New school playground open, thanks in part to benevolent former pupil

The playground at South Wellington Intermediate School has been reopened after a year of closure due to changes in ...
RUBY MACANDREW/FAIRFAX NZ

The playground at South Wellington Intermediate School has been reopened after a year of closure due to changes in safety regulations made it unsafe for children.

More than 300 schoolchildren literally jumped for joy as the ribbon was cut to their new playground.

South Wellington Intermediate School's playground  was closed earlier last year after changes in regulations deemed it unsafe for children.

However, staff and the school's board of trustees quickly began fundraising efforts as did one particularly benevolent pupil.

Juvenka, 13, said it was "pretty cool" to see the playground finally open after being closed for almost a year.
RUBY MACANDREW/FAIRFAX NZ

Juvenka, 13, said it was "pretty cool" to see the playground finally open after being closed for almost a year.

During the summer holidays Juvenka Earthson cycled from Cape Reinga to Wellington  to raise money.

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The 13-year old has since started high school but said  he wanted current and future pupils to have something fun to do at lunchtimes.

Juvenka Earthson spent his summer holidays cycling the length of the North Island to raise the money needed to fix his ...
SUPPLIED/FIONA HOOD

Juvenka Earthson spent his summer holidays cycling the length of the North Island to raise the money needed to fix his former school's playground.

"I used to play on the playground every day until a change in safety regulations made it out of bounds," Juvenka said.

 It was "pretty cool"  to see everyone at the school on March 20 clamouring to try out the equipment after his gruelling fundraising journey.

"It was pretty intense the first few days but we ended up arriving [in Wellington] earlier than expected," he said.

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester was on hand to help celebrate the opening and offer his congratulations to staff and ...
RUBY MACANDREW/FAIRFAX NZ

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester was on hand to help celebrate the opening and offer his congratulations to staff and pupils for their fundraising efforts.

Juvenka ended up raising more than $2000 which, after Givealittle fees, was all gifted to the school.

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While the memories of the ride were still fresh,Juvenka said he was already setting his sights on a similar ride in the South Island.

However, he had given himself a five-year timeframe to achieve the lofty goal with mum  Fiona Hood keen to accompany him once again.

The majority of the school's 350-strong roll all clamored to have a turn on the newly opened playground.
RUBY MACANDREW/FAIRFAX NZ

The majority of the school's 350-strong roll all clamored to have a turn on the newly opened playground.

Mayor Justin Lester was on hand to congratulate the school on a "hugely impressive" effort and applauded Juvenka for his community spirit.

"I remember my years at intermediate. It's definitely where I learned to have an ethos around community service and how important it was to pitch in."

​Principal Traci Liddall said it was exciting to once again have a safe, operational playground and the school was "indebted" to Juvenka for his help.

Next up on the to-do list would be to repave the area near the playground and add shade sails.

 

 - Stuff

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