Kura to get major makeover

By Dana Kinita

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Te Kura o Whakarewarewa students Hariru Smith (left), 7, and Riria Wiki, 7, with principal Hariata Tapiata and school board of trustee chairwoman Michelle Hawe look forward to work beginning for their new school buildings.Photo /  Stephen Parker.
Te Kura o Whakarewarewa students Hariru Smith (left), 7, and Riria Wiki, 7, with principal Hariata Tapiata and school board of trustee chairwoman Michelle Hawe look forward to work beginning for their new school buildings.Photo / Stephen Parker.

Work will soon start on a makeover of Te Kura o Whakarewarewa worth more than $1 million.

Construction starts early next month on a new administration building and refurbishment of the classroom interiors, as part of a special project funded by the Ministry of Education.

Principal Hariata Tapiata said the school was looking forward to the new, open plan learning spaces that will ultimately benefit the students. The dual medium school, where both immersion English and immersion te reo Maori were taught, opened in 1940 and had not had a renovation of this scale before, she said.

"At the end of the day we're willing to do whatever it takes to help our students achieve and learn," Ms Tapiata said.

"It's been part of our goal in 2011 to increase the school roll by redecorating the classrooms, providing a learning environment that is fresh, bright and stimulating and the Ministry of Education have come on board."

The reception building exterior will mirror that of its marae Hatupatu and landscaping will include box gardens and cobblestone pathways.

The refurbishment has been part of a rationalisation process which meant, based on roll numbers, the school had to look at what buildings to keep and what to dispose of. This included the removal of its old administration block, an information technology room extension and its dental area.

"It was sad but at the same time the board was still able to protect our historical classrooms," board of trustees chairwoman Michelle Hawe said.

Miss Hawe is a former student of the school, along with four generations of her family.

"It is exciting to see these changes as Hariata's and my kuia and koroua [grandparents] have attended here so it holds a special place for many people," she said.

The redevelopment is expected to be completed by March 2014.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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