Moturoa School

Te Kura o Moturoa - Established 1923

‘Honour Before Honours’

Term 1 2018 Plant Study – ‘Shrubby Tororaro’ (Muehlenbeckia astonii)

At Moturoa School we have many fine examples of the nationally endangered divaricating shrub Muehlenbeckia astonii (shrubby tororaro) to study in the children’s native gardens. They are a fascinating shrub to observe throughout the year as they change dramatically through the seasons and are deciduous or semi-deciduous which means you get to see the internal structure of the shrub during the winter months. It produces tiny greenish-white flowers and fleshy white fruit which provide a source of food for some native birds and lizards. The shrub is also an important host for a wide range of native insects.  Muehlenbeckia astonii does not occur naturally in Taranaki but another member of the plant group Muehlenbeckia complexa (scrambling or wiry pohuehue) is common along the Taranaki coastline, including in New Plymouth.

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Term 4 virtue is Tact

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Term 4 Plant Study – Paritutu korokio (Corokia cotoneaster “Paritutu”)

Moturoa School children have been involved in growing and learning about the Paritutu korokio for a long time. Two Paritutu korokio were planted by children in our school native gardens way back in 1994 and are still in our gardens to this day.  This rare and regionally distinctive plant is a very hardy tangle-branched (divaricating) coastal shrub that as the common name suggests grows naturally on Paritutu Rock. We have many more Paritutu korokio in our garden now DSC08529DSC08523DSC00782which the children can study first hand and they also provide a ready source for cuttings in the Trees for Survival propagation programme. Practically every shrub in our gardens at the moment is covered in beautiful fragrant bright yellow star-shaped flowers. In a few months these will be followed by an abundance of very attractive yellow to pale orange berry-like fruit. In 2001 the school established the tradition of presenting these very special local plants as a farewell gifts to year 6 students at the end of their Moturoa School career.

Pool Refurbishment

full_colMoturoa School are grateful for the support from Methanex, NZCT, Harcourts, The Lion Foundation and our Friends and Family committee.  Without you, our children wouldn’t be enjoying our beautiful refurbished pool, pool cover to keep the pool at perfect temperature and new sunshades to stop the spectators burning.


Term 1 2017 Plant Study

This term we are studying  the Koheriki plant “Scandia rosifolia”

Scandia rosifolia is a rare native semi-erect sprawling woody shrub growing to a height of 1m and a 1.5m spread. It has shiny grass green foliage like the leaves of a rose, hence the Latin name rosifolia. It develops dill like white flowers September – June. The leaves margins are finely to deeply serrated.

It is endemic in the North Island, from the Three Kings south to Taranaki in the west and the southern RuahineRanges in the east growing in coastal situations on cliffs and banks. It can be seen growing by New Plymouth’s Kawaroa swimming pool fence. It is a threatened species, and is currently classified as ‘declining’ in the wild.
Medically this aromatic herb was used by the Maoris. The leaves used as diuretic, for dropsy, and as a remedy for syphilitic disease. (Colenso 1869a).   

Plant below photographed from the Te Henui walkway at Te Kainga Marire Gardens 

Scandia rosifolia flower heads


Term 1 2017 School Virtue is Unity

From ouUnityr school vision, ”Together we GROW”, we are exploring  Unity.

What it the meaning of Unity?

Unity means the quality in individuals to do some work as a unit without jeopardizing the individual interest in any way as far as the result of the work is concerned.Unity refers to the state of being united or together. It is the feeling of oneness, togetherness, harmony, for common goal. It is a kind of co-operation or harmony for a common cause.Unity refers to a situation where many people join together to do a much bigger work, and collectively put forth their energy to achieve that.

Why is Unity Important?

Strength, practically speaking, underlies unity, and whenever people act in unison with one another their strength increases thousand-fold. The importance of unity can never be overrated. Little drops of water make the mighty ocean and little drops of sand make this vast world. The thin fibers of jute or flax, when twisted together into a rope, can control a mad elephant. These are instances of the benefits of unity.

Unity pays in every sphere of human activities: The fable of the farmer and his quarrelsome sons will illustrate the point very clearly. The farmer asked them to break a bundle of sticks. None of them could do it; but each of them could easily break the sticks when the bundle was untied. The old man thus drove home to them the unique importance of living united and the danger of living divided. He then explained to them the inherent strength of unity, which would protect them against, any harm from outside. Thus, it is self-evident that unity pays in every sphere of human activities whereas disunity is liable to lead us to rack and ruin.

