Girls' School Visit Rangi Ruru for Sport and Culture Exchange

July 09, 2015 at 10:56 AM

With thanks to Girls' School Deputy Principal, Judith Dobson

Four years ago a plan was made to visit Rangi Ruru School in Christchurch during which time our students would share a sporting and cultural exchange with the Rangi girls. The devastating earthquakes struck and our plans were on hold. We had the pleasure of hosting the Rangi girls at Saint Kentigern Girls' School in the past and looked forward to the day that we could visit them.

At the end of Term 2 the last of the plans were in place, bags were packed and an excited group of students and teachers boarded the bus for the first leg of the exchange. On arrival in Christchurch we encountered very cold but beautifully fine weather.

First stop on the way was at Orana Wildlife Park. Over the years the park has developed into an open range zoo which allows visitors to be close to a wide range of animals. The girls roamed freely in groups and loved the view of rhinos, lions, meerkats; all the while exclaiming at the cuteness of the fluffy creatures as well as admiring of the king of beasts. The gift shop also received brisk business as souvenirs for family and friends were purchased.

On to Rangi where we received the warmest welcome from the organising team lead by Helen Joblin. Meeting the billets was so exciting and friendships were quickly forged by all the students as they happily headed away to their first night with strangers.

The first major outing of this tour was to central Christchurch to look at the aftermath of the earthquakes and the rebuild of the CBD. Particularly sobering was standing in front of the ruined Cathedral and trying to understand what this meant to the people of Christchurch. Many of the students had not visited Christchurch prior to the earthquake so were not fully understanding and realising of what had stood in the main square. However, the evidence of cleared spaces and partly reconstructed buildings gave them some inkling of what had gone before. A brisk walk to the “Cardboard Cathedral” where a talk was given explaining how the temporary building had been conceived and constructed was enlightening to the students. This was followed by a Celtic Communion service. Still standing in the CBD is the upmarket store of Ballantynes. Prior to travelling to Christchurch the students had studied not only the earthquakes of the recent past but also the history of Ballantynes. As a result they were eager to check out what this store had to offer todays customers. The accompanying school staff were so proud to hear from passers-by that our students’ behaviour was impeccable.

Our final full day in Christchurch involved the girls taking part in team sport and music making. Team sport included basketball and netball. It is with pride that SK girls won the basketball soundly with a score of 71 -12 and one of the netball games 47-16. The other netball game was a close finish. Music was represented with a combined orchestra performance which gave our girls an opportunity to work with a much larger group of musicians. Our Performers’ choir presented some of their prepared pieces as did the Rangi choir. We rounded off the concert with our standard “Saint Kentigern Girls”

The trip to Christchurch was a wonderful learning experience for our girls. Living in the home of strangers provides its own challenges so we were delighted to hear from hosting parents how much they enjoyed getting to know our girls. For those girls who were a little anxious about embarking on such an adventure; we were proud of the way they conducted themselves. We are all looking forward to hosting Rangi girls again and sharing our town with them.


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