Home, Sawyers Bay School We are Risk Takers Home, Sawyers Bay School We are Thinkers Home, Sawyers Bay School We are Self Managers Home, Sawyers Bay School We are Communicators Home, Sawyers Bay School We are Collaborators
Welcome to


Sawyers Bay School is a semi-rural school on the outskirts of Dunedin. We are a ten minute drive from the centre of town down the beautiful Otago Harbour

Who are we?
Sawyers Bay Primary School was established in 1861. We offer a welcoming and inclusive community atmosphere. Sawyers Bay achieve excellent results for our children and our current enrolment is approximately 140 students. We offer spacious grounds and play areas, ‘Active Schools’ sports and PE for fun, challenge, cooperation and leadership; organised activities include netball, futsal, soccer, school camp (Year 5 and 6), T Ball, sponsored runs and swimming. We have small class sizes and well resourced programs which include sports, ICT, visual and performing arts. Arts activities include annual school play, recorder, marimba and guitar groups as well as many creative arts activities in the classroom. We are able to integrate learning support and extension as required throughout the school.

Home, Sawyers Bay School
Home, Sawyers Bay School

Enrolment Information

Home, Sawyers Bay School

Our People

Home, Sawyers Bay School


Latest News & Events


Latest Notifications

This week’s newsletter is now available.

Thu Sep 16 10:42am

Check out our new digital newsletter! You can either find it on the website, the SchoolApp, or let us know and we will send you a hard copy.

Lunch Online orders available again from tomorrow.

Tue Sep 14 12:55pm

Kia ora Families,

Thank you for your patience, we can now confirm that we will be restarting lunch online orders from tomorrow starting with the Wednesday Sausage Sizzle!

Check out the forms tab of the SchoolApp for ordering info, or get in touch.

Level change information update

Mon Sep 06 07:33pm

Kia ora Whanau,


We are very pleased to be able to re-open our doors to all children as of Thursday 8.30am. This will be under our Level 2 requirements, which we shall explain in detail as we move through the level.

In order to prepare for the reintroduction of on-site learning, the main points of interest are as follows:

There will be NO Distance Learning posted for children on Wednesday 8th September.
Adults will not be able to enter the school site without prior approval of the staff. Any adults with approval to come on site will be required to wear a mask and sign into the office
School grounds remain closed to all public as we need to maintain our sites safety for our children.
As we have been advised, masks are not mandatory for children, however should you wish for your child to wear a mask, and they can do so correctly, they are most welcome to wear one. Staff will have the same options.
If you were lent a device for Distance Learning, we would very much appreciate this labelled with your family name, handed into the office on Thursday as we need to clean them down ready to use in the classrooms asap.
Pick up and drop offs will be different this time. Please note that no children are to be at school before 8.30am. Gate drop offs are fine as they tend to be staggered over a half hour period. Pick ups will be all at the same time of 2.45pm, but with different pick up points. Papatuanuku and Hine-Rau-Wharangi children will be taken to the main entrance on Stevenson Ave for pick up, Tawhirimatea and Ranginui will be taken to the end of the top court (where the sharing shed is), and Hinemoana and Tane Mahuta will be taken to the Church Carpark for pick up.  In the case of siblings, we will pair them all up and they will go from the youngest child’s classroom pick up point.
Please send your child with their own water bottle as the fountains will not be in use.
Assemblies will be classes only during Level 2, no adults again sorry!
There will be no lunch orders until further notice.
We will keep you all as informed as we can, but please do check the SchoolApp and website for the latest news.
Thank you in advance for your support and patience with all of the information we have had to send out over the last few weeks. We are absolutely ecstatic to have our kids back in person this week!


Nga mihi nui,


Jump Jam tomorrow morning

Thu Sep 02 02:33pm

Come and join us for Jump Jam tomorrow morning 10am.



Adults welcome to join us too!



Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 722 7108 3191
Passcode: jumpjam

Level 3 Preparation – On-site and Distance Learning

Sun Aug 29 06:09pm

Kia ora Families,

I hope that you have enjoyed the weekend in spite of some rubbish weather.

We are currently preparing for the next stage in our Distance Learning with a move to Level 3 on Wednesday.

Distance Learning will continue as normal. For a very few number children, there may be a need to be on-site completing their distance learning in a supervised classroom.

