In New Zealand, there is often conflict at the breakfast table about which of the savoury spreads tastes best. Is it Vegemite, or Marmite?

The original spread Marmite, was made in England, and as people moved to Australia and New Zealand, so did the spread. They both contain Vitamin B, and can be used in a number of ways. To quote the blog ‘Culture Trip’;

“…they’re both made of beer brewers’ yeast extract, they both have a dark black colour, they both come in iconic glass jars with a yellow lid and red logo, and they both have an intensely salty flavour that shocks first-time tasters who haven’t grown up on the stuff…”

In New Zealand, the delicious stuff comes in a jar with a distinctive red lid, and a label inviting one to: ‘GO AHEAD – DIG IN!’

When discussing this in our class this week, the votes for both are pretty even, but it is noticeable that most people are absolutely pro one or the other and they would NEVER entertain letting anything but their favourite, touch their tongue for that salty hit!

A couple of pieces of deliciousness are – cheeseymite scrolls, chip sarnies (sandwiches with bread, butter, Veg or Mar and potato crisps), or just simple toast with your favourite. Yum!


How about sharing which is your favourite and why – also make sure to look out for our 100 Word Challenge pieces this week which are all about Marmite!


In the October holiday break, many teams travelled to Queenstown for the 13th grade South Island Football Tournament.

We are super proud of Connor and his team, which he captained like a pro so that they showed amazing teamwork. Each player received a medal because the Waimak United 13th Grade Premier Boys team won the 13th Grade South Island tournament in Queenstown! Here is Connor with the trophy.


Just before the October holiday break, Lachlan competed in the inter-regional cross country champs at Hanmer Springs.

Lachlan ran an almighty race in Hanmer coming home 7th (14th places better than last year), with only one other Canterbury team member finishing before him (Finn from Loburn).
He was captain of the Y7 boys this year and their fabulous race efforts resulted in a silver medal for the Canterbury Y7 A team.
Supreme effort!


Here is the latest news

from the Challenge Team,

with the Challenging Times.

Cultural Diversity Within Ashley School

There are 175 pupils who attend Ashley School, and there are 10 cultures represented throughout Ashley school, including the following:

NZ European – 77.3%  Australian – 2.3%  British / Irish – 1.1%  Samoan – 0.6%  Japanese – 1.1%

NZ Maori – 13.1%  Other European – 1.7%  African – 1.1%  Filipino – 1.1%  Fijian – 0.6%

Most of the children at Ashley School were born in New Zealand, but some of their parents have ethnic connections which have been passed onto them.

Cultural acceptance is important within our learning community. 

Even though we have our differences, we are all human and we need to learn how to respect, and care for one another in the same way we would with our own whānau/families.

The importance of Cultural Acceptance 

Cultural acceptance is important in today’s society now more than ever. By accepting each person for who they are, and for their culture, we can make good decisions, and help stop discrimation against other religions and cultures.

It involves the ability to stand back from ourselves and become aware of our cultural values, beliefs and perceptions. 

Cultural awareness is the understanding of the differences between yourself and people from other countries or other backgrounds, especially differences in attitudes and values. 

If everyone accepted, embraced and showed respect to other cultures, then the world would be a better place. 

Kapa Haka and Cultural Festival 2019

The Kapa Haka group has practised almost every Friday, with our tutors Mātua Wiremu and Whaea Debby, who have come and taught us all our Waiata, powhiri and haka, since the beginning of the year. Some of us have also practised before and after school, memorising our parts, preparing things out of class time, and we practised until we got it perfect.

Our practices were held in the school hall, where we didn’t have much space but we made do with what we had and adapted easily to the more spacious area at the Christchurch venue, the Horncastle Arena.

A huge thank you to all of the teachers, parents, and students for everything they’ve done to help us with practice, uniforms, ironing, fitting, altering, and being our support crew.

We asked some students how they were feeling before and after the Cultural Festival  performance, this was their feedback:

Temperance – Year 8

Before the event she is excited and confident because she is improving at every practice.

