It's that time of the year again and school prizegivings are under way, displaying much of the outstanding young talent we have in our country. Heading into summer is also a time of year for us to acknowledge the wonderful role our schools and teachers play in making New Zealand a better place. Teachers play a critical role in the lives of our young people.
Last night I attended the Rangitikei College senior prizegiving and it was very pleasing to see the great progress that school is making under the leadership of Karene Biggs, and also the talented students being rewarded for their endeavours.
The past two weeks have also seen a large number of lamb and calf days held around the region, with the number of animals on display increasing in most areas, which is very positive for the future of our livestock industry. The difference between Mangaweka School and those in our dairying areas is obvious: the lambs dominate at the hill country schools while we see a predominance of dairy calves on the flat. It is also a great opportunity for our young people to develop skills with animals.
Our volunteer fire brigades have also been busy with their awards evenings, which recognise the amazing service these dedicated volunteers provide for their communities. Many of these volunteer firefighters turn out week after week in service to their communities. The brigades also rely heavily on the employers of these firemen, as they may be called away from work at any time to answer the siren call.
One last thing: Last week, Sue and I went deep into the King Country to look at the work being done by volunteers to preserve the blue duck, or whio, and again it points out the importance of volunteers in many areas of New Zealand life. These are rare and beautiful birds, and it is very rewarding to see them thriving because of the work of a few dedicated people.