What Makes Us Special

The House colours and symbols are: 

Stars                            Te Kāhui Whetū    Yellow 

Wind / Clouds        Te Kāhui Kapua     Purple

Birds                            Te Kāhui Manu      Orange

Waves                         Te Kāhui Ngaru     Blue (light) 

Houses & Kaihoe Awards

Houses - We use the house system to foster teamwork and promote the Dawson values of: Tika, Manaakitanga, Aroha, Whakawhanaunga and Ahurutanga. The points are awarded for participation, effort and growth just as much as achievement. 

The concept is based around the four key elements a traditional wayfinder uses to navigate and were given to us by Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr who is a wayfinder and captain of the ocean going waka Haunui. All four elements are needed yo work together to navigate to their ultimate goal. Te Kahui means a special or distinguished group of, so each house is a collective.

Kaihoe Awards - The Kaihoe rewards scheme builds on the success of the house points collective rewards. Students that demonstrate our school values, excellence and progress in any area should be recognised and praised for their individual efforts. Such feedback promotes learning, supports engagement and motivation. These rewards will also reinforce desired behaviours being taught.  

The concept is building and adding to our Wayfinder/Navigator theme. Our Dawson values have been rebranded to incorporate a specific symbol as well as being an oar. These oars/values are used to steer, guide and help propel us to our destination.The term Kaihoe means paddler. As the students receive more Kaihoe Awards they will progress to different landmarks, each landmark has a different reward attached to it that increases as they progress. 


We have a focus on preparing our children to be global learners - anytime, anywhere learners. Students work with many forms of IT to gain confidence in the use of a variety of media and to develop independence of IT use.

The learning is characterised by:

Digital Technology 

We have lots of resources for students to learn about computational thinking and coding.  Students build their skills so they can be innovative creators of digital solutions. They use technology such as Scratch, Beebots, Sphero, Ozobots and much more.

Travelwise School

The aim of this programme is to promote a sense of pride, safety and community spirit in children, their school and wider community. Children are nominated for awards from the school or community and assemblies are held to recognise their achievement. we have a travelwise team and these students run different campaigns to get students walking to school.

Solar Panels

Dawson Primary were lucky enough to recieve funding to install a large solar array on some of our buildings. In addition to our commintment to sustainability, this saves money and provides opportunities for real life maths in action for our students. 

Students can see the power prodcution and usage from our solar panels and what we are importing each day. 

Enviro School / Health Promoting School

We are a silver level enviro school and we continue to make a strong effort towards becoming increasingly environmentally friendly and sustainable. As a health promoting school the aim of this programme is to promote school social and physical environments that improve the health and well being of students and their families/communities and to contribute to improved student outcomes. Our school has gained the second level for health promoting schools - kowhai level.

Garden to Table

Our school is part of the Stephanie Alexander Garden to Table initiative.

Our children learn to plant, harvest, cook and share food. We have many fruit trees growing and also have worm farms and compost heaps. All classes are involved in enviro - friendly recycling.

We also have classes who work with an organisation called Wai Care. They provide learning opportunities for students at the local stream. The children are involved in planting, cleaning and testing water to improve and protect the environment.

We have a purpose built kitchen that can be used by all classes. Y4-6 have fornightly classes, hal the class works in the garden while the other half cooks, they then come together to eat the food they have prepared using ingredients grown in the school gardens.  

Learn more about our Garden to Table Programme here


Dawson Primary believes in print rich classrooms where students have access to quality reading and writing materials.  Teacher modelling and group instruction is the format for instructional learning. Our students need to be able to respond to, and use a variety of forms of language to think, locate, interpret and evaluate information and communicate. 

We offer ESOL to many of our pupils and competent teachers teach this.

We have a school wide approach to literacy and offer support and intervention for students who are struggling. We utilise programmes such as BSLA (Better Start Literacy Approach), Heggarty, and Patch Play among others. We have a specialist teacher aide who takes groups and uses the Quick 60 approach. We also have 8 teacher aides to support learning. 


Numeracy is an influence in all aspects of students’ daily lives, at school, at play and at home. Our children learn through developing knowledge and strategies that enable them to explore mathematical ideas, to solve problems and to think creatively. All teachers are trained practitioners of the numeracy project. We have Prime Maths in Year 6 and Y4-6 have a mathletics account. 

Lego Room

We have a lego room that can be used by classes for design challenges, projects, lego therapy or small groups. We also have Spike Prime which brings lego and digital technology together, allowing students to build and code.

Bike Track

Dawson Primary has the longest asphalt bike track in Auckland, this is over 500m long and includes a pump track, three bridges and a set of slalom polls. We have a range of bikes to suit all ability and year levels.  Teachers take lessons and teach children to ride bikes and the safety and upkeep involved in these. We have students who are Bike Champions who set up the bikes and organise morning tea and lunchtime sessions.  

Kaitiaki / Crafting Curriculum 

Dawson Primary has been developing a crafting curriculum to provide student opportunities to participate in activities that promote increased student ‘connectedness’

1. Connection to their physical environs= students more committed to ‘looking after their place ‘Kaitiakitanga’.

2. Connection to culture- through traditional skills and indigenous ways of looking at the world

3. Connection to self= Students that are less dependant on social media for their self-image.

4. Connection to fellow students through opportunities to help and be helped, collaborate, and share in meaningful experiences.

5. Connection to other curriculum areas through real world learning opportunities, that are culturally responsive leading to increased engagement.

We have an outdoor classroom, fire pit and tools for students to use.