Opaki School pupil Rose Hooper [front] inspired her fellow pupils to give items to Pack the Bus. PHOTO/ELI HILL

Plus: Santa gets a new helper from Opaki School
Christmas gifts will put smiles on children’s faces

ELI HILL and MARCUS ANSLEM

A Martinborough vineyard has given $120,000 worth of presents to Wairarapa children.

Craggy Range handed over more than 800 Santa sacks to Wairarapa’s Pack the Bus initiative which stopped into Martinborough on Friday.

The initiative distributes gifts to children in need this Christmas.

Each sack, valued at about $150, contained a backpack, books, sporting ball, and stationery to prepare children for the new school year.

The sacks will be distributed, along with all the other donations, by the region’s food banks.

District mayors and helpers help pack the bus in Martinborough with presents donated by Craggy Range. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

Mayors Alex Beijen of South Wairarapa, Lyn Patterson of Masterton, and Carterton Deputy Mayor Rebecca Vergunst were in Martinborough to help.

“It’s wonderful for an organisation such as Craggy Range to be so generous to the families and children in the Wairarapa region,” Beijen said.

“On behalf of the three mayors, thank you for your generosity and for putting smiles on the faces of our tamariki.”

Meanwhile in Masterton, Santa had an extra hand sourcing gifts for children who might otherwise go without in the form of seven-year-old Rose Hooper.

The Opaki School pupil was listening to the radio when she heard about Pack the Bus.

“There are families who won’t have enough money to get their kids something so I thought that our school could do it,” she said.

“We asked [principal] David Finlayson to put out notices and I told my class and they said that’s a great idea to do that.”

The “boxes on boxes” of toys and food items were collected by Patterson on Friday.

In preparation for the collection, the whole school dressed up in Christmas-themed clothes – with Rose, very appropriately, dressing up as Santa’s helper.

Her mum, Lara, said Rose was “very caring”.

“She’s always been one to think about others and doesn’t like it if people are upset. It’s really her kind nature.”

Bus collection point:

Tomorrow: 8.30am-10.30am: FreshChoice Greytown