Tur­bine trip is tops among trekkers

The Tribune (NZ) - - NEWS - RICHARD MAYS

On the day be­fore the snow fell, 165 walk­ers trekked the tops amongst the tur­bines in a brand new fundraiser.

Par­ents, pupils, staff, and sup­port­ers of Po­hang­ina’s Awa­hou School hiked a 4.6-kilo­me­tre route through the Te Apiti wind farm, just north of the Manawatu Gorge on Sun­day.

The en­ergy gen­er­at­ing farm with its gi­ant tur­bines is not usu­ally open to the pub­lic, but Meridian En­ergy made an ex­cep­tion in sup­port of the small ru­ral school, and the walk raised nearly $3000 to­wards new learn­ing re­sources.

Friends of Awa­hou School co­or­di­na­tor Kim Mar­cus says the en­ergy com­pany ar­ranged to move live­stock from the four farms at the base of the wind tur­bines to clear the way for the walk­ers, who were then able to have a unique close-up ex­pe­ri­ence with the gi­ant gen­er­a­tors, and en­joy the ‘‘amaz­ing views’’.

‘‘The weather held off, there was no mist and you could see for miles. The last 10 strag­glers got a bit of driz­zle, but the feed­back to the event was all pos­i­tive. Ev­ery­one wants to do it again next year.’’

And that looks likely, only it will be held ear­lier in the year.

‘‘Ev­ery­body en­joyed it, even the four and five year olds.’’

Among the Face­book re­sponses was this from Natasha Perry:

‘‘I did the walk with a very good friend and my mother who came all the way from Auck­land, and we had an ab­so­lute blast, def­i­nitely an event we will re­mem­ber for avery long time! Ab­so­lutely stun­ning pho­tos and just an in­cred­i­ble op­por­tu­nity...’’

Awa­hou prin­ci­pal Matt Sch­midt says prepa­ra­tions for the fundraiser were in­cor­po­rated into the chil­dren’s daily learn­ing. They cre­ated route signs for the walk, while adding to their knowl­edge of what it means to be Kiwi as part of their Ki­wiana en­quiry topic.

‘‘For our school, nes­tled in the foothills of the ranges, we see the tur­bines as a clas­sic sym­bol of our clean, green EnZed im­age and in par­tic­u­lar, our re­gion,’’ Matt ex­plains.

Staff also laid down the chal- lenge to pupils to use the walk as fit­ness prepa­ra­tion for the forth­com­ing Kainui school clus­ter cross coun­try event at Westview Farm on June 10

Pupils may get a say in how the money will be spent at the school. On the wish list are ex­tra teacher aide hours and IT up­grades.

PHOTO: WAR­WICK SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ

A small knot of wind­farm walk­ers is dwarfed by the gi­ant trunk of a Te apiti tur­bine dur­ing Sun­day’s fundraiser for Awa­hou School.

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