A group of Ōtaki College boys will battle extreme tiredness and physical hardship as the try to break a world record for the longest game of four square.

The challenge is daunting but they're up for it especially as the bigger goal is about raising funds and awareness for mental health.

On Saturday, October 3 the Manukura GPS, a boys' leadership group from the college will assemble in the college hall with a strong support team.

When the clock strikes 9am they will attempt to break an official Guinness World Record for the longest marathon game of four square.


The current world record, at a staggering 29 hours, is held by a school group from Buenos Aires International Christian Academy, Argentina, in December 2008.

Manukura GPS is taking on the record attempt to raise funds for the Mental Health Foundation as well as suicide awareness and prevention.

"To break an official world record would be one thing but to use the platform of such an attempt to then try and raise awareness of a huge need in our community is really what it is all about," said Manukura GPS mentor and physical education and outdoor education teacher Sam Ward.

Sam Ward, front, and part of the team who will be attempting a world record attempt. Photo / David Haxton
Sam Ward, front, and part of the team who will be attempting a world record attempt. Photo / David Haxton

"Mental health and self-harm issues are very close to our hearts and the effects felt are far too prevalent in our community and nation as a whole.

"The latest Unicef report shows this as well with New Zealand ranking 38th out of 41 developed countries in regards to mental wellbeing and with the second highest youth suicide rate.

"Our group formed partially as a result of one of our dear friends taking his life in 2018.

No one should feel alone, without support, or a space to feel safe.

"Since this time Manukura GPS has been striving to provide a space where our young men have a sense of belonging, purpose and the opportunity to give back to those around us.

"Throughout last year the crew were immense and contributed to a massive change in culture in the college in regards to taking pride in who we are, how we do things and also being able to be comfortable celebrating success and hard work."


The group undertook a variety of events which increased engagement levels across the school.

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One of the initiatives was to support the 40 Hour Famine which saw the school take part in a 40 hour game of indoor football which raised over $5000 and resulted in the school receiving World Vision awards for most creative fundraiser and community engagement.

Manukura GPS, which meets each school day for an hour, has grown to 32 members, spanning the age levels, and has continued to "ensure that we are looking after our place, our people and our way of doing things".

For the world record attempt, the group has set a fundraising a total of $10,000 for the Mental Health Foundation.

"We're really invested in this challenge and what to make a difference.

"In doing so we hope that the money will go to frontline issues that we need help for in our local community but also for those in need countrywide.


"No one should feel alone, without support, or a space to feel safe."

Choosing four square for the record attempt was easy.

"On a nice day you'll see a lot of the students playing the game.

"Last year especially four square was 'the' playground game.

"We thought it [record attempt] was something we could do, plus the record for football is 80 something hours and I don't want to put myself through that."

Taking on the four square world record attempt will be Trent Thompson-Tawhara, Jacob Gates, Hunter Austin, Morgan Gould, Keegan Ryan, Finley Stevenson, Jacob Walker, Matthew Brooker, West Pu'e as well as Mr Ward.


And their support team, not to be underestimated, will be instrumental in keeping the players focused, entertained, and, importantly, awake.

Four square is a popular school yard game played among four players on a square court divided into quadrants.

The objective of four square is to eliminate other players to achieve the highest rank on the court, and this is done by bouncing the ball back and forth between quadrants.

To help with the fundraising go to www.givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/manukura