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Weekly News Bulletin Term 1, 2017

Weekly News Bulletin Term 4, 2016

Information about Typhoid - the symptoms and prevention

Dear Students and Parents

As you will no doubt be aware there have been a number of cases of typhoid in the Mount Roskill area.

Below is a link to the Auckland Regional Public Health Service website where there are information sheets about the disease, the symptoms and how to minimise risk. These are also available in Samoan and some tips in Maori at the bottom of the page.


The best way to reduce risk of infection is to wash hands thoroughly and often with soap and water (minimum 20 seconds) and then to dry them completely.

MRGS Leadership Team

Punctuality Strategy Reminder

To support students learning a life skill of punctuality, the following process exists:

  1. 4+ minutes late to Period 1 students go to Deans’ Centre
  2. Conversation with student had by dean on duty regarding attendance expectations
  3. Make up time done after school
  4. Ongoing patterns of lateness or make up time not done will result in being referred to house dean or house DP

Reporting and Mentoring


To share information on students’ progress to strengthen achievement

  1. Progress reports will be distributed in the second to last week of term for all students.
  2. JUNIOR subject report night for year 9 and 10 students only 4-7pm Tuesday 11th April. Please book through www.schoolinterviews.co.nz code y8p4c - We look forward to meeting with you to discuss progress and next steps for our year 9 and 10 learners.
  3. Mentoring our year 11, 12 and 13 students is an ongoing process.

Mentors will meet with learners over the next three weeks to check their progress towards their academic, attendance and co-curricular goals.

Attendance Reminder

Congratulations to all students who are in class, on time, for every lesson.
Form teachers and deans are tracking each student’s attendance and we appreciate the support you also offer from home.

If your child is going to be away, please report their absence to:

You can check your student’s attendance:

February/March Sports Update

The year of sport has well and truly started for our summer sports. This year at MRGS we have Athletics, Archery, Cricket, Cross country, Dragon boat, Lawn bowls, Orienteering, Rowing, Softball, Swimming, Tennis, Touch, Tag, Volleyball.

Teams that have played in Auckland wide competitions so far include Cricket, Orienteering, Rowing, Touch and Volleyball.

The boys 1st XI Cricket team have played two games to date with two losses. Some very promising touches shown throughout both of these games and the team are looking forward to that first W. The girls 1st XI have had a great start to their season with two wins from two games. Strong showings with the ball have made it difficult for their opposition to score runs and the batters have been able to chase with ease. The junior boys have their first game soon,  a team mainly made up of year 9 students so looking forward to seeing how they go.

The senior girls volleyball team have made an exceptional start to their season having played six games and coming away with five solid wins. Their only loss coming at the hands of the league favourites EGGS. Great team work shown early on in the season by all the girls.

The mixed touch have started their season with a win and a loss. The win came over Avondale and the team will be looking to secure a few more wins as the season goes on.

The first round of the orienteering got underway with a strong showing from all involved. Interest in this sport is growing with some good talent coming through.

In Rowing we had four representatives at the College sport head of the Harbour regatta. For such a small team they all did remarkably well placing in finals or just out of. These students row for local clubs so we are very fortunate to have them representing the school.

On the representative front we had two students representing Auckland at the touch nationals recently. Bianca Bryan and Fritz Tuiavii Solomona placed 3rd and 5th in their respective grades.

I would like to thank the many coaches and teachers who dedicate their time to making it possible for all the students to participate in the various sports on offer here at MRGS.

Nga mihi

Kyle Rika
Director of Sport.

Punctuality Strategy

If a student has a valid reason for absence or lateness please contact attendance@mrgs.school.nz - If a student is more than 4 minutes late to period 1 they will have a 10 minute make-up session after school. If they do not attend that session the dean will contact you regarding the need to make up 1 hour of time on a Wednesday or Friday after school. Learning time lost is learning time that we expect to work with your child to catch up.


Important Information for Families about Attendance

In order for students to be successful, powerful learners they need to be in class on time in every lesson.

If a student misses two periods they are recorded as having missed half a day of lessons and this is reported to the Ministry of Education.

