Pupils give ‘fresh approach’ to event

Ready to relay . . . Already planning next year’s Relay for Life, to be held at Opihi College, are (from left) chairwoman Karen McClintock, pupil leaders Hazel Jonston and Coby Hines and co-chairwoman Tanya Milne. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Opihi College year 13 pupil leaders Hazel Johnston and Coby Hines are already counting down to Temuka’s very first Relay For Life to be held in just under a year’s time.

The pair have been selected to be part of the event committee which will be responsible for organising the event taking place at Opihi College on Saturday, March 8, 2025.

Hazel and Coby said they were excited about their involvement in the event, seeing it as an opportunity to gain some valuable experience in event management and community engagement while being part of something bigger.

As year 13 pupils, both plan to stay involved after graduation if they can but will also be rallying more of the Opihi College student body to get on board and help deliver the event in March 2025.

Hazel said there were benefits of being involved in the organising of such an event, as well as the unique strengths pupils could bring to the committee.

‘‘It’s a great chance to be part of a bigger movement, to help our community and those on a cancer journey.

‘‘Having students on the committee is a fresh approach which I think will work well.

‘‘We have a lot of community spirit and passion for the project. We really want to make it a success.’’

Coby said enthusiasm travelled fast in a smaller community like Temuka.

‘‘One person will say something about being involved and then someone else will be keen to be a part of it, and so on.’’

Despite this, the pair were under no illusion as to the size of the task in front of them.

There is a huge amount of work involved in getting a successful event off the ground and Coby said the initial steps were often the most daunting.

‘‘Just getting started is one of our biggest challenges.

‘‘It’s a new thing for us so just understanding what’s involved and what needs to be done is the first big step.’’

However, they will not have to go it alone.

The pupils will be supported by a highly experienced committee including chairwoman Karen McClintock and co-chairwoman Tanya Milne.

Ms McClintock is a veteran participant of the event and joined the committee last year.

She said she was particularly looking forward to this one given it was both the 20th anniversary of Relay for Life in the region and the first time it would be hosted in Temuka.

‘‘It’s going to be a great chance to involve the local community in Temuka, to put on a really great event for the 20th anniversary and to reflect on what our wider community has achieved across 20 years of relays.’’

Ms Milne, who has also been a keen supporter of Relay For Life for a number of years, said it was an opportunity for Temuka to shine and showcase its passion.

‘‘We’re such a connected community here in South Canterbury. Twenty years of relay shows just how strong we are and the impact we can make together.’’