She’s feeling nervous and ready to perform on Thursday, but also confident because she has done the Cultural Festival before.

Temperance thinks the practices went great because “We learnt everything piece by piece and then put everything together and put in the time, effort and energy into having an awesome performance that we’ll remember.”

After wards she felt like a lot of weight was taken off her shoulders and relaxed afterwards, because she believed that we accomplished everything that was handed to us. Temperance was proud of what we did and how it all came together.

Jorja Rose – Year 6

Before the event she’s feeling quite confident and also really nervous, but overall excited about doing her best. She is not very worried because she has performed before and still does perform a lot in front of an audience. Jorja is ready to put 110% into this performance, while VERY paranoid that she may mess up.

When we asked her how the practices went she replied, 

“Good. When we started it was easy to learn because Mātua made it straightforward to learn and had the words up on the screen and went through paragraph by paragraph…

Afterwards Jorja-Rose feels like we did really well and did Ashley school proud, and she was bold in most of our songs. Felt relieved that we didn’t mess up, that everyone participated and did their part in the show.

Our Opinion: 

The Challenge group felt very proud of what our school kapa haka crew had done because they put so much effort into the Cultural Festival, and they left everything out there, including their voices. There will be a YouTube video in week 10.



This week the challenge team decided to take some of the big news items of the week from New Zealand and report on them as junior journalists of the Ashley School Challenging Times ‘Newspaper’.


Fire at Porters Pass

By Sophie and Couper, 9 September 2019

Thick clouds of smoke coming from the fire on Porter’s Pass. Source: Oliver Dobbin / TV One

A fire that ravaged 270 hectares of land in Porters Pass in Canterbury has been extinguished. Fire crews were called to the blaze early on Sunday morning.

It has destroyed over 270 hectares, some people think that the ATM robbery at Darfield was linked to the fire as an abandoned gas lit car was declared to have started the fire.

The Porters Pass Ski field had its busiest day when the fire started. Some people were stranded because the state highway 76 was closed.

It has been suspected that the fire may have started from a vehicle linked to a crime, and the criminal ended up dumping the car and setting it on fire to remove the evidence. 

The fire started in a gully then jumped the road, spreading through more vegetation, destroying more than 100 hectares of native conservation land.


Measles Outbreak 

By Matthew and Connor 9 September 2019

The outbreak of measles has had a knock on effect in the Auckland and Upper North Island community. Experts and parents are calling for big sports events to be cancelled like the Aims Games. Some events have already been cancelled such as the secondary schools rugby competition. People with any symptoms are being urged to stay away from public spaces and some schools have asked students for a certificate to confirm they have had their vaccination or they have been told to stay away from school. 

As of September the 4th, there has been 991 confirmed cases of measles across the country since the start of the year, with 821 cases in Auckland alone. 

The current outbreak has affected the Auckland DHB area massively and also has affected the Waikato DHB area. Earlier in the year, the South Island (mainly Canterbury) had a big outbreak, however it doesn’t really compare to the Auckland outbreak.

Children under 5 and young people aged between 15-29 are the most likely to be affected and 40% of those who get measles will need hospital care according to medical experts.

Vaccination clinics are being held throughout South Auckland as the best way to avoid contracting measles is vaccination.

At this stage the outbreak is not a crisis although that status could change. To be classified as a pandemic, the entire country has to be affected rather than an isolated region or two.


By golly Ashley School is in the news with the 100 Word Challenge website!

Feeling very proud of the fabulous writing which students are doing on our own class blog, but many of the pieces which are going into the 100 Word Challenge each week, are marvellous!

This week, the whole 100 Word Challenge set-up, is the work of our very own Amber, who is a regular contributor! This is on top of last week’s news that Jorja-Rose had her piece in the showcase, AND Terry Culkin, a cartoonist, created a picture for it!

Brilliant! Check out this weeks challenge which was created by Amber, here: https://100wc.net/aug-19-10/

Here is the Terry Culkin toon, and Jorja’s piece which it matches.

