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New Primary school plans submitted


New Primary school plans submitted

The Ministry of Education has submitted plans to Queenstown's council for Te Kura Whakatipu o Kawarau at Hanley's Farm subdivision.

Here's the layout of Queenstown's next primary school.


School establishment board chair Gigi Hollyer says construction is slated to begin in February, with the school due to open in 2022 with a roll of 425 children.

It will grow over the years to reach a capacity of 950. 

Education Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed in September 2019 that $17 million has been set aside for the new school, including buying the land.

The board, Ministry officials and contractor Southbase have met every fortnight for the past few months to work on the design.

"We're working towards a flexible learning environment," Hollyer says.

"There'll be breakout spaces for the kids to learn collaboratively, but also smaller, medium and larger spaces where you can have a group of say 30 children as well.

"We're trying to make it as future-proof as possible. We've been around education long enough to know things change - at the moment collaborative learning in open spaces is the trend, but that may swing back the other way.

"So with furniture, sliding walls and glass doors, we can get a flexible space that can be used for either.

"We've felt really heard by the Ministry, it's been really good."

Joining the meetings in recent weeks has been foundation principal Tania McNamara, who was appointed last month.

McNamara, who's led Milton Primary School for the past 9 years, will begin her new role full-time at the start of next year, building her team and the school's culture prior to opening in 2022.

"We had a great set of applicants, some local, some nationally and from around the world too, so we had a good strong pool of people to appoint from," Hollyer says.

"Tania's an experienced principal and it's been good to have her on board already, and her voice at the table. She'll be great."

The school, on Howden Drive, was gifted its official te reo name by local iwi. Ngai Tahu blessed the school earlier this year.

It will be commonly known as Te Kura Kawarau. Te Kura means a place of learning. Kawarau is the Maori name for the Remarkables mountain range.

"Darren [local Ngai Tahu leader] and [his son] Michael Rewi have been so supportive. Darren came to our landscape meeting and we've talked about our values and our vision and made sure it aligned with them.

"It's been really great to have that reciprocal relationship with them, we're very lucky." 

Hollyer says there's already been interest from the community, and the board is in discussions with the Ministry and Remarkables Primary around zoning.

There's no time frame around how the school will grow beyond 425 pupils.

"You'll know from Shotover how quickly things can grow, particularly when there's a suburb developing around it, so I suspect it will be sooner rather than later. "

QLDC has now received the Ministry's resource consent and a decision is expected soon. There have been pre-submission meetings with council, so there's not expected to be any issues.

The next step will be a hui in January or February, so the community can see the site, meet the new head and hear the board's hopes and dreams.

"Our vision for our school is a place to gather, learn and grow, so we're looking forward to working with our community."

Hollyer says there'll be classrooms that can be used for community meetings, along with the school hall, and there'll also be a community garden.

"There's some pretty cool stuff we're going to do around sustainability, with rainwater, grey water and solar power.

"That'll be over and above what the Ministry pays for, so we'll be looking to work with the community on that."