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Speech at the opening of Meadowbank School Hall

Speech at the opening of Meadowbank School's Bruce McLaren Hall

Principal Peter Ayson, board chair David Kranz, board members, staff, past pupils and friends of the school. Thank you for inviting me to take part in the opening of your new hall.

Meadowbank School has a long history, with two classrooms first opening on this site in 1915. Over the next two days you are celebrating the school's ninetieth birthday - a proud anniversary indeed. The old hall, which has been replaced with the facility we are officially opening this evening, dates back to the 1920s.

It is fitting that the school has looked back into its history to find an appropriate name for the new hall. Bruce McLaren's name is certainly appropriate. Bruce was a pupil at this school, before venturing overseas to become one of the most famous names in motor racing, as a driver, a designer, and a team manager and owner. He died tragically young, but his name has lived on with Team McLaren, one of the most famous and successful Formula One teams, and it now lives on at this school.

Our thanks go to Jan McLaren and Phil Kerr for sharing their stories about Bruce tonight.

I want to acknowledge the hard work and support of all those who have been involved in building this hall.

A school hall is a focal point and asset for both a school and the wider community. This one is a superb, modern facility. I know that the school will make the best use of it, and I am sure the wider Meadowbank community will too.

Establishing positive links with the Meadowbank community is a goal of this school. Projects such as this are not completed without close working partnerships between the school board, staff, parents, students, the wider community, and the government. This new hall is a joint effort, with around $840,000 coming from the government's Five Year Property Plan for the school, and fundraising supplying another one million dollars.

In the coming year, our government, will be investing more than $520 million into capital projects in schools for new classrooms, halls, sporting and cultural facilities, and technology and administration blocks. It is important to us that New Zealand school students have world class education facilities.

The Five Year Property Plan has meant that schools can take a longer term and more strategic approach to their property needs. Instead of undertaking incremental small changes and refurbishments, schools have a chance to plan more effectively. This is particularly helpful when it comes to major projects like a new school hall.

The vision behind this project has been to provide the young people of Meadowbank School with the best possible multi-purpose facility. This one will help the many cultural activities which the school undertakes to be performed to their best advantage. The school's three choirs and its rock band will certainly enjoy performing here.

Meadowbank School has a long and proud history. It is fitting that this new building is being opened at the same time as you are celebrating your ninetieth jubilee.

My congratulations go t0o everyone involved in the project.

It is my pleasure to declare the Bruce McLaren Hall officially open.


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