February 2024 Edition
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Newsletter Week 4 Term 1

Hastings Christian School

21 February 2024


Over the weekend my wife and I helped set up our daughter into a flat in Wellington. Abby, and her two Hastings Christian School friends, were both excited and a little nervous. Bridget and I, like many other parents who have helped their children transition from home to university, were experiencing the emotional roller coaster that comes with this kind of change. What made the experience even more poignant was when we all went together to ‘Naenae for Christ' church on Sunday. A friend of ours, Mark Gordon, pastors this church. He had warned me that it was going to be a different Sunday as they would be combining with two other small churches to hear a message and testimonies on the theme of suffering.

Mark's wife, Tania, works at Maranatha Christian School. She led off with her testimony and has given permission for me to share it with you all.

Last September, a week after having keyhole surgery to remove a large ovarian cyst I was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer. My surgeon at the time told us that it looked like it was stage 2 or 3.

I remember feeling numb, shocked even, but also saying to the Lord, “Help me in this, I can’t do this without you.” Mark and I sat in the car and cried, prayed, and returned home. I remember saying when we walked in the door, “Want a cup of tea?” But doing the norm felt so weird, everything had changed.

Mark and I did what we could to discuss and process the diagnosis, but we also let the children know they needed to come around. We told them later that day, our extended family that night and my work friend and church family the next day. I’ve never been a very private person. I draw strength from knowing that others are praying and over the weeks that followed and even now knowing that others were praying for me gave me an incredible peace even during the roughest moments.

What helped were the text messages that included scripture and a promise to pray, acts of love like flowers, meals, fruit baskets, gift cards or practical helps like helping do the garden. These were all such an encouragement to me. We were so supported by the body of Christ here at Naenae who freed Mark up to look after me for an extended length of time and provided meals and other helps. Mark was and is my constant support and companion and is a true servant and man of God. He spoke truth into my life, cried with me, prayed with me, and encouraged me. My children and family showed me so much love and grace. I also really appreciated my friends who weren’t scared to visit. They let me talk openly about my struggles and asked great questions. I’m sure it’s not easy to sit with someone who is dealing with such big news, but it was worse when I felt like some friends might be avoiding me.

But more than the people around me who I know the Lord used to bring comfort I drew my strength from God. More than ever, I was aware that the things of the world (even the good) are temporary. Getting this kind of diagnosis does change you. It revealed the things on this earth that I cling to. It made me realise that I don’t yearn for Christ’s coming or to be with Him like I should. It revealed the pointlessness of storing up treasures on earth and not in heaven. Earthly treasures like family, church family, friends and my school community were a comfort to me, but nothing brought comfort like drawing near to my Lord and Saviour.

When I woke, I listened to worship music, then spent time in God’s Word. I read books and listened to sermons by others who had or were experiencing similar struggles and gleaned from their knowledge and experience. I did have moments where I took my eyes off Christ and boy were they low moments. I needed my mind renewed by God’s Word more than ever. Anyone who knows me knows I tend to focus on the negative. It is truly by God’s grace that I was able to see the good. I focused on the things to be thankful for, the many ways in which God provided. I dwelt on His goodness, His mercy, and His kindness.

Matthew 11:28-29 says,

“28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

And that’s what I did, I threw myself into the gentle, open arms of Jesus who hates sickness and disease just like we do.

One scripture the Lord led me to early on is Matthew 6 about not being anxious about tomorrow.

I am thankful that my hope is not in this life, or in a cure but in the eternal, promised life to come.

While Tania shed a few tears during her testimony (with a whole lot more from the congregation), it was her clear love for the Lord and her trust in Him that was the overwhelming impression left on everyone when she finished. My prayer is that Tania’s amazing testimony will not only have been an encouragement to you, but will also challenge you to re-evaluate your priorities and drive you into a deeper love for God and His word.

”But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. I cried aloud to the Lord, and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me. I will not be afraid ...“
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭3‬:‭3‬-‭6‬

Gavin Clark

Secondary Athletics Day - Monday

Athletics Day for Y9-13 students is this coming Monday, the 26th of March. Please drop off your child/ren at the Hastings Sports Park on Percival Road at 8.30 am. We will start at 8.40am. If you can't get them there or carpool with other parents, a van will leave from school but students must book a seat with Mrs Clark. Students should wear house colours; they must dress for the weather with sunhats, sunscreen, sweatshirts, and sneakers. Please bring enough food and water for the day, as students will not be allowed to leave the venue. Please make sure your child has their medication eg inhalers. The finish and pick-up time is 2.30 pm. An app notice will be sent on Sunday night if there are any concerns about the weather.

