Double Olympic champion rower Mahe Drysdale is stepping up to the podium once again; this time to speak at a Waipukurau School fundraising event at the Waipukurau Civic Theatre.

Mr Drysdale will be speaking at the Civic Theatre on November 18, to raise money for Waipukurau School's age-appropriate physical activity area.

Waipukarau School principal, Tim Hocquard, says: "With $10,000 left to raise towards the $70,000 target, this will nearly push us to completion for the physical activity area. For our school children and community to hear one of our Kiwi heroes speak about his experiences, is a story of inspiration for all.

"We are so thrilled to have this opportunity and hope the community will get in behind this remarkable event."


The need for a physical activity area for the senior students, rather than just a new playground, has arisen from research that has been gathering weight in the past few years.

"The research is showing that there is an alarming decrease of upper body strength and eye-hand coordination of our children," says Nicola Parson, a parent and member of the Parents' Support Group.

"This is because activities such as climbing, jumping and agility have become harder to maintain as health and safety regulations and limited space impact our students."

Mahe Drysdale, Olympian rower, says: "Being physically fit for all age groups is important, but for children it is linked to brain development and memory. We need to give kids the best start possible, and a dedicated physical activity area for senior kids is a great initiative that will challenge this age group in their day-to-day play.

"Building the next generation of Olympians starts from playtime at school."

For two children at Waipukurau School, having Drysdale come to town is a dream come true.

Each summer for the past five years Hugo, 8, and Charlotte Giblin, 11, have attended national rowing regattas at Kairapiro.

Hugo and Charlotte's photos of Drysdale at the regatta have been shared with their classes each year. Their classes and school have enjoyed following the rower's progress, avidly watching every Olympic race.

Following Drysdale's speech at the Civic Theatre there will be a fundraising auction.

Tickets are $45 from Waipukurau School or the Civic Theatre in Northumberland Street Waipukurau, and include a glass of wine and nibbles on arrival. Doors open at 6pm and Drysdale will speak at 7pm.