Thursday, 23 September 2010

Waitati School

By Antony Deaker

In this column: School pride in Polyfest, great fun on ski-trip, the
return of an excellent community event with the bonfire night, insect
dreaming and mask making, consulting re after-school care/bus to town,
strong interest in school teams for summer sports, swimming lessons
going well, Waharoa opened and blessed.
It has been a very busy, productive and exciting time at Waitati
School in the last month. We've been in the media with positive
stories several times this month, we've hosted the community to a very
warm and engaging event and we've opened a stunning public artworks as
the school entrance-way.
Our pupils performed with great wairua and the mana of our school was
well and truly enhanced at the recent Polyfest. In just three weeks
the children produced a great performance of waiata and haka. Many
people commented on their spirit and how great it was for the whole
school to be involved. Photographs in the ODT were an added bonus.
Many thanks to Cyndi Ngamoki for her excellent tutelage and awhi for
the children. Kapahaka sessions are ongoing at the school.
The senior class loved their ski trip to Coronet Peak in early
September. They made new friends with the pupils from Macandrew
Intermediate, gained in confidence and skill quickly, and came home
exhausted but ready for more. Keep an eye out for Amara Muldrew at
future Winter Olympics.
The whole school has been learning to swim at Moana Pool. The littlies
in particular have made great progress. The swimming lessons have
required a significant commitment from staff and parents to be in the
pool with the children as well as being stationed at many points
around the pool to actively watch. Many thanks to all involved as
swimming is such an important confidence to master.
Our Waitati kids will not die wondering what it's like to be active or
play team games. We now have school cricket, futsal, rippa rugby and
touch rugby teams competing in town competitions over spring and
summer. Some children are in two or three teams. Again, we are
grateful to the staff and parents who make these opportunities
possible for the children.
All on the same weekend we opened the waharoa and hosted the Bonfire
and Fireworks Night.
The waharoa (gateway) is called 'Ka moemoea me ka tumanako' (the
dreams and aspirations). At sunrise on the 18th a local kaumatua lead
a whakamoemiti to bless the carvings, naming them and set them free as
a new entity in our community. On the following Tuesday we had a
further event to open the waharoa with all of the school and members
of the community. Our pupils' waiata again were beautiful.
The bonfire and fireworks night had to be postponed for 24 hours due
to the weather, which was a great shame as we suspect more people
would have been there to enjoy a great night on the Saturday. However
the night went very well, the fireworks were stunning, the bonfire was
warming and the kids did a great performance in insect masks based on
their observations of insects from our local environment. The
entertainment rocked, the auction was great fun, the food was diverse
and yummy, we planted some trees by the stream, and everyone had fun
and talked for ages. A notable highlight of the event was the close
and generous support of families that no longer have children at
school but remain engaged.
Through the opening of Ka moemoea me ka tumanako and the bonfire night
several people spoke about the school as the heart of the community
and this is definitely the case in Waitati.
Heidi has led planning with regional Enviro-Schools staff for our
school programmes next year. The senior students have indicated
interest in projects in the wetland and with hut building. In the
meantime all of the classes are enjoying working with Jenny in the
school garden on Friday afternoon, which are filling up with seedlings
and fresh mulch.
The school has also started to consult the community regarding
after-school programmes and/or a school-based bus service to town
after school. We are concerned about making it as easy as possible for
local children to attend their local school. We are committed to
finding solutions to meet the needs of families where both parents
work in town. If this is you, please contact Heidi on 482 2888 to
discuss your needs and also visit the school website to respond to a
survey.

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