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Fresh year in new school block

There was more than just the usual buzz of excitement at the start of the 2023 school year for the pupils of Greytown School.

At the start of Term 1 last Wednesday, pupils and teachers were able to set foot in the school’s new block of five senior classrooms that had replaced the old block – well over a century old.

An opening ceremony for the new building was held the day before: Starting at dawn with a tanga o te kawa, or a tapu removal, performed by South Wairarapa kaumatua Paora and Herewini Ammunson, who have had a long association with the school.

Later in the day, representatives from South Wairarapa District Council and the Ministry of Education, Greytown School staff, and team members from lead builders Holmes Construction attended the official opening.

Former principal Patrice O’Connor had the honour of cutting the ribbon to open the new block.

“At the heart of all the decisions over the past few years have been our kids,” O’Connor said.

“This is a great building but it’s the magic that goes on inside it that’s important.”

The new senior block had been five years in the planning after it became apparent the old building was beyond a refit.

The building project was announced in 2020 by then Minister of Education Chris Hipkins after Greytown had been identified as a high-growth area, particularly for families with school-age children.

Building work, led by Greytown company Holmes Construction, started in July 2021 – with various changes and disruptions along the way, including covid-19 challenges and building material hold-ups.

Now completed, the new block has been christened Tahorahina, the name of the original Pa sites situated east of Greytown.

Current principal Paula Weston said Tahorahina was very much a team effort for Greytown School and the wider community.

“Past and present board members, the past principal, teachers, the ministry and Holmes Construction have all done a massive job in getting this wonderful learning space to completion,” she said.

Now the old senior block has been demolished, stage two of the construction project can begin – with four new classrooms planned to cater for its growing roll.

Meanwhile, the senior pupils are thrilled with their new classrooms.

Year 8 pupil Vita Reidy-Cooper said: “I think this new building is unique and open compared to the old one, which was really run down.”

Erin Kavanagh-Hall
Erin Kavanagh-Hall
Erin Kavanagh-Hall is the editor of the Wairarapa Midweek. She has been a journalist for the past 10 years, and has a keen interest in arts, culture, social issues, and community justice.

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