Ilminster Intermediate students made such a positive impact on a school trip to Canada last month, it prompted a letter to the Prime Minister.
Jacinda Ardern’s office got in touch with principal Peter Ferris to inform him of the complimentary letter.
It was written by the group’s bus driver Roger Steele who said: “I would like to compliment the Government of New Zealand for the wonderful ambassadors that arrived here in the first part of June 2019.
“I had the honour and privilege of being their bus driver for the duration of their visit.
“The group was from Ilminster Intermediate School, Gisborne, NZ. Consisting of 17 students and three teachers, the country of New Zealand could find no better representatives than this group.”
Mr Ferris said the postive message said a lot about the culture of the school and the quality of the staff with them.
“Roger made a point of acknowledging they were still a fun-loving group of students who brought honour and dignity to our country,” said Mr Ferris.
“The feedback from the students has been excellent.
“They immersed themselves in the culture of the community and also provided a richness with what they also shared with the First Nation People.”
The group of 17 students travelled to Gold River on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, where they were hosted by Gold River Secondary School.
Contact with the Canadian high school began because Ilminster Intermediate teacher Travis Lapointe used to be the principal there.
Last year Ilminster Intermediate hosted a cultural group from Gold River Secondary School made up of indigenous Mowachaht/ Muchalaht First Nation people.
Deputy principal Megan Rangiuia said a highlight was a trip to Yuquot Island, where they set up camp 100 metres from where Captain Cook first made contact.
“It is also known as Fort San Miguel or Friendly Cove, with a population of six people.
“The only people who live on the island are the Williams family of the Mowachaht band (tribe), plus two full-time lighthouse keepers, located on Nootka Island in Nootka Sound, on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
“This is Mowachaht /Muchalaht tribal land.”