Thursday, 09 July 2020


Nana's Beanies help fund Vietnam adventure

Nana’s knitting skills are helping to send a Tairua teenager on the trip of lifetime to Vietnam next year.

Year 11 student, Stella Cory-Wright, is fundraising to reach the $7,000 target to allow her to embark on the three-week adventure, which will include travel, cultural experiences and volunteer work.

As well as fundraising, Stella will be working two jobs over the summer holidays. Her family and friends are right behind her, including her Nana, Elaine Roebuck, who decided to put her leftover wool to good use.

“Nana doesn’t have lots of money but she was really keen to help. She has been making lemon honey preserve for Stella to sell. But she also loves knitting and she had lots of wool lying around, so she came up with the idea of knitting beanies. She made six initially and we put them on display at the pharmacy and they flew out the door. So we’ve put an order in for more asap,” said Stella’s mum, Maria, who works at Tairua Pharmacy.

Stella will travel with eight other students and a teacher from Thames High School as part of the Andipodeans School Expedition Programme, which aims to encourage independence, teamwork and gratitude. They also allow high school students to give back to a community abroad, through a rewarding project they help plan before they go.

“We will be visiting Hanoi, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City. Antipodeans will organise our flights and our buses between the cities. The rest of the program we need to plan ourselves within our group. We will have a set budget which we will need to use to organise accommodation, activities, food and transport. That could be quite stressful in the beginning, we will need to be very organised and communicate well, but I’m excited for the challenge,” Stella told The Informer.

Key to the success of the trip will be the students’ ability to understand and utilise their individual skills in a team context. The group doesn’t know yet what humanitarian project they will be working on, but it is likely to be linked to education. Previous projects undertaken by Antipodean expeditions include constructing a toilet block for a village in northwest Cambodia and building greenhouses for a small rural community near Cusco in Peru.

Stella says her love of travel and a desire to experience a little of life in another country prompted her decision to sign up. Mum and dad, Maria and Mark, were on board immediately but on the understanding that Stella would raise most of the money herself.

“Both my older siblings, Cade and Ivy, had the chance to do overseas trips when they were at school, so they couldn’t really say no,” Stella laughed.

Maria said there has been amazing support from the local community. “Once people knew what she was doing, they were popping in to ask how they could help. We’ve already had a couple of raffles. Artist, Ruth Lee, donated a watercolour and Jan Collier donated a trailer-load of firewood. Jan has also provided fruit from her orchard so Stella has been running a fruit stand. We will be doing a Christmas hamper raffle later in the year and a lady just recently offered to make a cake for it.

“People in Tairua are so supportive of our young people, especially when they see them making an effort to do something positive,” Maria said.

Stella is delighted with the help she has received to date and feels positive about reaching her goal ahead of her departure in June next year. “It’s going well, I’m really grateful to everyone who has helped so far,” she said.

Pictured: Year 11 student, Stella Cory-Wright, pictured with some of her Nana’s hand-knitted beanies which are for sale at Tairua Pharmacy. Stella is fundraising for an educational trip to Vietnam next year.


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