Your children and Te Uho of Te Nikau School need parents and whanau to support this exciting new school. Please talk with families and consider nominating parents and local community members for the board in 2019.  

Q and A about the role of the Board of Trustees

What is an establishment Board of Trustees?

The establishment Board for Te Uho o te Nikau was set up by the Ministry of Education and trustees were appointed to the role. Once the school moves into the operational phase in 2019, the establishment board hands over to a parent elected board. The parents are able to elect a Board of Trustees and this will take place in May 2019.

What can I do now?

  • Read the information below
  • Visit /becoming- a-trustee and listen to a 3 minute video.
  • Visit a meeting of the current establishment board. Meetings are held on a Tuesdays at Ormiston Junior College at 5.30pm.
  • Contact BOT Chairperson Karen for more details
  • Contact any of the existing board members to discuss the trustee role.


What is a school board of trustees?

School board membership includes five elected parent representatives, an elected staff representative and the leader of learning-principal. 

What do trustees do?

The board has overall responsibility for the school including legal obligations covering curriculum, property, finance, health & safety. The board is accountable for student progress and achievement to its parents, community and crown. The board has overall responsibility for the school.

Here are some of the specific things boards do:

  • Set the strategic direction and plans for the school
  • Monitor progress against goals and targets
  • Monitor and evaluate student progress and achievement
  • Oversee management of staff, property, finances and curriculum
  • Ensure government priorities are included in planning
  • Fulfil the intent of the Treaty
  • Appoint and support the leader of learning-principal
  • Act as good employers for all staff

What does the work of the board look like?

How does the board of trustees work?

Boards of Trustees provide strategic leadership and direction to their school. The board works in partnership with the community, leader of learning-principal, teachers, support staff and the government to ensure the best possible outcomes for all students. The importance of the partnership between the school and its community are vital. Trustees should encourage parental involvement in the school system wherever possible. Trustees represent the community. 

What skills do trustees need?

Trustees need to work well in a team, ask questions and have good communication skills. Boards need a balance of skills and experiences to ensure effective processes for planning, monitoring, reporting and reviewing our school’s performance.

Who can become a trustee?

Parents, caregivers and people from the wider community can be nominated for election to our school board.
Nominations will be open in April 2019.

How do I become a Trustee?

If you want to find out about standing for election, nominating someone else and voting please visit

Who is on a board of trustees?

A board of trustees is made up of

  • 5 elected parent representatives
  • the leader of learning-principal
  • a staff representative

All trustees have equal voice, equal vote, equal accountability and equal standing.

What are the roles within the Board?

Parent Representatives:

  • Represent the aspirations of the community
  • Ensure the best possible outcomes for all students at Te Uho o Te Nikau
  • Does not necessarily need to be a parent but they must be nominated by a current parent of Te Uho o Te Nikau

Board Chair:

  • Cannot be the leader of learning-principal or staff representative
  • Leads the board
  • Chairs the meetings
  • Works closely with the leader of learning-principal to ensure seamless communication between governance and management

Leader of Learning-Principal:

  • Is a full member of the board
  • Is the educational professional leader of the school
  • Is the CEO and the BOT’s chief adviser

Staff Representative:

  • Is elected by the teaching and non teaching staff
  • Is not a staff advocate (they must make decisions in the best interests of all the students at Te Uho o Te Nikau

Co-opted Trustee:

  • Provides the board with specific expertise eg: finance, strategy, gender or ethnic balance and are co-opted as required.

How do the leader of learning-principal and board work together?

The board of trustees are the governors of the school. The leader of learning- principal is responsible for the management of the school.
Governance and management work in partnership.

Governance determines:

  • the what-designing the future
  • the ends- the outcomes to be achieved
  • policies –statements of what is expected

Management determines:

  • the how-designing how to get there
  • the means-strategies to achieve the ends
  • procedures-steps to meet expectations

How is a board elected?

The school staff and parents elect boards of trustees every three years. The trustee elections are the biggest democratic event in NZ. Schools around the country seek approx. 12,000 parent representatives. All parents of student enrolled full time in a state school can and should vote for parent representatives.

What help do school trustees get?

NZ School Trustees Association provides free advice and support through their governance and employment advisory services and professional development workshops. The current establishment board will provide an induction and handover for new trustees. 

