The multi-million dollar revamp of Kimi Ora Community School is being described as a "new start" for the suburb and reflects the community's rohe and Tangata, principal Matt O'Dowda says.
Artists impressions have revealed 13 outdoor areas which flow "seamlessly across the site" and are based on strong cultural elements relevant to the children, their whanau, and the wider community.
One area, a new community playground, has been granted $225,000 from the Eastern and Central Community Trust and $35,000 from Grassroots Trust.
Funding for developing the proposal was generously provided by the Hastings District Council.
O'Dowda said the playground is part of the implementation of Te Puna Taiao at Kimi Ora Community School, which is a kaupapa that aims to transform the outdoor spaces of schools in Aotearoa into places that are both fantastic outdoor play and learning environments for tamariki during school-time, as well as beautiful culturally-connected playgrounds and gardens for the wider community outside of school hours.
The design reflects the people and history of the whenua and connects in the school's neighbours at Te Aranga marae and the soon to be developed Waingākau Village.
ECCT Chairperson Shelly Mitchell-Jenkins says whānau told them that local community facilities are a priority for Flaxmere West.
"They want a playground that is welcoming, safe, exciting, and inspirational. We look forward to it becoming a community hub used by the school, whānau, and community groups for sport, social, education, and many other activities."
The playground has been designed to improve the hauora of tamariki, whānau and the whole community by providing a place for whānau to come together to have fun and get moving together in a beautiful natural setting that connects to Te Ao Māori.
Grassroots Trust Chairman Martin Bradley said: "Grassroots Trust aims to provide grants to communities where the funds were generated. We're very proud to support Kimi Ora Community School and this amazing project".
O'Dowda said the school's tamariki, whānau, teachers and Board of Trustees all extend their warm thanks to EECT and Grassroots Trust for funding the playground which is an important part of revitalising Flaxmere West and lifting education outcomes in the community.
"This opportunity is a new start for our Flaxmere West community. The design reflects our rohe and our tangata. It will provide a space for our whole community to enjoy and learn together."
Construction is due to begin early next year alongside the construction of the school's new buildings, which are being funded separately, by the Ministry of Education, and with a price tag of about $6 million.
With the support of the Te Puna Taiao Charitable Trust, the school's Board of Trustees is in the process of applying to other organisations to fund the remainder of the planned new spaces, including a community eating area, replica pā area, water play area, bush area and boardwalk.
There's nothing like a digger...
There is nothing seven-year-old Oupea Moata'ane likes better than watching the diggers demolishing the old buildings at his school.
He is out there every chance he gets, says Kimi Ora Community School principal Matt O'Dowda.
The Flaxmere school's old buildings are being brought down to make way for a complete rebuild.
Oupea's dedication to keeping an eye on the project got him a very special reward last Friday; a close-up view of a three-tonne digger and a seat inside the cab. Oupea is pretty clear about where his futures lies: He's planning on being a digger driver.
While it has been all about demolition so far, next week the foundations for the first of the new buildings will go in.