Friday, 12 August 2022 - 12:46pm

Making positive connections

2 min read

News article photos (4 items)

Group photo in front of the Air Force helicopter that landed on the school field.
From left: Senior Constable Duane Coffin and Constable Ted Symes and tamariki head to check out the helicopter.
A display by Constable Jared Booth and his dog Fi was a crowd pleaser.
Constable Uilisone Tanielu joins in the fun on the school field.

Making positive connections with tamariki and whānau was at the heart of a special community day at a Napier primary school this week.

Richmond Primary School in Maraenui is a Decile 1 School with just 74 students on the roll. It has been keen to reconnect with its whānau and community following the challenges of COVID.

The idea for the day was first sparked after several agencies visited the school offering various levels of support. Richmond School principal, Tash Nicol, saw it as an opportunity to pull everyone together and plan an extraordinary day for the school community.

"They went to hui, ideas were seeded and eventually grew into a multi-agency day-long event which saw an Airforce helicopter land on the school field, along with a wide range of sporting activities on offer from cycling and scooter training sessions to a shared whanau lunch and a chance to sit in a Police car," says Tash.

Napier Senior Constable Duane Coffin was hugely instrumental in helping to organise the day. While he’s now in the Impairment Prevention Team (IPT) he was a community constable in Maraenui and is passionate about supporting his local community.

He was blown away by the support from the wide range of organisations and agencies including FENZ, St John Ambulance, the Defence Force, Sport Hawke’s Bay, the Hawke’s Bay Rugby Union, Te Taiwhenua O Heretaunga and Te Kupenga Hauora O Ahuriri, MSD and Nourishing HB.

“From a Police perspective the day was about engaging with the tamariki in a positive way. We want them to see us as normal people they feel comfortable approaching and not just a Police car patrolling the neighbourhood or dealing with incidents involving their whanau,” says Duane.

He says this is a vulnerable community that Police need to invest time in.

“The day was about shooting some hoops and throwing around a rugby ball and the tamariki having a look in a patrol car and turning the siren on.”

Duane says the day was a huge success with many tamariki keen to explore Police as a career.

“It is good to have a day of fun and positivity to lift everyone’s spirit and to empower people.”

Tash Nicol says the school was overwhelmed and completely humbled by the incredible support for the Richmond community. She says so many gave tirelessly to make the day the success it was, especially Constable Duane Coffin, Sally McKenzie (Sport HB) and Nikita Matthews (MSD).

"Our goal was to welcome our community back into school after COVID restrictions and have some fun under the umbrella of promoting health and nutrition whilst connecting and putting faces to our emergency services. Our expectations for the day were far surpassed and we are hugely grateful to everyone involved."