By Shelley Topp
The first step has been taken in the construction of a new $13.2 million Rangiora primary school.
The milestone was marked last Friday with the official sod-turning ceremony at the site on the corner of Johns and Pentecost roads.
The new school, initially referred to as Rangiora West School, will be known as the Te Matauru Primary School, for pupils from 5 to 13.
It is due for completion early next year.
The name, which means “eyes to the west”, was the concept of Lynne Te Aika and was gifted to the school by the Tuahiwi runanga, Ngai Tuahuriri.
The runanga also gifted the school a Maori language motto: “Ekea ka taumata ki te uru”, or “Look to the peaks of the alps and ascend great heights”, which Lynne also composed.
After the ceremony, the small crowd, including new school principal Danny Nicholls, members of the board of trustees, Waimakariri MP Matt Doocey, Mayor David Ayers, several other Waimakariri school principals, and several students, moved into an empty house on the property to escape the cold conditions for the remainder of the official speeches.
It was great to see school students attending the ceremony, Danny said. “That is what we are all about. Te Matauru is a new beginning for the community and we are really excited to be part of that.”
He was uncertain how many staff the school would employ. “We are waiting on the ministry to determine that.”
Mayor David Ayers wished the school all the best for the future. “It will be a great school, I know that.”
The old brick house on the site will be used by the Southbase Construction crew during the winter as an administration building, but will eventually be demolished.