Masterchef brings smiles to Te Kura o Waima

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Current Masterchef winners Kasey & Karena visited schools around Te Tai Tokerau (Northland) this week bringing excited smiles and igniting the belief that kids from small towns can ‘dream big too’.

Their schedule included a morning at Northland College where their mother Atarangi taught and attended, a visit to Rawene School where Karena’s namesake is the new Principal, and then on to Waima  where mum Atarangi was raised and  went to school.

At Waima the small entourage were met by an ‘all tamariki’ powhiri as the senior students of Waima School took the lead in welcoming the celebrities and their whanau onto the school. The opportunity was used practice putting into place the tikanga (traditions) of their hapu (sub tribe) Te Mahurehure. Young Elyse Williams called their guests on with her first ever karanga (traditional call) after which fellow student Cornelius Fakahua led those gathered in karakia (prayer). Mustering up the courage, young Caleb Thompson delivered his mihi (welcome speech) and the whole school sang with gusto in support.

Excitement in the children was evident as they heard how Kasey and Karena started their educational journey at a small school just like theirs and recounted the series of events that led them to success on the television show Masterchef NZ.  Mother Atarangi shared stories from her childhood about what the school looked like when she lived there and went to school in Waima. Tales of rope swings along the line of pine trees by the river would have made today’s health & safety guru’s cringe but the more Mrs Te Awa-Bird shared, the more  students began to picture the life of a student at Waima School in a time gone by. 

The Masterchef winners were gifted some Waima School apparel and some ‘school values’ wrist bands when they arrived and were farewelled with a gift of some peruperu (small potatoes) that students Nevayah & Moana had dug out of the school gardens that morning. The hope being that the authentic ingredient might inspire more of the culinary excellence the two ladies are renowned for. When asked what they were having for dinner tonight the response was “we’re having a boil-up made for us” which brought forward giggles from  children for whom that is standard fare.

The visit illustrated how celebrities with small town beginnings can bring a sense of wonder and excitement to students who otherwise may not have the courage to dream of bigger beginnings to a life of expression and achievement. In one visit these two exceptional young women have flared the flame of hope in so many children throughout the Hokianga.

Thank you Kasey, Karena, and family for taking the time to visit us in Te Tai Tokerau (Northland).


Master Chef comes to Waima School!

Master Chef

EXCITING NEWS!!!! On Friday the 27th of February @ 1.30pm – Kasey and Karena (master Chef winners) will be coming to visit our students. We are extremely honoured to have them and welcome you all to join us on this afternoon.

“Despite their hectic new lifestyle, sisters Karena and Kasey Bird have not been tempted to move from their Maketu home since their 2014 Masterchef win. They still live next door to each other in the small Bay of Plenty town. ”It’s a safe haven for us to unwind and be creative,” say the pair who have never had any formal cooking training. Kasey was studying accounting and Karena a quality control coordinator at Poutiri Trust before they entered the master chef logocompetition. “Now, we do not have typical days any more. One day we are doing cooking demos at food shows, the next we are in our office writing recipes, the next we are doing photo shoots for magazines.” Their favourite kind of day? “Those we get to spend in the kitchen, perfecting dishes we have thought up.” 

Extract taken from:–Kasey-Bird/

‘HABITATS’ at Waima School

Habitats are where it’s at here at Waima School. A student led enquiry sparked a school wide interest in the word habitat.

  1. habitat


    the natural environment of an organism; place that is natural for thelife and growth of an organism:

    a tropical habitat.

    the place where a person or thing is usually found:

    Paris is a major habitat of artists.

    a special environment for living in over an extended period, as anunderwater research vessel.

    habitation (def 1).
    synonyms: natural environment, natural element, natural territory, natural surroundings, natural terrain, home, domain, haunt;

Here are some images showing how learning is off to a creative and fun start here at Waima School. These students are from Room 1.

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Creativity Spurs Students On

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Room 1 at Waima School is a haven for new entrants who have creative and expressive flair. Mrs Bawden has hit top gear with her planning & innovative lesson delivery in class which has her students making progress in leaps & bounds.

