Over 34 students from local primary schools attended a day of environmental activities and networking at Kuranui College.
Hosted by the college’s Enviro Club, the day also included four student-led workshops. Other workshops were presented by Jane Lenting from the South Wairarapa Biodiversity Group, Shirley Nightingale who ran a workshop on sewing Boomerang bags shopping bags, Oliver Vetter from Sustainable coastlines who works with schools to plant trees and do beach clean ups and Reuben Tipoki also spoke about his personal environmental story.
Youngtsers from Greytown, Carterton, South end, Featherston, South Featherston and Dalefield primary schools took part and the 15 Enviro Club students encouraged them to talk to others about what they had learnt and to continue to develop a passion to care for the environment.
The college became an Enviroschool in 2017 with a goal of supporting work already being done in Enviroschools throughout the primary schools in South Wairarapa.
“It was a very successful day and all participating students and teachers have encouraged us to make this an annual event,” explained Kirby Bradbury-Mills. “Primary students moving on to Kuranui from primary school can continue to develop their passion of caring for our environment.”
On the last day of term 1, Kuranui College held a special pōwhiri to welcome its new principal Simon Fuller.
Staff, students and special guests, including principals from local primary schools and mayors Viv Napier and John Booth, packed into the college’s auditorium to hear the school perform outstanding Waiata and a rousing haka.
It was an extremely emotional event given that Fuller was accompanied by his family, and his former school Opunake High had closed for the day so that staff, students and board members could attend to officially hand him over.
Andy Whitehead, Board of Trustees Chair of the South Taranaki school, said that it was a privilege to support Fuller at the event, “He is part of our family and Kuranui is now part of our extended family. You have found a good man and a good leader.”
In his welcome speech, Kuranui Head Boy Samson Dell, acknowledged the work undertaken by former Principal Geoff Shepherd. “The sharing of ideas and collaboration between the students and the staff, is what makes our school environment unique,” he explained. “Thanks to Mr Shepherd’s previous leadership, Kuranui is embracing an innovative approach to how the curriculum is delivered.
“Over the four years that I have been here, I have seen an incredible amount of resilience shown by the teachers, as they tailor their teaching style to us, in order to make our educational experience the best it can be.”
“We are all living in a time of rapid change, and as young people we need someone to help guide us on our own individual journeys. We need someone to push us to be determined to achieve our goals, and at the same time help us to understand the importance of having integrity for our peers and ourselves. We believe that person is Mr Fuller.”
Opunake Head Boy Dylan Coleman felt very sad to see Fuller move on. “I feel affected in my heart because he has made a great many contributions to our school, including many technological advancements. He will really be able to help to continue to bring Kuranui forward into the 21st Century,” he said.
Fuller’s wife Laura was a Kuranui student, as was his mother-in-law Clare Crawford. Crawford was principal of Kahutara School for 10 years and is the current principal of South End School in Carterton.
“My heart is feeling good for being here,” said Fuller. “It’s a privilege to bring my family back here having gone through these doors and being a product of the great place it is.”
Fuller hopes to continue a relationship with his former school through collaborations such as a sports exchange. “I can’t wait to smash Opanuke on the sports field,” he said.
Once again Kuranui College have outdone themselves by winning the five-minute student directed scene at the Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival with their production of Coriolanus.
This means they will represent Wairarapa at Nationals held in Wellington over Queen’s Birthday weekend. “I’m so proud of them,” said Juanita McLellan, Head of Performing Arts. “Every student from the crew to the actors helped to make this an outstanding performance.” Nationals is also a chance for the students to immerse themselves in theatre by taking workshops by renowned actors and teachers, as well as supporting and watching other schools perform.
Year 13 student, A.J Southey, who performed in both the five-minute scene Coriolanus and the 15-minute scene Measure for Measure, also won the award for Best Delivery of Text from the Wairarapa Speech Communication Association. The adjudicator stated that A.J was good in the 15-minute scene, but it was in Coriolanus that his performance was reinforced.
