Bairds Mainfreight Primary
Bairds Mainfreight Primary is a school that is very close to our hearts. What started with Bruce Plested’s secretary, Carol Selwyn, contacting the school wanting to donate some unwanted sports gear, has turned into a long-standing relationship that has seen the school become a part of the Mainfreight family.
In 1993, Carol reached out to the school wanting to donate some softball gear. Turns out that gear was destined for other things, so a cheque of $1000 was given to the school instead. This went towards new sports uniforms. The school added the Mainfreight logo to the new uniform and students wrote thank you letters that were personally delivered to Bruce and the team.
The school would regularly invite Bruce, Carol and Kevin Drinkwater (CIO) to functions that they held. Bruce soon found himself asking what more can we do for the school. Without a blink of an eye, they said ‘a computer’! There were 25 classrooms and Mainfreight initially planned to install computers in three rooms per year. However, by the end of 1995, Mainfreight had supplied each classroom its very own computer. Every teacher at the time was given training to ensure they were able to teach the children what they needed to know. To mark the 20th anniversary of our partnership Mainfreight announced it would offer scholarships for former students to help with their expenses for high school and tertiary education.
Two of the key foundations to the success of this enduring partnership have been the way the school expresses their gratitude and their desire to put to match our contributions. When we ask them how we can help, they always gave us a plan that showed how they would contribute – as they did by taking responsibility for computer training. They always have skin in the game, which means we provide a hand up rather than a handout.
Their thanks to us are always heart-warming moments whether it be from expressions through their artwork or their cultural performances to our team. In 1997, the school was renamed Bairds Mainfreight Primary. The staff, board of trustees and the wider school community felt this was a fitting gesture after all the support that we had given them.
To this day we continue to support the school in every way we can, whether it’s upgrading of computer equipment or special school trips to Waiheke Island. We believe that education is a great equaliser. It doesn’t matter where you come from, we believe that everyone should be given equal opportunities.