Kids dis­play their joy for school

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

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.

they’ll

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

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