Arts, culture camp full of firsts

Pictured are (front row, from left) Blair Merry-Ladds (11), Brin Griffiths (11); (middle row, from left) Morgan Sargison (11), Holly Wright (12), Blake de Ruyter-Murdoch (10), Sophie Wright (11); (back row from left) Chaz Palmer (11), Lily Griffiths (10), Molly Wilkins (11) and Wilf Griffiths (11). Photo by Tracey Roxburgh.
Pictured are (front row, from left) Blair Merry-Ladds (11), Brin Griffiths (11); (middle row, from left) Morgan Sargison (11), Holly Wright (12), Blake de Ruyter-Murdoch (10), Sophie Wright (11); (back row from left) Chaz Palmer (11), Lily Griffiths (10), Molly Wilkins (11) and Wilf Griffiths (11). Photo by Tracey Roxburgh.
Ten Garston School pupils arrived in Queenstown yesterday, buzzing after a school camp in Wellington - for some of them, their first experience in a city.

Principal Kathryn O'Loughlin, along with four adults, accompanied the year 5 to 8 children on the arts and culture camp, held every four years to ensure every school pupil had the experience.

For some of them it was three days of firsts, including plane flights, train rides, staying in a youth hostel, eating Asian food and witnessing commuter traffic - an eye-opening experience for the children, who live in New Zealand's most inland town, which has a population of just over 100.

Pupil Holly Wright said the first visit was to Weta Workshop, where they were able to see props and displays from The Lord of the Rings and District Nine.

From there it was off to the Royal New Zealand School of Dance, where the children watched auditions for Bird Brain, in which 150 dancers were vying for just 20 spots.

Mrs O'Loughlin said the children were also given a guided tour of the facilities, including the stage with its sprung floor and the costume designers at work, before performing their own "contemporary dance" routine, Smiling Clock.

Pupil Morgan Sargison said the pupils took a train ride to the Petone Settlers Museum, where they learned about early New Zealand settlers, including Maori.

Also on their schedule were visits to the Dowse Museum of Contemporary Art in Lower Hutt, Trust Bank Stadium, the Bank of New Zealand Museum and the "Living Cloaks" exhibition at Te Papa as well as a quick stop at Parliament.

However, the highlight of the trip was being in the audience at the World of Wearable Art show, the floodlights, throngs of people and large theatre having an immediate impact on the children, Mrs O'Loughlin said.

"It was really cool," Holly said.