Waikato schools encouraged to participate in Waitangi initiative
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.’’