Zealand take part. 

Teams compete to:

  • build large sized structures

  • solve practical problems

  • engineer using pulleys, motors, gears, wheels and axles

  • invent machines that can complete simple tasks

  • undertake unusual and fun experiments.

  • construct basic electronic circuits.

  • solve interesting problems using practical maths

Each team of four is based at a workstation containing an impressive assortment of easy to use parts and equipment. The 3 hour event begins with a tutorial on the equipment teams will be using.

Teams are then  given a booklet containing a number of challenges. All the challenges are of an entertaining physical nature.

Teams choose which challenges they wish to undertake. The harder the challenge, the more points it is worth. There is not enough time to finish all the challenges - so strategy is required to know which ones to go for.

When teams have completed a challenge they push the "Big Red Button". They are judged and the points are added to the live leaderboard.

Heats are held throughout New Zealand. The top teams from each heat qualify for the regional semifinals and a regional grand final. The winning team will be crowned the region's EPro8 Challenge Champion.


We have purchased an upgraded 3D Printer from Ricoh and our children are using CAD programmes (Computer Aided Design) to make some pretty cool 3D objects.

This printer allows the children to make moving parts and print some pretty intricate designs.

3D printing has come a long way in recent times and we are pleased our children have another way of expressing their thinking and creativity.


Gymnastics Teams Shine:


Our year 3-4 Team A Girls came second overall and the year 5-6 Boys Team A came third overall.  

A lot of practice is required to participate in this competition and I am impressed by the commitment that I had from the teams and their focus on remembering their routines.

At right: our proud year 3-4 girls team with their certificates.


Catch Ups:


At right Loud Shirt Day is this Friday. Come to school in your loudest shirt and support this great cause - children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Rooms 13 and 27 are behind this - with Shradha particularly keen to get her point across with her Bit-moji this week.


Our Pōhatu Tūmu Foundation Stone garden is developing and maturing beautifully. At present the Kowhai are in bloom and are looking stunning. The miniature Karaoke (flax) are in flower and most days these holidays the garden has been home to Tui and Silvereye birds. The presence of these birds brings much joy!


Celebrate Diversity at Diwali


Waitakere Indian Association invites you and your family to a fun filled family day to celebrate the festival of lights this Sunday 20 October at Trusts Arena on Central Park Driver in Henderson.

The festivities start at 11.30 am and go through to 9.30pm with the World Famous in New Zealand Fireworks.


There is be delicious vegetarian Indian food, performances from all age groups, cricket nets, crafts stalls, henna, Rangoli Competition (boards and colours will be supplied – please register via website www.wia.kiwi) and fireworks at 9.30pm.


Entry is free. We hope you can take time out and bring your family and friends to join our diverse growing Waitakere.

For more information, please like our page for all updates. https://www.facebook.com/WaitakereIndianAssociation/


The due date for Scholastic books is Friday 25 October.

Playball is an introduction to eight different sports, Football, Basketball, Netball, Cricket, Baseball, Tennis, Hockey and Rugby.

For all Year 1, 2 and 3 students:

Our aim is not to create superstars, but rather to provide children with the opportunity to develop a host of necessary social, educational and personal skills by giving children competence in sport.

Playball is taking final enrolments for term Four and  will commence on Thursday the 24th of October from 3:15pm-4:00pm and will run for 8 weeks every Thursday 

We will be limiting spaces to 36 children for term four.

Ask about a free trial today. 

To enrol your child/children please sign up online


Any queries please call James on 027-481-7000 or email james@playball.co.nz


Building Resilience:


Encouraging resilience in our children is of huge value to them. We often overlook opportunities for helping our children learn to adjust to situations when they are faced with adversity or lack of success. Saying to a child, “No wonder you did not do well on that test, you are always playing video games” or “You shouldn’t have tried out for that team in the first place, you knew it would be a long shot” do not contribute to building resilience. Children will eventually try to avoid anything where they are not very sure that they will be successful rather than view the situation as a challenge to arise to. 


