Waikato schools en­cour­aged to par­tic­i­pate in Wai­tangi ini­tia­tive

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

Waikato schools are be­ing urged to take part in a na­tion­wide ini­tia­tive aimed at see­ing ev­ery child visit Wai­tangi be­fore leav­ing school to bet­ter un­der­stand New Zealand’s her­itage.

About 3000 school chil­dren – just over 2.5 per cent of New Zealand’s 762,400 stu­dents – now make the trip north each year.

Our Na­tion’s Chil­dren – an ini­tia­tive of the Wai­tangi Na­tional Trust and sup­ported by West­pac – has been de­vel­oped to pro­mote the 175th an­niver­sary of the Treaty of Wai­tangi in 2015 and en­cour­age more visi­tors to the his­toric lo­ca­tion.

The ini­tia­tive was of­fi­cially launched by Gov­er­nor-Gen­eral Sir Jerry Mateparae at West­pac head­quar­ters.

West­pac Waikato area man­ager Hamish Ward said Wai­tangi was pre­cious to the his­tory of New Zealand and it was im­por­tant for young Ki­wis to stay con­nected to that his­tory.

‘‘We think it is vi­tal young peo­ple know the story of the Treaty of Wai­tangi and get to ex­pe­ri­ence the Treaty Grounds first hand to bring it to life,’’ he said.

One of the first projects of Our Na­tion’s Chil­dren is a school movie com­pe­ti­tion aimed at in­ter­me­di­ate stu­dents dur­ing the first term. Through the sup­port of West­pac, the three best movies will each win a class trip of about $10,000 to visit Wai­tangi and the Bay of Is­lands.

‘‘This is a great op­por­tu­nity for stu­dents from our re­gion to get cre­ative and win an amaz­ing trip for their school, Mr Ward said.

Academy Award- win­ning movie pro­ducer and di­rec­tor An­drew Adam­son ( Shrek, The Chron­i­cles of Nar­nia and Mr Pip) is one of the of­fi­cial com­pe­ti­tion judges.

Wai­tangi Na­tional Trust chief ex­ec­u­tive Greg McManus said: ‘‘It would be great if, through Our Na­tion’s Chil­dren, we are able to en­cour­age more schools to con­sider vis­it­ing Wai­tangi and the Bay of Is­lands as part of the school cur­ricu­lum or to make it a desti­na­tion for their an­nual school camp.’’

The num­bers

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