Teachers mark their roll on the computer every period. This allows us to monitor attendance statistics for both individual and groups of students more frequently and closely. If you have any concerns about attendance or want to report an absence, please phone the Attendance Officer, on 621 0069 or email attendance@mrgs.school.nz - Please phone on the morning of your child’s first day of absence. When we do not receive a call from the family a text message is sent out. Students are expected to be in every class on time in order to be successful powerful learners. Parents/caregivers have been sent their password to access the parent portal in order to view attendance.

Athletics Carnival

The house competition got off to a great start this year with the Athletics Carnival. Students from Hillary, Sheppard, Ngata, Cooper and Rutherford House competed in tug of war, shot put and 4X100m relay events to try to secure an early lead in the House competition. The level of competition, support and camraderie matched the superb weather for the event.


NZQA Fees Collection 2017

All Year 10 accelerated students and all senior students must pay their NZQA Fees (compulsory) to the accounts office between Wednesday 10th May – Friday 12th May . These fees must be paid so that any credits a student achieves through either Unit or Achievement Standard assessments will be recorded on a student’s record of learning. If not paid, the credits will not be released to the student. The Fee for the majority of students will be $76.70. However financial assistance is available to students whose parents/guardians receive a Work and Income Benefit or have a Community Services Card. Financial assistance forms can be collected from the front office, accounts office or from Mr. Parratt in the Commerce Department next to H6.

On Being Head Prefects for 2017

Over my four and a bit years at Mount Roskill Grammar, I’ve been involved in a lot of co-curricular activities, making the most of what the school has to offer. I started off playing Netball in the junior academies, but really found my passion for sport in Lacrosse in Year 10. Through this, I’ve been able to compete in Australia and around New Zealand for Auckland and the National Team. I’ve also been privileged to represent MRGS by coaching and playing in the Senior Girls Team. Lacrosse has been a stepping stone for me to become more of a leader. It has taught me how to interact and co-operate with other people, no matter of their abilities, age or culture.

From Year 9 it has been my goal to become a prefect, and along the way, my parents developed a code “T.P.P”, standing for “The Prefect Project” which they would refer to whenever they needed to pick me up from out of school practises or go with me to get end of year presents for teachers.

In the last few days of this school year, a group of about 40 of us were called into the office and were announced as the prefects for 2017. This announcement had been much awaited on my behalf, and so I was very relieved and happy when I found out that I had been offered the role. Next came the Prefect Camp. Three hot days in the beginning of December, spent at Ambury Farm just over in Mangere Bridge. For me, this was a time to detox from all the stress of the year and have fun with my mates. Throughout the camp, we really bonded as a unit, doing an Amazing Race, leadership workshops and team building activities. This camp was also the time were the students got to vote for who they thought would be good Head Prefects, though this did make situations quite tense at times. However, we all still came out of the camp knowing more people and being more sunburnt.

From that, five girls and five boys met with a group of the Senior Management Team just before school started where we had group interviews for the Head Prefect positions. I had heard about this from previous years and had always been hesitant about the thought of us being in the same room, answering the same questions. Luckily, it was not as bad as I had originally thought, with the four other girls, the senior leadership team and I all being at ease.

After the long Waitangi weekend, we were greeted back into school with another slip calling us into the conference room. The days leading up to this had been filled with anxious thoughts and so, to say the least, I was pleased to just know they had reached a decision. Mr Watson congratulated us and said that we would be the Head Prefect team for this year. The next few minutes for me were a complete rollercoaster of emotions, going from being so nervous my heart was about to blow out of my chest, to absolutely tingling with joy. This was where he said that Ojas and I would be the Head Girl and Boy for this year. The rest of the day was a blur of congratulations and hugs and then once I got home, off to training where there were more congratulations and hugs. That night, after telling
my parents, they came to the conclusion that now “The Prefect Project” was officially closing and it was time to use all the things I’d learnt throughout that project in my Head Girl duties this year.

