Pupils fly the flags for event
More than 100 flags from every corner of the globe have come out of storage for a school tradition that stretches back more than 80 years.
The annual flag parade at Cornwall Park District School held last week saw year 6 students marching around the field bearing colourful flags while proud parents, teachers and friends cheered from the bleachers.
The school boasts a large collection of national flags from around the world, including countries that are no longer in existence.
The collection was established in the 1930s by a former headmaster who believed the children should know more about other nations, deputy principal Alicia Whata says.
‘‘He wrote to the representatives of each of the countries concerned and then had the flags made in New Zealand,’’ she says.
‘‘Following that a flag parade was held every Friday.’’
Now a yearly event, the flag parade goes hand-in-hand with the school’s end-of-year prizegiving ceremony.
School leaders say it is a time for the school to honour tradition while farewelling senior students.
Ms Whata says the graduating year 6 pupils write ‘‘pleading letters’’ for some of the more hotly contested flags they wish to bear during the parade.
‘‘They have to apply for which flags they want and some have a lot of demand, because the children carry the flags of their ancestors,’’ principal Janine Irvine says.
As well as national flags, the collection also holds some more obscure items, secretary Sandra Olliff says.
‘‘We have an old naval flag called Blue Peter.
‘‘It’s an old signal flag which means ‘all aboard’ because the boat is about to leave, which is appropriate because the ceremony is for the kids leaving,’’ she says.
During the year the flags are stored securely to avoid any damage from handling.
Go to centralleader.co.nz and click latest edition to see footage of Cornwall Park District School’s flag parade.