29 November 2013

Initiative to see thousands of school kids visit Waitangi Treaty Grounds

A new initiative aimed at having every child visit Waitangi before they leave school to better understand New Zealand’s heritage, was launched today.

WaitangiONCWP logoH COLApproximately 3,000 school children – just over 2.5% - of New Zealand’s 762,400* students currently make the trek north each year.

Our Nation’s Children – an initiative of the Waitangi National Trust and supported by Westpac – has been developed to promote the 175th anniversary of the Treaty of Waitangi in 2015 and encourage more visitors to the historic location. 

The initiative was officially launched by the Governor-General, Lt Gen Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae during a red carpet premiere event at Westpac’s headquarters this afternoon.

Waitangi National Trust CEO, Greg McManus, says the project is all about inspiring and educating the next generation of New Zealanders to know and understand the history of the birthplace of New Zealand, and encourage more people to visit.

“It would be great if, through this initiative, we are able to encourage more schools to consider visiting Waitangi and the Bay of Islands as part of the school curriculum or even to make it a destination for their annual school camp,” he said.

Westpac Director of Corporate Affairs Sue Foley said Waitangi and Northland are very precious to the history of New Zealand and it is important for young Kiwis to stay connected to that history.

“We think it is vital young people know the story of the Treaty of Waitangi and get to experience the Treaty Grounds first hand to bring it to life,” she said.

One of the first projects of Our Nation’s Children is a school movie competition aimed at intermediate school age students and will be held during the first term of 2014.

Through the support of Westpac, the three best movies will each win a class trip valued at around $10,000 to visit Waitangi and the Bay of Islands.

“This is a great opportunity for students from around our region to get creative and win an amazing trip for their school,” said Ms Foley.

Academy Award-winning movie producer and director, Andrew Adamson NZOM (Shrek, The Chronicles of Narnia and Mr Pip) attended the launch as one of the official judges of the movie competition. He said he’s inspired by the idea of reconnecting Kiwi kids with their history.

Students from PointEnglandPrimary School also premiered a movie showcasing their visit to the Treaty Grounds to launch the school’s competition.

Around 100,000 people visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds every year, with an extra 30,000 visiting on Waitangi Day itself.  55% are domestic (25% of total visitors are from Auckland), 45% international (15% Australia, 10% UK, 10% Europe) - Waitangi National Trust visitor stats 2013.

* New Zealand School Roll return as of July 1, 2013 – Ministry of Education

About Our Nation’s Children National Movie Competition

The competition theme is: “The Treaty of Waitangi; what is the relevance of New Zealand’s founding document to all New Zealanders today?”  

The prize include three nights’ accommodation for one class from each of the winning schools, all meals, an educational experience at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, a Dolphin Viewing/Hole in the Rock Cruise, a visit to Pompallier Mission in Russell, a sailing trip on the R Tucker Thompson schooner, a waka experience and an eco scavenger hunt.

Entries for the movie competition will be judged on the basis of movie visuals, audio, editing skills, story/script and overall effectiveness. More information about Our Nation’s Children and the movie competition is available on the waitangi.net.nz website.

Check out photos from the launch here.