Emma Thompson

Prefect Team for 2017

In an early assembly this term the 2017 School Prefects were formally introduced to the school and presented with their badges. These 42 young men and women strengthen the student leaders of the school bringing their particular service, commitment and energy to their new roles. We look forward to their ongoing demonstration of excellence, respect and responsibility. Mr Watson also announced the Head Prefects for this year. Emma Thompson and Ojas Shukla are the Head
Prefects for 2017 and Meleana Puloka, Siosaia Tuitupou, Caera Judge and TJ Apulu are the Deputy Head Prefects.

Mentoring Update

Thank you to the large majority of families who attended our first conference on the 16th of February. Mentors will meet with the students twice a term in addition to family conferences (June and August dates tbc).
Our mentoring programme for year 11, 12 and 13 students involves conversations between mentors, students and the students’ families establishing and monitoring goal-setting. The goals set this month relate to academic achievement, attendance and co-curricular involvement.
To support students’ goal setting for 2017 we will be sending information about homework centres and assessment information, including deadlines for internal assessments, shortly.
The mentoring programme is a powerful context within which we can work together, with students and their families, to set SMART goals and for our students to strive to achieve them.

New Polyfest Groups

This year Mt Roskill Grammar School is entering 2 new groups to the Diversity Stage, alongside the annually competing Indian Group. The Southern African group is a team of over a dozen students from years 9-13, led by Bostwana-native tutor, Phodiso Dintwe. Dintwe is a contemporary and traditional African dancer who has made practise so much fun for our very lucky students. Ex-MRGS student Randy Sjafrie has returned this year to choreograph for our new Jamaican group, expertly guided by Diane Dunchie-Coley from the ESOL Dept who will be teaching students about the history and culture of the dances from the Caribbean nation. Chernade Prasad, also ex-MRGS, has returned to tutor the Indian group and we are excited to see her effective leadership style influence our students. So far, the engagement within the Indian, Jamaican and African groups has been very impressive, as well as the growing bond between the groups as a whole. Whilst performing on the Diversity Stage at Polyfest is not as competitive as the Pasifika and Maori stages, most of the students performing at Polyfest will be assessed against Dance and PE standards which is an exciting prospect for our learners, and they will definitely be having a lot of fun while doing it!

Meet the New Members of the SLT

Principal, Greg Watson (2nd left) welcomes Ms Janine Tupaea (far left), Mr Terry Storer (2nd right) and Mr Desmond Pemerika (far right) to the MRGS senior leadership team.

Mr Terry Storer

Mr Terry Storer joins Mount Roskill Grammar School as Associate Principal after over 25 years in education. His career has taken him all over the world and he has worked in some of the most prestigious International schools in South America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Currently studying for a Doctoral degree, Terry is passionate about student leadership, providing opportunities and pathways for every student and holistic education.
In reflecting on his first few weeks at Mount Roskill Grammar School Terry said “Schools are often externally measured by exam results. These are already good at Mount Roskill Grammar and continue to improve. There is an underlying intangible for why students perform at these levels however; it is the heart and soul of the school – is the school a place where people want to come, are happy, feel safe and valued? Mount Roskill Grammar is all of those things and more. The diversity of the student body is a strength in a globalising world and is embraced and celebrated; it has become as much part of the fabric of the school as the buildings themselves. It is a fantastic place to come to every day and I am excited to get to know and understand the students, staff, parents and community even more over the coming weeks and months.”
Terry is married and has two sons in year 8 and 10.

