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West Rolleston Primary School – Guided tour

A tour through the new West Rolleston School with staff and students. 

Watch the video to hear more about the school, spaces and vision for learning. As Ben Galletly, the Deputy Principal says “I think we’ve always talked about the learning spaces as great, and [they are] amazing learning environments but it really comes down to what we are doing in the spaces — so long as we have got a really sound understanding of what we are trying to achieve and that why of what we are trying to do … these are really important”.

On the 3 March 2014 Education Minister Hekia Parata announced the establishment of two new schools for Rolleston to cater for population growth. One of these schools was a secondary school and another was a full primary school to be be located in West Rolleston – now West Rolleston Primary School: Te Kura o Te Uru Kōwhai.

An establishment Board of Trustees was formed the following month and Architectus was the appointed Architect and Southbase the selected Construction Company for the school design and build. In October the establishment Board appointed Sylvia Fidow, who resigned from her position as Principal at Shirley Primary School, to start as the new Principal of West Rolleston Primary School in January 2015.

The establishment Board chose to continue with the name of West Rolleston Primary School as it firmly located the school to its place in Rolleston, and was easily identifiable. Community consultation over the name was very favourable. In July local Ngai Tahu iwi, Te Taumutu Runanga, gifted the school its Māori name, Te Kura o Te Uru Kōwhai. A grove of Kōwhai is significant because the kowhai tree has grown in abundance in the area over time.

The school’s logo was designed to represent ‘nurturing and growing.’ The hands highlight the significance of the school community nurturing and supporting each child (depicted by the koru) to realise his or her full potential. The green and black colours were then chosen for the school’s uniform.

One of the Trustees, Denise Sheat of Te Taumutu Runanga, worked closely with the Board to share the history of the local area so it could be used to help determine some of the learning spaces within the school. The school’s internal spaces have all been chosen to reflect the history of the land and people of Rolleston from early Māori occupation through to the early European settlers, and the subsequent stages of growth through to today. Each learning studio represents the culture through a direct link to colour and the environment.