Our School

Our Vision 

Vision – Faith, Values and Skills
Mission Statement: To provide a caring, Catholic, family/whānau environment where faith, values and skills are nurtured, enabling learners to be successful and responsible citizens

Our UNITY Values

Humility, Excellence, Faith, Respect, Integrity.
Integral to our Special Character is a positive behaviour plan based on peace – rangimarie, justice – tika and reconciliation – hohou rongo. 
By teaching self-discipline and individual responsibility we will be actively encouraging social learning incorporating our Gospel values of Faith, Excellence, Humility, Integrity and Respect.  
Our school follows the PB4L model where expected behaviour is encouraged, modelled, celebrated and rewarded. We are a fully inclusive school, recognising that we are all made in the image and likeness of God and are tapu.  All ākonga have the right to enjoy a safe physical, emotional and spiritual environment while striving to be the very best they can be.
From time to time we recognise that our choices don’t always uphold the values of our school and we need guidance in how to restore relationships that may have been harmed by these choices. Students who choose to ‘live below the line’ are given support to change their behaviour,  to ensure that they can fully participate in all aspects of school life.
Our school community will be encouraged to support the values that we are promoting in our school environment. These values being our school gospel values of Humility, Excellence, Faith, Respect and Integrity (UNITY).

Our School

To local iwi, hapu and our school, Ōpunakē means, “Place of where the springs have been always.”  This is reflected in our school logo where the fours springs of water represent 4 of our 5 gospel values (excellence, humility, respect and integrity). We sit within the boundary of Taranaki iwi and ngati tamarongo, ngati haumia and ngati kahumate hapu. Our local marae, Orimupiko is located on the banks of the Waiaua River on the outskirts of Opunake. The wharenui is named Ōhinetuhirau; it opened in 1958. The marae connects ancestrally to the waka Aotea and the maunga Taranaki. The kawa is paeke and this is reflected in our emerging mihi whakatau process and any powhiri. We are also connected with Oeo marae and Pā which is located in Otakeho on the outskirts of Pihama. We first visited Oeo in Term 4 of 2023 and plan to go back regularly as our staff, children and whanau built an instant connection with this Pā and marae.

We are first and foremost a Mission School. In 1901, our school was founded by the “Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions”. Our first teachers were Sister Mary of Nazareth, Sister Mary St Marcella and Sister Mary St John of the Cross. In recognition of these founding teachers we have named our school houses after them. The current main part of the school was opened on February 13th 1923.m

We are to be like Christ in the World, to share our faith, like a spring that flows eternally.  Our role as teachers and learners is to inquire into the world around us; to make meaning of it in relation to our knowledge, our own experiences, the experiences of others, as a result of play, exploration, observations, investigations and research.  We will explore a variety of skills and values as we participate on our learning journey.

Enrolment Process:

When enrolling we highly value developing a relationship with you
All enrolments follow this process.
Please make an appointment with the Principal either by emailing principal@stjo.school.nz or ringing Bianca at the school office on 06 7618388.
  • An informal Interview with the Principal
  • Explanation of our Catholic Character and Charism
  • Expectations of the school – Our School UNITY Values
  • Tour around the school
  • Preference certificate to complete
  • Enrolment form to complete 
Having decided to enrol your child at St Joseph’s, the following information will assist you.
Preference – Non Preference Enrolment
Preference: means there is an established link with the Catholic Church within the family structure.
Non Preference: means non Catholic.
All pending enrolments will be viewed by the local Parish Priest to ascertain eligibility.
Appointments can be made through the Parish Office. Please phone (06) 761 8121.
By law and under the term of the Integration Agreement, we are able to accept 5% of our maximum roll (170) who are identified as non-preference.


It is school policy that children of St Joseph’s wear the uniform determined by the Board.

Parents are expected and have the responsibility to outfit and maintain the uniform as described. The Principal and Staff have delegated to them, the rights to take all reasonable steps to ensure that the policy is effective.

Girls: Tartan culottes (all year round), Navy Polo shirt, Navy blue polar fleece jersey.

Winter –  Navy Polo shirt , black tights, white ankle sock or plain black socks, black shoes. Long black pants (optional) – Terms 2 & 3 only. These must not have any visible brand names.

Summer – Black/brown sandals Boys: Navy shorts, Navy Polo shirt, Navy blue polar fleece jersey. n

Winter – Black socks with green stripe, black shoes. Long black plain pants (optional) – Terms 2 & 3 only. These must not have any visible brand names.

Summer – Black/brown sandals.


Black track pants/shorts, green polo shirt (purchased through the school office), School Jacket – Green

SCHOOL SUN HATS – Our School Sun Smart Policy requires children to wear school sun hats at playtimes and lunch times in Terms One and Four. School Sun hats can be purchased through the school office at $15.00.

SCHOOL BEANIES – can be worn to & from school in Terms 2 & 3 and purchased from school for $10.00. 

The change from summer uniform to winter occurs at Term 2. The change from winter uniform to summer occurs at Term 4.
Any necessary short-term variations to the uniform requires prior arrangement (signed note) to a Staff member.
School Uniforms are all available for purchase from “Karams Clothes on the Coast”.
Some second-hand uniform items are available at the school office, please enquire for pricing and availability.

Bell Times

School Begins 9:00 am

Morning Interval 10:35 – 11:05 am

Lunch 12:45 – 1:25

School concludes 3:00


Bus transport to St Joseph’s is free. A number of buses bring children to our school from outlying districts. Buses currently service the following routes:

Wiremu, Waiteika, Ihaia, Kina, Opua, Oeo, Patiki, Watino, Arawhata, Namu,

Feaver, Young, Eltham & Main South Roads.

Should you live in an area not already serviced, arrangements can be made. Please contact the Principal for further information.

Interested in Enrolling

Contact Us now to enquire about Enrolling your child at St Joseph's Ōpunakē