Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Hōngongoi/ July, 2020.
Issue 3.

Tēnā koe, talofa lava, malo e lelei, kia orana and warm greetings to you.

Welcome to the third issue of this blog!

In this issue of Ōtākaro Auahatanga we share some of the exciting learning related to Samoan Language week that occurred at Just Kids Early Childhood Centres.  Students from Avonside Girls High School outline their involvement in an environment project, Banks Ave students share images of their Lock Down Isolation Dance, and following in the theme of dance, senior students from Avonside share a dance choreographed by Fleur De Thier and a site specific dance. The dance students also offer a  short tutorial to teach a simple Tik Tok sequence and they issue a challenge to all members of the Kāhui Ako and all kura to learn the Tik Toc and send in the videos as a collaborative project.The collaborative music activity that was outlined in issue two is still open to ākonga participation and the final product will be shared in our next issue.

Samoan Language Week at Just Kids

Recently at Just Kids we celebrated Samoan Language Week. This years theme was 'Tapena sou oso mo lau malaga' which means 'Prepare yourself a gift for your journeys'. This links well to our preschool values of Respect, Love and Kindness. Something that we highlight and focus on each term. We had an awesome week of fun activities planned for each of our centres and classrooms. The children and teachers were all so eager and happy to learn more about the Samoan Culture. The week was a huge success!  As quoted by Lita, "In the Samoan culture we love to give. Whenever we plan to go on a journey or to visit friends and family, we always plan a gift to give to them. We believe that this shows respect for their hospitality". We want to honor and thank our Samoan kaiako, Lita, Victoria and Faith for leading us on this journey. 
Just Kids Community Preschool - Just Kids House - Just Kids Merrington

Eco-Action in Ōtākaro

Students from Avonside Girls' High Environment Council and our Gardening Club have recently become involved with the Eco-Action Nursery Trust. Shirley Boys High School are also actively involved in the initiatives run by the trust and have been involved for several years.
Eco-Action are a group who are committed to planting native trees in the Red Zone close to our school. They eco-source native plant seed from Travis Wetlands. Eco-sourcing means plants are adapted to their local environment and are more likely to grow well. The plants grown provide year-round food and habitat for native birds and other fauna like insects, lizards and invertebrates. The aim is to provide a green corridor from the coast to the city for native birds to use.
Seeds are germinated and potted on by student volunteers from eleven schools, of which AGHS is one. Students and teachers take delivery of the small plants and grow them on till they are ready to be put in the ground. All the growing equipment is donated to them from funds raised by Eco-Action, and from their generous sponsors, some of who are mentioned here:  CLS Canterbury Landscape Services (who provides the excellent potting and seed raising mix that grows such good plants), Envirowaste, Living Earth, Mainland Tanks and Drums, Isaacs, Stark Brothers, Blacks Fasteners, Tiki Wines, Cant Poly Pipe.
In week 10 of this term we received the first 500 tree seedlings to set up our satellite nursery. Within a few lunchtimes of fantastic work our students had re-potted these into larger pots to give them room to grow. These are now set up in one of our gardens.
Our students have also been involved in two planting sessions, giving up their Sunday mornings to help out. We have been part of a large team of volunteers including students from Shirley Boys High School, who in 2 mornings have planted 2200 native trees into their new homes. 

If any other kura in the Ōtākaro Kāhui Ako would like to explore getting involved in this environmental project, they can contact  David Newton at the Eco-Action Trust,  

Banks Ave Primary School - Isolation Dance

Together the  52 students  and teachers in AWA at Banks Avenue worked to create a dance piece around their experience of 'Isolation' and Lockdown.

This was inspired by The Arts rich resource. 

We started by thinking of a piece of music that our wider community could relate to and came up with "Conquest of Paradise'. In the photos you can see the we started with a large group, using the Mexican wave to depict large crowd events, then we broke into smaller groups and our movements demonstrated social distancing. We finish as we started - together again but somewhat different...

Ngā mihi nui,

Belinda Walsh

Working Collaboratively through Dance

As part of level 3 Dance, students at Avonside Girls High School need to choreograph their own group dance, considering a specific space or environment. One of these group has shared their site specific dance, titled 'Levels'. The dance is performed by Zoe Hampton, Eve McAlister, Taylin Pearson, Liela Tupuhi, Charlotte Turner and Jadah Walker-Kelly.

The following dance called 'Traffic' is choreographed by Fleur De Thier. This performance is by level 3 dance students from Avonside and is an example of the Contemporary genre. All members of the level 3 dance class are performing: Sagal Abdullahi, Grace Carter, Zoe Hampton, Eve McAlister, Alessandra Morrison, Taylin Pearson, Phoebe Pierce, Marina Setu, Heresa Simaile, Catie Smit, Liela Tupuhi, Charlotte Turner, Jemmima Valavala, Katie Walker, Jadah Walker-Kelly and Fesney Situe.

