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Lift chairs saved from scrap heap

National Park School’s latest upcycling project is benefitting both the environment and helping fund the 2020 ski season for local school children at the same time.

When Mt Ruapehu put out the call that old lift chairs needed new homes schools from Ohakune, Taupo, National Park and Owhango took up the opportunity and snapped up nearly 200 chairs.

Mt Ruapehu Commercial Manager Cesar Piotto says, “The old Rock Garden, National and Centennial lift chairs had come to the end of their life on the mountain so we saw an opportunity for them to be recycled instead of ending up in the scrap heap.

“RAL is committed to helping promote skiing and snowboarding for kids in the North Island and this is another initiative to work with our whanau to develop the next lifelong skiers.”

National Park School Principal Jane Welburn says, “As an environmentally friendly school we saw this as a great way to not only fundraise but to also help the environment. With the school on-selling the chairs it diverted them from the scrap heap.”

And the response has been amazing. The old chairlift chairs have flown out the door and been loaded into trailers, the back of station wagons and into a freight truck off to their new homes in Ohakune and also Auckland.

“The first wave of requests was from people in their 60s keen for a piece of mountain memorabilia,” Jane says.

“Six school dads got hands on and did all the heavy lifting moving the chairs from the RAL storage yard to the school bus shed. And the kids have kept a chair, which is now a friendship chair, out on the playground for the kids to sit and chat.

“The kids have helped with a mountain rubbish clean up in the past and they’re very aware of the maunga and its significance in their community, especially with it right on the doorstep, so they’re all happy that they’ve helped in this environmental project.”

Dean Lark, part of the Friends of National Park School parents group, has managed the collection of the chairs and upcycled some repurposing them into an authentic Whakapapa lift chair for sitting in, with the safety bar remounted as legs and complete with their Doppelmayr manufacture number.

These chairs have sold for between $500 – $600 dollars each. In total $5,000 has been raised selling the chairs with a target of a further $3,000 over the coming months. There have also been more than 45 requests for 4-seater chairs when they become available later in the summer.

This year Friends of National Park School gifted $100 to each child living locally all year round, for taking part in the school snow programme run by RAL.

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