Amelia Wade is a court reporter for the New Zealand Herald

Waves of goodwill on camp

Community splashes out to send decile one school kids for some fun in the Piha sun.

From left, Victoria Faasavalu, Chance Morgan and Sione Niupalau, all 10, enjoying the Piha surf. Photo / Chris Gorman
From left, Victoria Faasavalu, Chance Morgan and Sione Niupalau, all 10, enjoying the Piha surf. Photo / Chris Gorman

Every Monday night, Chance Morgan watches Piha Rescue - it's one of her favourite television shows - so she knew the lifeguards before meeting them on school camp.

The 10-year-old is one of 42 lucky Year 6 Ranui Primary School students on a two-night camp at the wild West Auckland beach.

But what makes this trip special is that it was given to the decile one school by the local community.

Piha Domain Camp let the children stay free, local eateries have provided lunch and dinner, Ritchie's bus company is sending a bus to pick the children up, the surf club and fire station have chipped in visits, and families have donated baking.

Campground manager Fiona Anderson said she wanted to help an underprivileged school after seeing stories about kids going hungry in the media. After a good summer, she was in a position to do so.

Ms Anderson reached out to the community by writing in the local newspaper, Village Voice, and posting on Facebook.

She described the response as overwhelming.

"It's just amazing how everyone has come together to help give these kids a good camp - people have been at home baking for them, and if they couldn't bake, they gave money."

Ms Anderson said she hoped other communities would be inspired to give a little back. "My mission statement is: Just imagine how great it would be if everybody who had a little extra, gave a little extra."

Ranui Primary principal Stephanie Tawha said the whole school was grateful for what the community had enabled them to do for the children.

Usually, they were able to take only seniors on camp every two years after exhaustive fundraising and efforts from the teachers.

"To not have to do that this year is so great," she told the Herald.

"The children have been treated like VIP guests since they arrived yesterday morning. Everyone waves at them as they walk past or says hello."

The experience was also teaching the children about giving back. "They keep asking why they're getting it for free, so we explain to them what's happened and they're just amazed. They're just so grateful. After lunch today at Blair's On The Beach, they all did a haka to say thank you."

Chance really enjoyed that lunch - they got to choose a hot dog and chips. And if they all picked up four pieces of rubbish, they also got an iceblock.

- NZ Herald

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