Who implements an election?

A Returning officer is appointed to this role by the current BOT.

What happens if a board does not receive enough nominations?

If there are insufficient nominations to form a board the returning officer has to promptly contact the Ministry of Education office for further advice.

The Importance of a Name


“The Heart of the Nikau”


Thoughts of a cultural concept for the bridges connecting the carpark to the school, a Nikau design plan was offered by Reuben Kirkwood of the local iwi Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki. This then fed the narrative from which a new name grew.

Uho means (noun) heart (of a tree), pith of a tree, umbilical cord, core.

Phonetic pronunciation – “Uhaw”

Nikau – we refer to the rākau (tree) that once stood plentiful in the landscape now gone, struggling to survive in the growth, the expansion of Auckland.

Initial thoughts lead to the purpose of the tree, it’s structure. The Nikau, provided nourishment & shelter for the once many manu (birds), the analogy being the berries are the teachings and the manu are the tamariki (children).

Whakatauki (Proverb)

Ko te manu e kai ana i te miro nōna te ngahere
Ko te manu e kai ana i te mātauranga nōna te ao

The bird that partakes of the miro berry reigns in the forest.
The bird that partakes in the power of knowledge has access to the World.

No part of the tree was ever wasted, as with everything in te taiao (the environment) for Māori there was a use, a purpose for the varying elements of the Nikau. The leaves were used to thatch roofs – wharau āhuru, wharau mahana (comfortable & warm shelters). Due to the aspect of the whenua sitting low in the landscape, once sheltered by forest and mountains, the ancient name for the area given by Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki ancestors was Te Wharau. With this it weaves into the kōrero a name for the learning area for our tamariki hauā (disabled children) ‘Te Wharau’ a sheltered, protected, safe space. The leaves were also used to wrap food before cooking, to weave into hats, mats, baskets, and leggings for travelling through rough undergrowth. The bowls had many uses as did the trunk.

Te Uho – the heart of the tree, references to the tamariki, the children, they are the heart of the school. The whenua & ancient kōrero of the iwi Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki – stories handed down our connection to the whenua to the rohe (area) the umbilical cord, that which connects us to Papatūānuku from which the tree grows, upwards toward Ranginui who also provides nourishment for growth.

An ancient pā maunga in Clevedon named Nikau Pā Kāinga, a seasonal home of Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki Rangatira (Chief) Tara Te Irirangi still has Nikau growing well. In relation to the Flat Bush area of today, from atop Nikau Pā it was once possible to glance across to our other maunga within the areas now known as Ormiston, Botany Downs, Dannemora, Highbrook, East Tāmaki areas being Te Puke o Tara (Taramainuku), Mātanginui and Te Puke i ake Rangi these were clearlly visible to one another.

Mā te kōrero ka mōhio – Through discussion comes awareness
Mā te mōhio ka mārama – Through awareness comes understanding
Mā te mārama ka mātau – Through understanding comes knowledge
Mā te mātau ka ora – Through knowledge comes well being

Nā, Zaelene Maxwell-Butler
Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki
Tihei Mauri Ora

Building Update
In December 2017, construction began for Te Uho o te Nikau Primary School in Flatbush, Auckland. When finished, our school will cater for 700 students between Years 1 – 6. Te Uho o te Nikau Primary School will be completed and ready for opening for the 2019 school year. Here is the progress video posted by ASC Architects back in December.

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Flat Bush 7-Learning leaders with a shared vision

By Farida Master – June 7, 2018


Photo: Flat Bush 7 Principals
No competition here. Principals of schools in Flat Bush (l-r) Ian Morrison, Heith McNeil, Veena Vohra, Diana Patience, Genee Crowley, Mel Bland and Luke Sumich. Times photo Wayne Martin.

For the first time principals of seven different schools in Flat Bush came together along with around 250 teachers and 95 support staff to share their knowledge and resources.

They met at Ormiston Junior College on Tuesday.

Unlike most schools in a zone that are naturally competitive, Flat Bush 7 is an initiative focussed on collaboration to promote the local community of teachers, children and patents.

Self-funded by principals of Mission Heights Junior College, Mission Heights Primary, Ormiston Senior College, Ormiston Junior College, Ormiston Primary School, Baverstock Oaks School and the still-to-open in 2019 Te Uho o te Nikau Primary School — there is no government funding involved.

