Our Special Catholic Character

St Mary’s School is, first and foremost, a Catholic Character school. This means that a Catholic world view, Gospel values and Catholic doctrine lie at the heart of everything we do.

As a Catholic faith community, our special Catholic character is the cornerstone of who we are and everything we do at St Mary’s. Teaching at St Mary’s or any Catholic school is considered much more a vocation than a profession and our express goal is to make disciples of all our people: the learners, their whānau and our staff. Attending or working at St Mary’s School is an opportunity to participate in the mission of Jesus by sharing his Good News with each other and our wider community.

We have named our classrooms after the Sisters that founded our school. D (Dominic) block is a reference to St Dominic and the Dominicans who founded our school in 1933 and C (Catherine) block is named after Catherine McCauley who founded the sisters of Mercy and who ran the school from 1967.  Our school uniform is designed with the colours of these two orders: green for the Dominicans and blue for the sisters of Mercy.

Our School Prayer

Dear Lord,
We place ourselves in your presence
Be with us as we work and learn today. Help us to serve you by living our school charisms of Unity, Respect, Truth and Compassion.
Watch over our friends and families as they go about their day and keep us safe.
Through the intercession of St Mary, mother of Jesus and mother of us all.

School Song

Our school song was written by Ben Fernandez, a parent in our community who based the song on our school charism.

Parish and Mass

Students at St Mary’s School are fortunate to benefit from a strong connection between the local parish (St Mary’s) and the school. As we are right next door, children are able to attend Mass with their class twice a term and the parish priest is able to come and visit children at play, as well as helping us out with religious instruction. We also hold a whole school Mass once or twice a term for students and families to attend.

Religious Education

Students are taken through a Religious Education program that is age appropriate and gradually builds understanding in six key areas:

  • Communion of Saints

  • Jesus

  • God

  • Church

  • Sacrament

  • Holy Spirit

Students also explore the elements of the Liturgical year. Teachers are responsible for upholding the Catholic character of the school and are supplied with faith formation, a clear curriculum and professional development to enable them to do so.


Children at St Mary’s begin and end each day with prayer. They take part in a short liturgy in the morning, say grace before each break and pray before they leave school. Occasionally a class may stop its work and pray for fellow students who are sick or have been hurt. Children should be allowed to take ownership of the class prayers by choosing Bible stories and prayers as well as setting out the focus before school. Student Catholic character leaders are trained in liturgy and take ownership of preparing student-led liturgies across the school.

Catholic Character Group

This group is made up of Year 5 and 6 students. They apply for the role at the beginning of each year and the Year 5s are required to remain in the group to help train those coming up. The Director of Religious Studies is responsible for managing the group and choosing who will join as it is a sought after position.

Their responsibilities are to help run liturgies; to meet once a week to plan ahead for school events; and to organise social justice events. They communicate these events with the teachers through visiting classes and advertising with posters