Sunday, February 6, 2011


When the Veteran retired from the military he purchased a home in Greytown in the Wairarapa. Even then it was a special place, secure in its own history and populated by people determined to preserve its special character.

Greytown was the first inland town to be settled in New Zealand. Another 'first' was that Arbor day originated in Greytown and you can still see that first planting as you enter the town from the south. It is a town dominated by trees; Soldiers Memorial Park and a main street that has been completely transformed encompassing boutique cafes and bars, antique shops and restaurants, and many and varied accommodation options including The White Swan Hotel where you can pamper yourself for a mere $399 per night ... but I digress.

The particular history of Greytown is such that much of the commercial area and a significant number of residential sections are owned by the Greytown Trustlands Trust which was established by Act of Parliament in 1871. Today the Trust owns property not just in Greytown but in other Wairarapa towns and in Wanganui and Napier. The aims of the Trust, set in statute, include the promotion of education and the general wellbeing of the people of the District.

Our sil has just been posted to Wellington where he will learn to drive a desk which is somewhat different from commanding HMNZS Te Mana which he did for the past three years. They sold their villa in Devonport for a tidy seven figure sum and then spent a truly frustrating couple of months searching for something in Wellington that met their needs. No luck there so they went further afield and purchased a 15 acre property in Greytown and Blair will commute to work by train - only a 70 minute trip.

But back to the point of this post. Our granddaughter had her first day at the Greytown Primary School last Wednesday and came home bubbling with excitement. The Trust funds a programme whereby every pupil in the senior department is 'given' their own laptop computer. For the first year it remains at school. Therafter they can take it home.

That single initiative is creating a bunch of incredibly IT savvy kids and giving them a huge head start in life. Well done the Greytown Trustlands Trust.


Simon said...

I grew up in the Wai and go over regularly. I fear that the south valley (with the exception of Feathers) + M/b will get over-run and -developed.

Great thing about the l/tops. BUT - I'm assuming they're running Windoze. Why FFS?! I'll bet that the Min of Ed has a school licensing deal with Microshit. Linux is superior - secure by design and out of the box; reliable; fast; runs on older / lower spec'd hardware; easy to use; beautiful; FREE (as in beer, but also in philosophy - and we want to encourage children to be freethinkers, right); etc. There are even Linux distro's optimised for education / schools. I guess one issue in the Wai could be the lack of Linux support. But did the school even explore the Linux option?

Shane Ponting said...

You don't need to give students laptops to promote IT literacy (I never had one in school and can smoke the keyboard like no other).

Plus I fear this will further erode the art of writing.

Oh and ROFL @ the Linux love

The Veteran said...

Shane ... for some kids (especially those from deprivation land) this initiative is perhaps the silver bullet to success.

In the 1990s and early 2000s I had the privilege of working at what is arguably NZs top private school.
We pioneered the laptop student programme albeit at some cost to the parents. The results were simply outstanding.

And now kids in a state primary school are being given that same opportunity. Don't knock it.

Oswald Bastable said...

Greytown is very far from any 'deprivation', but I welcome schemes that don't dip into the pubic trough.