The start of winter each year sees a number of families arrive in Wānaka just for the ski season - mostly so that budding snowsport athletes within the family can train.
Parents enrol their children at some of the local schools so that they can stay close to the mountains, and when the ski fields close, they head off once again.
But has the global pandemic, and with it the uncertainties around international and national travel, had an impact on traditional student movement in the area?
Mount Aspiring College (MAC) Office Administrator Mandy Sherson said that the school usually saw a “very small” jump in winter enrollment, with around five or six students joining the high school specifically for term 3 skiing last year. This year, they took on three new students for term 3. “Of those, two have left but one is still with us,” she said.
“We have had slightly more students starting and leaving over the past few months, and this may to some extent be due to Covid (but some had already made plans to be elsewhere prior to Covid). So, there is possibly a higher number of movements taking place around the country (but some newcomers are also arriving in Wānaka).”
Wānaka Primary School reported a greater drop in winter enrollment numbers this year. Enrolment Officer Katrina Kreft said that 9 children joined the school for term 3, compared to approximately 20 last year.
Wānaka’s newest school Te Kura O Take Kārara also reported that three children and two families had joined them for term 3, but, as the school had only opened this year, they were unable to compare this to previous years.
No new students had enrolled at Hāwea Flat School this year, or at Holy Family School - which does not take short-term enrollments.
Read edition 996 of the Wānaka Sun here.