School milk ... it's udderly great now

EVAN HARDING
Last updated 09:06 04/06/2014
hugh sprenger, cheryl marychurch, trinity fraser
EVAN HARDING/ Fairfax NZ

THE WHITE STUFF: Te Tipua School monitors Hugh Sprenger, 9, and Trinity Fraser, 10, enjoy a drink of milk with principal Cheryl Marychurch.

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When milk was delivered to Cheryl Marychurch's school in 1967, it was warm and sometimes curdled, and she was made to drink it.

Fast-forward nearly 50 years and the milk delivered to her school now is always chilled, never curdled, and the kids have the choice to drink it or leave it.

Most choose to drink it.

One year after the Fonterra Milk for Schools scheme was introduced in Southland, 67 schools and nearly 7800 pupils across the region are taking part.

Just six of the 73 eligible schools have not joined up, with the 92 per cent uptake in Southland the highest in New Zealand, a Fonterra spokeswoman said.

Marychurch, principal of rural Te Tipua School, near Gore, said the Milk for Schools scheme was far superior to that of 1967, when she was a pupil in Auckland.

The milk would be left at the school gate in bottles and, with no fridges to store it in, was sometimes warm and curdled by the time the children were made to drink it. "For some kids, it turned them off milk for life."

Nowadays, Fonterra drops off the milk in small cartons twice a term and they are stored in fridges, with the children having the choice of drinking it.

About 90 per cent of kids at Te Tipua School took up the offer, drinking it in class late morning every weekday, Marychurch said.

Fonterra kicked off a region- wide milk-carton folding competition at Te Tipua School yesterday to mark the one-year anniversary of the Milk for Schools scheme in Southland.

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- The Southland Times

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