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January, 2022

Theres an excited buzz in the air over Hanleys Farm and Jacks Point
already with the anticipated first students opening day of the brand
new Te Kura Whakatipu o Kawarau on February 8.
Principal Tania McNamara is no newcomer to the top job. Shes been
principal of Milton Primary School for the past 10 years and prior to that
deputy principal at Lawrence Area School for 10 years. Tanias been at
her new desk getting ready all of last year (2021), working with the
Board of Trustees, and more recently her team of enthusiastic staff, in
anticipation of next months opening.
Shes super excited to welcome students to the flash new 450-pupil
school. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, she says, keenly.
Just prior to Christmas, enrolments stood at more than 80 with a steady
flow coming in, mostly from other schools in the Wakatipu Basin. Te
Kura Whakatipu o Kawaraus zone only takes in mainly pupils from its
own surrounds  the fast-growing Hanleys Farm and Jacks Point.
Were working on an 80 to 100 starting roll, says Tania. The teachers
are buzzing. Were all so excited.
The next two stages will be built depending on demand, but so far that
demand for stage one has been strong.
The board has appointed two deputies, whove both taught previously
at Queenstown Primary School. Lara Kirk, who grew up locally, has
recently been working as a professional learning facilitator, while
Cameron Beer brings deputy head experience from London to the role.
Were aware we will have big junior numbers with so many young
families at Hanleys Farm so weve appointed a Junior Team Leader,
Megan Watson, from Christchurch, says Tania.
Top quality teachers have been drawn from all over New Zealand too,
with one male teacher from Tasmania in Australia working from a
distance until the borders open. Hes desperate to get over here and
join us, says Tania.
As the name suggests, Te Kura  place to learn; Whakatipu  gathering
and growing; o Kawarau  our kura is under the cloak of the maunga
(mountain), the Te Reo for The Remarkables. Our name was gifted to
us by local iwi and were very proud of it. We want to respect that, but
we expect the school name may be shortened to Te Kura Kawarau, says
Sustainability is a big focus at the new school with its school gardens
and garden to table philosophy. An outdoor kitchen is being designed
and eventually a hangi oven will be built in. Theres a good balance
with our spaces  a team of three classes at each end joined in the
middle with open spaces for art and science and the likes, says Tania.
This opens onto a covered outdoor learning area. We have some really
amazing magical spaces, she says.
The entire staff worked together during the last term of last year (2021)
developing the school vision, values and culture. Our values are all
about belonging, unity, and nurturing. Were in the privileged position
of starting with a blank canvas, setting it right from the beginning, that
clarity and consistency, says Tania. All children are unique individuals
and need a sense of belonging, to feel safe and nurtured.
Itll be so wonderful for our children and parents to be able to walk or
bike to school if they want to with no main roads to cross too, says
Tania. We hope to be a special gathering place for the local community
as our name suggests.
A special dawn blessing will be held at 5.30am on February 8, followed
by a Mihi Whakatau at 9.00am to welcome the community to Te Kura
Whakatipu o Kawarau and officially open the school.

Source: Lakes Weekly News


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