My friend Jane and I were in the woods. I heard them before I saw them. Suddenly there standing in front of us, a whole pride of lions.   

“What do we do?” I whisper to Jane.

“Don’t RUN!” Jane replied. 

I run off. “No! I said don’t run.” Jane shouted.

By then all the lions were chasing her.

“WHAT DO I DO NOW?” I shout out but by then they had taken me to the ground. Jane fell down and started crying. Then she began to laugh, looking up, and there they were, the lions licking her. 

It was extraordinary.


Court Theatre – Sophie’s recount

Last week we were visited by three members of The Court Theatre who performed a play which was about the Maori Gods and Maui who thought he deserved to become a god. He was told that he must kill a large eel which was the last monster left undefeated and then he would be worthy to be a god.

The Court Theatre used some costumes, props and music to compliment the story. They really put energy, humour and excitement into the legend and I would think that everyone in the room enjoyed the performance.

Here is a link to the website with more information about the show we saw. https://courttheatre.org.nz/whats-on/o-le-malaga-faaatua/ 

Thank you, Court Theatre for sharing your play and I hope you come back again!

Matthew would like to add = 

 The Court Theatre visited our school last week and performed a play about the gods and Maui who wanted to become a god. Using costumes, props, song and the audience they told the story about Tuna the eel and how Maui defeated him.

The play was easy to watch, it was funny and everyone enjoyed it very much. The actors made the story come alive and I am looking forward to the Court Theatres next visit.



Technology classes are onto the fourth rotation at Rangiora Borough School, which has the Year 7 students learning digital design with Mr Ballingall, and the Year 8 students in the workshop with with Mr Bain for woodwork. We get to choose from all 4 subjects for the final block and everyone is hoping to get their first choice.We interviewed two students to see how they find Technology.

Matthew interviewed Isla from Year 8, and Ryan from Year 7 to ask about Tech.

What do you like most about technology? Which subject will you choose for the final block?

Ryan commented on how helpful he finds the technology teachers. He enjoys making different things and is hoping to choose woodwork for the final block when all the students get to choose which subject they do.

Isla is hoping to be able to choose soft fabrics as sewing is her favourite class although she has also enjoyed food technology too. 


Sophie: Cans for Good.

The school council members decided to take part in a fundraiser called Cans for Good which collects cans of food for the Salvation Army to help support food parcels going to the hungry people in Christchurch and local towns. Even pet food is acceptable as many people have pets they need to feed.

We decided to interview Ella I (one of the school councillors taking part in the fundraiser), with a few questions to ask about the project.

How many cans were collected? “163 were collected/donated in total.”

How many cans did the council aim to collect? “300.”

Did the amount of cans collected satisfy your goal? “No it didn’t but we were happy that it was at least one can per child in our school.”

Do you wish to do this again in the future? “Yes, it was a very good effort at helping with a whole school donation to a worthy foundation, and I hope the future school council continue it.”

Thank you Ella for answering our questions, it seems as though the contributors might have not reached their goal but are still happy with the number they have come down with, thank you to everyone who donated cans.


Couper: Weekend sports round-up. Weather: Terrible

Firstly it is off to the rugby with Mitchell from Year 6. 

He said: “It was a bitter and sour day, but it was a fun game for the first half until they stopped running around and it became very cold for them. Everyone was cold, dirty and wishing they could be at home with a nice hot shower.  The game was Ashley vs Glenmark Cheviot at Woodend. The final score ended up being 17-5 to Ashley RFC.”

Over to the football now, firstly Maddy said:

“On Saturday we played at English Park on the artificial turf. It was freezing cold and almost hailing.

We were tied 0/0 in the first half and then they scored three goals against us and the second half we lost 3/0.  At the end we went into the club rooms and I won a football signed by Canterbury Pride team, for winning Player of the Day. Overall it was a great game but it would have been better in the mud.”

Then finally Amber said:

“It was a freezing cold morning but I managed to score 3 goals. Our team played at Kendall Park on Saturday where we usually play games every weekend. We played against the Nomad team but mixed up the teams because the Nomads forfeited.” 

