Tarawera High School's modern new facilities - including 33 new teaching spaces, a performing arts theatre and a hospitality suite - have been officially opened.

Following community consultation and the closure of Kawerau College and Kawerau Intermediate School, the Government invested $15.6 million to redevelop the Kawerau school which will cater for more than 500 students from Years 7 to 13.

"This is excellent news and represents a great opportunity for modern learning. I'm impressed with the sustainable elements as well as the learning spaces," said Minister of Education Hekia Parata.

"It's also nice to hear the positive feedback from the school and community on these new classrooms and facilities."


Stage one was completed last year and included the new administration and learning space, hospitality block and theatre. Stage two, delivering the remainder of the classrooms and technology block, was handed over to the school this month.

Ms Parata said the innovative teaching and learning spaces would ensure students were well supported to thrive in the future.

Tarawera High School was built to ensure it was closely connected to the Kawerau town centre and features a number of environmentally sustainable elements including large covered areas, special heating and ventilation systems, rainwater harvesting and solar panels to generate electricity.

A Tarawera High School spokeswoman, who did not wish to be named, said the new teaching space would allow students to work with devices using a variety of eLearning tools/programmes.

She said some spaces were designed to cater for up to three classes in one space. The junior spaces had up to three teachers and three classes in it.

"It means teachers support one another and the students learning. We are aware that one size does not fit all so we cater for each individual students need.

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"Kawerau has in the past been negatively portrayed so the school has given the community something to hold onto for their children. As we are living in a rapidly globalising world the school will provide a firm foundation and necessary skills in order to set the students up for success for when they leave Tarawera High at the end of Year 13.

"The advanced technology, variety of courses and inquiry based learning approach will ensure that students have the necessary skills once they venture out."