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Port Chalmers School wins prize to help the Hoiho

12 August 2004

Port Chalmers School wins ultimate prize to help the Hoiho

Port Chalmers Primary School's Room 8 children have won the ultimate prize in Mainland's nationwide Help our Hoiho competition.

The children won a class field-trip to see the yellow-eyed penguin on the Otago Peninsula and work with the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust for a day.

Mainland's Marketing Manager Sharon Angus says close to 40,000 children from about 500 schools around the country took part in the competition, which required them to collect stickers from Mainland cheese products. Support for the competition was equally split between North Island and South Island schools. The winning school was drawn from all of the entries, under police supervision.

"Overall, the response has been excellent and the children all around New Zealand who have taken part in the programme now have a clear appreciation of the penguins, and how precious they are," Sharon Angus says. "Some of the art work that has come in as part of the children¹s entries has been outstanding."

Mainland and the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust worked together to develop educational material to assist the teachers to lead the children through their studies.

Consolation prizes of $500 worth of reference books were won by:

Room 8 Papatoetoe Intermediate; Room 3 Havelock School; Room 4 Kaurilands School, Titirangi; Room 22 Cobham Intermediate, Christchurch; Year 6-8, Totara College for Accelerated Learning, Dannevirke.

"The children have shown so much enthusiasm and put so much energy into collecting the stickers in their communities that Mainland has decided to reward additional $500 book prizes to outstanding entries," Sharon Angus says.

Those classes are: Room 2 Tamahere School, Hamilton for the most creative and beautiful entries; Henley School, Nelson for the most entries for a school; the Hoiho Class, St Paul¹s School, Nelson, for the most entries for a class; Sunnyhills Primary School, Pakuranga for fantastic support; and Darfield Primary School, Canterbury, for fantastic support.

Mainland has sponsored the Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust for 15 years, and this latest promotion was aimed to push the sponsorship close to the $1 million mark. There was a family competition as well and between the two 20,000 barcodes and stickers were received.

Sharon Angus says the company's long-term commitment to the project reflects the time it takes to bring penguins back from the brink of extinction.

"When we became involved, the penguins were in danger of extinction. They are still on the threatened species list, but the work of the Trust is helping to build their numbers and create a habitat free of predators," she says.

Over the years cheese lovers have been involved, the numbers of penguins have recovered from a low on the mainland of 150 in 1990 to last season's estimated 470 breeding pairs


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