Some suggestions for building resilience in children include:

• Use growth mindset praise. Always praise a child’s willingness to try, effort, patience, and practice. Do not attribute success to “being smart” or “being the best” but to hard work and perseverance.

• Model flexibility. Children and teens do not innately have the flexibility or adaptability to always handle a change of plans with grace. Being able to switch gears and change plans is important when building resilience in our children. One of the best things that we can do is to communicate that change is part of living life. We can model this for their children by taking a flexible mentality when things do not go their way. For example, if we plan a trip to a museum, only to find it’s actually closed on Mondays, then we could immediately model flexibility by selecting an alternate activity (or offering the kids some alternate activities to choose from). Taking this attitude in everyday life is important as well for parents, especially by not letting frustrating situations get the best of them.

• Adopt a “glass halffull”mentality in the home. Even during a hardship, we need to find positivity. A child with “hope” believes there can be a positive side to most situations. We also need to model a positive attitude, both verbally and nonverbally, when faced with our own setbacks. 

• Help childrenfind their own niche. A successful child is a confident child. Sometimes it means trying lots of different things before a child finds an area where she can thrive. This does not mean signing kids up for every lesson, sport, and club that comes along. It means providing opportunities for kids to experience a variety of things: cooking, scrapbooking, chess, stamp collecting, photography ... you get the picture.


Outstanding Achievements:


At right:  Dylan at right was nominated by Mrs Greenhalgh. Some of her nomination information follows...

Thank you for this opportunity to nominate the young Dylan Brown.  This kid is outstanding in all facets of life.  He is the smallest person with an absolute Lion Heart.  

Dylan humbly leads by example.

He is an exceptional athlete.  Whatever he participates in he succeeds at.  Dylan has pure grit and determination to win.  He is part of our winning Auckland Rippa rugby team.  He is part of our School team that won an Auckland Rugby title last year.   Dylan always wins any long-distance race in running in the wider school area.  He is a top softball player (both school and club) and a North Harbour representative in Touch Rugby.  He is also an outstanding rugby league player for the Te Atatu Roosters.  


Dylan was even determined to be part of our school swimming team so he got his parents down to the pool to teach him how to swim fast.  He worked so hard he became one of the fastest swimmers in the pool and looked like a professional at the Inter-school Sports.

The reason why Dylan is so successful is the fact that he trains so hard.  Dylan is out there every day giving it his all.  In all my 24 years of teaching, I have never come across a kid with such a huge work ethic when training for his chosen sport. When Dylan has finished his training he will go back out and support and coach the kids yet to finish their training.  He will clap them along and offer praise and encouragement whilst running alongside them.

He will never ever give up during actual competitions.....even if his team is losing....he is the one out there encouraging everyone and still trying his hardest.

Dylan will quite happily get up at the end of a sports event or a trophy presentation to give a speech and thank the organisers/coaches and other teams.  He addresses an audience with the mature manner of a true leader.  He also loves to lead a good haka too.

To win the Auckland Rippa Champs back in March this year, meant that the team gets to travel to Wellington for Nationals via a flight.  There were a set of twins Max and Flynn who have never been on a plane.  Dylan set the theme of the Rippa Champs "Operation get Flynn and Max on a plane."  That's all I heard him talking about leading up to the competition for weeks.  He is so driven to succeed for the sake of others happiness.  He is absolutely so selfless.

Dylan is in my class this year, I have a few of the sporty boys.  Today one of those boys succeeded by getting an excellent result in a reading test.  Dylan was the first to slap him on the back and say,  Epic Zakky, you got this school thing.  Go you, Buddy". This is typical for Dylan too,  I hear this in the classroom all day long.

Not only is he a leader in the sports field, but he is also a leader in the classroom, in the playground and in the wider community.  It is hard to do Dylan the justice that he deserves in words.  Thank you again for the opportunity to nominate the wonderful, humble young man.

From his very very proud teacher

Nuree Greenhalgh


The Kiwi (ex Western Heights) 11-year-old cycling across Japan:


Hi Mr. Maindonald,

Hope you are having a nice break.

