Matahui Year 7/8 Seniors Soft Materials Technology



What an asset to have someone with the experience of Kate Bruning come and teach the Year 7/8 students about soft materials technology. The class have enjoyed working in a medium that many of them are not familiar, producing some wonderful cutlery bags. They are now working on cushions with hand stitched Kiwiana symbols.


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Before you are considered competent on the sewing machine you have to get your license!

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Here we are preparing and sewing our cutlery bags!

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In the photos above we are choosing our our Kiwiana silhouettes and preparing our blankets for hand sewing. Watch this space for photos of the finished products.




I have begun to take the camera outside with me when I am on duty so that when opportunities arise to photograph our students in action (and there have been a number I have missed), I can capture them as a tangible record of just have imaginative they are.

In the past I didn’t take photographs – the boys who built a working roller coaster over in the hut building area; the vast number of students who played “Pee Wee” without any disagreement over rules; the student who designed and built a small chair complete with leaning backrest or the students who went from using slats of wood to modifying skateboards without wheels, then adding Velcro straps to the boards so that their feet wouldn’t slip whilst zooming down a huge pile of wood chips. This must have been a New Zealand first – if not a world first!

This week the ball swing provided an opportunity. An opportunity to swing through a sawdust gouge that had filled with rain water. Of course, when the rain water ran thin the problem was promptly solved by ferrying water to the area via wheelbarrow.


At  Matahui School  the staff give the students some freedom to explore, within reason, these opportunities, so “Day 1” saw us providing some dry clothing to the bedraggled ball riders – “Day 2” the students brought a change of uniform from home. So if the washing pile at home increased you will understand why and if you felt a little annoyed, take a moment to reflect on a playground where students continue to learn through play and can be children.


This game will cease and another will take its place as is the way in the playground. We look forward to the next imaginative, inventive activity that will engage and entertain as our students seize the moment.


Ka kite



Static Electricity

posted in: Class Blogs, Pohutukawa yrs 5,6 | 0

Room five have been learning about Static Electricity, we have completed some experiments to learn how Static Electricity works.

The first experiment we tried was making our hair static by rubbing a balloon against our hair.

Another experiment we tried was when we used a charged balloon to pick up light objects such as, salt, tissue paper, tinfoil and rice bubbles.

Our favourite experiment was when we charged the balloon and placed it near florescent light bulb.  The part of the light bulb closest to the balloon flashed.  It was awesome!!! 

We are now learning about lightning.  Get ready to be electrified!


posted in: Principal Blog | 0


On Friday 10 July we hosted a mid-winter alumni gathering here at Matahui School. In attendance, we had families whose children had recently left the school to transition into secondary education and a number whose children had long since passed through the school. In both instances however, what was significant, was the fact that they all had wonderful memories of the time they spent here as part of the community.


What was also obvious was the enthusiasm with which our alumni recalled experiences they shared, many of which pertained to aspects of the outdoor education programme the school has developed and received national recognition for in 2012. “Mission Impossible” was a constant source of discussion during which specific moments were vividly rekindled.

As I listened to the conversations evolve it was absolutely apparent that our alumni feel a strong and tangible connection to their school. It was equally apparent that they were well-balanced individuals who had strong self-esteem, were confident, capable, interesting individuals able to engage easily with anyone.

So many of the students who leave Matahui School demonstrate a level of resilience, optimism and motivation to reach their goals and this results in a diverse range of accomplishments. What we would appreciate is hearing more from you all as to what you are currently doing. We would like to continue to celebrate your successes and accomplishments by featuring you on our web site and Facebook. As far as we are concerned you are all shining stars.


On that note, you may be interested to learn that  Toby Cunliffe-Steel recently won a silver medal in the lightweight single sculls at the World University Games. If you would like to read more please access the following link. You will be inspired.’t-stop-nz-rower

We would also like to showcase both our existing and past parents on the website and Facebook. Many of you have successes that highlight the level of entreprenurialism and creativity that thrives in our community. Don’t hesitate to contact us so that we can  share your achievements globally.

Our  thanks to Helga Campbell and Kate Bruning for the extra personal time they put into organizing the alumni evening. To those families who brought along food and drink – our thanks. Most importantly, thank you for maintaining your connection to the school. You will always be part of our whanau.

Ka kite



posted in: Principal Blog | 2


Becoming a Slow Tech Family.… I was recently sent a thought provoking article (use the web link below to read the entire piece), in which Janell Burley Hoffman provides some useful, thought provoking advice for parents regarding the use of technology.