Y11-13 Course Outlines

Course outlines for 2024 have been now been emailed to parents. These outlines give details on course content and when tests are due.

HCS Board

The Hastings Christian School Board will have their first meeting for 2024 on Monday night at 7pm in the staffroom. These meetings are open to the public (apart from in committee discussions) and minutes from each meeting are held in the admin area. The Board is made up of representatives from the staff, parents & the Board of Proprietor.

The board's role is to oversee the governance of its school and to ensure that everything that needs to be done gets done - legally, ethically, and as well as possible in the best interests of its students. Some of the Board's responsibilities include:
  • setting the strategic direction and targets for the school
  • planning towards and reporting on achieving those targets
  • curriculum management
  • financial and property management
  • policies and procedures
  • health and safety
  • employment of staff at the school .
The HCS Board is made up of the following members (pictured from left)
Ilse Heeringa (BOP rep), Richard Sissons (parent rep), Raphelle Andrews (staff rep), Gavin Clark (principal), Kelly Fenwick (parent rep), Greg Millard (parent rep), Alwin de Vries (BOP rep), Eric Meinsma (BOP rep), Jay van Maanen (parent rep), Anita Nieuwland (secretary)


Last week Lucy Smith (Y13) and Ethan Guthrie (Y12) attended the National Rowing Club Championships at Lake Karapiro in Waikato. They had a week of competitive racing and enjoyed some great weather and the opportunity to rub shoulders with some top NZ rowing athletes.

Itinerant Music Lessons

Itinerant music lessons have started. All lesson days/times/locations are posted on the window of C1. Please encourage your child to practice and to bring their instrument on the day of their lesson.

Violin: There is a vacancy for a student to have violin lessons with our fantastic, new and extremely competent violin teacher. For anyone who might be interested can email Nicola Feyter n.feyter@hcs.school.nz

Noah Terry offering brass instrument lessons

I am a year 13 NCEA level 3 music student. I have passed grade 8 music theory, and I have played trumpet since the age of 7. I currently play with the Hawke's Bay Youth Orchestra. I have had the amazing experience of playing with the Deco Bay Brass Band. I have played and arranged music for the National Secondary Schools Brass Band Development Band, and I am currently arranging music for this year's workshop. I have had experience tutoring trumpet and wish to provide the opportunity for students at HCS to learn this instrument. For further information or any questions, please email me at noah.terry@student.hcs.school.nz.

Items Needed

We have over 40 students from years 3 to 8 taking part in a parade through Toitoi with wings they are creating. They will design and construct wearable wings and model them on the 11th of April. We need your help to gather resources that would otherwise be thrown out, recycled or taken to an op shop. If you have any of the following items, please send them to school in a bag marked, “Lift off”. Questions can be directed to Shelley Phillips (s.phillips@hcs.school.nz)
We are needing:
  • Cloth covid masks
  • Dried used Tea bags
  • Strings of beads
  • Plastic flowers and leaves
  • Cotton balls
  • Black fabric
  • Plastic bottle caps
  • Shells
  • Clear plastic meat or fruit trays
  • Fake strings of pearls
  • #8 wire

Home & School

The H&S committee is run by a group of willing parents who work to raise funds for the school.
We meet together approx 1x per term and plan what we will do that term.

For the last couple of years we have been focused on the new gym, but now we need to discuss some new projects that the school is planning on doing and decide what we would like to contribute towards.

Each Friday we sell Pizza and that all goes towards the H&S funds. We would love to hear from any new people who would be willing to join our very small team. We are planning to get together Monday 4th March so please make contact for more details if you can join us.

We totally welcome any ideas or support you are able to give us. You don't have to commit to helping out with every fundraiser etc but you may have 1 great idea to share!!
Please contact Daphne Hawken for more info.d.hawken@hcs.school.nz 027 668 0357

Art Deco Picnics

What a lovely warm day it was on Friday as students joined together for the first time in their house's to get to know each other over a picnic lunch for Art Deco. Well done to everyone who dressed up for the occasion!

From the Ministry of Health

Be protected against meningococcal disease

Meningococcal disease is a dangerous illness that can kill or cause serious disability. The best way to protect against the disease is to be vaccinated with both the MenB and the MenACWY vaccines. Until 28 February, these are available free for those aged 13 to 25 in close living situations such as a boarding school or hostel.

Please pass this message on to your school community - vaccination appointments can be made with their healthcare providers.

