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Wymondley Road School is a small school of approximately 200 pupils nestled on the edge of Ōtara, central to the borders of Papatoetoe and Ōtāhuhu. 

Each year the school selects a group of leaders to participate in their Serve to Lead programme, which is aimed at providing senior pupils with leadership development and community service opportunities. 

This year, Serve to Lead teamed up with The Cause Collective’s One Love South Auckland (One Love) initiative to help the young leaders reach their full potential, as explained by Wymondley Road School Principal Fluer Petelo.

“I have seen the work that One Love has done with our Year 6’s and I am so impressed. The team drew ideas and thoughts, a level of thinking that the kids haven’t expressed before,” she says.

The One Love team has been working together with pupils to see beyond their horizon, goal setting, implementing steps to achieve those goals, dealing with challenges along the way, understanding resilience and learning to have a growth mindset so that they can navigate their next stages in school and life.

“I wanted our Tamariki to see what is possible in life and meet phenomenal and successful Māori and Pasifika people doing amazing and great things in the community. Most importantly to ignite in them the belief that they could do that too – One Love has exceeded this,” she says.

“We’ve been really blessed by the initiative. They have also supplied school bags and stationery, food parcels, lockdown support, their support has been amazing.”

“One Love demonstrates love for all through service and compassion. Our whānau need support that offers them a hand up, sometimes a handout just to get on top of things. I have seen this team go above and beyond for our school whānau. I am so appreciative of One Love.”

Pita Alatini, Systems Innovator of The Cause Collective, is a former All Black, and Mele Tapueluelu, Youth Mobiliser, is an award-winning hip hop dancer. The pair have been leading this year’s work with Wymondley Road School with support from Laumata Lauano, a former journalist and regular Film & TV correspondent on Radio New Zealand’s Nine to Noon.

Wymondley Road School’s pupils are predominantly of Pasifika heritage and a small percentage of Māori students. Their overarching goal is for students to learn and lead with courage. The school’s vision aims to nurture students as leaders who stand tall, are strong in character, confident in identity and who strive for excellence. 

Their values and aims have had a strong alignment with the vision of One Love South Auckland which is centred on building a social infrastructure in South Auckland neighbourhoods. To do this, it means getting local people to be involved in the social and economic improvement of their area.

“The aim of our work with year 6 pupils is to build up their leadership skills while building relationships with them. They can apply these skills at home and out in the wider Wymondley and Ōtara neighbourhood.

“We wanted to grow their minds to think outside-the-box and really tap into their creative thinking as they are the future leaders for their neighbourhood and beyond.”

Although the Auckland region has been in lockdown since August 18, 2021, the Serve to Lead programme has continued with weekly workshops during the school terms on Zoom.

“It’s been great to see the kids stay focused and interested with the Serve to Lead programme during this lockdown,” says Pita. 

“Leadership can be developed and learnt. When you have young people eager to learn, ask for weekly meetings, and then confidently engage online. It gives you confidence that they will transition smoothly to Intermediate and continue to serve their communities with courage and grace.”