A-Z Guide

Absences / Accident / Illness

Regulations state that no child shall be absent from school without sufficient reason. We ask that you notify the school office by 9.00am on any day that your child/children are not attending school.

When taking children from school during the day, such as dental or doctor’s appointment, please advise the classroom teacher and school office when the child is leaving to avoid confusion as to the child’s whereabouts. Advance notice would be appreciated.

Should a child suffer an accident during school hours they will be attended to and if it is felt that a doctor’s advice is necessary, then the parents/caregivers will be contacted immediately. In cases of a bump or knock to the head, the office will contact parents/caregivers as child will need to be collected so they can be monitored.

Should a child feel unwell whilst at school, parents/caregivers will be contacted and requested to collect their child from school. No child/children will be sent home unless there is someone to receive them.

For the above reasons we like to keep an up-to-date record of telephone numbers where either parent/caregiver can be contacted. Please assist us in keeping our records as accurate as possible by informing us of any changes which may take place. Regulations state that no child shall be absent from school without sufficient reason. We ask that you notify the school office by 9.00am on any day that your child/children are not attending school.

Amenity Donation

As a Decile 4 school, we are currently covered by the Ministry of Education Donations Scheme. This means that we do not ask for an amenity donation for parents for things like class trips where there is an educational purpose or visiting performers. We do still request a contribution for overnight camps where there are non-curriculum components to the cost. The intention of this is to alleviate expenses for families.

Attendance Register

Class attendance is recorded by 9:00am each morning. If your child arrives after this time it is recorded as ‘late’. If your child is late, they will need to enter through the school office to report their arrival at school. If your child is absent, please phone the office before 9:00am to advise of this. Without an explanation the student is entered as ‘truant’ on the register. All attendance is recorded electronically.

Bell Times

8:50amSchool commences
10:30amMorning Break
11:00amEnd of Morning Break
12:30pmBeginning of Lunch Break
1:20pmEnd of Lunch Break
2:50pmBus Students released
3:00pmAll students released (after buses have departed)

Big Buddies

All children are assigned a “Big Buddy” when they enrol. This is usually an older child from Year 5 upwards. The buddy time is about developing and fostering close relationships throughout the school between children of different ages. The big buddy is a student in the senior school who looks out for their little buddy in the playground, and at whole school events. We have buddy time every Friday from 1.30pm- 1:50pm.

Biking to School

It is strongly advised that students aged 7-10 years of age do not bike to school unless accompanied by an adult. Older students may bike to school on their own. They must bike directly to the bike stands and must not ride their bike around the grounds. The bike stands are out of bounds during the school day unless students are taking their own bike for use on the pump track.

Book Club

The Scholastic book club is a means of obtaining good quality books in paperback edition at substantially reduced costs. Children are supplied with an illustrated list and order form. Information on how to order and due dates for orders are sent home each term.


We have three bus routes which service the Takaka Hill, Marahau and Kaiteriteri areas and also the Riwaka Valley. To check whether your child is eligible to use this service, please contact the school office on office@riwaka.school.nz.

At the end of each school day, students are checked onto the bus from the bus rolls. It is very important to let the office know if there are any changes to plans so as to be able to alter bus rolls accordingly.


We do not permit students to use cellphones during class or breaktimes. We appreciate that sometimes these might be required for after school contact or arrangements. For that purpose they are kept at the office and can be collected by students at the end of the school day. This decision is in the interests of minimising distractions to your child’s learning as well as maintaining a digitally-safe environment.

Change of School

In the event of your child/children transferring to another school we would appreciate some prior notification. This will allow us to prepare basic information regarding your child so that a smooth transition to the next school can be achieved. Official records will be forwarded direct to the new school, once a request for them has been received.


We are pleased to be one of a large number of schools in the Nelson/Tasman region who are using the services of Lifewalk’s school chaplaincy. This service is available through Lifewalk as a non-profit organisation. The role of this is to support well-being. To contact the Lyn Campbell, our Chaplain, please email lyn.campbell@riwaka.school.nz

Class Placement

In December parents and whānau will be advised of their child’s placement for the following year. The teachers and Principal are responsible for all class placements. Most of the classes are composite (i.e. two levels in one classroom). This is to make best use of the available teaching staff. Programmes in mathematics, reading and language are based on individual needs and rates of progress. There is opportunity for extension and attention to special needs in all classrooms. There is no advantage in being the older or younger class level in a composite class as teachers adjust their programmes to meet the needs of all children, teaching to stage rather than age.


