Community pitches in to help fund trip

Maniototo Area School pupil Nate Spooner, 15, and Lohi owner Tania Murray Haigh display some...
Maniototo Area School pupil Nate Spooner, 15, and Lohi owner Tania Murray Haigh display some repurposed garments which were to be modelled at the show. PHOTO: RUBY SHAW
Forget bake sales — the Maniototo community are trying a new way to support their local school.

What started as an effort to fund a school trip became a celebration of the whole community, as people from every corner pitched in for Maniototo Area School.

The school is sending 23 pupils and 12 adults to Vietnam in April next year — the school’s first international trip in about 10 years.

Principal Melissa Bell said the fundraising efforts had united the community.

"This trip’s become a catalyst for so much more; it’s a real celebration of the community and the talent within it.

"My mantra for the school is for us to dream big — we should be doing everything the big city schools are doing."

School staff knew how much an international trip would benefit pupils and while travel costs had been a concern, parents urged them ahead.

Owners of Ranfurly business Lohi Linen Tania Murray Haigh and Russ Haigh approached the school offering to run a fashion show to support the fundraising efforts.

The sold-out event — Matariki in the Maniototo — was held on Friday at Lohi Linen.

Ms Murray Haigh spent time with pupils, helping them design and produce their own garments using second-hand items, donated by the local op-shop.

"For a couple of our students that’s really ignited a passion", Ms Bell said.

"When the kids ... do the fundraising themselves — when they get there, they just appreciate it so much more."

Other pupils modelled the clothes and performed in the kapa haka group — many were not going on the trip but wanted to support fundraising efforts.

"Russ and Tania have no connection to the school but they are doing it for the betterment of our community and investing in the school", Ms Bell said.

"That to me is incredibly generous."

Pupils were studying the history, culture and geography of Vietnam, and the school was holding evening lessons for junior pupils who were going on the trip.

"We probably won’t run a trip like this for another four or five years so it is a case of really getting it right", Ms Bell said

Pupil Jake Smith, 16, said he was looking forward to seeing a completely different part of the world.

"Seeing the different landscape — somewhere that’s completely different to New Zealand."