The rules and regulations around this are a lot more stringent this time around, The Government has been very clear that they expect all learners to be in their bubbles learning from home wherever possible. I have attached a flow chart summarising who might need to be on-site.

We do not want to discourage those who need our help, however we also need to be able to maintain the integrity of our bubble, the safety of our staff, and meet the mandate of the Ministry of Education.

In order to manage this bubble safely, and staff adequately, we will be only accepting children under the following conditions:

-You meet the criteria set out in the flow chart (e.g. all adults in the household are essential workers, not working from home, and all other options are exhausted)

-The children have not travelled within New Zealand during the Level 4 period

– You have given at least two days notice of your intention to send your child to the school.

– Your children are not within any other childcare bubbles (e.g. attending an afterschool hours care)

– You will agree to meet all Health and Safety procedures that are in place for the safety of our staff and our children (these will be explained to families on enrolment in the Level 3 class.

If you think that the Level 3 bubble is the only option available to your children, please email me as soon as possible, and I shall call you back to discuss options.




Ka mihi,



Gareth Swete  

View PDF

COVID Update 27/08/21

Fri Aug 27 04:28pm

Kia ora families,

Following today’s government announcement, there are a few implications for school next week.

Monday and Tuesday will be Distance Learning the same as this week. When we move down to Level 3, it will be very much the same, distance learning will be how our children access their schooling. In some exceptional cirucmstances, there may be the opportunity to look at on-site leanring bubbles. There is not yet a specific date for when any school based bubble would be available as it may not necessarily be the first few days of Level 3.

While there will be more specific details released this afternoon by the MoE, all guidance so far, and as Prime Minister Arden specified this afternoon, all children should be learning from home wherever possible. Once we have official guidance, we will survey families, but please bear in mind that Level 3 bubbles will look different that nlast tiem we were in Level 3. The only children who should be on-site at school are children where all adults within the home are all essential workers, and not at home, and there is no other alternative. We will provide more clarity as soon as we can.


I would like to say thank you to all families for adapting so quickly to Distance Learning once again, supporting their families with this, being patient with our technical adjustments and tolerating our frequent communications. I would also really like to thank our amazing staff for their work. Many of them are not only managing their own homes and families, but really extending themselves to ensure that our tamariki are engaged, happy and supported, you guys are amazing!

You all deserve a break over the weekend away from devices and learning. We will be back in touch as soon as we get informatio nrelevant to families.

If we have to be locked down, we are so lucky, for so many reasons to be locked down in amazing Sawyers Bay.


Nga mihi nui,

Gareth Swete

Jump Jam most up to date link

Fri Aug 27 10:57am

This is the link to follow sorry:


Gareth Swete is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Jump Jam!
Time: Aug 27, 2021 10:00 AM Auckland, Wellington

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 717 2344 6741
Passcode: fVL37T


Whole School Jump Jam 10am!

Fri Aug 27 10:26am

Greta day for indoor Jump Jam, all welcome!



Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 717 2344 6741
Passcode: fVL37T

Whole School Jump Jam – Friday morning 10am!

Thu Aug 26 10:29am

Did you know that the whole school gets together every Friday morning for Jump Jam? No lockdown will stop us! Below is a Zoom link for tomorrow morning 10am where we will be running a whole school jump jam session. All are welcome to join us if you wish.

Adults, get your active wear out and join in too. Don’t know the moves? Follow your kids lead!

Gareth Swete is inviting you to a Jump Jam Session.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 717 2344 6741
Passcode: fVL37T


Yet another update!

Tue Aug 24 09:31am

Kia ora families,

Apologies for yet another message, we are doing our best to find a balance between keeping you all up to date and not bombarding you with notifications.

As predicted, we will be carrying on with Distance Learning for at least the remainder of the week. It is really important that if you are having any troubles, that you keep in contact with your teachers. Hopefully Seesaw is keeping it reasonably simple for you.

I do need to reiterate that you do not need to feel like you have to do everything. While we are working hard to provide meaningful and interesting activities for your children, we do not want anyone to feel overwhelmed. I know that for my own family, we set a time for Distance Learning. After starting at 9am, by 12pm we had had enough for the day. It is quite intense for the children especially as they are not used to being dependent on a screen for their learning. I encourage you all to make the most of the beautiful weatehr and find a balance of activities, family time, outside time and exercise!