For more information visit:

Meningococcal vaccines – Te Whatu Ora | Health New Zealand

Ice Blocks for Sale

Lemonade iceblocks will be on sale for $1 on THURSDAYS this term. Order before school outside the staffroom (juniors) or bring your dollar at lunchtime (seniors).Term 1 only!

Pizza Lunches

Order before school outside the staff room on Friday mornings. $1.50 per piece, cheesy garlic, pepperoni or ham and cheese. Gluten Free $2.00 per slice.

Uniform Expectations

At the start of the year, we would like to remind you of some of our expectations regarding the school uniform. All students should be in regulation uniform each school day. Parents should provide a note if a student is wearing non-regulation items. Full details of the uniform for primary and secondary students can be found on the school app under the 'uniform' button. All items can be worn summer or winter.

Jewellery must not be worn at school except for the following.
  • Wristwatches
  • Medic alert bracelets
  • Plain small round ear studs, one stud per ear (size must fit through a holepunch). No sleepers or shapes.
  • Cultural or religious necklaces can be worn but must not be visible.
  • Hair ties should be black, brown or navy
  • Hair clips black/brown or gold/silver
  • No unnatural hair colours (eg blue,green) or excess products are acceptable
  • Hair should be clean and tidy at all times and kept out of the eyes
  • Hair should be tied back if longer than shoulder length
  • Year 9-13 girls may wear their hair down unless required to tie it up for class (technology, science etc)
  • Senior boys should be clean-shaven
If the teachers have a concern with a hairstyle, they will make contact with the parents and there is an expectation that the problem will be resolved.

Nail Polish
No nail polish is allowed either on the fingers or the toes. Students will be asked to remove this at the office.

Makeup & Tattoos
No makeup is to be worn to school. If a student is wearing makeup, they will be asked to remove this at the office. Tattoos must be covered up at all times.

Only badges given to students by the school or school endorsed outside providers may be worn appropriately on the school uniform by the award recipient.

Skirt Length
Y9-13 student's skirt length must be at or below the knee.

Year 1-8 Black lace up shoes, black sandals or black sneakers (no white or coloured soles/logos)
Year 9-13 Black lace ups, T-Bar/Mary Janes, Roman sandals
  • Black lace up shoes are required for all students who use the technology rooms.
  • No form of coloured sport shoes are permitted unless participating in PE.
  • If your child needs to wear orthopaedic sandals/shoes, this is allowable provided you have communicated the reasons for this with the school.
Socks & Stockings
Boys: Year 1-13 Navy school socks
Girls: Year 1- 8 Navy knee length socks or navy tights/opaques
Girls: Year 9-13 White ankle socks (purchased from uniform shop – no sports socks) or navy opaque stockings

School Hats
Year 1-8 The school uniform sunhat/cap is to be worn when outside during the two summer terms.

Dealing with Concerns Procedure

It is important for the harmonious operation of the school that people are aware of and adhere to appropriate procedures for dealing with difficulties. This policy can be found in the 'links' section of the school app. Should you have a concern, please pick an appropriate time to talk to staff. Mornings are very busy, so if you are needing to speak with a teacher regarding a concern, please email them or make a time to see them afterschool.

School Counsellor

Our school counsellor Alice Robinson will continue her great work at HCS this year on a Tuesday and/or Wednesday afternoon. If you would like to contact her regarding any pastoral concerns for your child her email is a.robinson@hcs.school.nz

Teacher Only Day & Easter Dates

Advance notice: Friday 22nd of March will be a teacher only day. All staff will be travelling to Palmerston North for professional development. HCS will be closed this day.

The Easter break for all schools will be Friday 29th March, Monday 1st of April and Tuesday 2nd of April. Easter falls outside the school holidays this year and term 1 will end on Friday 12th of April.

Upcoming Events

  • Monday 26th Feb - Secondary Athletics Day
  • Monday 26th Feb - HCS Board meeting
  • Tuesday 27th Feb - Road patrol training
  • Monday 4th-Tuesday 5th - Basketball HB training sessions for primary
  • Tuesday 5th Mar - Y9-13 Swimming
  • Friday 8th Mar - Y12/13 Tongariro Trip
  • Friday 8th Mar - Mufti Day Volleyball Fundraiser
  • Friday 15th Mar - Duke of Ed tramp
  • Wednesday 20th Mar - Secondary Interschool Athletics
  • Friday 22nd Mar - Teacher Only Day
  • Monday 25th-Thursday28th - E1 Optimist Yachting
  • Monday 25th - Y7/8 Immunisations
  • Wednesday 27th - Y12 Biology Trip
  • Thursday 28th - House Event
  • Friday 29th-Tuesday 2nd -Easter Break