Stories shared

Mount Hutt College teacher Jo Brennan, left, with students Shellie, Katalina, John-Mae and Erica.
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Mount Hutt College welcomed the return of ‘Our Stories’ last Thursday .

Formerly known as ‘Diversity Day’, the community event, welcomed all to come and see what the students had been working on regarding the history of Mid Canterbury, whilst enjoying food from the past and present variety of cultures.

‘Our Stories’, our place, our people are one of the strategic goals of the school and as such a change in title was felt necessary to represent the school perfectly.

It was also in conforming with the change in curriculum with social sciences to include New Zealand history.

Mount Hutt College teacher Jo Brennan, who is in charge of the event, said in the past Year 9 students would help out, creating Asian cuisine and then do an activity based around it.

‘‘This year saw a change to the format. The Year 9 students received a lot of help from Katy Graham at the Ashburton Museum.

‘‘Focusing their attention on the Ng family from Taishan, who used to own the Chinese market gardens in Ashburton. Known as the Ng King family business, after originally settling in Gore in 1905.’’

From delving into that, they moved towards New Zealand’s early history of the gold rush.

‘‘This year saw the onus put firmly on the students to allow them to pick their own area of interest and the area of history they wanted to focus on. ‘‘So, with that we saw more attention drawn towards the history of Methven, to the history of a family farm or special places of significance to themselves,’’ Jo said.

The Year 7s looked firmly at the New Zealand culture.

Accompanying their presentation with foods that relate to the culture at the time.

As always, people outside the school were welcome to offer foods in conjunction to the theme of history and cultures. With any money raised from certain stalls, going towards a local charity. This year, collections and donations will go to the Methven community pool.

Jo said she wasn’t sure what to expect on the day. Because of the long delay inbetween covid and community events taking time to get back to a vibrant level again.

‘‘It was more of a fingers crossed, rather than I hope we can cope with the amount of people coming on the day.

“In the past, it used to be a huge community event, but this year has been a struggle to get the right response as people seem much busier these days, perhaps times have changed.

‘‘But the wish is to revitalise the community and get that spirit back.’’

As it turned out, she was pleasantly surprised to see the community flocking into the hall to enjoy the hard work from the students.

There was quite the atmosphere as the crowded room saw every station on history observed and every food stand kept busy.

The response will certainly be encouraging for when Jo prepares to hold the event next year.