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Te Mahia students enjoying riding in their ‘Rocket Van’

A NEW mode of transport has rolled into Te Mahia School at the perfect moment.

A new “Rocket Van” from Rocket Lab, and the running costs of the vehicle covering $50,000, have been donated to the school.

Principal Aan Hoek is the van driver at the moment, and says it is a major benefit for the school.

“We had paid a bus company to do an additional run for our tamariki in 2021, due to roll growth. But with this van, we are now able to cover the additional run ourselves in a more sustainable manner,” he said.

“We had 12 kids on that bus run, but our roll is seeing continued growth and we now have 25 students who need transporting to school on that one run.

“A number of the school's tamariki live in areas not covered by Ministry of Education-funded school transport, and as such do not generate funding from MoE to enable the bus contractors to provide a bigger bus.

“This means as a school, we have had to assist whānau with transport to ensure tamariki have no barriers to accessing education and keeping up their attendance, and in turn they progress and keep up their achievement levels.”

The new van now means the school can hire a driver, creating a job in the Mahia community.

“We are currently seeking a driver for our Rocket Bus; however, there are some requirements with what licence you must hold to be eligible to do this. We can assist the right applicant with this.”

Rocket Lab spokesperson Murielle Baker says the company has a close relationship with the school and is eager to help students arrive at school reliably and safely.

“All tamariki should be able to access school and reach their full potential, and we're proud to be making that possible in Mahia,” she said.

“The new rocket van is one of several education-focused programmes we've initiated in Mahia, including funding more than $100,000 in tertiary scholarships, supporting local schools at their annual fundraising galas, and hosting educational tours of the launch site for local students.”

Driver and Te Mahia School principal Aan Hoek says the new vehicle is a major benefit to help students attend school.
NEW WHEELS: Doing their best flying imitations in honour of their new school vehicle are Te Mahia pupils, back, from left, Hikurangi Ivar, Lyric Buchanan, Millie White, Liukou Miura, Celia Martin, and Paskalle Hansen. Front, from left, Karla Keil, Eva Coop, Kayle Whaanga and Stevie Ryan. Picture supplied