“It’s pretty special,” A.J said, “because this is my last year doing Shakespeare at Kuranui. The whole competition was exciting, nerve-wracking and intense. I’ve loved every minute of it. I’m going to miss it when I leave.”
Kuranui also won a prestigious award for Support and Inclusion. This was given for a performance that included Alexandra Clarke, a student with Down Syndrome. Through the support and encouragement from students and staff she was able to perform in front of a large and appreciative crowd. “It was rather special,” explained Ms McLellan, “Shakespeare can be hard at the best of times, so for her to get up there in front of all those people was pretty remarkable.”
As always, Kuranui’s extended whānau gave their time and support to help make the night one to remember.
Kuranui College students are offering IT support to elderly residents in a new groundbreaking scheme, funded by a significant grant from the Greytown Trust Lands Trust.
A partnership with the Greytown Community Board, this joint initiative is open to anyone experiencing difficulties using devices such as cell phones, tablets and computers.
Sessions will run from 1pm-2pm each Wednesday in the Kuranui College Library, beginning on 9th May. A light lunch will be provided and transport can also be arranged if required.
Maree Patten, Kuranui College Acting Principal, is delighted that students have been given this opportunity to give something back to the community.
“We applied for and received funding for this excellent initiative, and have a team of five young people, Femke van Steensel, Maaike Smolnicki, Samuel Mueller, Jackson Harbers and Willie Dennison, ready to help out,” she explained.
“Our students are well aware that as we get older we may suffer from a world where increasingly messages, accounts and communication with family and friends demands a mastery of digital devices. They will be there to offer guidance and support to help some of the older members of our community make the most of these devices, from setting them up to learning how to use them to keep in touch.
“We had a trial run during the census last month and it was very successful. Our students are looking forward to the opportunity to help out and are grateful to the Greytown Community Board and Greytown Trust Lands Trust for making this scheme possible.”
If you require more information or would like to book one or two of the sessions, please contact Ann Rainford, Vice Chair of Greytown Community Board on 06 304 9960 or Maree Patten, Kuranui College Acting Principal, on 06 304 9116.
Kuranui College senior students are swapping their shirts and shoes for lifejackets and tramping boots thanks to the Out and About course, which gives them the chance to earn NCEA credits for outdoor education.
Level 3 Out And About
The current focus is kayaking, with the group developing new skills and safety techniques at Greytown Swimming Pool, before enjoying a day paddling at Waiohine Gorge. They have learnt about the various types of kayaks and equipment and how to paddle a whitewater kayak, including technical paddle strokes.
Most importantly, they have been taught how to perform various rescue techniques, including self-rescue and even Eskimo rolling for the more confident.
Head of Senior College and Outdoor Education teacher, Josh Hutchings, says Out and About brings wide-ranging benefits. “The value of this course is that it teaches trust, resilience, accountability, builds confidence and teamwork, and allows students to learn skills which open up the chance to experience places and challenges they may never have otherwise,” he explains.
Student Tylah Higgerson agrees. “It gets you outdoors, so you’re not stuck in a classroom and it lets you experience new things that maybe you have never done before. You get the chance to get out of your comfort zone.”
Students Playing Sponge Tag
The course has appealed to students right across the board, with Harvey Morison enjoying the contrast with the science papers he’s taking for NCEA Level 3. “I’ve always had fun doing outdoor activities and it’s just a way for me to keep doing that, as well as getting some credits for it. It gives me more experiences and helps with teamwork and leadership.”
With the kayaking component nearly completed, Mania Apiata is already looking forward to the next challenge. “This course has gone throughout the whole year, but once we have been to the Wahine Gorge that will be kayaking done,’ she says. “The next one will be tramping. We are going on a couple of over-night tramps, and then we go for a two-night tramp, and as students we get to choose where we go.”