John Key tours Avonside Girls' High School

RACHEL YOUNG
Last updated 12:28 16/02/2012
Key at Avonside Girls'
KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ

ON TOUR: Prime Minister John Key chats with Avonside Girls' High head of school council Jessie Norriss during a tour of the school today.

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Being wished happy birthday by the Prime Minister left one Christchurch school pupil speechless this morning.

John Key visited Avonside Girls' High School to check out its setup since moving back to its Avonside Dr site at the beginning of the academic year.

The school site-shared at Burnside High School after last February's earthquake damaged its site.

Three pupils, head of school council Jessie Norriss, Stephanie Damm and Sarah Tolan greeted him on arrival.

Key wished Norriss a happy birthday, leaving the Year 13 pupil speechless.

After recovering, she thanked him.

''He was very, very friendly.''

Meanwhile, Damm did not know what to do after her hand caught in his tie.

Thankfully, he untangled it and chatted away to her, she said.

Avonside Girls' principal Sue Hume said the school invited Key to its open day last weekend. He visited today as he could not make the open day.

Hume, Damm and Norriss took Key on a school tour.

Damm spent time talking to Key about how life had changed since the earthquake.

She told him about her four-hour commute, how the school day changed and the different bus routes.

Norris said it was a great to show him how Avonside Girls' had kept its sense of community.

Key said there had been ''huge changes'' for the girls to deal with, both at school and in their own lives.

It was surreal for him to be woken up by an earthquake this morning, he said.

''I wasn't sure if I was in some sort of dream.''

Key finished his tour with a morning tea with staff and pupils.

Later today, he is visiting the city's new sports stadium being built at Addington's Rugby League Park before returning to Wellington.

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- The Press

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