To an optimistic onlooker, the sea of paint, glitter, fabric,
masks and banners, coupled with the enthusiastic chanting and
flashes of colourful participants might seem like something
out of a Lewis Carroll novel.
Zooming in on the scene, one can in fact witness the
enthusiasm, encouragement, determination, spirit and passion
which make this day a fun-filled Friday for everyone
Then we have the pessimistic extremists, who view the scene
as a raucous, discordant battlefield of hatred, where
segregation and disrespectful teenagers are rife and have no
appreciation for unification or school spirit.
This, to the pessimists' trained eye, appears to be a
snapshot of an anarchic Stephen King novel.
Taking a pessimistic view on this day, one could argue that
such rivalry between pupils causes segregation or even a lack
of patriotism and draws away from the participation aspect of
In such modern times, isn't New Zealand striving for just the
opposite: unification?Many people believe that sports day is
a representation of a larger segregated New Zealand.
Different houses are encouraged to face off in a competitive
environment, which can often cause tension among pupils.
This is, of course, going to capture the attention of parents
across New Zealand.
And you could argue that a ''normal'', seemingly friendly
sports day could sow the seeds of segregation for future New
Zealanders, who may take sexist segregation, occupational
segregation or even racial segregation for granted.
But then again, isn't this standpoint a little extreme?
This isn't a political debate about the future of our
country. Instead, it's an argument that belongs at the
We believe that sports day, or in our case, Participation
Day, is something that not only unifies pupils, but creates a
sense of pride and encourages ambition.
A day that is simply dedicated to participation and friendly
competition is the perfect way to unite pupils, by giving
them a common goal.
We're sure we speak for Kiwi schools nationally when we say
house points are not always the most important thing.
Of course, friendly competition gives the pupils drive, and
encourages future ambition.
Isn't that what New Zealand needs?
Bright and driven young leaders?In a world that is
figuratively bound by bubble wrap, isn't it time we let
youngsters be youngsters, and understand that sports days
make an integrated school community?After all, when year 13
pupils depart school, they often reminisce on Participation
Day and how it is one of their most treasured memories.
From the wild chanting, to three-legged races, to a whole
school re-enactment of the Cha Cha Slide, Wakatipu High
School's Participation Day is certainly not replicated
• By Victoria Boult and Sophie Lake, Year 11, Wakatipu High