Pupils get their marching orders
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.’’
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.
Paying attention, from left, Peyton Low-Brimble, Clemency Douglas, Awa Kohelove, Amelia Craw and Lexie Newman.