Ruakaka Primary School's new classroom brings a touch of sunshine to the school grounds.

Principal Marilyn Dunn chose the bright yellow exterior paint, saying the architect originally wanted it to be grey. "I said to her, this isn't an architectural building, it's a primary school," said Dunn. "To me a primary school should be vibrant and exciting."

The colour has been a talking point, with most people reluctantly admitting they like it, she says, and planned murals and carvings will break the colour up and subdue the impact.

Inside, the vibrant colour scheme continues with lime green and pink walls. The purpose-built room incorporates a large teaching space at the back for withdrawal groups and storage for all the school's Maori language resources.

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Ruakaka School principal Marilyn Dunn, dressed to match the new classroom, with students Rahiri Maxwell (left) and Georgia Wawatai cutting the ribbon at the official opening. PHOTO/DENNIS COOPER
Ruakaka School principal Marilyn Dunn, dressed to match the new classroom, with students Rahiri Maxwell (left) and Georgia Wawatai cutting the ribbon at the official opening. PHOTO/DENNIS COOPER

The new building is the school's 12th classroom and will house the year 5 and 6 bilingual class. With its front resembling a wharenui entrance, the room will provide a focal point and natural pathway for visitors when the school holds powhiri, Dunn says.

The school's first bilingual class began four years ago, and now 84 children learn in both English and Te Reo.

While the students enjoy their bright new classroom, staff members are relieved to have their staffroom back, having spent their breaks this year in a cramped Portacom while the staffroom doubled as a classroom.

"It hasn't been very comfortable or convenient," said Dunn. With a roll of more than 250 students, the school has also had to give up its multipurpose room and library to classroom use, but a new building beginning next month will replace these.

The new building project, set to be finished at the end of the year, will also include an overhaul of the school's swimming pool and changing rooms.

"It's going to be beautiful," said Dunn. "It will give back the heart of the school and pull the whole school together."

Large decks coming off all classrooms will provide plenty of seating, and a stage for kapa haka and other performances will be built in a courtyard behind the new classroom. The school has postponed its two-yearly gala day until next year, so the community can come and see the finished developments.

Family time at market
This Sunday's Waipu St and Park Market is a truly family event with the addition of a kids' market – 40 stalls run by children aged 7 to 12.

"We wanted to get kids involved in commerce," said market organiser Graham Boult. "And learning that money doesn't just come out of their parents' pocket."

The children will sell products they've made or second-hand goods between 9am and 1pm, alongside 100 other stalls set up along Waipu's main street, Caledonian Park and in the Celtic Barn.

Products on offer range from possum and merino ponchos to hand-painted driftwood, plus a lot of jewellery.

"A lot of products are made here in Northland," said Boult. "We have some very talented jewellery makers and artists, and an enormous variety of goods."

He says they're able to be selective with stalls as the market, run by Waipu's Business and Community Incorporated group, is completely sold out.

"We want people to come and see what we've got in our little town."

He says Waipu's shops normally get involved in the market, and local cafes do well too. All money raised goes back into the community, towards running Winter in Waipu events in June and July, and the community's annual Christmas Eve parade.

The street market runs four times a year on long weekends. The Waipu Vintage Antiques and Collectables Fair is on the same day from 9.30am to 4pm in the Caledonian Hall.

New jackets foster pride

Being bottom of the table is in no way a reflection of the huge improvement Bream Bay United Football Club's women have made during the past month, says team manager Helen Robinson.

Bream Bay women's football team in their new jackets (back, from left) Helen Robinson, Leah Bucknell, Helen Keck, Priscilla Pyle, Nadene Bucherer, Selina Gordon, Abigail Taylor, Hayley Martin, Stuart McDonald (coach); (front, from left): Ann-Marie Lambly, Demi Levell, Kelsi Levell, Hanna Modrich, Monique Wilson, Anita Stewart, Sammy-Jo Dodunski. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
Bream Bay women's football team in their new jackets (back, from left) Helen Robinson, Leah Bucknell, Helen Keck, Priscilla Pyle, Nadene Bucherer, Selina Gordon, Abigail Taylor, Hayley Martin, Stuart McDonald (coach); (front, from left): Ann-Marie Lambly, Demi Levell, Kelsi Levell, Hanna Modrich, Monique Wilson, Anita Stewart, Sammy-Jo Dodunski. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

"With two draws and three losses the team are amping for their first win of the season", she said.

Every week the team continues to grow and develop, she says, and the overall standard of women's football in Northland is improving. Some new jackets have boosted the team's pride and determination to do better, with encouragement and coaching from Stuart McDonald.

"Stuart has vowed not to shave his beard off until we win a game," said Robinson.

She says the team are grateful to Colin Worthy of Worthy and Cox Builders for sponsoring their new jackets and making them look so good. The club has also just released a new club logo, designed by local artist Richard Robinson.

"We're all set for a great season of football, watch this space," said Helen Robinson.

Dance showcase

Pulse Dance Studio's midyear showcase performance is coming up on June 8 at One Tree Point Primary School.

Around 60 dancers aged between 3 and 20 will perform a mix of musical theatre, hip hop, tap, jazz, contemporary and lyrical.

Teacher Krystal Williams-Tuhoro says the showcase allows all students, from beginners giving it a go on stage to top-level performers, to show everyone the progress they've made, and helps competition teams prepare for upcoming competitions.

Tickets are $5 at the door. The dancers' next competition is in Tauranga on July 10.

■ Email Julie Paton at moojoy@xtra.co.nz if you've got Bream Bay news to share with Northern Advocate readers.