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12 Jan 2015

Sonya's Story

Sonya runs a lovely school in sunny Nelson, and has thrown so much energy into helping everyone at her school care for the environment – from their fantastic garden to their ongoing recycling efforts. We reckon she’s a great advocate for the Fonterra Milk for Schools programme, and love the way she reached out to get some extra help with teaching the kids how to fold and recycle their milk packs. Sonya, you’re a local hero, and we can’t wait to tell your story.

They have their milk and it tops them up, helps them focus, gives them extra fuel when they go out to play. And then they’re focused when they come in after morning tea.

Sonya Hockley, Principal, Auckland Point School, Nelson

Auckland Point School is known for its family atmosphere and its caring and nurturing environment. It’s a small school with great aspirations, providing quality teaching with a major focus on literacy and numeracy.

Past pupil and current principal of Auckland Point School, Sonya Hockley, talks about why her school joined the Fonterra Milk for Schools programme, from the desire to help her students gain a better understanding of what nutrition and health is to increasing environmental awareness, and of course the drive to provide students with healthy source of nutrition during their school day.

Watch Sonya's story here:

Sonya was once a student of Auckland Point School herself, and experienced the government’s long-ago milk in schools programme. Now she’s come full circle, and is responsible for re-introducing milk as a daily nutritious supplement to her students of today. Responding to the nationwide announcement to join the programme, Sonya was invited to visit Fonterra’s Brightwater site, a facility that processes up to 240,000 litres of milk per day. While visiting the site, Sonya and the region’s schools and school leaders were introduced to the details of the Fonterra Milk for Schools programme, and Sonya decided it was time to get Auckland Point School on board.

One of the big discussions with Sonya and her staff was to decide the best time during the school day to serve the students their milk. In the end, their choice was dubbed “Read and Feed” time – just before morning tea while the kids are reading, so that they’re fuelled up when they go to play.

The programme has given some of Sonya’s students the chance to become leaders and manage the milk – including those who wouldn’t usually put their hands up for leadership positions. These students were specially trained by Fonterra’s school liaison team on how to stack the milk in fridges, sort and deliver the milk to classrooms, and – along with all their fellow students – learn how to fold the empty milk cartons once they’ve been sucked dry. It’s an important job, and the Milk Monitor position is highly sought-after. Milk Monitors have to be reliable and responsible, and they’re looked up to (sometimes enviously) by the other students. 

“It gives them an opportunity to feel that they have a value in school, and that they’re leading something important. It’s quite a position of responsibility, and they enjoy it.”

Children embrace it, they love it. It helps us, as educators, deliver a better quality understanding of what nutrition and health is, and what it looks like.

Help also comes in the form of the school’s milkman, who Sonya describes as a friendly guy.

“He’ll ask if we need extra bin liners, those kinds of things. He checks our stocks and also inspects the bin to make sure we’re putting things in the right place and keeping it clean.”

In addition to joining Fonterra’s Environmentally Accredited recycling programme as a part of Milk for Schools, Auckland Point School participates in the regular recycling collection that’s available in Nelson. They’re also planning to become an “Enviro School” in 2015, working towards their first award – they already have a garden, a worm farm and composting. Sonya says the school is now focusing on the packaging that comes and goes from the school, and looking at what else needs to be recycled. 

“We’ve [always] been an environmentally-focused school. Our school is one of the most historically significant in Nelson, with a history of Māori and European settlement here. So we have to care for this land because it’s very, very precious. We want to care for this land so that we can hand it over, make sure that we provide sustainable options for the future.”

Sonya Story Article image

The next step for Sonya is continuing to talk with other schools in the Nelson region, sharing ideas and working together to strive towards healthy students and a sustainable environment for the next generation of Kiwi kids.

If your school’s not signed up for Fonterra Milk for Schools yet, check out our Contact page for information on joining.


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