Generosity restores faith in people

TARYN UTIGER
Last updated 05:00 30/11/2013
waitara
Dominika Zielinska
Alesi Naumotu (7), Ron Hicks and D'angelo Campbell-Walker (7) from room 3 at Waitara Central Primary School get replacement tomatoes.

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A tonne of tomatoes have children in Waitara smiling again.

More than 150 punnets of cherry tomatoes and six tall tomato plants were donated to Waitara Central Primary School yesterday after vandals ruined their crop earlier in the week.

The room 3 students at the school were left devastated at the sight of their tomato plants, which they had grown from seed, stripped of the ripe fruit.

After the Taranaki Daily News reported on the incident yesterday, donations rolled into the school.

Turners and Growers sent punnets of tomatoes to the school and Derek McInnes from Competitive Homes donated six tomato plants, which already had fruit on them.

"We have lots of tomatoes now, it's great," Alesi Naumotu, 7, said.

Her classmate, D'angelo Campbell-Walker, 7, was also delighted with the donations. "The other people were mean to our class plants, but these new people have been nice," he said.

School caretaker Ron Hicks had been helping the children grow vegetables since the start of the year and said he was overwhelmed with the community support.

"It really shows people care," he said.

Staff from TSB Bank in Waitara made a cash donation to the school and a local security firm offered to patrol the grounds, principal Sharren Read said.

"The aroha our community has shown has been wonderful. It allows the children to carry on with their healthy eating and living project," she said.

The cash donation would be put towards a set of security cameras for the school, as broken windows had also been discovered this week.

Each child of the 130-pupil school would be taking home a punnet of the cherry tomatoes.

"People who came to the school today were so angry with what these vandals had done.

"They didn't just destroy plants, they destroyed a process of learning for these kids, who were growing tomatoes from seed.

"Thank goodness our community have been so supportive."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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