Everyone said that overall the day was a crap day for sports but a fun one. Not all of us won but we had a great time. We all tried our hardest and worked hard. But we would rather have done it in the warm…


Challenge Team members: Matthew, Connor P, Couper and Sophie.

On Wednesday the 7th of August, teams of four from all over North Canterbury, varying from year 6 to year 8 met at Ohoka School. The teams were competing in a 30 minute year level maths event, where each team has 20  questions to answer. The team with the most points in the fastest time wins bragging rights over other schools.  

Before the competition we asked people who attended the competition how it went.

Carter from Year 7 replied to the questions with:

How Do you think you’ll go?  “I think we’ll be okay.”

Do you need Practice? “Oh yeah, we need to practice.”

How did you practice? “We used several sets of old Cantamath questions.”

Are you looking forward to it? “I am looking forward to it.” 

When you did the actual thing was it more difficult than the practice questions?  “No, I found it a lot easier.”

Were you nervous? “ Yeah, just a little bit.”

Then we asked Zak from Year 6 about his opinion and asked the same questions. 

Question 1: “I think we went okay as we did quite well in the practices.”

Question 2: “Yes, I need practice because I was surprised to get into a team.”

Question 3: “I think we practised really well on the sets of questions.” 

Question 4: “I did need to practice a bit more as I have never done Cantamath before.”

Question 5: “Yes, it was a bit more difficult and different from the practices.”

Question 6: “Yeah, because I had never done it before.”

Finally we interviewed Couper from Year 8, here’s his feedback.

Question 1: “We got in the top 10 range, I think. “

Question 2: “Yes, because it was difficult questions and we had to work together to get the correct solutions.”

Question 3: “Practices helped using previous Cantamath questions because we did other competitions against our own Ashley teams.”

Question 4: “YES, because we needed to agree on the same answers and not argue.

Question 5: “Heck yeah, we read the first couple of questions and it was way different than the practice.

Question 6: “Not really, I only started to feel butterflies when it was the last 2 minutes and we only had 30 points.”

Well that’s a wrap! In the end in the Year 6 competition the winner was Fernside School, Year 7’s winner was Hanmer Springs School, and Year 8’s winner was Amuri Area School. All the Ashley teams did their best and did pretty well.

Well done to all of them and good luck next time for Year 7 and 8 teams at the Canterbury Cantamath competition on Wednesday 28th August at the Horncastle Arena, where the theme will be Maths across Cultures!

Zak’s favourite movie is The Rocky Horror Show.

  Review on the The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a musical that was written in 1973 and released as a movie in 1975 by Richard O’Brien who was born as Richard Smith on 25 March 1942.  Richard O’Brien now lives in New Zealand – he played Riff Raff in the original movie.

It is an awesome sci-fi musical about an alien called Frank N Furter. Him and his servants live in a big mansion in the middle of nowhere.

Two normal people called Brad and Janet decide to visit an old teacher from Denton High called Dr Everett Scott. They miss a corner and find themselves at a dead end. They try to reverse but end up with a flat tyre. They are left with no choice but to enter the old mansion which reveals the horrors within

The reason I like the Rocky Horror Picture Show because it is humorous,  weird, funny AND MAD. I also went to the Hollywood theatre in Sumner, Christchurch to watch this movie in a sing along version. You had all these things like when it was raining in the film you were given newspaper and Frank N Furter would squirt everyone with a little plastic watergun.

Some of the characters are:       

Brad Majors   – Barry Bostwick

Janet Wyce     – Susan Sarandon

Frank N Furter  – Tim Curry

Riff-Raff        – Richard O’Brien

Columbia     – Little Nell

Magenta      – Patricia Quinn


Some of the songs are:

Science Fiction

Dammit Janet

There’s a Light

The Time Warp

In conclusion, I highly recommend you to watch this and GIVE YOURSELF OVER TO ABSOLUTE  PLEASURE!