** COVID Update – 25 August 2020
Dear Parents and Caregivers,
It was a big relief to hear we are moving back to Alert Level 2 at the beginning of next week. We look forward to welcoming all our students and staff back onsite at that time!
Thank you once more to our parents and caregivers for the support and resilience you have shown through Alert Level 3. Our online learning will continue until Friday.
Strong vigilance, good hygiene practices, coupled with the hard work our health authorities are doing to identify and support any confirmed cases and their close contacts remain important for all of us.
Just a reminder that while everyone is onsite at Alert Level 2 next week, we must adhere to key health measures including:
  • Good hand hygiene and cough and sneeze etiquette
  • Staying away if sick
  • Keeping the appropriate physical distance from others (in class this means no touching each other and keeping out of breathing distance)
  • Cleaning and disinfecting our high touch surfaces daily
  • Displaying QR code posters at our entrances and encouraging all of our community to download the NZ COVID Tracer App and use it if they come onsite
  • Keeping a visitor register for anyone who cannot use the app and for other visitors who come onsite for a period of time.
Further information will be sent out later on in the week.
We know all these things will help to keep our community as safe as possible. Because of these measures, your child does not need to wear a face-covering while at school. We will of course support them should they choose to do so.
For those of you who might be finding things more difficult than usual, a reminder that there is a large range of support available for businesses and the community. We encourage you to go to covid19.govt.nz​ for more information, or get in touch and we will help you to find the information and support you need.
Ngā mihi nui
Vicki Parkins

How NZ COVID Tracer works

Use NZ COVID Tracer to keep a digital diary of the places you’ve been so contact tracing will go faster if it’s needed.


Information links:

See also: NZ COVID Tracer walkthrough videos.

Sign in

The first time you open NZ COVID Tracer, you’ll be asked to enter your email address and create a password. You’ll then receive an email with a 6-digit code that will allow you to complete the sign in process.

NZ COVID Tracer works with your phone’s password manager, which means you can choose to save the password securely on your phone so you don’t have to remember it every time you log in.

Register your details

After signing in you can go to the Dashboard to:

  • register your details
  • let us know where you’re staying
  • invite friends and whānau to download the app
  • register your interest in features that will be added to the app in future updates.

Create your digital diary

Once you’ve signed in you can start using NZ COVID Tracer to create a digital diary of the locations you visit.

Select the ‘Record a visit’ option. You can then either scan any Ministry of Health COVID-19 QR code poster or add a manual entry to your digital diary:

  • To scan a QR code, simply point your camera at the code so it fits within the target area on the display of your phone.
  • To add a manual entry, tap the ‘add manual entry’ option and fill in the form on the next page. You can enter the place or activity, the arrival date and time, and any further important details such as who you were with or what you were doing.

Your phone will vibrate and a green tick will appear to show that you have successfully added an entry to your digital diary.

You can view your digital diary at any time by tapping the icon on the top-left of the ‘Record a visit’ screen or by selecting ‘View my diary’ on the ‘My profile’ screen.

Example screen shots of the Record a visit and Entry pass screens in the NZ COVID Tracer app

Read more about NZ COVID Tracer QR codes.

Sign up for contact alerts

You can make sure you’re signed up for contact alerts by visiting the NZ COVID Tracer dashboard and checking the ‘Receive contact alerts’ tile.

  • If you are an Android user, contact alerts will be enabled by default.
  • iPhone users may have to enable contact alerts.

Screen shots of the Contact alerts screens for Android and iPhone users.

Once you are signed up for contact alerts, NZ COVID Tracer will let you know if you have checked into a location at the same time as a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, so you can be on the watch for any symptoms and take appropriate steps to protect your friends and whānau.

Contact alerts work through ‘push notifications’ to your phone. Notifications will include information about the locations and timeframes where people may have been exposed to COVID-19. If there is a match with the information stored in your digital diary, you’ll receive a contact alert. This does not involve transmitting any location information from your phone to the Ministry of Health.


Cross-country was a big success this year and we had some amazing runners take part. Their hard work during our fitness sessions really shined through,  and the determination all the students had was something to be proud of. Great work everyone and thank you to the parents who came out to support and cheer on the students.

The top 8-10 students from each gender/year level will be invited to compete against other schools on the 11th of August (next week).

