Youngsters spread wings over Central

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Central Otago youth have taken their love of adventure to new heights.

Ten children in Alexandra and 12 in Wanaka were taken on flights as part of a Bluelight Take a Kid Flying initiative.

The programme was offered by Otago Lakes Central police, in conjunction with Wanaka and Central Otago flying clubs last weekend.

It was the fifth time it had been hosted in Wanaka and the first time in Alexandra.

The outing aims to reward young people who are making a positive difference within their communities or schools.

They were selected by a group of Central Otago local youth trusts — Kahu Youth Wanaka, Wakatipu Youth Trust, Cromwell Youth Trust and Puna Rangatahi Alexandra Youth Trust — which police work closely with.

Lakes Central Constable Tamah Alley and Senior Constable Phil Vink organised the day, which was made possible by a group of keen local volunteer pilots.

Const Alley said the day was one the children thoroughly enjoyed.

‘‘They get to fly in planes, helicopters and some of the older students even get to fly in twoseater planes and have a proper go flying with the pilot.’’

Good weather made for a tremendous day of flying, with mind-blowing views over Central Otago landmarks like Clyde Dam and Mt Aspiring National Park.

‘‘We obviously couldn’t have done this without the amazing support from local pilots,’’ she said.

‘‘They keep volunteering their services every year, and get a real buzz out of sharing their passion for flying with the kids.

‘‘Some amazing memories were made on the day, including a first ever time on a plane for one young man.’’

Puna Rangatahi development practitioner Sharleen Stirling-Lindsay said it was a great opportunity for youth.

‘‘It was an amazing experience for the young people.

‘‘They were absolutely ecstatic that they got to do that.’’

Thrill seekers … Youngsters were treated to a flight last weekend as part of a Bluelight Take a Kid Flying police initiative, thanks to members of the Central Otago Flying Club. PHOTO: SUPPLIED/PUNA RANGATAHI