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October 12, 2010 Fertiliser company helps rural schools thrive

Rural primary schools are a national treasure according to a Hawke’s Bay company and they are asking farmers to get behind their programme to provide country schools with extra resources.

Hatuma’s Growing Minds Fund asks customers to nominate a rural school and in return the company will donate 20c per tonne of their dicalcic phosphate order to that school.

Hatuma’s Director of Marketing and Sales, Aaron Topp, is behind the idea and is himself a former rural primary school pupil. His children are the third generation of his family to attend Takapau Primary in Central Hawke’s Bay.

“Rural primary schools are the centre of our country communities. They provide a unique education for our kids where their classmates are often their siblings and they’re learning with kids of all ages. Country schools are to be treasured.

“But with support from Government lessening, we feel rural businesses have a role to play to help our schools survive as they are the lifeblood of country communities and will only prosper with the support of their community.

“We don’t want our children to miss out on going to school within their community, or experience new learning opportunities because they don’t live in the city and go to a big school with greater financial support. We want to do our bit to help our rural schools thrive,” Mr Topp says.

In just 6 months, 81 rural schools have been nominated by Hatuma customers directly, and through the special website created, who will benefit from the Growing Minds Fund.

Mr Topp says the past spring and summer was a test for the Growing Minds Fund but Hatuma is already working on ways to evolve it so schools can benefit even further.

“The feedback from our customers and schools has been very positive. Our customers loved the fact that they just continue to do what they would do anyway, nominate their local rural school and we’d present the school with an annual cheque.”

Mr Topp says the individual schools decide exactly how, and where, to spend the Growing Minds funds they received.

“Every school is different and while some may be short on sports equipment, others may be saving for a school trip to a city museum. It’s up to them where they see the best use for it.”
He hopes Hatuma’s enthusiasm for the schools will inspire their customers to support the Growing Minds Fund and nominate a school.

“Hatuma is a small family business and our community is very important to us. We wanted to show our support for the next generation of rural New Zealanders. It costs our customers nothing, it’s Hatuma’s way of giving back,” Mr Topp says.

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