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Te Awamutu’s Jenga Youth Group claim title of NZ’s longest hot dog

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Home schooled Azel Swney (left) and Te Awamutu Intermediate School students Corey Powell and Myles Cruikshank applying the all-important tomato sauce. Photo / Dean Taylor

A youth group formed a couple of years ago in Te Awamutu to help Year 7 and 8 students gain confidence and skills before they go to high school has put its teamwork skills to use this week and set a New Zealand record.

On Monday morning the group constructed a 101.8m American hot dog at Te Awamutu Intermediate School – and then shared it with all the students.

It’s a long way short of the world record of 203.8m, which consisted of a single bun and a single sausage and was part of Paraguay’s 200th anniversary as a country.

The Te Awamutu attempt consisted of a series of hot dogs, laid out in spouting to achieve – well – the longest series of hot dogs ever laid out in a piece of spouting, in New Zealand, as far as we know.

Jenga Youth Group was formed by Jill Taylor when she saw 12 and 13-year-olds with seemingly nothing to do after school.

“My plan was to form a group that had no costs, so no one was disadvantaged.

“At first, we just did some fitness exercises after school, either outside or if it was cold or wet with help from Te Awamutu Sports, the Events Centre or Te Awamutu Croquet Club.

Jenga Youth Group members place the wiener on the bun to create New Zealand's longest hot dog. Photo / Dean Taylor
Jenga Youth Group members place the wiener on the bun to create New Zealand’s longest hot dog. Photo / Dean Taylor

“But being kids, we first provided some afternoon tea.”

The group grew in popularity and Taylor let the members help decide what activities they would like to do.

She said the main aim was to support each other and learn about teamwork, resilience and to grow in confidence.

“We are called Jenga because if we fall down, we learn how to get back up,” Taylor said.

Recently Barbara Fleck has been assisting Taylor to run the youth group.

Last year Taylor talked to the group about one of her experiences when she was in a youth group in Wellington, and they made and ate a 20-metre-long banana split.

Jenga Youth Group members tuck into their hot dog creation. Photo / Dean Taylor
Jenga Youth Group members tuck into their hot dog creation. Photo / Dean Taylor

After much discussion, the idea for an American hot dog was formed.

Help came from Mitre 10 Mega Te Awamutu, which provided more than 100m of clean plastic spouting to lay out the ingredients, Pak’nSave Te Awamutu jumped on board and offered to provide all the ingredients. Altrusa Club has been helping with afternoon teas since Taylor spoke at one of their meetings and provided extra manpower, while Te Awamutu Intermediate supported the group’s dogged determination.

As well as providing a venue, one of the school’s classes worked with the group to build the hot dog.

Taylor described the event as a success and said all those involved now had something they could remember.

She said the students were well-behaved and showed they could work well together.

After making the hot dog, another hour was spent cleaning up, including cleaning all the sauce and mustard off the spouting so it could be sold.

Jenga Youth Group meet on Fridays from 3.30-5pm at Te Awamutu Sports clubrooms, new members are welcome.

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