If you are having any difficulties at home finding this balance, please reach out and let us help.


Nga mihi



Distance learning starts today, hints, tips and cheat codes for navigating Distance Learning

Mon Aug 23 09:41am

Ata marie families!

First of all, thank you to everyone for respecting our school site being completely closed. We have had people on-site using it as a default dog park, driving on the school grounds and compromising our bubble. None of these people have been school families, so we really do appreciate your help here.

We begin Distance Learning once again this morning. Hopefully it should only be for a short time, but we will prepare for all possibilities. Here is how it will work:

All learning will be posted on Seesaw. Your teachers will be sending you an email at 9am (check your junk file, or contact your teacher if you don’t receive it) this morning with your child’s unique access code. You will need to have downloaded the Seesaw Class app to your device.

If you are using a school device or through a web browser. it should already be on there for you.

In order to access this, I have attached a summary page to this message, however your children may already be familiar with it. If not, let the kids explore it. Their young, malleable brains cope better with new technology than us adults!

Hint: On Seesaw, there will be a balance of online activities, as well as instructions for unplugged activities and learning. If you have any troubles, please do ask!

Cheat code: No learning is compulsory! We have put together a balanced programme that will help your child maintain their learning, but we also understand that families are working extremely hard to balance life in Level 4. Please do not feel any pressure to complete everything.

Tip: Use Seesaw to communicate with your teacher. If your children do something awesome outside of the home learning content, post a photo to Seesaw as we would love to see what you are up to and have a chance to respond.


Best of luck getting started this morning. PLEASE, do not hesitate to contact us if you need any help. You will also receive an email from your teacher with a Zoom time. Again, this is optional but a chance for your children to connect with their peers. They have been coordinated to ensure no two classes are at the same time. 


I will be back in touch this afternoon with any relevant updates after the 3pm announcement this afternoon.


Nga mihi


Download parent Seesaw help file here

Last update for the day, I promise!

Fri Aug 20 05:56pm

Kia ora koutou,

We have met with staff this afternoon after the announcement of an extended Level 4. We are preparing to implement a distance learning programme for at least a week, if not longer as of Monday morning, 9am. This programme will be delivered through a platform, Seesaw, that some of you will be familiar with. 

Please, could you take the chance to download the Seesaw Class app (it must be the Class version, not family) from your app store.

On a web browser, you can get it from app.seesaw.me.

Click: I am a Student

Type i nthe text code that your classroom teacher will send to you.

You do not need to log in as teachers will be sending you an individual code for your child on Monday morning to log in with.

For those families that have indicated that they require additional support with devices, we will be in touch.

The learning itself, while delivered online, will not require your child to be online. While there will be activities that require a device, many of the activities will suimply need the children to get the instructions from Seesaw, do the activity independently, and then the opportunity to share it with their teacher on Seesaw. None of these activities will be compulsory of course and we encourage families to share their own learning activities and experiences with us too.


Have a great weekend and we will be in touch first thing Monday morning.




School update

Fri Aug 20 10:13am

Good morning everyone,

I hope that the last few days has gone smoothly for you and your families. The nice weather has certainly helped!

This notification is just to give you a brief update on what is happening behind the scenes in terms of the school (and to assure you all that we haven’t forgotten you all!).

We have been working closely with Ministry of Education to ensure that we are prepared for any potential level changes today. The teachers are all working together (but apart!) to ensure that we are also prepared to not only meet the requirements of our MoE but ensure we first and foremost meet the needs of our children.

What will happen from here?

The staff are meeting together at 4pm today after the 3pm announcement. Shortly after that, we will communicate with all families about our next course of action. In brief, if we remain in Level 4, then Distance learning will begin on Monday morning. Thanks to all of the families that filled in our survey, we will ensure that all families have the required technology and/or home packs to be able to achieve this. If we move to Level 3, it will be much the same as Level 4, but we will be sending out a separate survey to families to establish who are essential workers, and require their children to attend a ‘Level 3 Bubble Classroom’. If we move to Level 2, we will be very happy and run school as normal with the exception of keeping adults off-site.


I hope this helps to forecast what may happen depending on today’s announcement. In the meantime, enjoy the time with your families and if you have any questions at all, please do email me: gareths@sawyersbay.school.nz

Nga mihi,



COVID Snap Survey

Wed Aug 18 09:43am

Kia ora Parents,

 Please note that this is the same message that you would have already received via email, we are simply using every form of communciation possible to ensure that you get this message.

