Te Kohanga is a small rural primary school which sits near the Waikato River.
The school is 15 minutes away from its closest town, Port Waikato, a popular West Coast surf beach. The school is situated at the foot of a mountain and surrounded by farm land with the majority of the school’s students traveling from the Port area by bus each day to school.
The school was established in 1913 and has been an important part of the Port Waikato, Te Kohanga and Onewhero community over the past 100 years. At its peak, it had a roll of 120 students however this has fallen significantly over the last two decades. At the start of 2017, the school had only 17 children but this has steadily increased and there are now 30 students attending each day.
During the stormy weather early in 2017, the school was severely damaged by flood waters and their veggie patch, sports gear and library resources were wiped out. The school was closed for most of Term One and much time was spent clearing the damage and salvaging what they could.
The Principal, Robyn Driver, approached the school’s social worker to see if there was anyone who might be able to help them out. The social worker got in touch with Anne Overton from Presbyterian Support Northern who knew just who to call.
In June 2017, Steve and Brenda, from Breakfast Club went along to the school for a visit and were sure they could do something. As the Principal said “Since their initial visit, there has been a whirlwind of activity and our students have greatly benefited”. The call was put out and help came flooding in.
Through the kind donations of shoes from Mellons Bay Primary to Breakfast Club, hundreds of pairs of shoes were gifted to the children. The school held their own shoe shop and every child was able to take home at least three pairs of shoes. In addition at that time we were able to gift huge bags of rice to give to the school’s families as well as an abundance of sports equipment and food.
One of the greatest connections we have helped to establish is between St Kentigern Boys’ School and Te Kohanga. St. Kents visited Te Kohanga bringing with them hundreds of books, sports gear and even a brand new laptop, all kindly donated by their community.
A further and perhaps even greater donation from St Kentigern School came from their Chapel drive. They have donated almost enough money for the school to design and provide school uniforms for all the children. Te Kohanga students have had the opportunity to be involved in the design process, voting and deciding on which colour they most wanted.
Currently BLK are designing the new uniform and we can’t wait to see what they come up with! They have said if there’s any short fall from the fundraising, BLK will cover the gap and in addition will provide the teachers with jackets! Once the uniforms arrive Te Kohanga has been invited to take their students up to St Kentigern School to spend the day with them. This will be a wonderful chance for the Te Kohanga tamariki to say thank you in person to those who have fundraised and supported them.
And it doesn’t stop there! Local church, Tuakau Union Parish are coming on board to help with reading and supplying knitted products – and any other need that they can meet. The library has been stocked up by Scholastic Books and Wheeler Books along with fresh stationary supplies from Pelikan Artline.
Do take some time to check out the businesses who, through Breakfast Club, have offered to help. It is through their generosity that this community has been greatly blessed and is continuing to be supported by this love. Keep an eye out for more great things that will no doubt happen in this small Waikato community!
Te Kohanga School: http://www.tekohanga.school.nz
Saint Kentigern College and School: http://saintkentigern.com
Uniform and Sports Equipment: BLK Sports http://www.blksport.co.nz
Stationary: Pelikan Artline www.pelikanartline.co.nz
Library Books: Wheeler Books http://www.wheelers.co.nz
Scholastic Books: http://www.scholastic.com
Sports Shoes for Staff: Shoe Clinic Manukau https://www.shoeclinic.co.nz/manukau-running-shoe
Groceries: New World Eastridge and Southmall Pak n Save