Students of Rotorua's former Chapman College sang waiata and performed a haka to mark its official integration with Bethlehem College.
Chapman College officially became a satellite school for Tauranga's Bethlehem College on January 1 but had a ceremony to mark the occasion yesterday. .
Chapman College has been operating privately out of the Living Well Church grounds in Rotorua since 2011.
But the founder of both colleges, Graham Preston, said at the opening they were always meant to be one.
Preston said Chapman had come a long way.
"In 2011 some of you were standing here with 23 children, and about 50 parents and dignitaries and we took over a few classrooms with the hope of becoming an integrated school," he said.
With that vision realised seven years later, the school also moves from private to state-integrated.
Eoin Crosbie is the principal of Bethlehem College and therefore that of its three satellite schools: Bethlehem College Primary, Bethlehem College Secondary and now Bethlehem College Chapman.
He said the only major change in the day-to-day running of the school was that the former principal, Hazel Warnes, was now the head of school.
Crosbie said the move to a state-integrated school also meant cheaper fees and, therefore, a more consistent roll.
"The roll's gone up and down as people have sometimes not been able to afford the fees," he said.
"It's been really difficult for staff to sustain that rollercoaster ride. This brings a lot more sustainability to the teaching environment."
The Rotorua campus has capacity for 120 students and the school roll is sitting at 93.
Crosbie said the school wouldn't be looking at a new location at this stage as there was room for growth.
"Once we get to 120 students and there's still a greater demand we'll see," he said. "We can offer a good environment up to that number."
Crosbie said it was a "great honour" to become the principal of the satellite school and it was a "significant step".
Bethlehem College Chapman is for Years 1 to 10 with students encouraged to move to the secondary school for the remaining three years of high school. A school bus runs to Bethlehem College Secondary in Tauranga daily.
Crosbie said this wasn't taking students out of Rotorua schools, as some principals had previously said.
"I think they were going anyway," he said.
"We're not trying to undermind the Rotorua network. It's about offering a Christian education option that's realistic."
Bethlehem College Chapman provides a non-denominational "Christ-centred education".
- Chapman College was founded in 2010, operated out of the Living Well Church in Rotorua.
- Bethlehem College opened in 1988.
- Both were founded by Graham Preston.
- 1530 students at Bethlehem primary and secondary, 93 at Chapman.