Pupils get their march­ing or­ders

Marlborough Midweek - - BIG READ - PAULA HULBURT

The sound of small foot­steps march­ing in uni­son across the wooden floor echoes in the al­most empty hall.

A bell has sig­nalled the end of an­other school day and all pupils at Red­wood­town School, in Blen­heim, bar six girls, have left.

In­side the spa­cious school hall, some­thing special is un­der­way.

Girls from the Red­wood­town School March­ing Team are be­ing put through their paces by coach Kim Oliver who hopes to start a re­vival of march­ing in schools across the re­gion. The small team has been meet­ing since the end of July and Kim says she hopes to use her 30-plus years’ ex­pe­ri­ence to teach the girls the right moves.

‘‘In a nut­shell, we’re go­ing back to grass­roots promoting march­ing in schools, it has been a slow process and has been a trial learn­ing but I think if the girls con­tinue to show a big in­ter­est they can hope­fully move into a com­pet­i­tive team later on,’’ she

‘‘I'd love to see this get go­ing in schools again.’’

says.

March­ing first be­came pop­u­lar in New Zealand dur­ing the De­pres­sion in the 1930s. Teams were formed as part of a move across the coun­try to try and keep women fit.

The mil­i­tary style of the sport later at­tracted mem­bers of the re­turned ser­vices and in 1945 the New Zealand March­ing As­so­ci­a­tion (NZMA) was born.

Kim, who sits on the com­mit­tee for March­ing Marl­bor­ough, started march­ing when she was 10-years-old and is keen to see the sport sup­ported at a lo­cal level.

She says sup­port from Red­wood­town School and par­ents has been ‘‘great’’.

‘‘I’d love to see this get go­ing in schools again ... once the girls are up to speed I’ll take them round some of the schools to see if we can get more of the kids in­volved.

‘‘It’s a great sport for dis­ci­pline and good for pos­ture as well as teach­ing the girls about be­ing part of a team, and about loy­alty,’’ she says.

The girls are set to take part in their first pub­lic per­for­mance at this year’s Blen­heim Christ­mas Pa­rade on De­cem­ber 2. For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion visit the March­ing Marl­bor­ough Face­book page.

PHOTO: PAULA HULBURT/STUFF

Pay­ing at­ten­tion, from left, Pey­ton Low-Brim­ble, Clemency Dou­glas, Awa Ko­h­elove, Amelia Craw and Lexie New­man.

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