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The participants felt there was good availability of early childhood education, playgroups and opportunities for parents of young children to connect.

“There are Kohanga Reo, day care, kindergarten, lots of mum groups, lots of young families.”

Children are perceived to thrive in Ohakune, but there are growing challenges.

“It’s a wonderful place to be, it takes 5 minutes to drive to the pools and if they want to be involved in community activities you can drive 5 minutes and they can be in the theatre or… It’s still a lovely place to grow up. They can bike to school or walk to school and the schools have lots of community involvement. Especially the primary schools.”

Poor housing and financial pressures putting some families in “survival mode” is seen to affect children’s wellbeing and participation in education.

“There’s also different groups, students that come from families that are financially stressed and living in overcrowded situations. Those kids are stressed. You see that stress. It comes out in their behaviour, their wellbeing. It increases during the winter months because of the housing stresses”.

In terms of post-school and adult learning some options were available in the community primarily in the trades and primary industry.

  • Those wishing to obtain a formal tertiary qualification are required to move out of the area so a partnership for delivering tertiary education options in the area was noted with promise:
  • Training for school leavers or young adults was identified as a need in the community to overcome the challenges of employing young people that did not hold basic skills to join the workforce.

“I think, talking to local businesses is that a huge drain on their time and resources is training people. There are people going into the workforce that don’t know how to fill in a wage sheet. And so it’s very hard, training people is hard when you’re trying to run your own business and there is a basic lack of job etiquette, even just learning how to turn up on time, be well presented, and know how to fill in your time sheet. Super basic things. But when you’re a small business owner it affects them.”

It is also felt

“...that the students here are more community minded than at urban schools.”

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