Mrs Janine Tupaea

Mrs Janine Tupaea moved with her husband, 10 year old daughter and six year old son from the Wairarapa to take up the Associate Principal position at Mount Roskill Grammar. Both of her children are now attending Mount Roskill Primary School and are enjoying living nearby the college in the suburb of Hillsborough.
Janine’s teaching background is in Art and Design, and although this has predominantly been within secondary schools she spent some time working within an Intermediate School. Before transitioning into senior leadership Janine had been a Head of Department Art experience within three schools, including Tereora College in the Cook Islands. Her most recent position was Deputy Principal at Makoura College in Masterton, where she spent over 8 years.
Janine believes it is essential that we focus on teaching students how to think, as opposed to what to think, in order to prepare them for their future, and life long learning beyond their last day of secondary school. She commented “Education is student’s passport to travel in any direction that they so wish. Any destination is possible, regardless of the place that they are departing from, providing that we can help them to envision that it is achievable”.
When asked about her first impressions of MRGS Janine noted “I came to Mount Roskill Grammar School because I had been told about what a diverse and dynamic place it was. I have found this information accurate, and feel that our community is extremely fortunate to have such a passionate and dedicated team of staff who are continually reflecting on ways in which we can improve what we do, in order to maximise opportunities and achievement for every individual learner. Our students are a delight - and every student interaction that I come across thus far reaffirms what a unique and exciting place this is to be a part of. I am excited about what this chapter of my career involves and I look forward to working alongside students and caregivers to ensure that we are doing all that we possibly can, to ensure that every single learner succeeds to their potential”.

Mr Desmond Pemerika

Mr Desmond Pemerika comes to MRGS with a teaching background in Biology and Science. Before transitioning into senior leadership Desmond was a Dean and had Head of Department Science experience within two schools. His most recent position was Deputy Principal at Michael Park  School, where he spent over 9 years. When asked about what drives him as an educator Desmond listed the following things as keys to his beliefs.

  1. Education is an opportunity not a hinderance.
  2. We must provide an education that maintains student interest by helping them see how what they are learning prepares them for life in the real world.
  3. We must instil curiosity which is fundamental to lifelong learning.
  4. We must excite our students to become even more resourceful so that they will continue to learn outside a normal school day.

Desmond grew up on Richardson Road. When asked about his first impressions of joining the school he remarked. “Mount Roskill Grammar School feels like I am coming back home. Our students are honest, positive and I have thoroughly enjoyed the interactions I have had since starting at the beginning of the year. The staff I have found to be committed and genuinely wanting what's best for our students. I am very fortunate to be in a school with passionate colleagues who are continually looking at what can be done to help the students in their class to succeed to their potential. I am very fortunate to be part of this wonderful school and wider community”.
Desmond’s wife is a secondary school teacher; they initially met 20 years ago when they were teaching together at Avondale College. They have been together for 18 years and have two daughters, Aria (16) and Rosa (9).

New Staff at MRGS

At the start of this year we greeted a number of new staff at the Powhiri - we welcome them to our community of learners and look forward to the contributions they will make as they settle into their Roskill classrooms!

PFA ´Showsage Sizzle´

On Thursday 2nd of March, the Performing Arts Committee put on what they called a ‘Showsage Sizzle’ – a show and sausage sizzle fundraiser to raise money for their projects for the year. Yusuf Guessous, Isope ‘Akau’ola, Josephine Mavaega, Ella Mavaega and Tafadzwa Chikomba performed outside the PFA room and thanks to their beautiful performances, crowds snapped up every last sausage we had. The PFA Committee is a new student-led group, who are focused on promoting the Performing Arts, supporting student-directed work and creating Dance and Drama events for our school and community. We are particularly looking forward to preparing for Open Day and Arts Week for our very quickly growing department. Thanks to all the students who helped out and have worked so hard to organise this committee.

Senior Dance Trip

On the evening of Wednesday 1st of March, 27 students from Senior Dance classes attended a performance of Mea Tau at the Basement Theatre. Mt Roskill Grammar School benefits from our relationship with Basement Theatre’s Schools Partnership Programme which provides free tickets and transport to selected Basement shows, courtesy of generous Basement patrons. Mea Tau was created by choreographer and dancer Elijah Kenner who was inspired by the idea of weaponry and it’s reference in the bible.  It explored themes of objectification, manipulation and the relationship between toys and weaponry. The students seemed to really enjoy the show and were very vocal in the bus on the way home asking questions about the meaning of the work and how they may use the show’s work to influence their own choreography. Thanks to the students for being so well behaved on the trip and thanks again to Basement Theatre for your generosity.

Ship for World Youth Leaders

“Ship for World Youth Leaders” visit Mt Roskill Grammar

On Valentine’s day, 50 delegates from all over the world from the “Ship for World Youth Leaders” (SWY) visited MRGS to hear about MRGS’s Peer Mediation Service and NZ’s peace initiatives. This programme (SWY) is operated by the Japanese Government involving youth from Japan and many countries around the world.

