Jetstar flies South Auckland students to Queenstown for Kids ‘n Country experience

Twenty students from a South Auckland primary school are heading to Queenstown this weekend to try their hand at gumboot throwing and experience the spectacle of a merino sheep run in the resort town.


Jetstar is flying the group of Year 5 and 6 students and four teachers from Manurewa’s Finlayson Park School to attend the Hilux New Zealand Rural Games as part of the airline’s support for the inaugural event and ongoing commitment to the local community.

Arriving on Waitangi Day, the children drove straight from Queenstown Airport to watch the ‘Running of the Wools’. This recreation of an almost forgotten part of New Zealand’s rural history featured more than 350 horned merino sheep running through central Queenstown. The same afternoon the school party steamed across Lake Wakatipu on the iconic TSS Earnslaw to visit Walter Peak Station.

On Saturday the students will attend the Hilux New Zealand Rural Games to enjoy Jetstar Kids ‘n Country, a series of fun contests for under-12s including gumboot throwing, sack races and apple bobbing. The Games will also feature national championships for sheep dog trials and coal shovelling, a trans-Tasman wood chopping contest and Highland Games ‘heavy’ events featuring some of the country’s strongest men.

Finlayson Park is the largest primary school in New Zealand with more than 1,000 students and 92 staff. Principal Shirley Maihi said the students selected to head south were good all-round achievers.

“These twenty kids are blown away with the opportunity. As a Decile 1 school we appreciate support from businesses and other organisations. In turn we play a very active part in our community and put a lot of effort into looking after the local environment,” said Ms. Maihi.

“Our students are 95 per cent drawn from Maori and Pacific families and tend to stay in the local area once they’ve left school, so a key role for us is giving them the confidence to take on future leadership roles in this community. We have a strong leadership group that engages with local groups and businesses, bringing stories back to present on our school radio station that broadcasts back to the community.

“They’ll all certainly have a story to tell after this trip and we’re very grateful to Jetstar for supporting us in this way,” she said.

Grant Kerr, Head of Jetstar New Zealand added, “The Hilux New Zealand Rural Games is a fun, family event full of opportunities to try some exciting sports. We’re proud to be supporting Finalyson Park and the Games to bring together kids and country to create new experiences and special memories.”