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HRC $9m Re-build

Halswell Residential College


Check out this awesome drone video of the completed rebuild at Halswell Residential College.


Video created by Hann Construction


The Start

After the earthquake of 2011 the College held discussions with the Ministry regarding its buildings and in particular the units that house the students. Following a very thick report commissioned by the Ministry it was decided that four new family-style villas (houses) would be built to accommodate up to 32 students. A multi-purpose learning environment (wharenui) will also be built, allowing students and staff to be together in a welcoming and multi-functional space. The redevelopment also included earthquake strengthening of the main school buildings and an upgrade of the accommodation provided for visiting parents/caregivers.

This process for the most fit-for-purpose design took a year. 

It all started on 10 December 2015, and by 30 January 2016 the following had been achieved:

  • The work area had been fenced off and Tauawa and Rakaia Villas had been demolished! This included an archaeologist being on site in case something was found while digging!
  • The arborist had removed the trees that would interfere with the rebuild. The trunks of the trees have been kept for a new adventure playground and the chip from the branches will be used on the College gardens.
  • The trenching guys put in new ICT and power pits.
  • The builders salvaged a kitchen and rebuilt it in Te Ara Villa.
  • Contractors laid new fibre optic cable and joined it up to the school’s servers. 

Rebuild 1Rebuild 2


Turning of the Sod

On 15 April 2016 (the last day of Term 1) the official turning of the sod ceremony was held. This ceremony involved a Karakia that brings together the Mauri (life-source) into one place. The Mauri was then placed into a carved wooden box and cared for until it was returned to the ground once the building project is complete.

Unfortunately the Minister of Education, Hon. Hekia Parata was unable to attend however we were extremely grateful that the Associate Minister, Hon. Nikki Kaye could participate in the ceremony.  She was supported by Tutehounuku (Nuk) Korako (National Party MP). We greatly appreciated their attendance and support of our rebuild.

You can read the Ministry of Education's media release on the 'Turning of the sod' ceremony here.

Rebuild 4



At the end of 2016 the conference room, parent/caregiver accommodation and McRae and Te Ara Villas were all demolished. The new residential houses and whare were completed with a new playground in the middle of the houses. Our kaiwhakahaere liaised with our local kaumatua and a blessing ceremony was held in February 2017.

Living spaces  Bedroom

Outside covered area Bedroom

The Official Opening

On Thursday 6 April 2017 the Associate Minister of Education, Hon Nikki Kaye joined over 100 members of the school community to officially celebrate the opening of our new $9 million family-style residential houses and multi-purpose learning environment. During the ceremony, the Minister returned the mauri to the ground and planted a commemorative tree to mark the occasion. Despite the horrendous weather on the day there was a strong feeling of pride and happiness present throughout the celebration.

Halswell Residential College

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