A Northland kura has achieved top marks for an environmentally friendly building which includes features to encourage energy efficiency and create a healthy indoor environment.

Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Whangaroa, a full Maori immersion school in Matauri Bay, has achieved a five Green Star rating, indicating New Zealand excellence, by the New Zealand Green Building Council as part of World Green Building Week.

The Northland school has had its troubles in the past. In 2014 the school board was dissolved and a commissioner was appointed after months of division at the school culminated in the exodus of 50 of the kura's 103 pupils, along with five staff, at the beginning of the year.

The following year a new board was elected at the kura and now the school has been given a five star rating for a project which consists of two single-storey buildings connected by a covered open space, incorporates four classrooms, a teaching common, a food technology suite, an art room and a multipurpose hall/gymnasium.

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Sustainability features of the building include energy and water metering - to encourage efficiency and teach students about energy and water conservation, a design maximising natural daylight, low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) carpets, paints, ceiling tiles and other materials to reduce airborne pollutants and create a healthier indoor environment and good insulation to reduce the need for heating.