Instead, the local principals put aside money from their learning budgets to harness the power of collective intelligence and the diversity of thinking as they share their school narratives.

Principal of Mission Heights Junior College Ian Morrison says that it has been a 14-year-old journey with all the schools in Flat Bush being brand new.

“The collaboration between the schools has existed for a long time so it was easy to have a day where all of us came together to share creative practices and a progressive educational pathway in the community,” he says.

“There is no competition here. When we started we understood what we wanted in this area and we are all working towards that realisation.”

He gives credit to Mary Wilson, former principal of Baverstock Oaks for encouraging collaboration in the fast developing area of Flat Bush.

Photo: Teacher Speaking

Teachers had an opportunity to share their narrative on authentic learning and mindfulness with staff and students.

Veena Vohra, principal of Mission Heights Primary School, points out that Baverstock Oaks was the very first school which was part of the development of Flat Bush.

“We have always been individual islands of excellence in each school with a lot of personal learning. So this is a great way for the staff to share the best practises and avail of the expertise we have in the community.

“This also makes the transition from primary to senior college very easy for children and parents. We can even personally refer parents to go and see a particular person in another school.”

The break out themes for the day were creative practice in schools, culturally responsive practice, student well being and building resilience, collaborative practice and curriculum connections, round table –strategic networking between schools.

Guest speaker Kaila Colbin from the Ministry of Awesome spoke about `Riding the exponential wave of change’– what nanotechnology, bioinformatics, artificial intelligence and robotics have in common, and what do they have to do with us? The theme tied in well with future focussed schools that thrive on innovative learning.

Heath McNeil, principal of Ormiston Primary, says there has been a history of a unique partnership with each of the new schools being initially hosted in other Flat Bush schools until Flat Bush 7 was formally established.

Luke Sumich, principal of Ormiston Junior College, says they are building on initiatives like a collective scholarship of $1000 for Year 13 students who have excelled.

“It’s about creating trust,” says Diana Patience, principal of Ormiston Senior College. “We are the only area in NZ with two junior colleges and one senior college and we want to educate the community about this model by demonstrating that by working closely together we are providing a seamless and legitimate pathway for all children, which normally doesn’t happen.”

“Genee Crowley, the newly-appointed principal of Baverstock Oaks School, says she feels privileged to be a part of a community of schools that supports and helps each other.

Mel Bland, principal of Te Uho o te Nikau Primary School, agrees saying she feels very lucky to be a part of a community of experienced principals who are mentors with shared vision.

Did you know a new primary school will be opening at 187 Flat Bush School Road in 2019?

The Establishment Board of Trustees
invites families to a
Community Meeting

DATE: Tuesday 19 June 2018
TIME: 7.00pm
PLACE: Ormiston Junior College Foyer
PURPOSE: To share information about the new school including the adopted Enrolment Scheme

Everyone Welcome

For further information contact our Leader of Learning

Upcoming Establishment Board of Trustees Meetings – 2018

Venue: Ormiston Junior College
Time: 5:30 p.m. onwards

January 30 January 2018
February 13 February 2018
27 February 2018
March 27 March 2018
April 10 April 2018
May 22 May 2018
June 19 June 2018
Community consultation Evening
July 31 July 2018
August 28 August 2018
September 25 September 2018
October 23 October 2018
November 20 November 2018
December 4 December 2018


Te Uho o te Nikau Primary School is a newly established year 1-6 school that will open
in February 2019. Te Uho o te Nikau Primary School will provide a flexible teaching and
learning environment located in the heart of Flat Bush Auckland, a rapidly growing diverse

This is a unique opportunity for passionate educators to:
• Innovate, challenge, design and explore within our flexible learning model.
• Create a culture where all are welcomed and enabled to achieve as life-long learners.
• Be part of a purpose-driven team of original, confident facilitators of learning.
• Grow individually and collectively as a member of our foundation staff.
• Deliver our vision for an inclusive, globally aware, sustainable learning environment.
• Showcase their resilience, student-focus and excellent sense of humour.
• Belong to a unique learning community.

Are you ready for the challenge of new school possibilities?
This is our journey – to nourish, grow and thrive together.
Join us!

An application pack is available via email from:
Applications close at 4:00 p.m. on Friday 6 July 2018

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