It was an honour for MRGS Mediators to host this visit where we had presentations from the Peace Foundation, SOUL (Save Our Unique Landscape campaign) and the MRGS Mediators past and present. The room was a buzz of conversations about peace, respect and social justice.

 As one Advanced Mediator, Bhavisha Punja says:

It was an amazing experience where we were encouraged to ‘BLOOM’ by Matt Renata, which stands for: “Be a Leader that Opens Others Minds”. That we can lead from the front, the back and the side. That we are today’s Leaders, and that everyone and anyone can make a change if you put your heart, mind and soul into it.... The event was like being with family where we all wanted the same things of peace and love for the world. It was also great hearing from the Ex MRGS Mediators as we learnt how mediation had changed their lives and how they still use the skills in their careers and life”.

Ajay Ravindran who was a MRGS mediator in 2010 brought the delegates to MRGS. He states:

The powhiri was beautiful, and definitely served as the perfect introduction to Aotearoa, to Tamaki Makaurau, and to Mt Roskill Grammar. The mihi by Mr Watson on behalf of the school and by Matt Renata on behalf of the manuhiri and participants also set the tone for the rest of the visit...
I think the biggest round of applause has to be given to the MRGS students. I loved how open and eager they were with the participants. I know some of the Japanese participants especially were a little shy at first, but they (and others) couldn't stop talking to me about how awesome the students were...Thank you all again from the bottom of my heart, it was a huge privilege to be able to bring this group to MRGS and to have these conversations shared with them

A big thank you to the Kapa Haka group and Whaea Lee for the beautiful powhiri; The Peace Foundation presentations from Chris Le Breton, Lyndon Burford and Christina Barruel; Presentation from SOUL Pania Newton and Farrell Cleary;  our amazing ex MRGS Mediators : Naima Ali, Jonjon Cowley- Lupo, MaryKate Fonua, Nancy Gafa, ,Diana Qiu and Ajay Ravindran and last but never least to our wonderful Mediators who did MRGS proud once again!


New Parents' Evening

We welcome families of new students from all year levels. Come and learn about our school’s vision, curriculum and support network. The senior leadership team, house deans and academic deans will be present.

  • Date: 14th February 2017
  • Time: 7pm
  • Venue:  Hall

Mentoring Conference - Thursday 16th February

All year 11, 12 and 13 families meet their child’s mentor. It is an opportunity to set goals for 2017 with our learners. Mentors will contact families to arrange a time to meet for 15 minutes between 4pm and 8pm. Our mentoring programme is well supported by our community and reflects the value we place on face-to-face reporting.

First Day Powhiri 2017

Once again the school proudly welcomed its new members in the school hall on Thursday 2nd February. The class of 2017 were called into the school hall with a karanga and given a rousing haka powhiri by existing staff, prefects and year 13s, before being formally acknowledged by a whaikorero from the Principal Greg Watson. After the ceremony students joined their House groups for an orientation day which included the first Peer Support sessions.


2017 Startup Info

Welcome to the 2017 school year at MRGS – details of start-up dates for all students are detailed below.

Returning Students – 2017 course changes only
Students must attend in uniform in the school hall

  • Year 13 – Wednesday 25th January 9.00am
  • Year 12 – Wednesday 25th January 11.00am
  • Year 11 – Wednesday 25th January 1.00pm
  • Peer Support Leaders - Wednesday 25th January 1.00pm in the Hodge Learning Commons.

First School day:

Thursday 2nd February 2017, Y9, Y13 and all other new students

  • Y9 and new students 9.40am on school main field  (for Powhiri and assemblies)
  • Y13 9.00am in school hall for Powhiri preparation

Friday 3rd February = All students

  • 9.00 am ( all students to form classes)

School closed Anniversary Day – Monday 30th January
School closed Waitangi Day – Monday 6th February

– All new enrolments must be completed by Tuesday 24th January for students wishing to start on 2nd February.

