All posts by Ben Doughney

Matariki Planting – Plant Species

Scientific nameMāori nameNumber plantedDescription of the plantPicture
Phormium tenaxHarakeke4128Harakeke is one of New Zealand’s most distinctive native plants. It has long, upright, often stiff leaves which can reach up to 4 metres in length. The black flower stalks can grow up to 5 metres tall and the dull red, nectar-filled flowers attract masses of birds in kōanga/spring, particularly tūī and korimako.Harakeke fibres are used by practitioners of the Māori craft of raranga/weaving to create kete/baskets, whāriki/floor mats and gorgeous kākahu/cloaks as well as taura/ropes.

Medicinal properties:

Used to stitch or bandage wounds together. The base of leaves were used as a splint for a broken limb. By infusing the roots into an ointment it can treat skin diseases and smallpox. The root also reduces swelling and rashes.
Hebe stricta/Veronica salicifoliaKoromiko1712One of the most revered medicinal plants in Aotearoa. Provides good low shelter and is an excellent revegetation plant. It has showy white to pale lilac drooping flowers and willow-like foliage. Prefers a moist soil. Koromiko was used extensively by NZ soldiers in WW1 & WW2 to combat diarrhoea.

Medicinal properties: The leaves are rich in tannins making them very astringent which aids in curing headaches, dysentery, diarrhoea. The leaves when bruised and applied to treat ulcers, boils and rheumatism. Korom also stimulates appetite. To ease symptoms of diarrhoea, chew the leaf buds or boil them into a tea.
Coprosma repensKaramū1050Coprosma Repens is a bushy shrub plant, able to grow up to 6m tall. They have orange berries which are grown during March to July. Their berries are prone to attracting birds and insects. This plant is good for hedges and shelter and coverage as it grows fast. This tree is of high spiritual value to Maori. Used in birthing ceremonies, used before battle to combat evil spirits and to heal the sick.

Medicinal properties:

Young shoots & leaves were boiled and drunk to heal bladder & kidneys. The vapour from boiled leaves can cure broken bones, cuts, ulcers and eczema.
Coprosma robustaGlossy karamū1050Coprosma robusta is a shrub found throughout the North and South Island in New Zealand. It is a mirror-like plant with shiny glossy leaves, leaving shiny reflections. 

Medicinal properties:

As this is in the same family as the coffee plant this can make a strong brew.
Cordyline australisTī kōuka1860Tī kōuka is commonly called a cabbage tree and is one of the most identifiable plants in New Zealand. Planted by Maori to mark paths, boundaries and cemeteries. This plant was a common source of carbohydrates for Maori. To grow, this plant needs an open space without anything overtopping the sun shining on itself. This plant is able to grow in many soils, even in swampy area. It can also grow with three or more of these plants planted together in the same hole. During spring, Tī kōuka produces scented flowers in spring. An important food source for native birds

Medicinal properties:

It was pounded into a paste. Growing tip (kōata) was eaten raw as a blood tonic or cleanser. Leaves provided juice used externally for cuts, cracks and sores.
Sophora microphyllaKowhai210Early Maori used the wood of kowhai for a wide variety of purposes which utilised its durability, elasticity and toughness. It made wedges which were used to split wood: it was used for fences and in whare construction, implements and weapons such as kō, patu, eel spears and taiaha, and carefully selected kowhai roots were used to make large fish hooks.This flowering tree can only grow in the north and east of the north Island, known for its bright yellow colouring flower. The Kowhai flower grows in early spring, attracting birds native birds like tui. Another aspect of the history of kowhai is its use as a garden plant. Because its bright yellow flowers drew the attention of the first visitors to New Zealand, seed was taken to many places in the world.

Medicinal properties:

Various infusions of kowhai bark (normally taken from the sunny side of the tree) were however used extensively for medicinal purposes, including as a purgative, treatment of scabies, poultices for sprains, bruises, tumours, and wounds, a cure for gonorrhoea and ringworm and relief from colds and sore throats.
Pseudopanax arboreusPuahou
Five Finger
1500Puahou (Five finger) is one of New Zealand’s native trees found in lowland forests. It makes glossy leaves in groups of 5-7 leaves. It grows in many areas, up to 7 m high, producing black berries in autumn. 

Medicinal properties:

Treats eye infections.
Didymocheton spectabilisKohekohe80Kohekohe is also known as Dysoxylum spectabile, is a medium-sized tree native to New Zealand. Kohekohe stands tall symbolising the beauty and resilience of NZ’s native forests. Europeans soon saw that the wood of kohekohe was superb for furniture making; it is after all a member of the same family as mahogany. Unfortunately it does not have the same stability as that timber and its main attribute is the attractive reddish-brown finish.

