Kids display their joy for school
Nearly a thousand children from Waitangirua and Ascot Park took to the streets last Tuesday in a march honouring their commitment to attending school.
Singing and drumming rang out along Warspite Ave as 900 kids from Rangikura School, Natone Park School, Te Kura Maori O Porirua and Corinna School marched to Waitangirua Mall as part of a hikoi themed It’s Cool to Stay at School.
Neighbours lined up along the street and the crowd was swelled to 1200 by parents, teachers, the police and fire service.
Principals and children from each school gave speeches at Waitangirua Mall, thanking students for making the effort to come to classes.
The day was all about positivity, says organiser Findlay Siania, a community youth mentor at Wesley Community Action Waitangirua.
‘‘We don’t want people to feel sorry for us.
‘‘We don’t want people to say there’s a problem in Waitangirua because there isn’t.
‘‘We have got 900 kids who are at school and about 20 who aren’t.’’ Truancy is actually going down in Porirua, while it rises in the rest of the country, Mr Siania says.
‘‘Everyone knows there’s a truancy problem but what nobody says is truancy is coming down.’’
Kids playing truant would have wished they were part of the ceremony, which was Mced by former What Now host Jason Fa’afoi and included a sausage sizzle put on by the Mongrel Mob Mumzys group and the Porirua Vikings.
Mr Siania says it was a memorable day for the kids involved.
‘‘ In five years remember this.
‘‘ They’ll remember how all the schools got to go, all the principals got to go, all the teachers got to go.’’
After the huge success of the Waitangirua hikoi, the first of its kind, Cannons Creek is planning a similar march but with 1600 pupils in term two, Mr Siania says.
School’s cool: Corinna School pupils joined students from three Waitangirua and Ascot Park schools in a 900-strong anti-truancy hikoi last Tuesday. Photo: KRIS DANDO