Uniform and Stationery Shop – on Campus (access Frost Road Gate 4)
Opening hours:   

  • January 23rd - 26th 8.00am to 6.00pm
  • Fri Jan 27th 8.00am to 12.00 midday
  • Closed Monday January 30th
  • January 31st - February 2nd 8.00am to 6.00pm
  • Fri Feb 3rd 8.00 to 12.00 midday
  • Closed Monday February 6th
  • February 7th 8.00am to 12.00midday and 3.00pm to 5.00pm. 
  • February 8th 8.00am to 9.00am
  • February 9th 8.00 to 9.00am and 3.00pm to 5.00pm.
  • Closed Friday February 10th
  • Then the shop will return to normal term time hours:
  • Mondays & Thursdays – 8.00 to 9.00am and 3.00 to 4.00pm

Farewells to Associate Principals

At the end of this term we have farewelled  two of our Senior Leadership Team – Associate Principals, Julie Small and John Wilkinson. Ms Small is moving on to an exciting new position as Associate Principal at St Peter’s Cambridge while Mr Wilkinson is taking a well-earned retirement after 21 years at Roskill. Our school has been blessed with two leaders of outstanding quality and integrity in John and Julie. As part of our appreciation they were presented with taonga at Junior prize-iving by our BoT chair Marjet Pot who paid tribute to their service in her speech: “You are both very proud of MRGS and you deserve to be. You have given your heart and soul to the community. You have never turned away from the challenges of school life and you know that you have made a huge difference to the educational outcomes of students
and the professional development of staff.”
Our community wishes them both the best in their respective futures. Below we include a brief tribute to each and their service at Roskill.

Ms Julie Small

Julie began her teaching in Waikato and  taught at both co-educational and single sex schools, experienced being a Head of Department and Faculty, Deputy Principal and spent 10 years in two different schools as a Principal. She joined MRGS in 2011 bringing a wealth of experience in curriculum and exceptional leadership skills. She has made a difference at Roskill: a difference in the professional thinking of many teachers and middle leaders in the school, in the leadership capabilities of many teachers and most importantly, in the leadership and career aspirations of many students. She has worked tirelessly in the re-design of our curriculum, in the development of our Roskill Effective Teacher Profile, in the leadership of restorative practice, in school tone, and in using data sharply to understand problems and progress practice.
She has done this through an extraordinary ability to not only design big picture thinking but to track this through to what a big idea could look like in the work of each teacher and each student. In doing this with determination she has raised the educational achievement of the students of our school at all levels. As a leader pastorally, academically and operationally, she has left no stone unturned in her quest to ensure that all students are catered for and reach their potential. We thank her for her commitment and exceptional service.

Mr John Wilkinson

Before emigrating to New Zealand from England in 1989, John was a teacher and HOD English in a variety of schools. He first taught at Auckland Grammar School and joined  Roskill in 1995 as HOD English. He  became a Deputy Principal in 2003 and later Associate Principal. In addition to developing teaching in his subject and managing a successful Department he has been a national leader in English curriculum development, NCEA assessment and the New Zealand Scholarship English examination. As a community we have been lucky to have such a wise and able leader guiding our school for 21 years.

John has been instrumental in strategic planning, policy development and the school gaining its double 5 year ERO reviews. His work in shaping and presenting the work of the school has been outstanding. He has been our event planner, developing the NCEA Awards Evening, running the Diamond Jubilee, being the most amazing MC at the campus music event, quite at home amongst the primary school ukele band; absolute calm in a sea of excited musicians.

In later years John has worked alongside the Board and is the wordsmith and the thinking power force for the strategic planning and policy development. He has brought  his wisdom and clarity of thought to the role of being responsible for the tone of the school. He is seen as our 'gentleman and scholar’; empathetic, always treating people graciously and thoughtfully, highly educated, widely and richly read.
He is fiercely proud of Roskill, when he speaks to students about Roskill they listen because they sense the depth of his convictions about a school community he loves.

He has led the school adeptly as Acting Principal on a number of occasions, always bringing sound judgment, attention to detail, and regard for each person to the role. He leaves Roskill with our thanks, having been an outstanding and most respected leader.

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