For many people, Te Mata Park is a sanctuary – a place to recharge and unwind. And, for local students at Iona College, the community significance of the Park has become strikingly apparent.
Thanks to a dedicated group of students and active teachers, Iona College has already raised close to $2000 for One Giant Chance, a campaign to purchase 8.5 hectares of land, adjacent to Te Mata Park.
“We are delighted that our girls have embraced this special community project,’’ comments Rose Flay, Director of Advancement at Iona College.
With less than 2 months until fundraising deadline, local students are wholeheartedly getting in behind the One Giant Chance campaign. And with a strong ethos of community spirit, Iona College are leading the charge with creative fundraising ideas.
‘’Over recent weeks, our year 13’s have donated $1000 from their Weetabix Triathlon activities, and music students raised close to $500 from busking at the Farmer’s Market. The girls took the initiative and enjoyed the opportunity to raise awareness and funds for such a vital community asset,’’ adds Ms. Flay. ‘’A mufti day was also held recently, raising a further $400.’’
The school has also used this campaign as an opportunity to educate the girls further about the importance of the Park ecology, with informative presentations during Chapel Service.
Te Mata Park Trust aim to raise $1.5 million through community fundraising and local Charitable Trusts. This will allow for the purchase of the land, as well as the track development and planting of native trees.
Chairman of Te Mata Park, Mike Devonshire, comments that the contribution from Iona College and their motivated students is deserving of recognition.
‘’These confident and compassionate young ladies are driven to make a difference. Their willingness to set aside time to help raise money for our Te Mata Park is really quite exceptional, and I commend them for all their efforts.’’
Mr. Devonshire encourages other schools around Hawke’s Bay to consider ways in which they also can ‘give back’ and assist with fundraising efforts. ‘’If your school or community group is also interested in getting involved, please do contact our Park Manager via the website. We would be happy to support you and your ideas.’’
With other schools considering ways in which they can support the campaign, Mr. Devonshire says it’s heartening to see the younger generation take a keen interest in the Park and its activities.
‘’The intention for the new land is to provide enhanced educational tools, to improve learning of the flora and fauna within the Park, as well as the cultural significance of the Park. The location of the new land makes it easily accessible from both car parks, and therefore is ideal for school or youth groups to visit.’’
Mr. Devonshire comments that there will also be other more ‘’hands-on’’ opportunities in the future, for schools to become involved. ‘’Eventually, the land will be planted out with thousands of native species, including flax, kowhai and manuka, and we would welcome the voluntary support of students to assist us with this large scale revegetation project. The impact on attracting additional birdlife will be quite noticeable once the trees are well established.’’
‘’The Trust Board are very grateful for the student’s valuable contribution, not only financially, but also in heightening awareness of our fundraising campaign. We thank the girls for all their energy and time,’’ adds Mr. Devonshire.
Iona Principal, Mrs Helen Armstrong, is also very supportive of the student’s activities, commenting ‘’we thank the students for their efforts and wonderful community spirit, and hope that the goal and vision for the Park will be achieved.’’