Medicinal properties:

Medicinally it was important and was used in various ways; the leaves which contain a bitter component similar to quinine, were used for a range of illnesses including tuberculosis,, coughing, sore throats, boils and women’s disorders. A mixture of kohekohe bark and parts of several other species relieved bleeding and general blood disorders.
Beilschmiedia tarairiTaraire160Beilschmiedia taraire also known as Taraire is endemic to the Northern parts of NZ. The species forms the commonest understory species in kauri forest but also is the dominant species in some lowland forests e.g., Kirks’s Bush, Papakura. Taraire is found up to 650 metres but is only abundant below 450 metres. It grows best on well drained, fertile soils and does not tolerate poor drainage or very dry sites. The taraire is known for its impressive size, reaching heights of over 30 metres tall. In the early summer, Taraire produces fruits known as drupes.

Medicinal properties:

There are no records of the Maori having used taraire for medicinal purposes but the berries were eaten; the kernel after roasting or boiling.
Leptospermum scopariumMānuka3480A distant relative to the Australian Tea Tree. Carries high amounts of oils, hence the attraction for using it as firewood. During the summer, this plant grows white flowers that attract many bees. It is often confused with the plant kanuka, you can tell the difference by feeling the leaves. Manuka leaves are prickly and the kanuka are soft. 

Medicinal properties:

Infusions made with leaves reduce fever & treat urinary and stomach problems. The bark is a sedative. Manuka gum alleviates coughs and is used as a moisturiser for burns. Manuka honey is high in antibiotic properties and rubbed on wounds will heal quickly.
Kunzea ericoidesKānuka1800Kanuka is a fast growing tree from the north of the south island to all of the North island. The Maori used kanuka for a wide range of uses, particularly those requiring a hard, strong timber. It was the most favoured wood for the making of agricultural implements –mainly different types of digging sticks. Another important use was for weapons – taiaha, tewhatewha, and koikoi (a double pointed spear).The leaves are softer than manuka and have smaller flowers in the summer. It tolerates droughts, frosts and poor soils. It is fast-growing, but short-lived.

Medicinal properties:

Medicinally the leaves can be used to make a ”tea” which, when strong, has emetic qualities; when weak it can be a replacement for conventional tea. The shoots and capsules when chewed will relieve dysentery while the inner bark can be boiled and used as a mouthwash and to treat mouth and eye troubles
Dacrycarpus dacrydioidesKahikatea140Kahikatea grows throughout New Zealand and is commonest in riverine and swamp forests where it is often found in almost pure stands. Kahikatea is the tallest tree native to NZ reaching up to 60 metres or more. Kahikatea is scientifically known as Dacrycarpus dacrydioides. Its bark is a smooth greyish-brown colour when young.

The Tuhoe people reputedly used kahikatea for carving because it carves easily across the grain and holds a sharp edge. But because of its perishable nature no early carvings have survived. In places where totara and kauri were not available it was also used for canoes and soot from burnt wood was used as a tattooing pigment.
Vitex lucensPūriri80Puriri was widely used by Maori in pre-European times. The wood made weapons and implements. It is reputedly the best fence post timber in Aotearoa.Vitex lucens also known as Pūriri. The bark ranges from a reddish-brown colour to grey. In summer and spring pink and white flowers appear, attracting native birds and insects.

Medicinal properties:

The leaves are used for bathing sprains, backache and ulcers or drunk for sore throats. One of the chemical constituents of the leaves is the methyl ester of p-hydroxybenzoic acid, which has been patented as a germicide.
Knightia excelsaRewarewa160Rewarewa is also known as Knightia excelsa. Rewarewa is a tall straight-trunked tree with vibrant red colours along with glossy green leaves. Rewarewa wood is instantly recognisable because of its pale to dark reddish colour and attractive flecked appearance, often seen in rulers made of inlaid native timber in tourist shops. It is one of only two species in the Protea family in New Zealand; species of which are common in Australia and South Africa. In spring, rewarewa flowers produce abundant nectar which is irresistible to tui and bellbirds and also produces an excellent honey.

Medicinal properties:
The nectar of rewarewa used to be collected and eaten by Maori who picked the flowers in late spring and tapped them onto the inside of a gourd vessel. The inner bark was bandaged over a wound to stop bleeding and speed its healing.

References: The meaning of Trees. The history and use of New Zealand’s native plants By Robert Vennell.

Term Dates

2024 Term Dates

Administration day is on Tuesday 30th January 2024.

