Best care­taker tak­ing care of kids

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - By KRIS DANDO

To the kids he is sim­ply ‘‘Chop’’. To the par­ents, he is ‘‘the best care­taker ever’’.

Kier­nan O’Gor­man has been care­taker and a teacher aide at Rangikura School for the past 18 months.

A qual­i­fied baker, the 41-yearold says the ‘‘work, eat, sleep’’ rou­tine of that in­dus­try was hard to keep up, while his cur­rent po­si­tion suits him to the ground.

Main­te­nance, clean­ing, lawn­mow­ing and help­ing chil­dren to read are in his of­fi­cial job de­scrip­tion, but Mr O’Gor­man does much more.

He or­gan­ises many ac­tiv­i­ties in and out­side the school, of­ten in his own time.

He was also the one who en­cour­aged students to to write to the Hur­ri­canes with a plea for rugby goal­posts – which were de­liv­ered with much fan­fare last month.

‘‘ I re­ally want to see kids play­ing more sport, that’s some­thing I’m big on.

‘‘I love BMX so I’ve or­gan­ised bike rides and ‘fix your bike’ days at school – just get­ting these guys to try new things, es­pe­cially out­doors.’’

Mr O’Gor­man has three of his own chil­dren at Rangikura, and a fourth will start there next month.

‘‘I like help­ing with the sport, en­cour­ag­ing kids to read, go­ing on school trips and help­ing to keep the school tidy.

‘‘We don’t have a lot of graf­fiti be­cause peo­ple keep an eye on it and a lot of the students have done things like mu­rals and other art, so it’s their place.

‘‘My job is re­ally re­ward­ing and hav­ing a happy school is great for this community.’’

One par­ent who con­tacted KapiMana News de­scribed ‘‘ good old Chop’’ as ‘‘the best care­taker ever’’ and there was no ar­gu­ments from Rangikura’s act­ing prin­ci­pal Eddie Uluile­lata. ‘‘We call him ‘su­per-cus­to­dian’. ‘‘ He’s en­thu­si­as­tic, uses his ini­tia­tive and is keen on sports and find­ing dif­fer­ent ac­tiv­i­ties for the kids.

‘‘He just has a way about him, never rais­ing his voice and work­ing hard, a great role model for this school.’’

At the end of the Hur­ri­canes’ visit, Mr O’Gor­man cheek­ily asked their chief ex­ec­u­tive James Te Puni for tick­ets to a game.

‘‘He said, ‘Sure’, and next thing ev­ery kid at the school has two tick­ets [to the Chiefs match last Fri­day].

‘‘That’s just awe­some.’’

Mr O’Gor­man sought $ 5 per head from par­ents and or­gan­ised three buses to take the young rev­ellers to the game – many of whom had never been to West­pac Sta­dium be­fore – and a huge sausage siz­zle be­fore­hand.

Past and present students were among the 200-plus party who at­tended, with for­mer All Black Norm He­witt on hand to cook sausages.

Chop chop: Kier­nan O’Gor­man goes above and be­yond his du­ties as care­taker and teacher aide at Rangikura School. Among his fu­ture plans is to use his baker’s back­ground to put a health­ier spin on the school’s lunch menu.

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