Pūrākaunui School
One Waka. One Crew. Many Journeys.



Hinemoana Waka Landing

We were very lucky to have the privilege of welcoming in Hinemoana to our shores at Karitāne. It was an auspicious occasion, with several local kura gathered together awaiting the arrival of the first waka in 10 years to Te Tai o te Araiteuru. Thank you to Nikki Crossan from Puketeraki Marae for coordinating this amazing event.

Lan Yuan Dunedin Chinese Garden

The Chinese Garden, Lan Yuan, is a scholar’s garden in Dunedin. It is a beautiful place where people can go to think, read, write or paint. Everything in the garden comes from China, even the rocks and the roof tiles. - Nicole Fiala

Toitū Otago Settlers Museum

We began our visit to Toitū by placing our hand on a large piece of pounamu to fill ourselves with the mauri of the rock. We then entered through the waharoa, with a giant Toroa outstretching its wings above us to welcome us. The first gallery was called Arai-te-aru after the waka that brought Kai Tahu to the South Island. The first item we looked at was the mōkihi, which is a kai tahu reed craft made out of bullrushes tied together. The mōkihi was useful for transporting people and goods along rivers. Moving through the rest of the museum, we learned all about the lives of the early settlers, such as sealers, whalers and miners, who changed the landscape and style of living in Aotearoa.

2024 School Fair

Term 1 Electives

Hard Materials with John Davidson
Gardening with Basil Harrison
Cooking with Ms Bell
Arts & Crafts with Paige Smith


End of year Assembly

Farewell to kaiako Rache Duval-Smith and year 8 leaver Jennifer Fiala; bird slideshows, play, and dance; school song; science badge presentations; and a pot luck dinner to end.

Ōtautahi | Christchurch Camp 2023

In November the whole school went on a thrilling urban camp to Ōtautahi/Christchurch, staying at Lindisfarne Camp and Omaka Scout Camp. The students explored the International Antarctic Centre, the state-of-the-art library Tūranga, and the Air Force Museum. Outdoors they orienteered at The Groynes and enjoyed the Margaret Mahy playground.

Noho Marae at Puketeraki

Pūrākaunui School recently embarked on a Noho Marae at Puketeraki, a gathering filled with aroha (compassion/care/love), ako (learning), and whakawhanaungatanga (relationship building). The event showcased a warm welcome from Mauraka Edwards and Aroha Ellison, complemented by Skip King's powerful whaikōrero. The day included an insightful tour of the Huriawa Pā site and a waka taurua journey to Ohinepouwera Spit, guided by Chris Wilson and Te Awa of Karitāne Māori tours. Back at the marae, students engaged in flax weaving and sketching the intricate whakairo (carvings).

Artist In Residence

Our tamariki recently co-created a stunning mural on the theme of creation with local artists Manu Berry and Kate Stevens West, along with other West Harbour schools. This artistic endeavor has added another layer of creativity to our vibrant school community, and we look forward to displaying it outside our whare pukapuka (library).

Natural Building with Enviroschools

Four students from our tuakana rōpu (group) were fortunate to be able to attend an exciting workshop  on building using ecological materials with Enviroschools.  Students worked with different ratios of sand, straw and clay to construct, weave and plaster, creating a range of different structures. Enviroschools also brought together a team of experts such as  sustainable carpenters and builders of natural structures such as yurts, straw-bale and tunnel houses. We had fun making a cob and adobe brick house. Our next step is to use some of the techniques we learned at school to create a useful natural structure. Our plan is to build a permanent table for our pizza oven that can be used to prepare kai.

Three Peaks Cross Country 2023

We braved the cold and the rain to participate in the cross country event in Waikouaiti with other schools in the Three Peaks cluster. Well done to all of our tamariki, particularly those who made it through to the Otago regional event and our year 2s who came along and raced against bigger kids in the year 3 division!

FIFA Women's World Cup

We were very excited to score tickets to go to the Argentina vs South Africa match at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

Matariki Assembly

Teina shared their learning about how Matariki is celebrated across the world in other cultures, and Tuakana shared their mana aute (kites) made using chalk and silver paint on a bamboo frame in a tapatoru (triangle) or taimana (diamond) formation. After dark we enjoyed waiata and pūrākau on the outdoor stage, a lantern parade, and a pot luck dinner.

Jumping June

In June we spent a month learning new jumps and then had a skipathon for Jumping June, raising $1495 for the Heart Foundation! Afterwards we got to water bomb all of the teachers to help them cool down after a sweaty skipping session.

Hui Ako (Kapa Haka Festival) at East Otago Events Centre 2023

We went to Waikouaiti to participate in a kapa haka festival with other schools in the Three Peaks cluster. Here's our performance from the day:


150th Jubilee Assembly

We celebrated the end of 2022 with a special Jubilee Assembly to celebrate our 150th anniversary as a school. It was fantastic to have such a good turn out, with several of our alumni in attendance. A special thank you to Betty Melville for baking and decorating our school's birthday cake, and Bob Melville and Loyal Harrison for cutting the cake, in keeping with the school tradition of the oldest and youngest persons present sharing the cutting.

Victorian Dress Up Day

On Tuesday December 6th we rewound the clock 150 years to the year 1972, to learn about life in the era our school first opened. It was a memorable day with our tamariki and kaiako "in role" for the day with costumes, desks sorted into traditional lines, no talking, fingernail and shoe inspections, lessons on technical drawing and sewing, and olden day games. Thank you to Sinead Jenkins for coming in to take some photos of the day!

Artist in Residence 2022

We went to Port Chalmers School for an Artist in Residence day with Edith Amituanai. Our theme was our relationship to the Moana that surrounds us here in West Harbour. During the day we painted a banner to represent our kura and created sea themed props to take photographs with. We then participated in the art parade in Port Chalmers on the weekend with our banner and pictures.

Waiora Scout Camp 2022

Toko Mouth Farm Visit

We visited a sheep and beef farm near Toko Mouth, with transport funded by the South Otago Catchment Group. We enjoyed seeing the farm animals, learning about stream health on the farm, and planting the riparian area.

Pūrākaunui Estuary Causeway Planting

We walked down the road to the Pūrākaunui Estuary Causeway for another day of planting with Jeanne from the Halo Project, and then did an intrepid walk back to school through the farmland! It was a beautiful way to enjoy the beginning of spring.

Community Music Konohete (Concert)

It was great to see so many different community members in the audience at our Term 3 concert. We spent an intensive three days leading up to the concert learning about music with Anna Shaw and preparing our performances. Thank you to everyone who joined us for this fun evening!

Cross Country 2022

Our seniors participated in the 3 Peaks Cross Country in Waikouaiti with other local schools, while the juniors had their own race here at school. We loved this opportunity to wear our snazzy new school sport shirts for the first time! A massive thank you to Otago Community Trust for funding these and to EmbroidMe for getting them ready in time for the event.

Tree Planting at Long Beach

This year we have been working with the Halo Project and have planted about 200 trees at Long Beach.

Matariki Community Celebration 2022

On Wednesday June 22nd we enjoyed a celebration at school with the community. It was absolutely magical to be in the dark celebrating Matariki with everyone. Check out the photos of our new stage, our lantern parade and some shared kai.