Small school thinks big
Most fathers want the best for their children but Dean Tereu and Brian Reid are going the extra mile to make it happen.
The pair are two of six trustees on the Tokoroa High School Trust, which has been revived after 10 years of hibernation.
The trust is aiming to raise $1 million and invest the annual $20,000 to $40,000 interest on educational needs not funded by the Ministry of Education.
Both dedicated teachers have reached into their own pockets because they want to see their 7 and 8-year-old daughters have the ‘‘best of the best’’ when they hit their teenage years.
‘‘From a father’s point of view what I’m hoping to achieve is to help create a school environment so that she [ Olivierre] doesn’t have to leave Tokoroa to have a quality education,’’ Tereu said.
The former Tokoroa High School student sees it as a way of protecting both the future and the past.
The school has paid him more than $ 1⁄ million in salary over the
2 past 18 years, he said.
‘‘So I can afford to give back $1000 . . . We [Brian and I] are now in a position where we have a moral obligation to pay it back to the school but we also have young daughters who we want to pay it forward to.’’
Far from a new concept, the trust was established in the 70s as a way of purchasing electronic equipment for the school.
But that all changed after the introduction of Tomorrow’s Schools, an education reform in 1988.
From then on funds were used to better the educational opportunities for students but it didn’t last, Tereu said.
‘‘We used to donate to it but in 2003 it went dormant. It wasn’t until about two years ago that we thought let’s give it a go and see if we can get it going again.’’
All six trustees – Tereau, Reid, Graeme Dewhurst, William Ford, Teokotai Tarai and chairman Roger Sommerville started this journey in 2012 with about $88,000 in the bank.
In just two years the fund earned more than $ 65,000 in interest.
One fundraising idea they have embraced is the creation of a ‘‘millionaires club’’ where 1000 individuals donate $1000 each. They are hoping to reach out to the 17,000 students who have attended Tokoroa High since it opened in 1957.
‘‘Most have generally positive memories,’’ Tereu said.
The trustees launched the concept to staff at Tokoroa High School, and in just one week managed to secure another $10,000 in pledges.
But donations of any size are welcome.
‘‘The community is a generous community and is always giving out money to help people and groups . . . But at the moment an enormous amount of money comes out and is spent on one-offs.’’
Investing a core fund and spending the interest is much more sustainable, he said.
When asked why something of this scale had not been tried at Tok High before, Tereu put it down to belief.
For a long time the community had accepted that Tokoroa was a low- socio economic community along with the associated negative connotations, he said.
‘‘All it has taken is academically we have raised the expectations. It’s just that question, why not?’’
After all, it’s not like it hasn’t been done before.
Tereu said Wakatipu High School did something similar and managed to raise $ 1⁄ million in
2 about eight months.
Those first to benefit from the fund will be Tokoroa High School students, followed by their families and then the wider community, Reid said.
Ultimately, money should not be a barrier, he said.
Looking to the future: Dean Tereu, left and Brian Reid want their daughters Olivierre Kapene-Tereu and Nevaeh Reid to have a quality high school education in Tokoroa.