Feilding school loving their trip to Taranaki
When you're a small rural school you can do a lot together - including packing up the full roll of 63 kids and 85 bikes for a week-long trip.
Waituna West School, north of Feilding in Manawatu, came to Taranaki on Monday for a five-day camp for an education outside the classroom (EOTC) trip, taking in many of the region's treasures.
Principal Glen Richardson said the kids were absolutely having a ball.
"We have worked hard over the past several years to build the relationships between our students and parents and community. As a result we can do these cool EOTC things because all kids and parents know each other and work really well together."
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It's the second whole-school camp they have done after going around the East Cape in 2015, and they plan to keep doing it. They also took the senior class to the Chatham Islands for their school camp last year.
He said the bike ride down the Coastal Walkway took a long time because the kids were saying good morning and having conversations with passersby.
"We've worked really hard on the manners of our kids...It makes you quite proud actually."
They are taking in many of Taranaki's attractions including the Cape Egmont Lighthouse, Mt Taranaki tracks, the Fun-Ho toy museum in Inglewood, Puke Ariki, the Len Lye Centre, and doing activities at the Taranaki Outdoor Pursuits and Recreation Centre (TOPEC) where they are based for their stay.
Richardson, who hails from Inglewood originally, said it was also a thank you for the parents for their help with fundraising.
"We're a little country school; we really rely on parents' support...Parents don't pay a cent for this; it's all paid for through the fundraising.
"They can see this is where the money is spent."
He said the kids do look out for each other - during the mountain walk one got upset because he was cold, and one of the older kids gave their gloves because they were already warm enough.
"That becomes pretty instinctive really.
"They're not afraid to ask for help and not afraid to offer help as well."
Brearne Walker, 12, said her favourite part was doing the mountain walk.
"I found it quite scary but I enjoyed it," she said.
Zoe Lister, also 12, enjoyed the boardwalk. "I've done parts of it before but I've never done the whole thing."
Maggie Hare, 11, said she enjoyed the Len Lye Centre because it was her first time in an art gallery and seeing kinetic sculptures.
"It's good to see all the things and go to something new we've never tried before."