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Kimi Ora rebuild thrilling the kids

There is nothing 7-year-old Oupea Moata’ane likes better than watching the diggers demolishing the old buildings at his school.

He is out there every chance he gets, says Kimi Ora Community School principal Matt O’Dowda.

The school’s old buildings are being brought down to make way for a complete rebuild.

Oupea’s dedication to keeping an eye on the project got him a very special reward on Friday; a close up view of a three-tonne digger and a sit inside the cab. Oupea is pretty clear about where his futures lies: He’s planning on being a digger driver.

While the work so far has been all about demolition, this week the foundations for the first of the new buildings are going in. “It’s exciting for all of the kids and for us,” says Matt.

At the same time as the Ministry of Education-funded re-building goes on, work on the outdoor area, which has to be fundraised for, is also well underway.

The design has been completed, heavily featuring early design work done by the school’s senior students, and the first of the funding applications has been approved: $225,000 from the Eastern and Central Community Trust.

There is still a way to go to reach the $1.3 million target, but the money from ECCT means the school can make a


First up is the new playground area and the Kahungunu Pa site.

📷The plan is that the outdoor areas will be for the whole community. “As well as being a space that contributes to learning, we want our outdoors to reflect our rohe, our people, and to have spaces for different activities, including being somewhere beautiful for our whanau to connect,” says Matt.

“We want somewhere where nanny and koru can sit in the shade and watch the kids playing.”

The artist’s impressions of how the outdoor spaces will look show just how special they are going to be. The beautiful design includes new versions of favourite areas from the current outdoor area (a vegetable garden, hard courts, sports field and water play area) and lots of new innovations (the pa, Pacific courtyard, weaving pavilion, Rongoā classroom, sled hill and outdoor kitchen).

Each of the 13 outdoor areas, which flow seamlessly across the site, is based on strong cultural elements relevant to the children, their whanau, and the wider community.

An example is the Fishing Village Playground. As well as being a physically challenging and fun play area, its spaces represent different ecosystems relating to aquatic environments. “It’s another world where the children can learn about waka and Māori fishing techniques through imaginative play.”

Matt says the project is running on time and on budget, with an expected finish date of September 2020.


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