Residents felt that there was limited formal and informal childcare, playgroups early and childhood learning opportunities is a key issue for Ohura and its surrounds.
- Taumarunui, 47km away, is the nearest township offering any pre-school options.
- As a small rural community, the local primary school and two further nearby schools are greatly valued and generally held in high regard.
- Local schools feel maintaining “crucial” and on-going community engagement, involvement and support is a challenge.
“Everyone is so busy in their lives these days.”
“Generally, participants spoke in high regard of the primary schools. A key challenge for the schools was getting community engagement, support and involvement.”
Extracurricular activities for primary school children were limited, with most opportunities delivered in Taumarunui.
“There’s no sport here so if kids want to do any sort of sport it’s into town. Living here is a lot harder in those sorts of ways for our kids.”
The nearest high school in Taumarunui offers self-directed learning, while families support Taumarunui High School and its approach; many send their children to boarding school or leave the area to access secondary education.
- For those children who do attend high school in Taumarunui there were significant challenges in terms of transport and time taken for travel as bus services did not come to Ōhura.
- Geographical barriers to accessing high school, coupled with poor perceptions of the local high schooling options available was seen to be causing families to leave the area.
“There’s actually, I know of two families who have moved to Taranaki and their kids have started school over there. They’ve sold their businesses and gone. Families, that might be long term, they plan around leaving when their kids get to high school. It’s massive at the moment actually”.