Pupils from three local primary schools have taken part in a global peace run, taking turns to carry a torch for the Rotorua leg of the race.

The Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run is the world's largest torch relay, covering six continents, 140 nations and involving more than one million participants. The relay seeks to promote international friendship and understanding.

The New Zealand leg of the Peace Run started last month and yesterday pupils from St Mary's Catholic Primary School, Kawaha Point Primary School and Western Heights Primary School took part.

The New Zealand relay started in Auckland, travelling through Hamilton and Tauranga before reaching the final leg in Rotorua.


St Mary's Catholic Primary School sports co-ordinator Trudy James said the run went off without a hitch.

"The children actually ran it much faster than we were anticipating. We thought it would take them at least 10 to 15 minutes but they were done in five.

"After the race was over, the students gathered in the hall where the torches, there were two because one is used as a back-up torch, were passed around and each pupil had the chance to say their prayer for peace."

Miss James said the school was approached by the organisers to take part and jumped at the chance as the race represented the same values the school held.

"The children loved being involved. We had them holding a couple of New Zealand flags as well. They looked great running down the street holding the torch and flags."

The St Mary's pupils ran from the Fenton St McDonald's back to their school on Carnot St in Glenholme.

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Miss James said after the success of the event, she hoped to see the school take part every year.

"This was our first year taking part and it has been really well received by the pupils so I would love to see it become a yearly event."