Sailing to the future
Senior pupils at Russell School conquered their inner fears in a KiwiSport ocean water sports programme.
Children spent two hours keelboat sailing on Wellington Harbour as part of making the transition to intermediate. Just travelling into Wellington and going out on the water was a new experience for some.
Principal Sose Annandale said the programme was of immense benefit.
‘‘This is a really special trip that is reserved for the final push in the development of our leaders.
‘‘From here they go out into the big world of intermediate and beyond hopefully to return one day full of pride for their community and the learning journey they began at Russell.
‘‘The challenge of such sports for the children when they are out of their comfort zone gives them a huge sense of conquering their inner fear and in turn enables the message that they can do anything,’’ she says.
Ms Annandale said Pacific children are over-represented in water sport mishaps through drowning and poor safety practices on the water.
‘‘So safety messages on the boat such as the purpose of the lifejacket are powerful messages.’’
KiwiSport manager Peter Woodman-Aldridge said the ocean water sports programme has a secondary aim.
‘‘Because of our location Sport Wellington sees water safety as a life skill. We emphasise any water- based sports provide water safety skills as well as instruction in the sport. This ties in with our programme Learn to Swim which has taught water skills to thousands of children throughout the Wellington region since 2010.’’
The Russell School pupils were among 924 children who have sailed, paddled or windsurfed from the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club or from Freyberg Beach.
Through the KiwiSportfunded project, the club will give a two- hour introduction to either keelboat sailing, dinghy sailing, kayaking, waka ama or windsurfing to at least 1250 children this summer.
Sailing away: Russell School children cast off for their keelboat sailing adventure on Wellington Harbour last month.