Advocacy, Community, History

Heritage heroes

Marlborough Learning Experiences Outside the Classroom Heritage Education Programme has been taught by historian John Orchard. Photo: Supplied.

A teaching role geared to helping bring local history alive for Marlborough students is set to benefit from a $100,000 sponsorship boost.

Bosses at Marlborough Lines have signed off on a $20,000 a year sponsorship deal with Marlborough Heritage Trust in Blenheim.

The announcement means the trust can employ a senior teacher to run the Marlborough Learning Experiences Outside the Classroom Heritage Education Programme.

The move comes as current senior teacher and renowned John Orchard retires.

John has played an integral role in teacher Marlborough children about the region’s past.

Marlborough Lines chief executive Tim Cosgrove says there is a renewed interest in teaching New Zealand history in all schools and the firm is keen to support this.

Sponsorship will help ensure that Marlborough students have the best opportunities to learn about our local history and area, he says.

Trust executive director Steve Austin says more than 6000 students benefit from the initiative each year.

Funding has been earmarked for the next five years.

Steve says the trust is delighted Marlborough Lines has agreed to support the programme, which will now be known as the Marlborough Lines Heritage Education Programme.

The heritage education initiative is largely funded by the Ministry of Education, but government funding has not been increased for many years.

It also falls short of the full cost of remuneration in today’s employment context, Steve says.

“The Ministry are not in a position to increase funding, but we know that Marlborough schools rely on our programmes to enhance their work in history, geography, social studies, science and technology.

“We have been very fortunate in John Orchard’s outstanding leadership of the heritage education programme, but he has retired now, and we have to be realistic about the new salaries offered by schools in the coming years.

“We need to do our best to match these expectations.”

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