School principal Athol Cartwright believes all of his students deserve to be able to access the school's new cycling track.
And – thanks to an anonymous donor - every student from the small rural school will be able to.
Cartwright says the funding will mean Matakohe Primary School can purchase 40 bikes for students who need one.
"The idea of every student having access to a bike means we have equity in opportunity and we can have more children accessing the track in the time we have available.
"It also means children are able to take on their own personal challenges, build their confidence and not interrupt their learning flow too much."
Cartwright believes the bikes will encourage exercise which is important for his students' learning.
"Research shows there is a strong correlation between fitness and brain activity. Brains work best with oxygen which physical activity helps getting it there. Bike riding also involves balance and again this helps the brain make connections which in turn helps learning."
The school only uses the track on a Friday when students who have bikes bring them to school to ride the track during break time.
"However, it is hoped that once we get our funding for our own set of school bikes the track will be open every day."
The track is 350 metres long and is described as having quite a variance in gradient both downhill and uphill.
Cartwright said the track provided a fun way for students to get exercise.
"The children have been very excited using it and we now have a wheels day every Friday and already the children are setting little personal targets of things they want to achieve riding it."
The track is popular with locals too.
"The track is open to the community and is often used on the weekends by walking through the school down past the pool and playgrounds," said Cartwright.
Public access to the track on weekends is via the school down past the pool and playground.
The track was opened by local transport identity Tony Patterson and was ridden first by the youngest and oldest pupils in the school.
The donor of funds wishes to remain anonymous.
Otamatea Repertory Theatre presents Beauty and the Beast
A tale as old as time has been brought to life thanks to a group of young Kaipara based performers starring in Disney's Beauty and The Beast Jnr, a musical version of the classic movie.
"Comments have been amazing, people have come back to watch it again after seeing it the first time. You can hear them gasp, they've been in awe of the costuming as well," said show director Maura Flower.
Flower said the musical was the first time the theatre had ever done a show solely for youth.
"So that is something special. We've done other shows with adults in the main roles and juniors as support, but never anything just with junior actors.
"These junior productions, you have to pay quite heavily for the rights to use it from overseas. So everyone has to be under the age of 18. We've taken the more adult elements out, but it doesn't make it any less of a show."
The musical is based on the 1991 Disney movie rather than the classic novel.
"It has all the Disney characters so it's a slightly shortened version, but it's still got all the essence of the story."
In all there are 42 characters or actors who appear on stage to entertain and delight audience members, all who have spent the last three months preparing for their stage debuts.
There were also 20 people working behind the scenes.
"This is not an easy show. It is very fast-paced with underscored dialogue and some of the music is very difficult. Add to that, the demands of the fantasy costuming, props, makeup, lighting, set, etc, and you will understand that it takes a huge combined effort to bring this show to life.
"I'd encourage people not to miss it, because everyone that has seen it has been blown away. It's certainly one not to be missed."
The Ōtamatea theatre invites audience members to be its guest this weekend for the final shows this Friday, Saturday and ending Sunday.
Starring Liam McCollum, 17, playing the role of the Beast and Kate Cotching, 13, playing the lead role of Belle.
To purchase tickets visit: www.ort.org.nz or Tony's Lotto shop in Maungaturoto.
Skink Hotels – help win award
Cosy hotels for native skinks, planting local waterways, painting murals and growing fruit trees are just some of the ways Paparoa Primary School students have worked hard to be caretakers for their local environment.
It's also why the students have been awarded a bronze Enviroschools certificate from the Northland Regional Council.
Teacher Julie Harper said it had been a team effort between the school and various groups and leaders in the community to achieve the award.
"Community is a huge part of the Enviroschools philosophy - often this is not widely recognised.
"We have been supported by Eden Hakaraia, our Enviroschools facilitator. Our senior class has been involved in Whitebait Connection and we have done riparian planting along the riverbank in conjunction with Mark Vincent from Otamatea Harbour Care and Jacqueline Knight of Wai Restoration.
"We have also planted the soakage field for the new community medical rooms, and attended kauri dieback workshops at the Matakohe Kauri Museum."
As a result of the school's involvement with Enviroschools, Harper said students had also developed a genuine appreciation for their local environment.
Pupil Stevie-Raye Rawaho-Ball said she liked being in an Enviroschool, "because we get to do lots of fun activities outside like cleaning up the school gardens and pest trapping".
Enviroschools is a growing network of schools, early childhood centres and communities in New Zealand and internationally that want to make a positive difference to our environment. In Northland, Enviroschools create an environmental pathway and then move along that chosen pathway.
In Northland there are more than 90 schools and five kindergartens on the pathway towards creating sustainable communities.
They are all working at their own pace to achieve a range of sustainability actions. Along the way, some Enviroschools choose to reflect at the bronze, silver and green-gold stages of experience, understanding and practice.
The awards are administered by the regional council in Northland and at the bronze level, an Enviroschools primary school demonstrates that it has taken the initial steps and identified opportunities and laid foundations towards a committed journey to caring for the environment.
Storywalk inspires young book lovers
Preschoolers and young kids have been leaping, roaring and stomping like dinosaurs as they read their way around the Taha Awa riverside gardens in Dargaville.
Thanks to Kaipara District Library staff a Storywalk was erected in the riverside gardens over the school holidays, featuring a children's picture book about dinosaurs.
A book called Stomp, by NZ author Ruth Paul.
Kaipara District Library manager Lisa Salter said this was a concept that was started by an American librarian to encourage kids to get reading.
"Basically you are combining literacy and activity. Getting kids out and about, reading and having fun.
A Storywalk is a fun, educational activity that places a children's story (literally a book taken apart) along a popular walking route in your community.
"We got our handyman Carl Rasmussen to make the stands and a librarian Sheree Houston arranged the pages.
"We were nervous about leaving it in a park unsupervised for two weeks but took the chance. We were very pleased to see it enjoyed by many and not damaged."
The Storywalk was done partly due to a lack of space at the library.
"We have a big demand for holiday programmes but limited space in our current premises to host groups."
Due to the Storywalks success it is hoped the walk will become a regular feature in Dargaville.
"We will be doing it again with a different story, maybe a different location not sure yet.
The Riverside Te Awa Gardens are beautiful and we had great weather. A perfect combination."
The walks are available to any community group/activity in Kaipara and are free of charge.
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