Hato Maria

O Te Awahou

"Promoting Excellence through Learning and Catholic Discipleship"

Our points of difference are:

Catholic Values and Restorative Practice school-wide for faith and wellbeing.

Small Class Sizes

Innovative Programmes with current ICT tools.

Arts and Science initiatives. 

Haere Mai, Welcome, Kia ora, Talofa lava, Namaste, 

Our Catholic Vision outlook is to always incorporate the Social Justice Values including Integrity, Dignity, Equity, Concern for the Poor and Vulnerable, Solidarity and Stewardship, 

alongside Cultural Inclusivity and Gospel Values including Love, Courage, Community and Service for all.

We are all made in the image and likeness of Christ.

Our Curriculum Vision is that our young people become:

Confident, Connected and Actively Involved Lifelong Learners.

The Principles of our School Curriculum decision making have formed our acronym:  

Hauora  Excellence  Active  Respect  Thinking 

(which is described below)

The information below shows how

St Mary's  Catholic Gospel Values are linked to the Values in the New Zealand Curriculum.

The principles by which St Mary's Catholic School are run forms the foundation of curriculum decision making. They link with the principles of the New Zealand Curriculum and they underpin all learning interactions at St Mary's Catholic School.

1. The special Catholic Character is at the centre of all we do in our school.  This is our pou.  We prioritise faith development, Gospel Values, that link with the community, our pastoral care and the nurturing of encountering Christ.

2. Through a holistic curriculum, and assisted by quality teachers, each child will be empowered to become a lifelong learner, experiencing accelerated progress and achievement for all.

3. We acknowledge the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi as the foundation for the rights of all children to be educated and to achieve success in their life journey.  We strive for cultural inclusivity and “manaakitanga”.

4. We show inclusion by valuing the gift of cultural responsiveness, diversity and by addressing any learning needs that these differences may bring to a child’s education.  We work collaboratively to improve student achievement.

5. Children’s learning is authentic and meaningful and connected to the world in which they live. As such, it involves the engagement of the community (“whanaungatanga”) in supporting their learning journey.

6. Children, their teachers and all staff, as a community of learners are empowered to grow in autonomy and interdependence.  We recognise that relationships are fundamental to the process of teaching and learning.

7. Children act responsibly by making decisions and taking actions that will make a positive difference in the world with an attitude that comes from the Gospel..

We have summarised this into the HEART from our motto.  This motto, “Treasure in Your Heart All Things”,  from the Bible, is what drives our spirituality and is our lens of Christ: 

 Hauora  Excellence  Active  Respect  Thinking

HEART incorporates our School Evaluation Indicators, our Catholic Evaluation Indicators and our Key competencies.  Hauora represents the student’s holistic wellbeing (spiritually, physically, socially, academically, mentally, culturally)where our students work alongside our community, whanau, Parish/Diocese, iwi, Clusters and CoL’s. In working closely with the community, whanau, Parish/Diocese, iwi, Clusters and CoL’s, we aim to support the learner pathway and especially the self-esteem and accelerated learning of the students, in a modern school environment.  Excellence is for assisting and nurturing the progress for all students to achieve at the highest potential possible.  Active is for the active, engaged learning involvement, whereby all students participate within the connections of the community, whanau, Iwi, Parish/Diocese, Iwi, Clusters and CoL’s/Kahui Ako.  Students are encouraged to self-manage and to make a difference with their learning, locally, nationally and globally.  Respect encompasses the entire attitude of the students, staff and whanau with all appropriate connections and relationships.  It begins with the daily living of Gospel Values and Beatitudes and the encountering of Christ in all people.  It is a reminder of our Social Justice Values (such as Integrity, Equity, Dignity, Concern for the Poor and Vulnerable and our Stewardship for the common good) and our Cultural Inclusivity.  Thinking constitutes our thinking skills with our Inquiry Learning.  Only through analysing, critiquing, designing, being innovative, creative and exploring questions for owning their own learning, will students show motivation for success as lifelong, authentic learners.

What We Value

We value our Catholic Vision of St Mary's Catholic School which has identified the Social Justice Values, such as Integrity, Dignity, Equity, Concern for the Poor and Vulnerable, Solidarity and Stewardship, which guide our life and work in  We aim to include the School Evaluation Indicators and the Key Competencies.

Your welcome at our St Mary's is genuine, warm and assured.

Kia tau ki te rangimārie.



Matua Phil Gunn



Promoting Excellence through Learning and Catholic Discipleship


St Mary’s School is a small Roman Catholic Primary School, offering faith formation and education to students from years 0-8.  This Integrated School of Special Character was established as a private Catholic School in 1911, and staffed by the Brigidine Sisters.  These Sisters brought with them a charism built on love, service to the needy, and courage within their community for Christ. A new school was built in 1967, as the first lay teachers began.  On 17th May 1981, St Mary’s School was integrated into the State system, whilst retaining its’ Special Character. 


St Mary’s School is situated in Foxton, within the district of Horowhenua.  Historically, the Foxton district was known as Te Awahou and was inhabited by a Maori subtribe under the leadership of Tukumaru Ihakara.  The Iwi is Raukawa.

Initial European settlement was at Piaka (approximately 20 miles up the Manawatu River), but with the 1856 earthquake, the settlers moved to Te Awahou.  The depression of the 1880s saw the main trunk railway bypass Foxton for Longburn and Palmerston North.  Foxton’s future was curtailed, relying solely on the availability of flax and associated flax mill. Its’ role as a major port slowly waned. 


In past years, closures of many main sources of employment (Feltex Carpet Factory) within the town, have added to financial hardship, difficulties and restraints for members of both the Foxton and St Mary’s communities. The new Maori/Dutch museum centre, Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom has brought new life as a cultural centre.  The ‘attendance dues’ cost of attending a NZ Catholic School is a necessity, but can be hard for our families with Catholic connections. We appreciate the Catholic Diocese working closely to support families as needed and no children will ever be turned away if financial assistance is required.


St Mary’s School is passionate about developing the formation of the heart, mind & spiritual soul of each of its students.  The essential ‘heart’ of the school is based on Social Justice Values, Cultural Inclusivity and Discipleship; through living and learning the Gospel Values of Jesus Christ such as love, aroha, service, ratonga, community, whanau and courage, kaha.  Through these values (based upon Scripture, theology, charism, faith and belief), students develop genuine strength of character and self-esteem, allowing them to enhance and enrich their spiritual, social and academic success. This is in a modern school environment setting.

St Mary’s School community continues to value education, excellence and transformational change. Individual achievement across the curriculum is promoted and valued for accelerated progress, with stringent tracking and is based on the strengths and passions of our students.  The Board of Trustees actively supports and resource learning and teaching, whilst providing a safe and inclusive environment to ensure success is attained. 

“Kaingakautia nga mea katoa!”  “Treasure in your heart all things!”

Our everyday living and learning relationships are important. They lay the foundations for the Catholic Evaluation Indicators and for all learning and interactions in the school community, (Kotahitanga/Whanaungatanga) between children, teachers, parents and the wider community. The importance of cultural inclusivity and specific Gospel Values are highly valued and include our Treaty of Waitangi.  They are based on the life, encounter, knowledge and relationships of Jesus. They are integral to the Special Catholic Character of the school.