Hukarere on move to Esk Valley
Hukarere School will start the 2002 year at a property in the Esk Valley, 16km north of Napier.
The school’s 77 students were told on Thursday and their parents informed by letter that the Anglican-based Maori boarding school will lease the property for at least two years while the existing site on Napier Terrace is redeveloped.
The Ministry of Education has not made a final decision on whether the 90-year-old hostel on the site will be demolished or upgraded. Some of the school buildings will go, however.
Te Aute Trust Board will lease the property from the owner, who purchased it about seven years ago from a government department. The site was formerly a home for orphaned boys, known as Beck House, and later France House, for boys under social welfare care.
Principal Heather Moller said the biggest issue with the hostel was safety, as outlined in the most recent consultant’s report. “For health and safety reasons we can’t stay here any longer,” she said.
The funding of the redevelopment was yet to be negotiated. Te Aute Trust Board, which owned the Napier property, expected to bear some of the cost. The school was integrated in 1995 and the Government was also likely to be asked to contribute, along with the church.
Board secretary John Palairet said the board was very pleased with the outcome. “The safety of the students has always been paramount and difficulties with the building have created uncertainty. This provides a few years’ breathing space.”
It would also enable Hukarere to continue its growth, Mr Palairet said. He expected the school would have to go back to the Government and ask for the cap on the roll, currently set at 80, to be increased. All indications were that the demand for places next year would, exceed 80, he said.
The school had been looking for a suitable site to relocate for some time. An informal request about six months ago for the cap to be increased brought the school’s immediate future to a head.
The ministry declined the request, citing concerns about the school’s current condition.
Hukarere business manager Grant Murray said the Esk property was ideal for the school’s needs. The ministry had agreed to add an extra four classrooms to the site, which already had four classrooms and recreation space including a gym.
The shift is being managed by Paerangi Ltd, a company employed by the country’s Maori boarding schools to work on their business cases.
Photo captions –
CHANGES AHEAD – Hukarere School principal Heather Moller, who will preside over the transition period to Esk Valley for the 2002 school year. In the background, to the left, stands the school chapel, to the right, the 90-year-old hostel. HB TODAY PICTURES: WARREN BUCKLAND
INSIDE a work of art – the Maori-influenced interior of Hukarere School Chapel, opened in 1950.