Unity in a nation: The importance of unity in a nation can never be over-estimated. The edifice of a nation, to say the least about the usefulness of unity, cannot stand unless there is a sense of unity at bottom. To speak the truth, society is a unit of a nation, and when there is essential unity in the organization of a well-ordered society, it will undoubtedly contribute to the organic unity of the nation of which it is an indivisible part.

Conclusion: From what precedes it is found that unity reigns supreme in every walk of our life. No great achievement in this world could be possible without unity. Therefore, it is our bounden duty to cultivate the habit, doing things united from our very boyhood, and to impress its unique importance on all others about us as well.

NZCT funds pool upgrade, sports uniforms and equipment

 Moturoa School are grateful for the support from New Zealand Community Trust which has enabled us to purchase brand new sports uniforms for our Miniball, Touch and Netball teams.  We have also been able to our netball and basketball hoops.

In September, we will also be commencing our much-needed school pool upgrade, thanks again to the generous support of NZCT.  We look forward to sharing progress updates with you…and the children’s faces when they jump in for the first time!

Term 2 Virtue is ‘Resiliency’

From our school vision, ”Together we GROW”, we are exploring the ‘R’ – Resiliency.

Resiliency is the strength of spirit to cover from adversity.  When we experience disappointment, loss, tragedy, we find the hope and courage to carry on.  Humour lightens the load when it seems too heavy. We overcome obstacles by tapping into a deep well of faith and endurance.  At times of loss, we come together for comfort, we grieve and then move forward and create new memories. We discern the learning that can come from the hardship.  We don’t cower in the face of challenge.  We engage fully in the dance of life.




Moturoa School in NZ Gardener Magazine

It’s not every school that can trace their environmental education back almost 100 years.

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At Moturoa School in New Plymouth, the planting of a puriri on Arbor Day in 1934 sparked an enduring passion for native trees and plants. Since 1996 the 72-pupil school has been part of the Trees for Survival programme. Bill Clarkson, the former deputy principal who helped set it up, comes every Tuesday to teach seed saving, propagating and potting up. “We had plenty of plants in our first year but the learning was limited because the children weren’t involved in the whole process.” The local Rotary and Port Taranaki funded a propagation unit, and the focus shifted to rare and threatened species.

Michael Tapp, DOC partnerships ranger, explains: “The first plant was the Paritutu korokio (Corokia cotoneaster), a distinct low-growing form of which grows naturally on nearby Paritutu Rock. By 1999 the school nursery was peginning to fill with cuttings, which were eventually planted in local public gardens.” Other successes include pinatoro (Pimelea camosa), the only host plant for a rare little day flying moth, and sourcing seeds from the last known koheriki (Scandia rosifolia) in Taranaki – now thriving in the school gardens. Each year up to 1000 native seedlings are raised and planted locally by the Department of Conservation and New Plymouth District Council, including on the popular Coastal Walkway.

Bill focuses on a different tree each term: currently it’s the puriri; next up is pohutukawa. From May to August, older students go on planting trips all around Taranaki, even as far south as Ohawe beach near Hawera . Principal Delwyn Riding says some children join the native plant study group and become “experts”, but the programme is used across Moturoa, also an Enviroschool. This means lots of composting, waste audit monitors and worm farm buckets in every classroom. There’s also an orchard with pears, apples and feijoas, and a butterfly field, she says. “Pupils are very respectful of the environment, they won’t break plants or hoon around, which is fantastic. We have a parent weeding group come and do our gardens every Tuesday, and local volunteers are always welcome.”



The plant we are studying for Term 1 2016 is…NIKAU.

Probably one of the most distinctive, easily recognised plants in NZ bush. It is indigenous (native) an endemic (not found growing elsewhere in the world) and has the further distinction of being the most southerly occurring palm in the world.

The oldest of the nikau at Moturoa School were planted on Arbor Day in 2002 and were approximately 3 years old when planted. This makes the trees approximately 16 years old. One of the trees flowered for the first time in December last year.

The Ratapihipihi Scenic Reserve on Cowling Road is well worth a visit in order to study nikau in their natural setting.