We've put together this handy page to help answer some of your questions. If you have a question that isn't covered below please feel free to contact us at office@matahui.school.nz or on 07 552 0655.

  • our school

  • our curriculum and learning philosophies

  • independent education

  • education outside the classroom/sports/camps

  • music/drama/languages 


  • fees

How is Matahui School different from other schools?

1. We offer small class sizes, which means more time with the teacher and individualised learning for each student. In a large classroom it is easy for students to sit back, do nothing and disengage. In a Matahui School classroom everyone is involved in the learning process. Students have said they have developed better relationships with their teacher, because they have more time with them; and the teacher really gets to know your child’s individual learning style.

2. Matahui School’s teaching philosophy recognises that each student has their own strengths and learns differently. We believe that “If children cannot learn the way we teach, then we should teach the way they learn” – Ignacio Estrada. We aim to provide learning opportunities that meet the needs of every individual child. A key aspect of our teaching philosophy is the integration of the Multiple Intelligences theory. This is where we ask ‘how is this child smart’ as opposed to ‘is this child smart’ based on data and how a child is performing within a National system. Matahui School students are not moulded to fit in a box, we foster and work with what they bring to us.

3. Matahui School’s curriculum is a unique, structured, conceptual enquiry programme developed by an international curriculum designer. Our unique enquiry ensures our students are exposed to local and global issues, and includes in-depth learning opportunities in science, social science, technology and our local environment.

4. Education outside the classroom (EOTC) is a core part of building our students’ broader skills as well as forming the base for much of our academic learning. Our EOTC opportunities include sport, problem solving activities and team-building challenges etc., and are available to ALL students, not just those who excel in those areas. Our camps focus on personal growth and resilience. Each year all Matahui School students participate in our annual Boat Day. Matahui School is in a rural location, surrounded by natural environment and native bush that students across all year groups use for creative, co-operative and imaginative play. Matahui School is the only school in the Western Bay of Plenty that includes a forest school as part of our weekly curriculum. The Guardians of the Forest programme is available to every student.

5. Matahui School offers a three-tiered leadership programme to every student in years 7 - 8. The leadership programme includes activities completed throughout the year, such as charity work, fundraising and helping to improve the school environment. Matahui School offers leadership opportunities for everyone, not just a selective few.

6. Matahui School has a strong and supportive community. Our active buddy system gives younger students access to senior students allowing them to build relationships and act as role models; in return, senior students provide reassurance and guidance for younger children throughout all areas of the school. Our community of families includes immediate and broader whānau, who are actively engaged with our students' learning and the school in a variety of ways.

7. We offer a specialist in-class music, drama and languages programme, where students learn French and te reo Māori. Each year, students participate in the Marimba Festival and Kidz Rock, and every second year the whole school puts on a production where every child is given a part.

8. OUR VALUES! Matahui School values are embedded in all aspects of the curriculum and we actively encourage students to demonstrate and reflect on these values in their daily lives. Matahui School aims to create an environment where kids accept each other for who they are, and grow to be kind human beings.

How is Matahui School the same at other schools?

We teach reading, writing and mathematics; and integrate aspects of the New Zealand curriculum into our daily learning.

Are class sizes small?

Yes, we believe that students learn best when they develop strong relationships with their teachers and receive focused, individualised support. We aim for average class sizes of 17 students across the school.

Are we alternative?

The school is not alternative. It is founded on sound educational principles and a philosophy that embraces the theory of Multiple Intelligences developed by Howard Gardner and Art Costa’s Habits of Mind. The curriculum draws upon and reflects key elements of the NZ curriculum for years 1 - 8. The basics of Multiple Intelligence theory states that every child is intelligent in their own way.

Are we a special needs school?

No. We aim to develop programmes that meet the needs of each individual learner which means providing for gifted students, as well as supporting those students who may find aspects of the curriculum challenging.

Do students get homework?

Teachers work alongside parents when giving homework. Usually homework consists of areas where students would benefit from reinforcement (i.e. In years 0 – 2 this might be spelling words practice) or to follow up on a concept studied during class time. In senior year groups, homework may include work that was not completed during the day and the student needs to meet a deadline. We understand that many of our students are busy with extracurricular and leisure activities, and we value that play and community activities also teach important life skills and create opportunities for learning.

What about technology use?

Use of digital devices in our learning increases progressively through our year groups. Tablet use and digital technology is limited for our junior students, but our senior students have access to digital devices in the classroom. One of the most consistent findings in educational research on the use of technology in teaching suggests that it is the employment of effective teaching practices that matter the most, rather than the presence of a particular tool. In fact, there is growing evidence that digital reading and writing methods are less effective (i.e. readers may not comprehend material as well because of other distractions online, and physically writing with a pen or pencil is part of the thinking process). Our Year 5 - 8 students are given access to computers and encouraged to use tablets for certain projects, however, at Matahui School we also teach Math, Science, Engineering and technology in other ways (i.e. cooking, hands-on exploration, fun experiments and all students have the opportunity to participate in local events such as the EPro8 challenge).

Is there a school bus?

Yes, there is. We currently operate two private school buses that cover Tauranga through to the Waihi area.

Please view our school bus timetable page for more information. 


Is there a school uniform?

Yes, Matahui School has a school uniform. School uniforms can be purchased from NZ Uniforms. Otherwise we do have second-hand options available for purchase in the Matahui School office.

How does Matahui School handle bullying and conflict?

Matahui School has clear policies, guidelines and procedures in place to deal with bullying or student conflict. This includes restorative processes to help both the bully and the victim to understand the impact of their behaviour, and encouragement to demonstrate the Matahui School values of empathy and forgiveness to try and reduce incidences of bullying and conflict in the first place. This is supported by our active and extensive buddying program, so that our ‘big buddies’ are an accessible role model that younger students can turn to if a conflict situation should arise.

Matahui School values are embedded in all aspects of the curriculum and we actively encourage all students to demonstrate and reflect on these values throughout their daily lives. Matahui School aims to create an environment where kids accept each other for who they are and grow to be kind human beings.

How does the Matahui School approach help students build resilience?

One of the key underlying educational philosophies at Matahui School is Art Costa's Habits of Mind, which can be broadly described as "what to do when you don't know what to do". It provides a toolbox to scaffold our students' problem-solving skills and is integrated throughout the curriculum. Current OECD research emphasises that young people today need to build coping skills, learn how to move on from mistakes and failure, and be taught how to assess and manage risks. Our EOTC programme provides students with the opportunity to experience challenges and manage risks and allows them to bring this learning back to the classroom (i.e. persevering through challenges, looking for solutions and showing resilience to ‘have another go’). It is our hope that by providing our students with the knowledge of how to handle these challenges, they will leave Matahui School with real-world thinking and life skills that set them up for future success.

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