Students are expected to dress in a way that will allow them to participate in all normal school activities, ie PE, Art etc. Tight fitting or “revealing” clothing is not appropriate at school nor is the “Gangster” type clothing – hoodies, bandanas, low rider pants. Sunsmart clothing options are recommended during Term 1 and Term 4 (ie: shoulders covered) and bucket style sunhats must be worn outside. These are available from the office or you are welcome to provide your own. Please also see the Sun Hats section below.

Collecting Children after School

The bus pupils leave first. Non-bus pupils remain with their teachers until a bell is rung. Parents are asked that they wait outside their child’s classroom for the after school bell to ring before taking their child/ children from school. We also ask parents of junior students to please come into the school grounds to collect their child/children especially for helping across School Road during this busy time with traffic.


Unnecessary worry can be caused by unfounded rumour or misinterpretation. If any parent or guardian has a concern please don’t hesitate to contact the school to clarify/verify the situation.

It is preferable to discuss the matter directly with the person concerned to seek clarification or outline your concern.

You are welcome to discuss the progress of your child at any time with his/her teacher. Whenever children’s work or behaviour is causing concern, such discussions are essential and undoubtedly of value to both home and school. Teachers are available for these discussions outside school hours. An appointment is always advisable unless the matter is urgent.

Please contact your child’s teacher to make an appointment. This also allows the teacher time to prepare and gather background information for you. If a matter is unresolved, the next point of contact is Team Leader, Deputy Principal, Principal and finally the Board of Trustees.

Our Concerns and Complaints Policy can be found on the school website under the Policies and Procedure section.

You can also view a copy of the flowchart in how we deal with concerns as a school which can be downloaded from below.

Dental Clinic

Dental Care Motueka Community Oral Health Clinic at Parklands School provides treatment for pupils from Riwaka School and for pre-schoolers in the area. Appointments cards will be sent out usually by text message when students are due to be seen. Contact can be made direct by phoning 03 528 1160 option 7.

Food, Fizzy and Lollies

We encourage students to bring a full healthy lunch. Children are not to bring lollies or fizzy drinks to school. This is in-line with our water only guidelines when it comes to drinks.


We do not have a school homework policy. Our students are largely involved in a wide range of after school activities as well as being part of busy families. A priority of the school is to promote a love of learning and well-rounded rather than ‘stressed-out’ students and parents. The setting of homework in the senior school is at the discretion of the teacher and is expected to be at a level that does not create stress or anxiety.


We have four coloured ‘houses’; whenua, wai, ahi and rā. We aim to have all family members in the same house colour. Each student is placed into a house on enrolment at school. Some school events eg; swimming sports, the houses compete for points. At the end of the year, the waka trophy is awarded to the house which has accumulated the most house points.

Itinerant Music Lessons

These are available on a user pays basis for students attending Riwaka School and take place on a Friday during the school day. Expressions of interest for these are asked for at the beginning of each school year and the Teacher in charge of the Arts confirms spaces and time-slots for these. Payment and invoicing for these is a private arrangement between tutor and families.


Each class visits the library about once a week. All children may borrow two books at a time, for up to three weeks. Books can be renewed but must be present when renewing. We also increase the limit over the summer school holiday period to allow students to borrow books over this holiday period.

Lost Property

Please name all your child’s clothing to prevent loss. Unnamed clothing is placed briefly in the Lost Property cupboard at the end of Room 6. Please encourage your child to look through the cupboard for any missing clothing. The cupboard is cleared at the end of each term, items displayed on front court and unclaimed items donated to charity. Any named items are given to owners.

The lost property cupboard is unlocked and accessible ‘after hours’ for parents to check for missing items.

Each week, a different class takes responsibility for monitoring lost property with the aim of minimising how much accumulates each term.


The school issues newsletters on a fortnightly basis. We regard this form of communication with school families and the community as extremely important. These are published on a Monday or as the need arises and are distributed via email and the eTap App (available for Android and iOS devices). We do not provide a hardcopy.

If a community member wants to utilise the school newsletter as a means of conveying an important message please contact the office.


Online payments can be made to the school office. The account details are RIWAKA SCHOOL BOARD OF TRUSTEES 03-0693-0114077-00. We do not have EFTPOS but online payments can be made via mobile banking apps and proof of payment displayed on screen for urgent transactions (school hat, sports top).

Playground Areas

We have three Adventure Playgrounds. One is for Y1-2 students, one is for Y1-4 students and one is for Y5-8 students. On wet days, red flags are placed on the grass areas to signal to the students to keep off these areas. This is to look after our sports pitches.

