Wadestown School Comes to QE Park

 I do know they went home last night and raved about it to their families. Teacher, Jan Ashworth

A highly successful multi-purpose field trip

Story by Roger Childs, Photos by Ian Linning

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA91 Wadestown students with four teachers and ten parents enjoyed a day at Queen Elizabeth Park on Monday 8 December. Travelling on a wonderful New Zealand Coach Services double-decker bus, the group descended on the Kapiti Coast to extend their learning and enjoy the rural atmosphere. It was all part of their Education Outside The Classroom programme.

A tram ride down to Whareroa Beach was one of the favourite activities, along with a look around the Tramway Museum. The students also learnt about the Marines’ involvement in the area in 1942-43 and later had a guided walk with the assistant ranger who told them about what the park has to offer and the on-going conservation work.

Learning about the Marines

Wadestown 8Real live former Marine, Larry Kime was a highlight of this segment of the day. Larry lives in Raumati Beach and spent over 25 years in the Marines around the world.

He told the children that Marines are soldiers of the sea and work closely with the navy. Larry also explained how six items loaned by the Paekakariki Museum were used by the servicemen in the 1940s and beyond.

This session was held at the Marines Memorial and former history teachers Anthony Dreaver and Roger Childs covered aspects such as

  • why the Marines came to New Zealand
  • why the Paekakariki area was an ideal place for the camps which housed up to 15,000 men
  • how this huge Marine presence impacted on the Paekakariki community of 600!
  • details of the landing craft tragedy that took the lives of 10 sailors in June 1943.

Wadestown 6Wadestown 1Wadestown 5Wadestown 12Wadestown 9The students were very well informed and had answers to all the questions! They also asked a number of perceptive questions themselves including one on how the world could do without war.

Part of the session involved the girls and boys using the information boards at the Memorial to answer questions on the part the Marines played in the history of the Kapiti Coast.

The changing landscape at Queen Elizabeth Park

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the afternoon the school party went on a guided walk with the assistant ranger. The children learnt about the roles of the rangers, the multi-purpose functions of the park and the on-going conservation work being done to rid the area of noxious weeds and replant with native shrubs, trees and flaxes.

In teacher Jan Ashworth’s words this session was well-paced and informative.

Favourable impressions all round

The people involved in presenting the programme were delighted at the knowledge and attentiveness of the young students.

I was very impressed at their friendly and orderly demeanour. They listened attentively and had a surprising amount of knowledge to give back. It was a pleasure to deal with these pupils, their teachers and their parent helpers. An organiser at Tramways told me that he had the same favourable reaction. Anthony Dreaver

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWdaestown 2Jan and her fellow teachers were thrilled with how things went.

I know it is a day that will remain in their memories for a long time.  I’m sure they will be asking their parents to return to the Park with them over the summer, too.  We will all be recommending Queen Elizabeth Park as a great place for schools and families to visit.

This was an excellent day enjoyed by everyone involved and the warm, calm, summer weather was a bonus.