volunteers who want to see Whitireia students achieve.
Irvine said he was there to help students get help up rather than a hand out.
Now a successful businessman, he said he benefited from someone seeing his potential in his younger days.
He said paying forward was vital in our community.
‘‘If [the foundation] can help students achieve success, they can then go on and help others to achieve,’’ said Irvine.
The foundation encourages local businesses to sponsor a Whitireia student. Discovery School in Whitby is to receive a huge outdoor transformation after winning a Treemendous School Makeover.
The Treemendous School Makeover programme is a joint initiative between the Mazda Foundation and Project Crimson, a conservation charity, and involves four schools each year receiving a $10,000 outdoor area makeover using native plants.
Natalie Packer, the teacher at Discovery School who helped to put together the winning application, said her motivation was to create more innovative spaces for the pupils to learn in and the teachers to teach.
‘‘An environmentally focused outdoor education space will help to motivate all our students’ learning styles,’’ she said.
Discovery School has designated a huge 600 square metre sloping bank, adjacent to its field, in which to create three outdoor classrooms.
The planting of native trees and grasses such as harekeke, kowhai and rata will encourage wildlife into the school grounds, where it can be observed and studied.
On May 7, the Discovery School community will carry out their makeover together, with help from local Mazda dealership staff, Mazda Foundation trustees and Project Crimson.
More than 400 plants and trees will be planted as well as the creation of a lizard habitat and expansion of the school’s existing orchard.