Posted by Michelle Tanner on Aug 28, 2019
Article published in The Scene 23 July 2019
New Zealand and Australia are well known for their trans-Tasman rivalry but that is not the case for students on the Rotary Australia New Zealand Exchange (RANZE) programme. You are more likely to see great friendships develop between the young people ‘matched’ on this six-month exchange which is aimed at year 10 and 11 students.
One such matched couple are year 10 Matamata College student Ruby Deare, and Abigail Martin from South Australia. Ruby applied for the exchange through Rotary Matamata and on being accepted was one of a team of six students who in July departed for Australia. Ruby and Abigail first met in April when the Australian students arrived in New Zealand. Students live for 12 weeks with their matched twin’s family. Ruby is an only child and her mother Miranda Thomson pointed out that learning to share was something Ruby had to learn very quickly. “And Abigail learned what it was like to live with a family very different from her own”. Both the girls have gained confidence during the exchange. Just this week Ruby has given a presentation to Abigail’s local Rotary club about her life here in Matamata and Abigail commented that she did things in New Zealand that took her out her comfort zone and that she would never have attempted before she joined this exchange.
RANZE is open to students aged 13-16½ years but Miranda believes that year 10 is a great year for the exchange, before students start their NCEA’s. “I thought that participation in RANZE would move Ruby out her comfort zone, help her gain confidence and learn about a different culture. Already I can see the girls have formed a firm friendship. A beautiful bond.” From her current home in South Adelaide Ruby will join the other New Zealand students for a week-long ‘safari’ to the Blue Mountains and Sydney.
RANZE runs every year. Anyone interested should contact Matamata Rotary or use 'Contact Us'