Congratulations to our top place winners:

PTA Freaky Friday Fun Mufti Day

Thank you to the PTA for the organisation for the Freaky Friday Mufti Day and to all the parents/caregivers who supported this event.  It was also a wonderful way to celebrate having our first school assembly. Have a look at these awesome outfits!

Parent/Teacher Interviews –

Parent/teacher interviews are scheduled to take place in the last week of term 2 on Wednesdy 1 July 3.20-5.00pm and Thursday 2 July 3.20-8.00pm. Bookings are made online; please see information below:

Whittaker’s Fundraiser!

A very big THANKYOU to everyone who helped and supported our chocolate fundraiser

Police Helicopter…

There was much excitement on Monday when the Police Helicopter popped in to visit! With the children watching from a safe distance, they landed in the field and with the rotors off, invited the children to come in close to have a look. Accompanied by police cars and officers it was a fun way to start the week, and we were lucky they could come and visit us.

A very big Thankyou to the officers for taking the time to chat to the children and to Constable Smith for organising this treat for Botany Downs.

Super Smash Reading Challenge

Here’s a fun reading challenge to help keep your children reading over the long summer break.

It is free to sign up and easy to do – register on the Super Smash website, pick a team to ‘play’ for and log
each book that is read over the summer. There are cool prizes up for grabs too!
To register and for more information go to reading-challenge.org.nz

Middle School Poetry Recital

Naomi, Charlie and Blake

On Friday the 8th of November, the Middle Syndicate held their poetry
recital finals. Each class selected 2 finalists to represent them at this
The quality of the recitals was extremely high and it made for a very
difficult decision for the judges.
Congratulations to all who took part, and to the following poetry winners:
1st place – Blake Lundgren (Room 22)
2nd place – Charlie McNae (Room 23)
3rd place – Naomi Le Roux (Room 22)

Congratulations to…

Ella Zhou – winner of an art competition to celebrate the release of the picture book Scary Tales for Brave Kids.

Angelo Su’a – second place in the Howick Pakuranga Speech competition. Sixteen local schools competed..

Speech Finals!

Congratulations to the following students who were finalists in the speech competition held recently in the hall. They all spoke well in front of a big audience and the judges.

2019 Speech finalists

Year 5

  • Alpha Shi – My BFFs – Books Forever Fantastic
  • Isla Donaldson – Our Beautiful World
  • Cameron Smith – Books Are Better Than Movies
  • Amber Newson – What We Should Actually Learn In School
  • Angelo Su’a – We Don’t Need Homework
  • Nathan Wang – Benefits Of Student Council

Year 6

  • Kayleigh Thistlethwaite – People Should Smile More
  • Zeena Williams – Stop Animal Cruelty
  • Linaya Karunatillake – We Are All Unique
  • Casey Ferguson – The Tricks Of The Trade
  • Roxie Lindgreen – Dwayne Johnson Is The Best Actor Of All  Time
  • Alex Johnson – Being A Natural  Red-Head Is The Best

The results were:

1st Angelo Su’a

2nd Linaya Karunatillake

3rd Alex Johnson

Angelo, Linaya and Alex

Kōanga Festival 2019

Our wonderful Kapa Haka team gave an amazing performance at the recent Kōanga Festival. The team represented the school with mana and showed great commitment, courtesy and enthusiasm. After their performance, they recieved an awhi haka from the Howick College kapa haka group – a very special honour. A very big thankyou to Mrs Takaiti, Ms Wright, and Mrs Carr for supporting our students and preparing them for this special event.

Storylines Author Visit

A group of Year 5 & 6 students had the opportunity to meet award winning author Janet Hunt. A non-fiction writer who writes about New Zealand’s wildlife and environment, she inspired the students with her stories from the Wildbase Hospital in Palmerston North. The visit was part of the Storylines National Festival Story tour and we were thrilled to be included.

Author Visit for Book Week –

We enjoyed meeting New Zealand author Juliette MacIver. She read her stories and told us about being a writer and how she writes her wonderful rhyming stories! We also got to come to school on Friday dressed as our favourite book character!

Room 3 showed Juliette their artwork based on her book.

Lucky winners on Character Dress-up Day
New School App!

Exciting news – Botany Downs has a new app! Go to your phone’s app store and download the SchoolAppsNZ app today to keep in touch with what is happening at school. Record absences, check notices and the school calendar… all at the touch of a button!