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Message from the Principal

Welcome to Ōtaki School, te Kura Tuatahi o Ōtaki,

The best school in the world 

Ōtaki School, Te Kura Tuatahi o Ōtaki is a unique school which proudly offers three distinct pathways to learning for our  students. It has a very successful total immersion Māori learning pathway, a bilingual learning pathway and a culturally diverse English immersion learning pathway. Each of the pathways offer well-planned, well organized learning programmes which aim to educate, challenge and inspire our children to be the best that they can be, because they are our leaders of tomorrow, as expressed in our vision statement. 

Te Korowai Whakamana is the total immersion unit which consists of five classes catering for years 1-8 students. This pathway is for kōhanga reo graduates and whānau who would like their children to be educated in te reo Māori me ōna tikanga. After eight years in this programme, these talented high achievers, graduate as fluent speakers, readers and writers of te reo.

Kia Manawanui is the new part immersion - bilingual whānau which offers a learning programme in both English and Māori for year 1-6 students. This programme is for students of all cultures who would like to learn in a bilingual, bicultural environment.

Our third learning area is our mainstream English Immersion pathway which caters for a range of culturally diverse students of whom we are proud. Some of the students in this syndicate are of European descent and others and/or their families have come from China, Fiji, Japan, Tokelau, Tuvalu, Samoa and the Cook Islands. We embrace biculturalism and also enjoy the richness and diversity presented by the many cultures here.

A special emphasis is placed on catering for the individual needs of all students in our school community. The Ōtaki School curriculum therefore caters for all students inclusive of gender, ethnicity and ability. 


Chris Derbidge

Principal - Ōtaki School





Our logo was designed by Matua Arthur Thatcher who is a talented artist and a valued parent of our school. The design is an accumulation of the thoughts and aspirations of our students, staff and whānau of Ōtaki School.

The significance of the maunga (mountain), awa (river) and moana to the people of Ōtaki are easily identifiable in the design. The triangle represents the Tararua ranges, it resembles the three iwi of this area and also depicts our families and teachers working together to uplift, support and educate our children and grandchildren of Ōtaki School.

The poutama symbolizes the stairway of knowledge and learning. It reminds us that regardless of the level of our children’s learning, of who they are or where they come from - our responsibility as staff, BOT, whānau and community is to ensure that they ascend the stairway of learning to reach their full potential and experience success. It encourages us to aim for the stars and to pursue our dreams earnestly. It is a symbol that states that we as students, parents, grandparents, caregivers and staff will set our goals high and together, strive for success. It tells us that learning is a lifelong journey.

The colours represent concepts which are important to the students. The blues symbolise the sea, Ōtaki river, Tangaroa the guardian of the sea and Ranginui the sky father. The turquoise green represents the hills and mountains of our famous Tararua ranges and of Papatūānuku the earth mother. It also expresses our concern for and love of our environment. The red is a symbol of the blood of our ancestors who are our past, present and future.

Each of the elements of the design when drawn together portrays one’s identity (whakapapa), values (tikanga), hopes and dreams (moemoea) along with the values and vision of the school, and school community. The logo encapsulates our beliefs and aspirations and together with our vision statement sets our direction for learning at Ōtaki School.