New Zealand Community Trust (NZCT) recently awarded a grant of $5,276 to Waitara High School for rugby uniforms, and waka ama paddles, steerers and shafts. Their old kit was purchased over four years ago and has seen a lot of wear and tear through constant activity.
Board of Trustees Secretary Chantelle Cornwall commented, “This year with our new initiative of clubs and sports during curriculum time, we have had members of our community come forward to start a waka ama club. For the last two summers we have had female students training hard and have attended the NZ Secondary Schools waka ama championships. This summer we were unable to maintain the momentum, but have had an amazing amount of interest from the students to be part of waka ama this year. The current paddles we have are mainly for female paddlers and pre-Covid we did have a male team who found the paddles small but bearable. With the new waka ama club, the new paddles will entice more male paddlers.
“We are a low-decile school serving a low socio-economic area. Our students come from good families who struggle to meet the day-to- day support for their children. In addition, under fifteen players coming through the ranks seem to have larger physiques compared to those in the past. We believe that students who participate in school sport have better learning outcomes, and are well rounded to be successful in their lives past schooling.”
Waitara High School is a state secondary school in Taranaki, founded in 1947 and catering for students in Years 9 to 13 from Waitara and the surrounding rural areas of North Taranaki. The current roll of 380 includes 236 students who identify as Māori.