20 Jul
20 July 2017

Julie's Column 20 July

MANFEILD’S strong interest in positive youth development is bringing tangible result at this very moment.

In addition to preparing for our annual instalment of Evento, just a fortnight away and now surely the country’s pre-eminent showcase of school-level wearable arts, our Feilding venue has during this mid-term break been further developing our regional push to get every teenager a driving licence before they leave secondary school.

It is six months since we began a pilot for the Steering Aotearoa driver training initiative that sets out to enable secondary students to achieve at least a restricted licence, associated NCEA credits and also offers the opportunity for a defensive driving certificate before they enter the workforce.

Since then there has been massive advancement toward much fuller realisation of the National Driver Training Centre activity at our Feilding facility.

The holiday break has brought eager students to undertake in classroom activity, and the opportunity to drive on our driver training area a Toyota Prius provided by our good friends at Toyota New Zealand.

We are delighted to have the most advanced version of the world’s best-selling hybrid car, the Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle’ edition that can be configured to operate purely on electric propulsion for extended periods.

It is an exciting opportunity for the students because in addition to being exactly suited to the driving training operation we undertake it also provides them with an insight into technology of increasing relevance to the driving world they are entering.

The National Driver Training Centre concept is driven by thought that school leavers stand a much better chance of gaining a place in the workforce if they hold a driving licence.

The course we have staged over the past fortnight have allowed students to reach differing points of progress, as applies to their circumstance. Some have achieved their learner licence, some have achieved a restricted qualification and some have also successfully undertaken a defensive driving course.

The learning licensing regime is proving itself; we are proud to have achieved a 100 percent pass rate and recently processed our 50th student.

Our focus is the Horizons’ region, this being the entire regional catchment from Horowhenua to Ruapehu.

Feilding High School’s Wearable Art Show on July 29 is also capturing our thoughts. Evento is much more now than an iconic annual must-see in its home town and all the more important with this year’s event being the 21st.

The ramp up to a show that includes music, dance and performance as well as wearable art, all created by secondary school students, in an extravaganza of colour and sound playing out to an audience of thousands is already under way.

Ticket sales are off to an early start this year and, as well as being available directly from the Manfeild office have for the past three weeks been selling on Eventfinda.

This latest show promises to be extra-spectacular. The overall theme, Nature, is feeding fabulous categories that promise to truly stretch the entrants’ imaginations toward the offbeat, the wacky and, sometimes, the downright outrageous.

The key to Evento is that it feeds off community spirit. Though students from all around the lower North Island enter, the wider effort involves people of all ages from parents, grandparents, friends, families – and former students who still want to give back.

Evento started as a fundraiser for Feilding High School by the Parent Teachers Association. The Wearable Arts concept was a way for the school’s own students to turn their sewing skills into a performance of wearable art.

Moving to Manfeild Stadium in 2010 was a masterstroke; this huge arena accommodates tiered seating for a much bigger audience than the preceding venues and allows the show to move to a whole new level of professionalism.

Evento now has the opportunity to experiment with lighting, staging and effects and is able to continually surprise with new and daring presentations.

We take great pride in holding host rights and are delighted to be involved in its ongoing development. This year we will provide corporate seating for 380 plus the new feature of a premium section of the tiered grandstand seating, as a way of further broadening audience opportunities and further enhancing this incredible experience.

Competition to create the best costume is fierce among schools and although some of the work is done in school time as part of the art and design curriculum, many hours are spent working on the details in the students’ own time.

It’s not just about being up front on the catwalk. Evento demands hundreds of volunteer workers and they’re almost all students. It is a remarkable event that has done so much to bring out an incredible creativity from our community.

Don’t forget to call me, Julie Keane, on 027 6599 666 if you have any thoughts about Manfeild. Also, to keep up with the latest news, check out the Manfeild website, and our Facebook page.