The TPPA in a nutshell for kids.

Setting off just as the just waning moon was setting over the hills of Canterbury, Rach, Jacinda, Paula and the kids strode off into the fourth day of the hikoi.

“The weather was way better today than yesterday and the day before” according to Pita, and it was fairly perfect walking weather – not too hot, not too windy, not too cold, just a little of each.

Tema had been kicked all night by Jai, so was not feeling particularly great this morning but got into her stride quickly. A small creek crossing involving jumping into a farmer’s land, which we’d arranged the night before provided a little variety to spice up the walking.

When we got to the Omihi RFC for a break, all the kids from the school opposite came running out to greet us. We went to talk to them and their teachers and took some photos and asked if they knew about us already. It turned out, Lily, one of the children knew about us because we’d come to ask if we could go across their land!

Later in the day, we’d had a quick toilet stop, with the vans catching up the walkers after lunch on the side of the road, so didn’t stop in Greta Valley township. We’d been asked to go into the school by a teacher who had the key to the Pavilion where we were booked to stay the night, so in spite of wanting to power through the kilometres we went in to say hello.

It was such a great visit, all our kids really enjoyed it as they explained to the Greta Valley

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school kids why they had chosen to walk to Wellington. One boy knew what we were doing and why – to stop the TPPA – and so we attempted to explain in the simplest possible terms why we see the TPPA as a problem. I can’t say we succeeded completely! But in turning it over since leaving, I’ve a few other things I’d say to primary school kids next time… it might go something like this…

The TPPA is an agreement between countries about what they will buy and sell from each other and how they will buy and sell from each other. The TPPA is the new rules for buying and selling stuff between countries. The problem is, these rules are not fair, so some people win but many, many more lose.

It would be like playing a game of tennis where the new rules go like this: when I’m serving, there’s no such thing as a fault but when you’re serving, there is, and by-the-way, my points are worth double your points. This means I will always win and you will always lose. I might like it like this, but you probably wouldn’t.

I’d have to stop there, I think, cos it’s hard enough explaining the TPPA to adults and young kids can only take in so many concepts. I can’t say I’m satisfied with my explanation so far, though and will keep working on it!

What we did say to the kids was that we really, really care about this, and about other people. And we asked them if they thought that they might do something crazy like walk to Wellington for something that they really, really cared about. Pretty much every one of them said yes.

Their teacher commented, and they all agreed, that our group of merry, mad walkers were exhibiting all of the values of the school – integrity, perseverance and empathy.

And yeah, that’s essentially what it comes down to.

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