I just found the article of Maria is traveling by bike in Japan with her dad at the moment. She was studying at Western Heights School before. I contacted her Japanese mum Miyuki and they are happy to share this with WHS even on WHS newsletter. I think it gives great influence to all the students and parents.

And thank you for the information about the Samoan Rugby Team on previous newsletter. When I saw the team photo, I was just wondering why they were holding my hometown’s famous Japanese chess piece and a woven hat? and I googled then found out the Samoan team stayed in my hometown (where Toby was born). I didn’t know Tusi Pisi’s son attends WHS. Please send wishes for the family!

Kind Regards,

Mariko Sumner(Toby’s mum)


In a country famed for its bullet trains, with speeds reaching up to 400km, one Kiwi 11-year-old and her Dad have decided to take a much more leisurely approach to tour Japan - on a bike.

Sports-mad Mariya Budd and her father Steve are travelling the over 500km distance from Tokyo to Osaka, following the Rugby World Cup. The duo, originally from Auckland but now call Australia's Gold Coast home, have been documenting their sometimes gruelling travels around Japan.

The idea for the trip came at Mariya's grandmother's house in New Zealand last year.


"We were watching a programme about the old Tokyo to Kyoto walking route called the Nakasendo Trail, and Dad said he was thinking about doing that. I asked him if I could join and we could ride it. We looked at schedules and thought the RWC would be the perfect time, so we started planning.”

The training proved to be challenging, especially trying to fit it in around school.

"During the school holidays I was doing 100km-a-day training rides on the Gold Coast, and every weekend I was doing between 40-60km. For the actual trip preparations, we had to plan the route and organise hotels so I made a website and social media sites to help get sponsors.

"The climbs! Japan is a hilly country because of all the volcanoes."

Another, more personal challenge, has been living in such close proximity to Dad.

"Having to sleep in the same room as him is not fun too because he snores and sleep talks! But he does let me eat what I want and watch Netflix until late.”

For Steve, he says he is one very proud parent.

"Mariya is doing so well. A few times we have had 'discussions', but we are still on the adventure together. Now we've made it past all the hard days we might actually finish this thing!"


This Saturday, the duo will be watching the All Blacks take on Italy at Toyota Stadium in the final game in Group B. However, there may be some split loyalties, as a relative skippers Italy.

"Dean Budd, he is my Dad's cousin. He has been living and playing in Italy for Benetton, and has been with the Italian national team for the last two years."

​Mariya and Steve say that one of the goals of the trip is to show people that there is life beyond the big cities like Toyko.

"I worked in Osaka and Tokyo for 13 years," said Steve. "We love the cities but want to show everyone if an 11-year-old Kiwi girl can get on her bike and see the smaller towns you can too.

"We've had so many amazing experiences at places like Mishima Skywalk, Atami Castle, Hamanako Orgel Museum (music box), Airpark JASDF Hamamatsu Air Base Museum. All places you'd miss if you stayed in the big cities."

For Mariya the big highlights have been the "amazing" Mishima Skywalk, and the food: "We've had a great sponsor with The Royal Group providing us food at every stop, great food and great service and been so welcoming in every city."

And leaving the final word with her, how would she sum up Japan? "Exciting. Hilly. Cool. Yummy food."

You can follow Mariya's adventures on her website www.mariyabudd.com and also on Instagram at theresmoretojapan.


Royal Host has been an amazing sponsor providing us with meals at each stop. Great service, great food and great people!


Short Tech Tip = A Weekly Series:


Bring back a closed tab - accidentally closed a tab? Simply press Ctrl + Shift + T to reopen the most recently closed tab and get back to what you were doing (Cmd + Shift + T on Macs).


Random Fact = A Weekly Series:


Wisdom of Children = A Weekly Series:


Parenting Tip = A Weekly Series:


David Pogue’s Life Hacks - A Series - Food Tips:


Thursday’s Thoughts:


Kindness is the Key:


Cats and Dogs This Week:


Signs of the Times:


Western Heights School

126 Sturges Road


Auckland 0612

P -  09 8361213

E -  macash@mac.com

M - 021 779 009

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Ash Maindonald



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