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Rawene and Omanaia combine over school bus

24 September 2002 Media Statement

Rawene and Omanaia combine over school bus

Two Far North school communities have agreed to combine forces for the purposes of retaining their school bus service, Associate Education Minister, Marian Hobbs and Te Tai Tokerau MP Dover Samuels said today.

This follows a meeting with representatives of the Omanaia and Rawene school boards and school principals at Rawene yesterday.

"I agreed before the general election to visit the communities to get a first-hand impression of the area," Marian Hobbs said. "The Far North has special circumstances and I undertook to work with the community to ensure an equitable and safe solution."

The current school bus service to Omanaia and Rawene schools has been operating outside policy for several years and was due to end this December.

"My first concern is the education of the children," Marian Hobbs said. "There is no doubt in my mind that, without the bus service, many would not get to school.

"In our discussions with the two communities the schools have agreed to be treated as one for the purposes of school transport. We will now explore the establishment of a transport committee representing both schools to work with the school bus contractor to get the best service possible while still applying transport policy.

"This the best possible result and I would like to thank both communities for the constructive way they went about reaching a solution."

Dover Samuels said he and the community appreciated the visit by the Associate Education Minister.

"The many isolated Maori families see their schools as an integral part of their community and it's not very often a minister takes time out to experience local conditions, trundling over metal roads and potholes," Dover Samuels said. "The minister was able to see for herself the importance of rural schools to the Far North."


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