School welcomes Christchurch boy

By Michele McPherson

His Christchurch home may be 950 kilometres away, but six-year-old Harry Addison has been welcomed into the Bethlehem College community with open arms.
He's made new friends and has even been given homework, which he's not too fond of.
But being in a place that's safe and without aftershocks is all important for Harry, even though his family remain in the South Island.
"[The earthquake] was like a rocket ship. It was really noisy and really heavy," Harry said.
After last Tuesday's earthquake, Harry and his family - dad Hanafi, mum Jenny and two younger siblings, aged 3 and 1, spent a week in their family home in Heathcote Valley. But with no power and water, things were tough, Mrs Addison said.
Harry's school, St Martins, was severely damaged in the earthquake and is closed. It is not known when it will reopen.
"It's been a really stressful time for everyone," Mrs Addison said.
"We can't live in our house... and we just had to get out and have a break from it all.
"Harry's uncle was pulled out of one of the buildings alive. He was in the PGC Building. He's doing fine now though," Mrs Addison said.
An invitation from Mrs Addison's sister, Karina Berry, to send Harry to the Western Bay was eagerly accepted. While the rest of his family ventured to Wanaka, Harry flew to Tauranga and enrolled at Bethlehem College, where Mrs Berry is a teacher.
He arrived at the school at the start of the week, and quickly settled in.
"It's fun. I've been playing outside... and the boys and girls are really nice."
Mr and Mrs Addison, who are both teachers, felt it was important for their son to get back into a routine.
"We call him every day and he's loving it," Mrs Addison said.


The family wanted to thank Bethlehem College principal Eoin Crosbie for his generosity and for accepting Harry into the school.
"The school has really embraced him, and it's been amazing. I'm very grateful."
Harry's parents are due to return to Christchurch today and Harry has a flight booked back to Christchurch tomorrow.
"I don't know what's going to happen with us or with Harry's schooling, but we're stuck in the city," Mrs Addison said.
"Both of the colleges [where we work] are shut, but we have to work when necessary to support the kids.
"I'd consider taking him to school with me if I had to, or there's the idea of moving schools because a lot of the schools are closed."
Harry was a little apprehensive about returning to Christchurch but was eager to be with his family again.
And when he gets off the plane, the first thing he wants to to is give his mum a big cuddle.
Meanwhile, Tauranga Girls' College will welcome about a dozen girls from Christchurch's Marion College.The girls are passionate rowers and will be billeted by Tauranga Girls' College rowing families for the next month.
They will will train 10 times a week and will be the first South Island team to take part in the North Island Secondary School championships next weekend, followed by the national championships, the Maadi Cup.
Their boats were destroyed in Christchurch, so Tauranga Girls' College has given them access to boats, coaches and anything else they may need.
Parent John Rothery said the Christchurch girls would "share everything" with the Tauranga rowing girls, including equipment and accommodation.
Mr Rothery said the Christchurch rowers were looking forward to having showers and being in a stable environment.
"I've been in touch with a few people down there and they're extremely excited about coming up," he said.
"[The earthquake] was a huge event and it's ongoing, and some people have lost everything."
"The [Tauranga] girls wanted to do something to help... and I think it's great, the girls are just wonderful."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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