The Family So'otaga is a joint initiative between Holy Family School and the McGuinness Institute that that has been created to assist students and 'aiga in the Holy Family School community.

The programme has been designed by Principal Chris Theobald and Deputy Principal Gina Lefaoseu.

The students that attend Holy Family School are largely drawn from Pasifika backgrounds (including Samoan, Tokelauan, Tongan, Niuean, Kiribati, and Tuvaluan, Cook Island Maori), there are also students with Maori heritage and some students who are Burmese migrants.

This ethnic diversity means that most of our parents do not have a personal experience of the New Zealand education system (or if they do it often wasn't a consistently positive experience). While this brings a richness to our school and community it also means that the link between home and school is more important than in other situations.

We know that statistically the mother is often the biggest educational influence on a child, therefore as a school we cannot progress the excellent educational outcomes that we strive for unless we get all whanau (especially mothers!) involved in the learning process.

The name "So'otaga" was chosen as it translates to "connection" in Samoan. We hope that the programme will help our families to develop a deeper "connection" to their children's school, based on a relationship that is focused on learning. We also hope that our Family So'otaga facilitator will be able to "connect" our families to external agencies and or information that will remove barriers to learning.

The Family So'otaga has been running in draft form since the start of 2016. The first term of 2016 saw the programme trialled with various families and adapted as a result of feedback from our community.

A full internal evaluation has been carried out at the start of 2017. The evaluation showed positive signs of the impact that the programme is having on our students and their whanau. If you would like more information on this evaluation please speak to Gina or Chris.

The Family So'otaga has appreciated the generous support of successful Pasifika national and international icons -

  • Tofiga Fepulea'i (MC for the launch of our programme); and,
  • The Family of the late Joseph Churchward (creator of the fonts that have been used in this site); and,
  • Ladi6 (provides the audio backing for all Family So'otaga videos).