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Conical Thrill . . . The new development at Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa. File photo

By Robyn Bristow

Leithfield School’s Year 3 and 4 class will be the first to plunge down Conical Thrill, New Zealand’s largest aquatic ride at Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa.

The students won the privilege of being the first official riders of the 13.5 metre high slide, after winning a video competition.

They beat various entries in a social media campaign to find New Zealand most deserving class, and will line up on Friday morning at the official opening of the slide, and five new thermal pools – the Cascades – at the complex.

The Cascades are water efficient having no holding tanks and built on timber frames above the ground to protect the tree roots below.

The $4.5-million development will be opened by Hurunui District Mayor, Marie Black, following formal blessings and kapa haka performances by Amuri Area and Hanmer Springs schools.

The children will then take the plunge.