Pupils learning life skills from new programme

Dress up . . . Year 6 pupils from the Te Manahuna Kāhui Ako make the most of a visit from Timaru Police. Sporting some police attire are (front, from left) Abbie Booth, 11, Riarn Reihana, 10, Evelyn Andrews, 10, (middle, from left) Libby Wallace, 10, Keegan Roughton, 10, Amy Frost, 10, Pippa France, 10, Mila Jeffries, 10, (back, from left) George Kellahan, 10, and Leon Churly-Gash, 10. PHOTOS: CONNOR HALEY

Te Manahuna Kāhui Ako (Mackenzie district community of learning) year 6 pupils were treated to a day of fun, games and plenty of learning as they began a new government funded initiative at Te Aitarakihi Marae-a-Iwi last week.

Te Manahuna Kāhui Ako is comprised of seven Mackenzie district schools — Albury School; Aoraki Mount Cook School, Cannington School, Fairlie School, Lake Tekapo School, Mackenzie College and St Joseph’s School.

Pupils were welcomed on to the grounds with a pōwhiri and then spent the day learning tikanga Māori, playing games in te reo, taking part in kapa haka as well having visits from Fire and Emergency NZ (FENZ) and police.

Their trip to Te Aitarakihi was part of their second successful regional response fund (RRF) application.

Cannington principal Deane Power said the RRF was created as a response to Covid, and aimed to get engagement back in to schools.

‘‘We have two regional response fund initiatives under way currently, one of them is for counselling and for mentoring and that will be in place for another 15-20 weeks.

‘‘The second, which is why we are here today, is all about connecting our year 6s to this place (Te Aitarakihi Maraea-Iwi).’’

Listen up . . . Pupils partake in a te reo Māori body part naming game led by Te Aitarakihi rangatahi programme co-ordinator Hami Goldsmith.

He said the trip to Te Aitarakihi and the second RRF centred around connection, learning, being active, noticing and giving (Clang), the five components of wellbeing.

Lake Tekapo School principal Simon Waymouth said it was a practical initiative that took the learning outside of the classroom and away from just theory.

‘‘The reality is we’ve tried to create an environment for the kids that lets them see things practically rather than just hear them.

‘‘It’s that deeper learning we are trying to hit.’’

Mr Power said having FENZ and the police involved was great for the pupils.

‘‘We are here trying to give the kids some serious skills.

‘‘We haven’t just brought people in to be nice.

‘‘Our kids are mostly from farms, from environments where they will be the first responders.

‘‘They actually need to know what they are doing.

‘‘This is the doing part of things, it has to be engaging, so far we can see that it is working.’’

Leading the way . . . Coming together to celebrate the success of the new programme are (from left) Fairlie Primary School deputy principal Ordnella Simmonds, Te Aitarakihi rangatahi programme co-ordinator Hami Goldsmith, Lake Tekapo School principal Simon Waymouth and Cannington School principal Deane Power.

The school leaders have been supported in the new programme by Te Aitarakihi rangatahi programme coordinator Hami Goldsmith who had also played a big part in the counselling and mentorship programme.

He said the skills that the pupils had been learning were extremely important.

‘‘It’s also about that transition period.

‘‘Year 7 is high school in the high country.

‘‘It’s about making them aware because high school will be quite crazy for some of the students from these smaller schools.

‘‘They often get pōwhiri wrong as a lot of these high country students have never been involved in that and understanding that.’’

Hands up . . . Constable George Gibb fields some questions from pupils about the New Zealand Police.

The pupils will be returning in May to continue the programme.

They will take part in a noho marae, an overnight stay, where they will spend time with a master carver and potentially get a chance to go out on a waka ama.