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Kowhai celebrates new admin. block and library

Embargoed until Friday 12 March 2004

News Release

Kowhai celebrates new $1.3 million administration block and library

Friday, 12 March 2004 - The intermediate school that helped shape hip-hop group Nesian Mystic and Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey today celebrates in style the opening of its new $1.3 million administration and library building with kapa haka performances, student songs and speeches.

Prime minister and local MP Helen Clark will officially open the new building at Kowhai Intermediate, New Zealand’s first intermediate school, in Sandringham, Auckland.

Kowhai Intermediate principal Paul Douglas said the new two-level library is an airy facility with flexible spaces for two classes to use it at once and a designated information and communication technology (ICT) area. It also has more than twice the floor space of the old library.

The upgrade also adds a new activity room that can be booked by classes for dance, drama and other curriculum activities and a language support room, which is used for withdrawing new speakers of English for language lessons.

“The main features of the new building are its double-height entrance and foyer area which now provides a definite sense of arrival. We want to be an open, welcoming school and our new entry now confirms that,” says Mr Douglas.

“The new building is invitational. It says to the diverse Central Auckland community, ‘Come and add your lives to the many who have discovered the excitement of learning and growing through their middle years at Kowhai Intermediate’.”

The management and administration staff now has purpose built offices and the deputy principal no longer works out of a converted sickbay. There are also meeting rooms, which can also be used by teachers as quiet work areas. The staff room is a tranquil space oriented away from the school so that teaches can enjoy a mental break from the classroom. This room provides a suitable area for interactive professional development of teachers.

“We particularly enjoy the access it has given us to previously under-utilised outdoor area,” says Mr Douglas.

He says preserving the open spaces and the careful placement of buildings was a priority. “We are taking great care to develop our site in a way that does not encroach on our fields. Currently there are more green spaces in our school than there were in the 1960s.

“As residential sections get smaller and open spaces are at a premium, the school needs to provide interesting and expansive outdoor areas for children to play sports and create their own games.

“We have appreciated the advice and can-do attitude of our Ministry of Education network facilitator, David Bos, in bringing the plans to reality.”


Kowhai Intermediate School administration and library building history
Kowhai Intermediate has been leading the way in middle schooling since 1922 when it was opened as New Zealand’s first intermediate school. It occupies a beautiful, spacious site, which has seen many configurations of buildings over its 82 years.

In the 1980s the school had a roll of around 250 and at that time the old school offices were demolished as an earthquake risk and a small administration, staffroom and library building was erected.

During the 1990s, under principal Colin Andrews, the school began to grow again. In 2000, the board began planning in earnest to extend the cramped administration building.

In 2002, architect Barbara Draper was engaged to draw some concepts and the board proposed using about $500,000 of its property funding to extend the building. At this point, with a roll of 500 and a staff of 40, the Ministry calculated that the school should benefit from considerable funding due the increased roll and the deficiency of floor area compared with the Ministry code for intermediate schools.

Early in 2003 the Ministry broke the good news that $1.3 million was available for the school upgrade. Since then the board chairman, Philip Wood, worked with Principal Paul Douglas, a board sub-committee headed by Peter Rowe, architect, Barbara Draper and project manager, Andrew Guthrie to develop the plans and initiate the project

Construction commenced in June 2003 and was completed on time at the end of December. ASPEC Construction did a fine job of minimising impact on school programmes and the school is very happy with the quality of workmanship.

The new building is erected on the site of Walters House, which was removed to Albany in 1988. The old house was a teachers’ resource centre to which many Auckland teachers came for in-service training.

For more information about Kowhai Intermediate School see

Draft Programme for Prime Minister’s Visit
Opening of Kowhai Intermediate School Administration/Library
10.30am Friday, March 12th

- Students standing on grass banks and along driveway. Guests seated outside by Marilyn’s office.
- PM Arrives in car on driveway outside Admin block
- Haka (Kapahaka group)
- Prime Minister escorted by Philip to be seated with guests.
- Mihi (Pounamu student)
- Student welcome speech (Boy and Girl student)
- Whole school sings ‘He Honore’
- Philip speaks
- Philip invites Prime Minister to come forward to speak.
- Philip hands PM scissors to cut ribbon across entry and declare the building open
- Waiata (Kapahaka group)
- PM tours the building
- Morning Tea in Staffroom

BOT members and partners
Project manager
Reps from ASPEC
MOE network facilitator
Anyone from the Parent community
Principals of contributing schools and local high schools
Colin Andrews

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