Recent professional development focussed on the Reggio Emilia Learning Philosophy, coupled with Mrs Bawdens knowledge of the community, and her own passionate personality have motivated the young learners to a place where they are individually engaging in their learning and their enjoyment and pride is obvious as they take every opportunity to show and share about their learning with visitors to the school.

Even the classroom environment is changing in Room 1. Naturally sourced containers made of bamboo, tree stumps, stick & plasticine sculptures, and alphabet friezes made of leaves and sticks are the adornments of choice, and most have been largely sourced or made by the students themselves. This translates into students who have an increased sense of ownership in their learning environment. Everywhere they look they have memories of how they have personally contributed to their special learning space.



The Reggio Emilia philosophy is based upon the following set of principles:

  • Children must have some control over the direction of their learning;
  • Children must be able to learn through experiences of touching, moving, listening, seeing, and hearing;
  • Children have a relationship with other children and with material items in the world that children must be allowed to explore and
  • Children must have endless ways and opportunities to express themselves.

The Reggio Emilia approach to teaching young children puts the natural development of children as well as the close relationships that they share with their environment at the center of its philosophy. Early childhood programs that have successfully adapted to this educational philosophy share that they are attracted to Reggio because of the way it views and respects the child.

Grandparents Day & Tiaki Tamariki Space

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It was fabulous to see many of our grandparents yesterday as our students played host to their loved ones and took much pride in showing them around our beautiful school. After welcoming our grandparents and visitor to the school Larry Forbes, our grandparents were treated to some poetry readings, songs, and a very long line for the hariru (person to person greetings). Then we had a lovely shared kai, thank you to all those parents who sent in such a great variety of food, and each student took their grandparents around to show them the work they have done so far. Grandparents were encouraged to ask their mokopuna about their learning goals for the year and career aspirations for life so our students were able to practice articulating their dreams.

After the tour of the classrooms with their mokopuna the BOT were able to show our visitors through the newly refurbished back room which we have now called the Tiaki Tamariki Space. It includes a fully functional kitchen, mirror wall, new furniture, and a purpose built community computer lab.

Senior Sports Star at Waima School

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This week saw senior boy Cornelius Fakahua receive yet another prize as he was recognised for his stand out achievements at the Interschool Swimming Sports at Opononi Area School. School Sports Assistant Angeline recognised Cornelius because he was among a group of students who represented Waima School and placed 2nd in the only 50m race of the day. This showed not only Cornelius’s fitness levels but also his courage to enter into an event that was outside of what he had done before.

Although he has always been a consistently high performing athlete, in previous weeks Cornelius was also selected as the ‘Top Senior Male’ of the interschool softball tournament held in Kaikohe. This huge trophy takes pride of place in the administration area where all visitors to the school are able to see it and hear of Cornelius’s achievements.

Congratulations to Cornelius and his family on such a wonderful start to the year.

Netball Starts Back

Lets Play Day

Junior students from Waima & Ohaewai School enjoyed a day out at Lindvart Park in Kaikohe on Monday last week as staff from Netball Northern introduced the new junior version of the game.

The game is now made simpler so children as young as 5 years old can play netball and learn new skills. Staggering the introduction of new rules also means that the game grows with the players and the skill level builds as their experience with netball increases.

Bay of Islands Netball Centre is introducing the new version of the game with a Junior Twilight Competition starting Wednesday the 26th of February at 4:30pm followed at 5:30pm with a Parent Information Evening to outline how the new versions of the game works. The parent information evening will be presented by Netball Northern staff member Anne Nicholson and will be a good chance for parents to ask questions.

The Junior Twilight Competition will cost $20 per team to register and involves 2 x 20 minute games each week and a skills and drills demo in between games to teach schools some new skills and drills for use at their practices throughout the season.

So…. now is the time for parents and community members who are interested in being parent helpers, managers, and coaches to let the school admin Aunty Hoki know so we will know how many teams we are able to have. There are plenty of tamariki who are keen to play but we need to have a coach or parent helper for each team before we can progress.