We will try to keep communications to only essential as we know that you are probably rather busy at homes today.

As mentioned in last nights notification, we are not going to jump to a full distance learning programme immediately today, but will start the necessary preparation looking ahead to a potentially longer Level 4.


The first homework tasks for parents will be to once again confirm your most up to date information around your abilities to access distance learning. Please can you take two minutes to complete the following brief survey:




This will help us to help you be prepared.

Thank you in advance for your help and do not hesitate to contact me if you require any additional support (gareths@sawyersbay.school.nz).




School Closed under Level 4 restrictions

Tue Aug 17 08:03pm

Kia ora Whanau,

I am sure that many of you have been watching the news tonight and are already aware that the whole of New Zealand will be going into Level 4 from 11.59pm tonight, and for at least 3 days.

This does mean that the school will be closed for instruction. There will be no staff on-site and no public acccess will be permitted in the school due to Ministry of Education requirements. Please feel very welcoem to spread this message to all families who might not have our app.

The good news is that we have been here before, we know what to expect, and we know that we actually gained alot from our last lockdown and family time as a silver lining.

Over the next few days, we will be putting our pandemic plan into action. We have already taken steps to plan and prepare for such a situation. There will be no distance learning sent hoem for your children in the next two days, but we will be communicating more detail about our plan as we put it all in place. It is more important to us right now that we spend the time reassuring our children and taking care of their needs first. 

One of our first actions will be to put out an up to date link to our Distance Learning Google survey as we did last year. This will give us up to date information on the availability of devices etc in homes, and we will be able to support families here.

In the meantime, enjoy the bonus family time, reconnect with the neighbours that you met last year, dust off the cookbooks and other lockdown hobbies you mastered, and we will be in touch with you all again very soon. Please do not hesitate to contact us via email if you require any clarification or support as we navigate the Level 4 (and hopefully a short one) once again.


Nga mihi


Child’s wallet found in the playground

Fri Aug 13 02:10pm

A small person’s wallet has been found i nthe plyground. It looks to have been here at least overnight and isn’t recognised by our children. It is blue with Tom and Jerry on it.

We would dearly love to get this back to its owner. If you recognise the description please let Gareth know.

Newsletter #21 12th August

Thu Aug 12 01:20pm

Newsletter for this week, enjoy!


Newsletter #20 5th August 2021

Thu Aug 05 01:00pm

This week’s newsletter is now available.


Newsletter #19 29th July 2021

Thu Jul 29 11:30am

This week’s newsletter.


Newsletter #18 8th July 2021

Thu Jul 08 11:43am

Check out our bumper newsletter for the end of term, to open click on the View button below.


School Concert last minute reminders

Thu Jul 01 10:52am

We are all very excited about the Concert tonight.

Please can you ensure that your child is at the University of Otago College of Education Auditorium (Union Street) between 6.30pm and 6.45pm tonight.

We will be at the Auditorium from lunchtime today and should be back at school for the normal pick up time of 2.45pm.

You do not need a physical ticket to get into the concert. We have allocated seats to fmailies and all you need to do is turn up with the no more than the number of people that you indicated you would like to bring. This just ensures that we do not exceed the capacity of the venue.

The PTA will also be selling raffles at the door to help cover the cost of the venue and buses for rehearsal so please bring some change along with you if you would like a chance to win a prize.

We very much look forward to seeing you all tonight!

School Concert raffle & seating

Tue Jun 29 12:55pm

Only 2 sleeps until the highlight of the year, our Sawyers Bay concert at the Otago University College of Education auditorium on Thursday night.

The Sawyers Bay PTA will be selling raffles at the concert for three hampers (Meat, Beauty and Food). All funds raised will go towards the buses for our practice and concert costs. See the flyer below.

We are pleased to confirm that we have sufficent seating to meet all the requests received from each family. There will be no tickets issued, just turn up on the night.



Raffle Poster

9am start as normal at this stage

Tue Jun 29 08:33am

Kia ora Whanau,

We will be starting at 9am as normal at this stage unless conditions change. We will keep you up to date via SchoolApp

Newsletter #17 22nd June 2021

Thu Jun 24 11:32am

Please see this week’s newsletter below. Next week we won’t have a newsletter due to the School Concert.