Dilworth Rural Campus students build sleepout for families in need

As part of the annual ‘Inspire Week’, a number of Year 9 students from Dilworth Rural Campus built a sleepout to gift to a family struggling with overcrowding.

Dilworth Rural Campus teacher Dan Fieten came up with the idea when thinking through what he wanted to teach the boys this year as part of Inspire Week, which is held at the Rural Campus each year. The week is filled with activities and workshops run by staff that are related to their own personal passions, in an effort to try and inspire the boys in some way through their pursuit.

“I enjoy building things and am concerned about the many people in NZ living without basic needs. I wanted to share with the boys a passion for building and combine it with fulfilling a community need,” said Fieten.

He read the students a poem called “The Starfish Thrower” to demonstrate that you can’t help everyone, but you can make a huge difference to just one person or family. “In the poem an old man is observed throwing a starfish back into the ocean and he is criticised because there were so many thousands and his efforts really wouldn’t make any difference by throwing a few back. After throwing another back he replied, ‘it made a difference to that one.’ I challenged them that as Christians, we ought to be participating in God’s plan to reunite heaven and earth by helping to restore human dignity caused by human selfishness by somehow undoing selfishness within ourselves and making a sacrifice for another’s benefit,” Fieten explains.

Building a sleepout in just a few days is no easy feat and is a costly exercise. Fieten contacted a number of local businesses in the hope of building the sleepout for minimum cost. “I walked in unannounced to one shop and 10 minutes later walked out with several hundred dollars’ worth of product straight off the shelves. Special mention to Mark Rose at Steel Rite Framing Tuakau and Warren, Marc, and Quinton from Franklin Long Roofing who each donated about $2,000 worth of product for the project.”

The initiative was incredibly rewarding and a great learning experience for the students.

“I knew nothing about construction before being a part of this project,” said 13-year-old Josh Futi. “The roof plans didn’t match the materials, so we had to problem-solve and build it without the plans. We used teamwork, patience and persistence to overcome this problem, even though it was frustrating at times.”

For Year 9 student Siaosi Tusani, a highlight was the blessing of the cabin. “I enjoyed praying for the cabin, that it goes to someone who really needs it. We should be grateful for everything we have because other people in the world don’t get the opportunities we have,” he said.

The students also played a role is sourcing sponsors for the project and cold-called a number of local businesses in the hope to of getting further donations for their project. “It was great seeing that there are kind people in the world who are willing to help,” said Josh Futi.

Fieten was also overwhelmed by the support from local businesses. “I didn’t expect that the majority of people I contacted for sponsorship would be happy to help. It wasn’t long before almost the whole project was funded. I was surprised how easy the whole process was, even if it was a little stressful because of the short amount of time we had.”

The most fulfilling part of the project for Fieten was seeing the boys really engaged and hands-on, even using their free time to work on the project and forgetting to take breaks because they were so involved in the task. “It was cool to see the surprise at what they could achieve as a team in a short space of time,” he said.

Dilworth School Chaplain, Reverend Greg Worboys got in touch with ordained Anglican Ministers Joel and Hinemoa Carpenter who have recently been appointed as the new ministers of St Mary’s Glen Innes. Joel is a part of the Housing Working Group, which was established to assist local Anglican churches with tackling the housing crisis in Auckland.

Joel Carpenter said, “St Mary’s Church is an Anglican/Methodist co-operating parish right in the heart of Glen Innes. We are a small but diverse church community, reflecting the Pacific cultures that live around us. Affordable housing is a big issue for the people of Glen Innes, as many are on low wages, so we wanted to reach out and find a way to help with the issue of housing. Through a partnership with Tamaki College who are our neighbours, we have been able to identify a household connected with the school that is struggling with overcrowding. We are so glad to be able to collaborate with Dilworth School to find a home for their amazing cabin. We give God the glory for this whole project.”


Year 9 student Josh Futi handing over the sleep out to Reverend Joel Carpenter of St Mary's Glen Innes.

Thank you to our sponsors:
Franklin Long Roofing Ltd, Steelrite, Carters, Mitre 10 Mega, Ararimu Electrical Ltd, Hulme Aluminium Joinery Ltd, Insulation Wholesalers, Mammoth Modern Insulation, Jacob Demolition, Roofing Industries (Franklin) Ltd, JBs Flooring Xtra Pukekohe.

December 8, 2020