The first day of school for Year 10 students for the 2024 academic year is Wednesday 31st January 2024.

The first day of school for Year 7 students for the 2024 academic year is Thursday 1st February 2024.

The first day of school for Year 8 and 9 students for the 2024 academic year is Friday 2nd February 2024.

Term 1Wednesday 31st JanuarytoFriday 12th April
Term 2Monday 29th ApriltoFriday 5th July
Term 3Monday 22nd JulytoFriday 27th September
Term 4Monday 14th OctobertoFriday 13th December

2025 Term Dates

Administration day for all students new to the school is on 28th January 2025.

Thursday 6th Feb – Waitangi Day

Term 1Monday JanuarytoThursday April
Term 2Monday ApriltoFriday June
Term 3Monday JulytoFriday September
Term 4Monday OctobertoWednesday December


Community Conduct Expectations

MHJC is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for students, staff, and visitors.

Our Code of Conduct serves as a reminder to all parents, caregivers, and school visitors that their conduct must support everyone’s emotional and physical wellbeing, and not harm it in any way. The school’s board has set this Code of Conduct as a condition of entry.

The Code of Conduct applies:

  • to all conduct, speech, and action, and includes emails, texts, phone calls, social media, or other communication
  • while on school grounds or at another venue where students and/or staff are assembled for school purposes (such as a camp or sports match).

Standards of conduct

MHJC expects parents, caregivers, and visitors to:

  • treat everyone with respect
  • work together in partnership with staff for the benefit of students
  • respect and adhere to our school values
  • set a good example for students at all times
  • follow school procedures to handle any complaints
  • adhere to school policies and procedures (such as those listed below), and any legal requirements.

Examples of unsuitable conduct include:

  • threats, bullying, harassment
  • profanity/offensive language
  • insulting, abusing, or intimidating behaviour
  • discrimination (e.g. based on ethnicity, religion)
  • physical aggression
  • deception/fraud
  • damaging school property
  • smoking, possessing or using alcohol/drugs/other harmful substances on school premises or at another venue where students and/or staff are assembled for school purposes (except possession or use of alcohol in accordance with school policy)
  • placing unreasonable and excessive expectations on staff time or resources
  • pursuing a complaint or campaign, or making defamatory, offensive, or derogatory comments, regarding the school, its board, or any staff or students on social media or other public forums
  • wearing gang insignia on the school grounds. (This is not allowed under the Prohibition of Gang Insignia legislation, and anyone wearing it will be asked to leave.)

Dealing with breaches of the Code of Conduct

How MHJC deals with breaches of our Code of Conduct depends on the nature of the incident and its seriousness, and the process any witness or victim of the behaviour feels most comfortable with. Examples include:

  • documenting each instance of behaviour, including the date, time, place, who was present, what was said (verbatim if possible), how any witness or victim felt and/or responded
  • holding a meeting with the relevant person, the principal, and/or board chair (or their delegate) or appropriate staff member to discuss the problem and possible resolution
  • issuing a warning letter that outlines the problem and required resolution, and reminds them of the possible outcomes of repeated conduct
  • arranging a meeting, which may include restorative practices, as an alternative or in addition to the processes above.

Outcomes of breaching the Code of Conduct

If a parent, caregiver, or visitor acts or speaks in a way that contravenes the Code of Conduct, possible outcomes may include:

  • The school (principal, board member, or staff member) may ask a person to leave the school premises by revoking their permission to be on the school grounds, then asking them to leave under section 3 of the Trespass Act 1980.
  • Unacceptable behaviour of a criminal nature may result in the police being informed. For example, under section 139C of the Education Act 1989, it is a criminal offence to assault, abuse, or intimidate a staff member within the presence or hearing of any student while on school premises or in any other place where students are assembled for school purposes. Other instances of criminal offending may occur where drugs are involved, an assault has occurred, or a person persists after being trespassed off school grounds.
  • In the case of behaviour amounting to harassment, a restraining order may be sought.
  • In some instances, it may be appropriate to refer behaviour to a third party for resolution. For example, a Facebook comment that contravenes this policy may result in a report to Facebook. If unacceptable behaviour occurs at a sports event or sports venue, then it may be appropriate to involve the governing body of that sport, event, or venue.

MHJC Yearbook 2023

Our 2023 MHJC Yearbook is now available!

Smartwatches at MHJC

We are noticing a growing number of students who are bringing smartwatches to school. This blog from our ICT Managers will address the concerns such new technology may bring to our learning environment.

Smartwatches are expensive and can be distracting and/or disruptive if misused as with all digital devices.

