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Karangahake School students have been fundraising for a new playground with a bake sale and a colour run. Photo: SUPPLIED

New playground plans set for Karangahake School

A new playground is in the works for Karangahake School after a generous donation. 

The rural primary school, located in Karangahake Gorge between Paeroa and Waihī, wants to raise at least $60,000 to replace its old equipment. The upgrade plans were set in motion by a donation of more than $20,000 from its now-disbanded Parent-Teachers Association (PTA), with the stipulation that the money be spent on renewing the play equipment. 

“We didn’t have anyone interested in the PTA,” school administrator Zoe Shepherd said of the disbanding. 

“There’s still parents that are really heavily involved with fundraising, it’s just not an official trust any more. But the playground is a gift that the PTA wanted to leave as a legacy, because the whole purpose of [its] fundraising was to get the extra stuff for the kids.”

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The school recently posted a video of their current playground, highlighting issues such as missing planks, peeling paint, unsuitable equipment and missing soft fall material. 

Now, students are putting their efforts into raising additional funds, and Zoe said they would also be looking into grants. 

“We’re probably aiming to fund half of the playground ourselves and get the rest through grants,” she said.

“But it starts with us fundraising, and then we can get planning and quoting, get grants, and start construction. So that won’t be until the end of the year.” 

Senior students at the bake sale. Photo: SUPPLIED

So far the school has raised over $8400 (gross) from its fundraising efforts. 

The 62 students at the school are already excited for the new playground, and told the Valley Profile what they did and didn’t want to see in the new space. 

“We need a new playground because it’s crusty and rusty,” one student said. 

“It’s a safety hazard – It hurts your hands when you go on the monkey bars.”

“I really want those spinny things where you sit in it,” another said; a third said they’d like a flying fox, easier monkey bars or a swing. 

The school has held several fundraisers so far this year. Takings from their regular bake sale in Paeroa – usually used to cover the cost of extras such as school trips, sports fees, math and literacy games, and gardening and craft supplies – will be going towards the playground, as will the $500 raised at their Colour Run event on March 28. 

Students loved the colourful run. Photo: SUPPLIED

The students have also set up a profile on an online fundraising platform, which allows them to see how much they have raised and get rewarded with prizes. 

“Once they hit a certain dollar value each kid will get a prize, and they get to choose what they want, so they’re more motivated to try and earn a bit more money,” Zoe said. 

“It’s been a really good fundraiser because the kids are going to get something out of it, and we know exactly what the money’s going to.” 

The school hoped to begin construction on the playground by the end of the year. 

Karangahake School's colour run was a success. Photo: SUPPLIED