Up to $20 million is to be spent on two anniversary rebuilds of schools in Flaxmere.

The package was announced by Minister of Education Hekia Parata yesterday at Flaxmere College, where $14.8m will be spent replacing classrooms with 22 new "flexible learning spaces" and repairs to the school's hall and gymnasium.

Another $5m will be spent on Kimi Ora Community School, where classrooms will be replaced with six of the "flexible learning spaces". The school's hall will also be refurbished.

"This is a big investment which I know will be welcomed by the local community, because both schools are currently in poor condition and have weathertightness issues," the minister said.


"These projects will see the creation of innovative learning environments, which support teachers and students to work together in different ways to enhance the learning experience.

"We want all children to have the opportunity to excel at school, and providing the right physical environment is a big part of this."

Design and planning works will be completed throughout 2017, with construction expected to start in 2018, a year which marks three significant anniversaries relating to the schools.

It will be the 40th anniversary of the opening of Flaxmere Intermediate School in 1978 and the 25th anniversary of its expansion to include the high school years and 2003 reopening as Flaxmere College.

It will also be the 30th anniversary of the opening of Kimi Ora in 1988.

Yesterday's announcement was made to an assembly of students and staff at the college, followed by a haka as the minister was farewelled.

School principal Louise Anaru-Tangira sad it was an investment in capable and talented rangatahi with "limitless potential".

"Our young people deserve the very best in education and we have been working very hard as a school to ensure we have the very best leadership, teaching and learning and student achievement," she said.

"Having a brand new, state of the art school with an innovative learning environment is only going to further support our students' achievement and success," she said.

This comes three months after an announcement that the Government had allocated $4m in Budget 2016 for eight classrooms across three Havelock North schools.

While both announcements are lauded by Hastings-based Tukituki MP Craig Foss, the Havelock North deal was criticised by both Labour Party 2017 election candidate Anna Lorck and former school principal Malcolm Dixon, now a Hastings District councillor, saying prefabricated classrooms were an inadequate alternative to what had been a promised new school to pick up the village's school rolls blowout.

Yesterday, Ms Lorck said that while there is no doubt Flaxmere schools need better facilities, much of "this investment" has been in the pipeline for some time, especially for Kimi Ora where she saw "all the problems and leaky buildings" during a visit "a couple of months ago".

"It is important not to take away from what is also happening in education across our region today," she said.

"I'm concerned that the minister and Mr Foss are far more interested in playing politics and the timing of the spend-up than in the delivery of education in the classroom."

Hastings District Council Flaxmere member Henare O'Keefe welcomed the plans, saying the Kimi Ora upgrade in particular is well overdue.

"It's good news," he said.