There's something in the water at Parua Bay that's helping the school produce top class young athletes.

The small school, at Whangārei Heads, has punched well above its weight at this week's AIMS Games in Tauranga for Intermediate school children, winning 10 medals, including four gold.

The school has only 60 intermediate children to pick from - in comparison Tauranga Intermediate has 2000 - making it hard to compete at the games, particularly it the teams section.

But the week started in style with Bella Earl winning gold in the Year 8 cross-country then on Thursday the school's squash players picked up nine medals between them, including two golds.


Parua Bay School Deputy Principal Hazel Smith accompanied the team tot he games along with squash coach Keri Rhodes, and said it was an amazing result for such a small school.

In the boys' squash Freddie Jameson won gold while Cam Griffin won bronze from his schoolmate Flynn Venmore who was fourth. As well the school's Luca Smith was 11th in the 64-strong field.

In the girls' squash section, Olivia Rhodes won Bronze while Ellie Petty was 18th in the 32-strong field.

Then in the teams section Jameson and Griffin won Gold while Venmore and Smith won silver in the boys' section and in the girls' Rhodes and Petty won silver.

''That's nine medals just in squash and after Bella's gold; it's an amazing result for the school,'' Smith said.

''We're fortunate to have squash courts just over the road from the school and we're hoping to develop it further from the two courts we've got now. Our junior squash development programme is really strong too, which has been built on by parents and others in the community.

''It's really hard for small schools like Parua Bay to compete against the bigger intermediates at the AIMS Games. We've got 60 intermediate kids to pick from, while others have hundreds and Tauranga Intermediate has 2000, so this is definitely huge for Parua Bay and per capita we will be one of the top schools (at the games).''

Smith said the young squash players were thrilled at their success and they helped to push each other.


''Everybody in the team got a medal which is great and they can get quite competitive between them to push each other on. The third place play off (between Griffin and Venmore) was a very strong game between the two boys,'' she said.

Gaye Trimble, from Squash Northland, said the school's squash team's success at the games was unprecedented for a Northland school.

''We've had medals before, but never this many and all from the same school,'' Trimble said.

''They've got a good programme there and good coach in Keri Rhodes.''

Trimble said Northland had some great young squash players, which meant the sport was in good stead for the future in the region.