The brief was for the new buildings to support the unique learning syllabus within the school and enhance the school’s long-standing philosophy to 'move their young people from a position of unrealised potential, to one where their potential…for their future is unlimited' – all within a very restricted budget.The school is at the leading edge of student-based learning environment of its kind, designed specifically to accommodate the different ways of teaching and learning for Maori and Pacific Island students. Classes are of mixed ages and ability and the open plan layout allows students and staff to flow between areas as necessary. They have no single teaching point or fixed educational equipment. Science, metalwork, woodwork, art and media studies have also been combined into one multipurpose technology suite.
The underlying design and iconography of the new school acknowledges Maori as Tangata Whenua. Maori patterns and building techniques are integrated into the building fabric. This is reinforced by the use of traditional Maori colours. Outdoors, the students were involved in ensuring particular patterns for feature paving areas were relevant to their cultural stories.The development of the school incorporated a Whanau Centre, a performance hall and the refurbishment of the existing whare – all used regularly by the community. Since 2007, and with the opening of the new facilities, results from senior students in national qualifications have consistently far exceeded those for Maori students and students in similar socio-economic areas nationally.
Whanau (noun) extended family, family group, a familiar term of address to a number of people.
Tangata Whenua (noun) local people, hosts, indigenous people of the land.
Whare (noun) Gathering place for the community. Community center, used for entertainment, meetings, etc.
Waka (noun) Maori canoe.