A group of Whangārei high school students hoping to raise $50,000 for a life-changing, and life-making, trip to Rarotonga in 2023 are using people's love of magnolia flowers as part of their drive.
To get their fundraising efforts under way, the students (aka Dreamers) who are part of I Have a Dream Charitable Trust's Northland Schools programme, will be taking the reins at four local Magnolia Garden Open Days this month.
The Magnolia Garden Open Days are an annual event held at Cath and Dave Davies-Colley's stunning Poroti property. All of the profits are generously donated to I Have a Dream and the IHAD 'Dreamers' hope to raise more than $5000 towards their goal from these events.
About 100 magnolia trees will be in full bloom during the open days on August 6, 7, 20 and 21, from 10am to 4pm.
"They are happy and flowering in winter when nothing else is flowering - that's why I planted them," Cath said.
The couple have been long-time supporters of IHAD because they see the value the programme is bringing to the students involved.
"The reason we support IHAD is because we think it is a fantastic idea and has a positive impact on these young people. I have got to know different cohorts coming through the gardens over the years and it is a totally different experience for them to be part of the garden, host visitors and mingle with them.
"The open days also expose Northlanders to IHAD. For us it is about getting the programme known out there in areas of the community that would not be aware of it otherwise,'' she said.
"Everybody at IHAD is fantastic and if we can keep doing this and it helps the students, that's what it is all about."
Students will be selling snacks and hot drinks at the open days to add to their fundraising activities.
IHAD Year 7 navigator Rose Welsh said the generosity of the Davies-Colleys is greatly appreciated and believes the students can meet a target of $5000 raised over the four events.
"The Magnolia Gardens open day is a highly valuable event for I Have a Dream not only financially but in a number of other ways. Dreamers are exposed to community engagement as they mix with a variety of public throughout their days," Rose said.
"Through the experience, they strengthen their own relationships as a group, working together to make the day enjoyable for visitors. The day provides practical experiential learning as Dreamers manage money, serve food, keep the kitchen clean and prepped, and chat with the public."
The main objective of the Rarotonga trip is to utilise a life-changing experience to teach the Dreamers how to set a goal, plan a trip, fundraise, work as a team and to be accountable for the results – along the way experiencing the hard work required to make a dream become a reality (ako and rangatiratanga).
"Attending the trip will also encourage Dreamers to not only finish school and attain NCEA, but to have an 80 per cent-plus attendance, commit to fundraising, gain employment or tertiary education and achieve personal goals," IHAD navigator Daisy Rogers said.
The open days are being held at 37 Proctor Rd, Poroti, with the cash only entry $5. Those who can't make the open days can donate at: https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/life-changing-experience-for-whangarei-dreamers. So far more than $3300 has been pledged.