Our school policy allows students to bring personal digital devices to school, smartwatches included as they may be useful tools for learning. However if they are brought to school, the following guidelines apply as for all personal digital devices which is contained in the Cyber Safety Agreement signed on enrolment:

  1. The school does not accept responsibility for loss, damage or theft
  2. Students must keep such devices in their bags and may only be used in class with the permission of a teacher

In the case of smartwatches, they can be worn but should be turned to aeroplane mode so as not to be a distraction.

We want to encourage our students to be responsible users of technology and a conversation with your child would be of great benefit before you consider purchasing such a device.

Possible Strike action planned for Wednesday 29 March, 2023

I have received notification from PPTA of strike action planned for Wednesday 29 March as at this date negotiations between the secondary teacher unions and the Ministry of Education have not been resolved. 

As was the case on 16 March, owing to the large number of teachers who are union members we will have no choice in terms of Health and Safety but to close the school on 29 March should the strike go ahead.

We wanted to give you advance notice so that you can make arrangements to supervise your child/ren for that day.

I apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. 


Compulsory Fees

In November 2019, it was decided to accept the Ministry’s offer to opt in to the donations scheme which means parents are no longer requested to pay an annual voluntary donation of $250. This results in significant savings for parents as we are able to pass on some of the revenue to cover ID cards and printing, Yearbook, day-trips and outside speakers who visit the school to address the students. In the past, voluntary donations have been used for capital projects including ICT equipment, a policy we intend continuing.

In terms of the Guidelines, a fee will be requested for the following:

  • overnight trips (including the Year 7 Camp)
  • optional DEEP courses and extra-curricular activities
  • courses with a take home component including digital platforms

A device is also recommended for all students as much of our curriculum is delivered using digital technology which can be used at home or in school.

In order to maintain and enhance our high standards of innovative learning, additional resources are needed and as such, parents are requested to pay for the items listed below. These must be paid in full before the start of the academic year.

Online payments can be made via our portal by following this link;

Innovative Learning Initiatives, Year 7 and 8 
Curriculum Related Fees (includes take home components)$130.00
Digital Platforms (includes Education Perfect, Maths Buddy and Reading Plus)$130.00
Year 7 Camp$250.00
Innovative Learning Initiatives, Year 9 and 10 
Digital Platforms used at home and school (includes Education Perfect, Maths Buddy and Reading Plus)$130.00
Year 9 and 10 Subject Fees 
Learning with a take home component 
Art (ART), Digital Technology (DGT), Fashion Design (FSD), Technology (TEC)$100.00 each
Food Technology (FOO),  Hospitality (HOS)$120.00 each
Media Studies (MED),  Design and Visual Communications (DVC)$50.00 each
Outdoor Education (OED) for Year 9$220.00
 Outdoor Education (OED) for Year 10$320.00

Payments can be made by direct credit from home. Details are below:

Bank and Branch:ASB Botany
Account #:12-3233-0051320-000
Reference Details:

Student’s Full Name

Class e.g. 9C2

Reference e.g. DEEP

Welcome to Anne Singh, Board Presiding Member

Kia Ora, Talofa Lava, Namaste, Sat Sri Akal, Ni Hao, Kia Orana, Malo e lelei, Assalamu alaikum and warm universal greetings.

Namulau’ulu Anne Singh

Please welcome our Board Presiding Member Anne Singh also known as Namulau’ulu Anne Singh. Anne is a parent at MHJC and is also on the Mission Heights Primary Board of Trustees with a portfolio in property as well as Maori and Pasifika Representative. Anne has a teaching background, with 14 years in the ECE sector including managerial and; Health and Safety experience.  She is an ambassador of white ribbon and peace; and is also a Justice of the Peace.  Anne volunteers immensely within our community.  She is multi-lingual, speaking Samoan, Punjabi, Hindi,  English and Sign Language.

We look forward to working alongside Anne Singh and our new Trustees of skilled professionals in their respective fields.

Board of Trustees Elections 2022

Declaration of Results

Jenny Wang – 93 votes
Anne Singh – 64 votes
Paul Graham Liu Hale – 63 votes
Tracey Frost – 60 votes
Rhys Attwood – 59 votes
Arifa – 28 votes

There being 6 candidates and 5 vacancies, I hereby declare the following duly elected: Jenny Wang, Anne Singh, Paul Graham Liu Hale, Tracey Frost, Rhys Attwood.

Staff Representative

Douglas Choong

There being only one candidate and one vacancy, I hereby declare the following duly elected; Douglas Choong.

BJM Vester, Returning Officer.