Fears of a summer without a daily swim have been doused in Tangiteroria, after Fonterra Kauri filled the community pool as a donation.
The pool at Tangiteroria School had been empty since the local fire brigade used the water to combat the blaze that destroyed the Tangiteroria Sports Complex in January of this year.
With the school unable to weather the cost of filling from their bore and then treating the water with expensive chemicals and lacking the rainwater in their tanks, the pool has sat empty all winter.
On the of November 6, Fonterra filled the pool with five truckloads of clean water, or roughly 160,000 litres.
It took one truck most of a day, going back and forth from Tangiteroria and the Fonterra Kauri plant.
"It's huge to have it back," said Tangiteroria School Board of Trustees member Scott Paterson. "Without it a lot people would be sweating in their houses."'
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The school sent a thank you letter to the dairy giant on November 10, grateful for a happy ending to a 2020 that has proved difficult due to Covid-19 and the burning down of the Tangiteroria Sports Complex, previously an important hub of the community.
Paterson, who also lives in Tangiteroria and has two children at the school, got in touch with Fonterra after hearing about past community donations they had made.
"I got in touch and they were more than receptive," he said. "It means a lot to us that Fonterra came to the party."
Fonterra Kauri's transport team came out to have a look at the situation the next day, and although the site was difficult to access with a large tanker, they approved the donation the day after that.
The school pool is used almost every day in the summer terms by the 35 children enrolled at the school, and over the Christmas holidays it is a focal point of the rural community.
"We're 40km from the nearest beach," said Paterson. "And with no clean rivers or swimming holes around us, it's really important."
When school staff removed the covers from the pool in late October, they found the dregs left in the bottom had turned into green slime, which had to be removed by bucket load and deposited in nearby garden beds.
A Fonterra spokesperson said refilling the pool was part of a broader campaign of community donations they are looking to launch.
"We generally welcome people to submit for community donations," they said.