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A small country school 1.5 hours north of Auckland, with only 19 year 1-8 students, Pakiri School has scooped the pool by winning the 2014 Holyoake Award. During ten years the school has fully embraced all the educational, environmental and community aspects of the TfS programme, producing about 7000 plants for planting in five different local sites.
In November Sue Crawshay from Auckland Council and TfS Field Officer Kirsty Hardie Boys went up to Pakiri to announce the award, meet the students and review their well-directed programme.
After the local Landcare group built their shadehouse in 2004, the school has successfully and enthusiastically followed the TfS programme and achieved very effective annual plantings. Sole Principal/teacher Natasha Greatorex is a strong advocate for the benefits of the work which is well-integrated into their Environmental Studies in the classroom.
The Landcare group has very generously continued to sponsor and support Pakiri. Juliet Andrews, a local resident from the group who is the co-ordinator/”teacher” for TfS at the school, has been with the Pakiri School programme from the start and has played a huge role in ensuring its success.
Juliet says, “Over the ten years we’ve planted on five different properties, some on several occasions; usually in the Pakiri valley, but this year we planted for the second time at Bill and Carole Clark’s property at Cape Rodney. Typically we plant 600-800 trees each year and a key aspect of our success has been the fantastic relationship built with the local community.”
She went on, “We are thrilled with our success with the Holyoake Award – it was a wonderful surprise”.
Earlier this year the students visited some of the past planting sites to get an appreciation of the difference several years can make to the small plants they would have planted over the last few years. This gave the children great pride and a realisation that their hard work through the year does pay off.
Reporting on these visits, the students wrote, “It was amazing to see how the native trees had grown so big after carefully potting up in the gardening shed and then transferring them into the ground. The years have gone by so fast and it was hard to believe that we planted these trees. We sighted good weed care and some that were overgrown. Visiting the plants was an amazing experience and we enjoy planting every year at the different places in Pakiri”.
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