A-maze-ing fundraiser keeps Patea school teacher employed

By Emma Russell

Getting lost in maize comes with rewards, it's keeping a rural teacher employed.

Over the course of the next three weeks Whenuakura School near Patea will be hosting their annual Maize Maze, this year in a bid to raise enough money to pay for a teacher's wages for a whole year.

The school of 38 students has three teachers but only receives enough government funding for two of the teachers' wages. The third teacher relies on funding from the school board.

For the next three Sundays (February 11, 18 and 25) children and adults may be seen darting through the maize stalks in an attempt to beat record time, or for some just make it to the end.

The maze will be open to the public from 11am to 6pm on each of these days and to add to the excitement the school will also be hosting Fright Nights on March 2 and 3.

Whenuakura School administrator, Sally Train, said a lot work had gone into making the props and costumes for the fright nights and it was definitely something to get excited about.

Lorcan Honeyfield (8), Lexie Harrison (7), Wesley Smith (5) and school board chair Andrew Hurley led the way through the maze. Photo/ Bevan Conley
Lorcan Honeyfield (8), Lexie Harrison (7), Wesley Smith (5) and school board chair Andrew Hurley led the way through the maze. Photo/ Bevan Conley


"It's Peter Jackson, eat your heart out kind of stuff."

School principal Kat Haerewa said schools needed 51 students in order for the Government to fund three teachers.

"Having three teachers means we can have small classrooms and children are able to learn more effectively."

School board chairman Andrew Hurley said last year they raised about $16,000 but ideally they hoped to get enough money to pay the wages of a teacher for a whole year.

"It's a real community event that everyone seems to get behind."

The 1.6 hectare paddock was transformed into a maize crop maze three years ago with the donated help of local businesses.

Waverley Harvesting donated time and use of its machinery, while Peko Contracting sprayed the area. Ravensdown provided fertiliser and Farm Source and Pioneer donated seed.

Tickets for the Maize Maze cost $5 for adults and a gold coin for children.

Tickets for Fright Nights are $15 and restricted to people over the age of 13. Booking is required by calling: 027 416 4357.

- Whanganui Chronicle

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