Thousands of students have benefited from the Life Education Trust Western Bay of Plenty's iconic and fun programme in the past 25 years.

Trust chairwoman Sue Boyne was among 30 to 40 people, including key supporters, who gathered at the Cooney Lees Morgan office this week to celebrate the milestone.

Lawyer Michael Cooney was a founding member of the Western Bay Life Education Trust.

Coast Radio announcer Brian Kelly, a member of the Ōtūmoetai Liquor Licensing Trust at the time, said 26 years ago he and other members were at a national conference in Masterton and went through one of the Life Education Trust's caravans.


"We immediately knew it was something we wanted to bring here and set about making it happen. We worked really hard to raise the funds needed, and that included holding a fundraising concert in Red Square attended by Australian entertainer Rolf Harris.

"I remember singing Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport on stage with Harris," Kelly said.

"It [the Life Education Trust] is a fabulous programme and hundreds of primary and intermediate school kids would have benefited from it over the past 25 years.

"It's a fun and hands-on way for kids to learn about their body and other important life issues, such as drugs, alcohol, anti-bullying, and so on."

Kelly said most families would know about Harold the Giraffe, the trust's famous mascot.

Sue Boyne, a member of the trust for four years, including the past 18 months as chairwoman, said 60 schools from Katikati to Otamarakau were signed up to run the programme.

"It's a pretty amazing programme and it's also probably one of the most memorable independently-run programmes that primary and intermediate kids have gone through. "

Boyne said the Life Education Trust's work was about improving the health and wellbeing of all children in the target age group, including their mental health.


She paid tribute to the trust's sponsors for their ongoing support and said the programme was not Government funded so the trust was always looking for new sponsors.

Life Education Trust

The Life Education Trust was founded in New Zealand by Trevor Grice in 1987

It was brought to Tauranga by members of the Ōtūmoetai Liquor Licensing Trust in 1993.

About 250,000 children a year attend a Life Education Trust programme, including about 18,000 students from the Western Bay of Plenty.

Potential sponsors can get in touch with the trust through its website and Facebook page.