In Ōtūmatua we work collaboratively to provide the children with the best experiences we can. We use the Halswell ACTIVE curriculum and the Halswell Values to help us develop young adolescents who show a Growth Mindset in all areas of their life. Our supportive environment is designed to assist children in being self directed learners who are prepared to face the challenge of high school and life beyond.

We have a focus on:

  • Inquiry learning – encouraging decision making and information literacy skills
  • Numeracy – including integrated maths
  • Literacy – reading for comprehension and understanding, as well as speaking with confidence
  • Integrating ICT into programmes where applicable
  • Expanding our experiences and developing personal skills and interests
  • Acknowledging New Zealand’s biculturalism by integrating tikanga and Te Reo into our learning programmes and by providing regular Whanau afternoons.
  • Developing future leaders

Leadership Opportunities:

  • School leaders – School Leaders, Secretary, Treasurer, Communication, Safety, Library, Cultural, International and Environmental leaders
  • Buddy classes
  • Kapa Haka leaders
  • Road Patrol
  • Environmental Group
  • Librarians
  • House Captains
  • Arts Leaders

We offer:

  • Many musical opportunities – Orchestra, Senior Choir, Vocal Group, Jazz Band, School Production
  • Technology at Hillmorton – textiles, woodwork, metalwork, home economics as well as additional classes in subjects such as computing, drama, visual art and science
  • Hagley Sport – a weekly competition over winter
  • EOTC – Wainui / Aoraki Mt Cook, Sailing, Ski trip
  • Languages – introduction to either Spanish or Japanese
  • A range of competition opportunities – e.g. Cantamath, Jump Jam, Speech Competitions, sports competitions at Zone and Canterbury level, Literacy Quiz, Science Competition, Current Events Quiz
  • Young Leaders’ Conference to help develop our school leaders’ abilities
  • ICAS Competitions (Digital Technology, Science, Writing, Spelling, English, Mathematics)
  • Regular Whanau afternoons where all of our students teach various concepts to the rest of the school, incorporating tikanga and te Reo

The Teachers

Lisa Dovey : Team Leader / T40 Teacher
Lisa Dovey
Team Leader / T40 Teacher
Michael Ruffell : T41 Teacher
Michael Ruffell
T41 Teacher
Kelsey Bush : T42 Teacher
Kelsey Bush
T42 Teacher
Mandy Dellaca : T43 Teacher
Mandy Dellaca
T43 Teacher
Chris Williams : T43 Teacher
Chris Williams
T43 Teacher

Our Blogs

How to Help at Home


  • In Otumatua almost everything we do for Maths is also available online.
  • You can ask your child to show you their Workspace online ( This has videos and work that the children can work on at home as well as school. You are also able to watch the videos if you are unsure of the method the children are using.
  • Mathletics – each child in our team has Mathletics. Please encourage your child to complete the work available, as well as playing Live Mathletics.
  • Basic Facts – a number of our children are still working on learning their basic facts. Making revision of these a daily practise would be beneficial.


  • Reading – please encourage your child to read every day. This could be the newspaper, a novel or a selection of short stories. Having them read out loud to you occasionally would also be beneficial as well as you asking them questions about what they have just read.
  • Writing – your child’s writing will be online if they have their own device. Please ask them to show it to you.
  • If your child’s writing is not online, the prompt is often in their Workspace online ( – so you could discuss with them what they are writing about.
  • Spelling – each child will have words from our Wordlab programme that they can share with you to practise. Test day is usually Friday.


  • At times your child will be coming home to ask questions or investigate different topics. Please could you assist them in finding the information.
    Your child will also get the opportunity to research areas of their own interest. Talking to your child about what their interests are, and the types of questions they might ask, will help them format their research.


  • Keeping an eye on our twitter feed will also give you a good indication of what is happening in Otumatua.
  • The photos we post can be good starting points of conversation with your child about what they are learning at school.