“In our world, food, family and free play have a firm place, often touted as sacred and protected ground. And since our life is designed to fully embrace living it, we have to be mindful of all the pieces that might creep in and occupy more than their fair share. Technology is one of those pieces.”  (The Slow Tech Movement–by Janell Burley Hoffman, syndicated from, Apr 17, 2015)

Sometimes parents feel the pressure of doing things with the children during a holiday break that involve layers of complexity, some of which may include additional cost. The good news is that you don’t need to do much to happily engage the children if you provide them with the space and scope for imaginative play, beyond a reliance on technological gadgets or wizardry. Make no mistake – I am not a luddite nor someone who doesn’t enjoy spending time surfing You tube for music videos, but there is incredible room for balance.

Prior to the holidays I  watched in awe and fascination as our Year 1 and 2 students played happily together, as each found a tyre they could use to roll across the grounds, on the flat and down the hill. The way they organised a “mass roll” required effective levels of communication and in the process they were demonstrating and discovering some quite sophisticated science concepts.
I also observed with great interest, a Year 5 student create what is pictured below. What is it? How was it being used? What elements of science and mathematics were drawn upon to create and use this object? (for the answer as to what the object is check the bottom of this blog – if you haven’t been able to work it out yet).



The recent Christchurch Brick Show provided an opportunity for Lego enthusiasts and collectors to show their designs. Whilst children had the chance to develop their own creations the majority of the sophisticated models were built by adults. The ability and desire to play, craft and construct are not solely domains for children.

So as you can see, there are wonderful ways to stimulate creativity, imagination and fun beyond technology. You don’t however need to become overly draconian and lock technology away. Our students live in a digital world.  Perhaps become a Slow Tech family by adhering to the 7 wonderful ideas Hoffman presents in her article.
“Slow Tech parenting isn’t about perfection; it’s about awareness.”

Try out her suggestions and at the same time, be aware that the children can be actively and fully engaged in creating their own fun whilst continuing to learn.

Happy playing.


ANSWER : An aircraft

Aongatete Bush Trapping

posted in: Class Blogs, Pohutukawa yrs 5,6 | 0

On Tuesday 30th June Alex, Blake, Grace and Mrs Chissell went trapping with Barry and Barbara from the Aongatete Forest Restoration Trust.DSC06989

We wanted to learn how to set traps.

Before we went into the bush Barry taught us how to use the stoat trap.

Barry has set up a trapping line just for our school.  There are 11 stations and they are approximately 200 m apart.  On this trapping line they have set up live kill traps for possums and stoats.

The first station is called the graveyard.  There was nothing in the two traps.



DSC06995At the second station we found a dead male possum. Barry showed us the claws aDSC07007nd teeth of the possum.  We learnt how to reset the traps and how to attract the possums with flour and aniseed.










It was hard to reset the traps because the mechanisms are hard and a bit rusty.DSC07021

We discovered 2 possums, 1 mouse and 1 rat.

The entire trapping line took us 3 hours to walk but there was lots of talking and in the future it should take us two hours.






Barbara also asked us to keep track of the birds we heard and saw.

We saw 1 woodpigeon and we heard lots of fantail, a robin, tui, grey warbler and a rifleman.

It was really awesome to go out with Barry and Barbara and we can wait to do it again.


Young Einstein Champions

posted in: Class Blogs, Pohutukawa yrs 5,6 | 0


On Wednesday 10 June we sent 2 fabulous teams along to the North Cluster Young Einstein Competition.  Both teams competed strongly.




Congratulations goes to Rory, Fern, Danielle and Blake who won the competition.




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Last night the team competed in the WBOP Young Einstein Competition. While we did not win this competition, I think you will all agree they did look fantastic.

Weka Release

posted in: Class Blogs, Pohutukawa yrs 5,6 | 2

Welcome to the Weka Blog.

On Thursday 30th of April. Room 5 went up into the Aongatete bush to help to release 12 endangered Weka.  There were 10 males and 2 females.

A Weka is a medium sized brown bird with, red eyes.   It has small wings but it cannot fly. The birds are curious and famously feisty. This means that they are an easy target for predators such as; stoats, weasels, rats, dogs and cats.

The Aongatete Bring Back the Birds group have spent the last 9 years eradicating pests from this area. A 20 m2 aviary was set up to contain the birds for the next six weeks, because they have a strong homing instinct and would run back to Opotiki.


To start the day we had a Maori blessing for the Weka.


In pairs we chose our Weka that we would release into the bush. We then hiked to a secret location where the Avairy awaited us


We went through the protective double doors into the pest free environment.



One by one we carefully opened the boxes and released the Weka.


It was amazing to be so close to these threatened birds.

We hope these birds enjoy their new home in the avairy.


Written by Connor, Alex and Cullum.