Kāhui Ako Tik Tok Challenge

With the Tik Tok craze sweeping the world, we thought it would be a fun idea to create a Kāhui Ako Tik ToK challenge!!! Three students (Grace Carter, Alessandra Morrison and Katie Walker) have performed a basic Tik Tok and they have created a step by step tutorial to teach everyone how to do this dance sequence. The song they have used is 'I'm Ready' by AJR. Our challenge to all ākonga and pouako the video, learn the dance and then video yourself or a group of people doing the dance. Send the videos to or drop them to this link

We will edit the videos together to create a collaborative Kāhui Ako Tik Tok performance. Challenge your teachers to get involved. Get your whānau and friends involved. Videos to be submitted by Friday 31 July. That is the end of week two, term 3. We can't wait to see your efforts!!!

Ōtākaro Korero Podcasts

Over the last few months the Across School Team have been putting together a variety of podcasts that provide interesting discussion and information to inspire and engage both learners (ākonga) and teachers (pouako). There are 7 podcasts available that cover a range of topics, the two most recent ones exploring  'Hauora - Being an Upstander' and a subject specific discussion around supporting our Māori and Pasifika students in commerce. Episode 6 includes interviews with students from across schools in the Kāhui Ako and a discussion with the co-founder of  the 'Be the Change' organisation. These are well worth a listen. 

How to find the podcasts:

Either open up their spotify or apple podcast app and search “Otakaro korero” or follow one of the links below…

Chisnallwood Music Roadshow

The Chisnallwood Jazz, Irish and Ukulele bands had two days of performing to around 200 students in Early Childhood Centres in our Kahui Ako. Led by music teachers, and former early childhood educators, Judith Bell and Jody Keehan, 23 of our fantastic musicians traveled to 11 ECEs and performed different music songs and styles to preschoolers who loved every minute. They were dancing, singing, playing and interacting and really got into the performance. It was a great day for all of the students in our Kahui Ako.

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Haratua / May, 2020.
Issue 2.

Tēnā koe, talofa lava, malo e lelei, kia orana and warm greetings to you.

Welcome to the second issue of this blog!

In this issue we exhibit the wonderful entries submitted by ākonga from the Ōtākaro Kāhui Ako in the Avonside Arts Council Gratitude Competition

  • We share artwork from the Chisnallwood Lockdown Mandala Art Gallery
  • We introduce you to the exciting new initiative, the 'Ōtākaro Kōrero' Podcast and include links to the first two episodes
  • We  provide information related to some exciting music resources  AND 
  • We launch a wonderful collaborative music activity open to all students, including ECE ākonga!!

Ōtākaro Kāhui Ako Gratitude Gallery

In the first issue of Ōtākaro Auahatanga we outlined a Visual Arts activity set up by the Arts Council from 
Avonside Girls' High School. Ākonga were invited to visually represent things they were grateful for during the lock down and period of online learning. The variety of artwork is inspiring and we really encourage you to open the link and have a look at the Padlet that exhibits it all. A huge congratulations to all ākonga who participated.

 Chisnallwood Lockdown Mandala Art Gallery

Kia Ora,
The Mandala  gallery is a collection of student work that was completed as part of their regular tech rotation at Chisnallwood. What makes it unique is that it was completed online due to COVID 19. There were tutorials explaining how to do everything, eg how to draw a circle without a compass etc. The task was able to be completed with any materials from basic pencil & paper through to paints, or even just with found objects from home. Open the attached Link and enjoy 😉

New Initiative: The Ōtākaro Kōrero

The Ōtākaro Kōrero Podcast is about providing inspiring and informative content designed to support our Kāhui Ako|Community of Learning in our journey to create a vibrant education pathway for our community.

For the first episode of the Ōtākaro Kōrero Podcast we were joined by Dr Melanie Riwai-Couch from Evaluation Associates and Tufulasi Taleni from the University of Canterbury. With the impact of the Covid-19 Lockdown being felt around the world, it is important for schools to listen to the voices of our Māori and Pasifika whānau. In this episode, we discuss how it is important, now more than ever, that educators can engage authentically with whānau and co-create the educational environment for our students.

Here is the link to the show…

For the second episode of the Ōtākaro Kōrero Podcast we interviewed three amazing Samoan staff members in our Kāhui Ako - Enoka Taufua, PE teacher at Shirley  Boys' High School, Elaina Smith, acting Deputy Principal at Avonside Girls' High School, and Thomas Enosa, teacher at Chisnallwood Intermediate. We discuss Vaiaso o le gagana Samoa (Samoan Language Week), what it means to them and how teachers and schools can connect and engage with their Samoan students.

Here is the link to the second episode...

