Young people winning from international exchange is alive and well in Lower Hutt with several education and youth exchanges on the go this year.
Learning how to play like All Blacks
68 students and coaches from the Japan High School Athletic Federation have been in New Zealand for a week to learn how to play rugby like an All Black. Lower Hutt will host their biggest group to their 6th annual rugby camp playing host to 40 boys, 12 girls and 16 coaches.
Based at Petone Rugby Club, our overseas friends learn rugby skills and then put it in to practice on the field against Hutt Valley high schools.
The camp is coordinated by Hutt City Council in partnership with the Japan New Zealand Centre based in Osaka, and the training is managed by Dave Pollock and Christian Cullen from Rugby and Beyond.
The week also includes visits to NZ Rugby Union HQ, Waiwhetu Marae, Te Papa Museum, the Weta Cave and further Wellington region highlights.
All students on camp are home hosted which gives the students a taste of kiwi culture and local families an insight in to Japanese culture. They can boast about being taught by ex All Blacks, but remember their time distinguishing Vegemite from Marmite at the breakfast table.
Tempe students Kat, Sean, Nicole and Dian on the SS Paiaka shipwreck on the Pencarrow Coast
A taste of Kiwi wet’n‘wild!
A suggestion of mud, mountain biking and 4WDing on Wellington Harbour’s rugged eastern coast sounds completely foreign to students of Lower Hutt’s sister city, Tempe in Arizona, USA.
But they loved it and rated a day of mud adventures in Wainuiomata a top highlight of a fun-filled five-week stay in Lower Hutt. Not to mention the recent storm!
Now in its 32nd year, students from Tempe get the chance to experience the best of Lower Hutt and the wider Wellington region has to offer. Many behind the scenes tours, school visits, including experiencing what -35C feel s like in the Antarctic Ice Core Laboratory at GNS Science meant their exchange partners often learn a lot themselves too.
Mayor Ray Wallace welcomed the students to Lower Hutt along with American Ambassador David Huebner who lives in Lower Hutt too. A bonus was their visit meant they could also join the Independence Day celebrations at the American Embassy in Wellington.
Our Lower Hutt exchange partners are now in the USA experiencing the friendliness of Tempe, who are four time winners of their national Overall Best Sister City Program in America award. Here’s to many more.
Each year 3 teachers are hosted in Lower Hutt by their kiwi counterparts who immerse them in school life and allow them to see education approaches from a different perspective.
Janice Ewbank recently wrote about her trip to Boulcott [Primary] School in the Tempe Sister City Newsletter.
“ My New Zealand exchange experience impacted my life in so many ways, and at so many levels. New Zealand is a country of beautiful landscape, culture, and, people, none of which I will ever forget. I returned from my travels with a notebook full of insights and inspiration, and with my perspective on life and the world around me forever changed. I wish that every student and teacher could have an experience such as mine. Thank you, Sister Cities and all of my New Zealand friends, for a truly life changing experience.”
But it was our morning tea and combined lunch breaks that seemed to make the biggest impact. A staffroom full of staff at these times sharing cake and cookies was something she was off to explore in Tempe.
Travelling on Skype before flying overseas
Eight Tui Glen primary school Year 7/8 students are heading to Lower Hutt’s sister city Minoh, Japan this September and are set to make a deeper connection when they visit thanks to getting to know each other first on Skype.
Tui Glen teacher Graeme Penty is excited to leading his school’s group this year and has already seen the young students grow while meeting their new sister city friends online.
“It’s a huge opportunity for our students and they’re really gaining a lot from learning the language, broadening their global understanding and simply seeing how others live.”
Graeme Penty has connections in Japan after several trips to Minoh and as Nishio already and is certainly passionate about sharing his love of all things Japanese with his school and community.
Hutt Valley High School also have a group of 20 travelling to Minoh in September to visit their sister school, Minoh High School. The two school groups are supported by grants from the Hutt Minoh House Friendship Trust and a lot of love from the community and their families!
Hutt City Council’s International Relations Manager, James Lamb is impressed at the level of participation across the city.
“We pride ourselves on being a diverse city and we’re fortunate to have many schools at all levels involved in international exchanges and regular programmes.”
“These exchanges are invaluable and build bonds that continue long after they return home,” he says.
“Nothing beats young students getting a chance to engage face to face with their international peers. All of these activities will add up to lifelong friendships, impact global trade and even form future business partnerships.”
by James Lamb, Hutt City Council