Prescribed Medication

The school will take every care to ensure students receive prescribed medication in school hours if this enables them to access education. A medicine administration register is required to be completed before medication can be given. Please contact the office for safe and consistent storage and administering of these.

Our Medicines policy can be found on the school website under the Policies and Procedure section.

Pump Track

We are fortunate to have a Pump Track designed and built by parents and students! This is an area for all students to enjoy. It is accessible at morning tea and lunchtime NOT before school. Also, bike sheds are for storing bikes when not in use and we ask that students do not congregate in these areas. Helmets, shoes, and a positive attitude are required at all times.

Pupil Welfare

The school maintains contact with and utilises, where necessary, specialist services in the fields of health and education. These services include:
  • Hearing and Vision Specialist
  • Speech/Language Therapist
  • Resource Teacher Learning & Behaviour
  • Ministry of Education Educational Psychologist
  • Public Health Nurse
  • Oranga Tamariki
  • Motueka Family Service Centre
  • Truancy Services
  • School Dental Service
  • Living Safe Motueka

In all cases the parents/caregivers and school are kept fully informed. As a parent/caregiver you may request any of the above services by contacting the school who are able to submit referrals to appropriate agencies on behalf of whanau.

All children are seen in their first school year by the Hearing and Vision Specialist and also at Year 7.

Reporting to Parents

The school reports on student progress and achievement to parents three times a year, in written form in Terms 2 and 4 and with oral interviews in the form of Student Led Conferences at the beginning of Term 3.

School Trips

School trips are an integral part of the curriculum. We encourage parents to come along on trips. On enrolment parents sign a general permission slip that will allow us to take students on trips within walking distance of the school. However, for any trips that require transport we will ask for a permission slip filled in for every student in that class. Students are required to dress appropriately and behave in a way that positively represents the school.

Smoke-free and Vaping-free School

Riwaka School is a Smoke-free and vaping-free school and both smoking and vaping are not permitted in the grounds or buildings at all times. This also includes at events, camps and outings associated with the school.

Social Media

We recognise that as social creatures, we as humans have it in our ‘make-up’ to want to talk about the pros and cons of our child’s schooling, teacher etc. This can however get out of hand when broadcast over social media and does not bring about positive impacts for any party. Please refer to the Concerns and Complaints section for further info on our preferred way of dealing with issues.


We offer a wide range of sports out of school hours for students from Years 0 to 8. Details of these sports can be obtained from our sports co-ordinator. Participation in these sports is reliant on support from parents for coaching and managing of teams. Students are required to wear a school sports top which are available for purchase at the office for $28.

Stationery Purchases

All stationery items can be purchased online through our provider, Officemax, or you can purchase in any of the shops. A few items are available for purchase at the school office. Cash sales or online.

At the end of the year class teachers issue a stationery requirement list for the following year and these are published to the Officemax website. We ask parents to only purchase stationery items as per the given list. Some children arrive at school with some stationery which is surplus to requirements and/or unsuitable. We ask that students have their stationery with them for the beginning of the school year.

Sun Hats

The wearing of a wide brimmed sun hat is compulsory throughout the period of Terms 1 & 4. This can either be the red or black “bucket” hat available from the school office for $15, or if preferred students are able to wear the wider brimmed “Aussie” hat available from some retailers. Please ensure all hats are named.

Swimming Pool Swipe Card Hire

Anyone over the age of 18 may hire a swimming pool swipe card from the office during the summer season. A Usage Agreement must be read and signed prior to the issue of the swipe card. The fee for the 2023/2024 season is $140.00 + $10.00 bond. The bond is refundable only if the card is returned by the deadline outlined in the Usage Agreement.

Technology Centre

Year 7 and 8 students travel to Parklands School by bus one morning a week to attend Technology classes (MoTEC). Students are required to wear suitable footwear when attending these classes. There is a set fee of $70 charged by MoTEC to cover the costs of materials used to make items the students take home as their technology projects.

Toys at School

Children should not bring their own toys to school as these can be a distraction and often cause conflict if lost. If your child has a special toy they wish to share for news, send it to school with and the class teacher will store it away until the appropriate time.

Use of School Grounds

School hours are 8:30am- 3:45pm. Children can use the grounds, out of school hours, (during daylight), providing that all school property is treated with respect. Parents/ caregivers should be aware they are responsible for their children’s behaviour and actions outside of school hours when using the school grounds.

Permission is necessary for clubs, groups and private use of the grounds or buildings from the Principal.