Music Resources and links

May is NZ Music Month! Hook Line and Singalong....
Groups or schools may wish to take part in the national Hook Line and Singalong by singing, signing or playing the 2020 winning song "We Are One". It just has two chords - C and Am. The video can be viewed at and the lyric, chord, and leadline charts are at You can register your performance ahead of time at " 

Chisnallwood will be streaming our videoed performance on Friday 29th May as part of our virtual assembly. 

Some upcoming music dates for music department calendars: 

  • May 27 Bands and Practical Ideas for 0-2yrs of Instrument Tuition, 7pm-7.45pm
  • June 20 Children's Instrumental Music Competition. New Zealand. 
  • July 1st - registration due for KBB online band and orchestra festival  - Aug 21 videos due
  • July 4,5 Producing quality videos for online submissions by Duncan Ferguson.
  • July 24 - Rockquest video submission date 
  • Aug 1, 2 - JazzQuest band competition
  • August 17-21 TBC - JazzQuest combo competition
  • Bandquest - TBC
  • "Strum Strike and Blow" had its first workshop last week streamed from Chisnallwood and ukulele, marimba and recorder repertoire and tips were shared with teachers from around Canterbury. Register at if you are keen to be part of this (NB This is not a physical festival this year but the repertoire is nice to share collaboratively).

Collaborative short performance - Ukulele piece composed by Julie Wylie

ECE and other ākonga groups are encouraged to film their tamariki playing along with this video .

Share your video with 

Judith will edit this together into one joint video "performance" so our students can get to see themselves performing with others....

Julie wrote this song to be accessible. Participants can sing, tap the ukuleles (as in the lyrics) as well as strum and pick the strings, and just enjoy the song.

Videos may be shared through this Dropbox link  or by using  password Otakaro2020

This is an exciting opportunity for students within our Kāhui Ako to participate in a collaborative music project and we thank Judith Bell for organizing this activity.

Monday, 4 May 2020

Haratua / May, 2020.
Issue 1.

Tēnā koe, talofa lava, malo e lelei, kia orana and warm greetings to you.

Welcome to the first issue of this blog!

What is Ōtākaro Auahatanga and why has it been created?

Auahatanga is a noun for creativeness and/or creativity. Ōtākaro Auahatanga is a place for us to share our creativity as a community.

Over the last few months our community, just like the rest of New Zealand and the world, has experienced change. Change on a scale that is unprecedented. 
While sitting at home in my bubble with family, my challenge has been to try and provide a way for teachers (kaiako), learners (ākonga) and whānau to stay connected. Community and a sense of belonging is vital in any situation, but now it is even more important. How can we enhance connections between ākonga and their kura, and embrace this within the wider Ōtākaro Kāhui Ako community? How can we create opportunities for our ākonga to share their successes and celebrate their learning within this new context where we are all at home and not able to meet face to face? How can we nurture and build opportunities for tuakana teina to flourish from a distance?

While we can not promise that this Blog will succeed in providing solutions to all of the issues identified, it will certainly provide an avenue to address some. It will be a tool for ākonga from various kura and centres within the Ōtākaro Kāhui Ako to share their successes, it can be a place for older students to connect with younger students through participation in challenges and activities, it can be a place for kaiako to inspire ākonga and share creativity. It is a tool to support connection and engagement across the Kāhui Ako, and we offer this tool to our ākonga, kaiako and whānau.

We would love to hear from anybody with ideas, activities and learnings to share. It could be tutorials that are videoed, simple competitions, activities for creative writing, visual arts, dance choreography to share, music performances, finished artworks... Share your suggestions with me at and we will build this Blog together.

Ngā mihi nui,
Victoria Shaw


Avonside Girls' High School Arts Council

Theme: Gratitude

Opportunities online for Dance

The following list of opportunities has been put together by Taylin. They are online dance classes, tutorials and websites for you to explore:

Zion Studios Instagram page- @zion_studios
•video tutorials for various ages and levels
•they also have a competition, find out more on their instagram/facebook page
•hip hop

Swarm Studios facebook page- Swarm Studios
•various facebook live open classes for all ages and levels
•hip hop

The Compound’s Instagram page- @thecompound_studio
•instagram live open classes every Friday 7-8pm and every Tuesday 6pm
•mainly hip hop, some contemporary

Many Dancers and Groups on instagram are doing live classes, a few that I know of are @indigosagala @parrisgoebel @ysabellecaps @magneticmovement_1 @laducashoes 
•various styles - hip hop, jazz, tap

Music resources

The resources below have been shared by Judith Bell. They provide a wealth of information related to music in the classroom for ECE, primary, intermediate and secondary aged students.

Please note we have released this as a way to support learning music at home (curriculum based) and wellbeing for the primary school level.

We now have primary, ECE, year 9, songwriting, well-being and all the MENZA ongoing digital kaiarahi resources too.

Also the latest magazine has a section on distance learning.

Hōngongoi/ July, 2020. Issue 3. Tēnā koe, talofa lava, malo e lelei, kia orana and warm greetings to you. Welcome to the third is...