It's hoped the introduction of the Kiwi Can programme into three primary schools in Rotorua next year will help children make good decisions in their lives.

Horohoro School, Sunset Primary and Kaitao Middle School will start receiving the Kiwi Can programme in Term 1, 2018. A launch was held at Sunset Primary School yesterday.

This is the first time a Graeme Dingle Foundation programme has been run in Rotorua and was made possible by Rotary working in conjunction with local businesses and the community.

Co-founder and board member Jo-anne Wilkinson, Lady Dingle, said the driving force that enabled the kickstart came from a collaboration of the five Rotary clubs of Rotorua.

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"A trust board made up of local people will be recruiting staff to run the programmes so that the culture, values and resources of the community will be reflected in programme delivery and achieve great outcomes for the children participating."

Kiwi Can is a primary school programme which teaches essential life skills and values such as self-belief, resilience, respect, and integrity in schools all around New Zealand.

At the Kiwi Can Rotorua launch at Sunset Primary School were (from left) Sakeiisha Houkamau, 9, Fifi Raj, 10, Sue Gunn, Bruce Howat, Niels Rasmussen, and Robyn Skelton. Photo / Ben Fraser
At the Kiwi Can Rotorua launch at Sunset Primary School were (from left) Sakeiisha Houkamau, 9, Fifi Raj, 10, Sue Gunn, Bruce Howat, Niels Rasmussen, and Robyn Skelton. Photo / Ben Fraser

The programme strongly supports the Positive Behaviour for learning strategy in schools and is linked to the New Zealand curriculum and its key competencies. Lessons have been shown to develop greater communication skills, social interaction, co-operation, kindness and caring in students.

Sunset Primary School principal Niels Rasmussen was looking forward to including the programme.

"The values encompassed by the Kiwi Can programme will strongly support our students to make good decisions in their lives. A large part of our 2018 curriculum will be based around the themes and values of this programme. Kiwi Can leaders will be great role models in helping support student resilience and decision making over time."

The Graeme Dingle Foundation is looking to include more primary schools in the Rotorua region on its Kiwi Can programme and will also seek collaboration with the local community to find ways to fund the introduction of its high school programmes, Stars and Project K.

The Stars programme strengthens young people for the often-tricky transition into high school, through training and supporting older students to mentor and walk alongside the new Year 9s. Project K is designed for Year 10s and builds confidence, teaches life skills, promotes good health and encourages a positive attitude.

The foundation's namesake, mountaineer and outdoor education pioneer, Sir Graeme Dingle, said the goal was to transform young lives forever "with a vision that all young people can be confident contributors to New Zealand".

"By the year 2025, our mission is to be helping 50,000 young people in our programmes each year."