Lynne Vinsen's enthusiasm is contagious and her passion for a kitchen garden and cooking programme at Rutherford Junior High has been gathering plenty of support.

"Rutherford's technology classrooms have good facilities, but due to a variety of reasons, are underutilised," she said.

"I have warm feelings about what we used to call 'manual' when I was at school and I wondered if I could help make things happen for Rutherford."

She sounded out Rutherford principal Diane Henare and Board of Trustees chairman Piripi Blake who agreed it was a fantastic idea.

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They gave the go-ahead for Vinsen to start drumming up support for the Kids' Kitchen Project, which will get under way next term.

"I am so impressed with all the offers of help I've had already," Vinsen said.

"A small group of volunteers and I are intending to start a group of Rutherford kids cooking nutritious, healthy food they could possibly cook at home as well.

"We'll be cooking up a storm."

Peter Follows, who lives opposite the school has offered to supervise the revitalisation of the raised garden beds outside the technology block for a healthy kitchen garden.

"Our boys attended Rutherford and I'm really happy to lend my support to the school," he said.

Others who have offered support are the Whanganui Charitable Trust, Springvale Garden Centre, Bunnings, Pak 'n' Save, Burger Cartel and a number of individuals.

"So far no one has said 'no' and I'm so gratified by how generous people are," said Vinsen.

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"It is working out even better than I had hoped because I wanted it to become a community project rather than just something driven by me."

Henare said learning to cook tasty, nutritious meals and growing vegetables will be rewarding for pupils.

"I would like to see participation in Kids Kitchen as something that can be earned.

"It will be offered to those who best demonstrate the school's values of respect, justice, hard work and self-control."

She said it will fit well with the school's progress in student achievement and roll numbers.

"I love this school and we are on a good upward trajectory so for Lynne to come in and offer to drive a project like this fits so well with other things we are doing."

Henare said the programme will help parents too.


"A lot of our parents work long hours and are on tight budgets so when kids are taking home the recipes and learning to love cooking it will benefit them as well."

Vinsen said she is still on the look-out for a decent hose, a couple of wheelbarrows and small forks and trowels.

Anyone who would like to donate these items or would like to contribute other items or ideas, can call Vinsen on 027 447 7897 or email lynnevinsen77@gmail.com.