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A new Maori school in NZ that is to be a wonderful resource for teaching students of the areas unique biodiversity

A new Maori immersion school Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Te Kotuku designed by Brewer Davidson Architects and constructed by Naylor Love is a project that employed an approach of intensive collaboration with local iwi and whanau and which sits close to the magnificent Waitakere Ranges.

The school (or kura) has been awarded a NZIA Local New Zealand Architecture Award and is a Green Building Council School Tool pilot scoring 7 points out of 10, with plans to further enhance the site's biodiversity by: transforming the steep gully by eradicating the gorse and weeds and planting self-maintaining native bush of eco-sourced plants that belong to the Waitakere area and will attract native wildlife; to use the bush for teaching students about the plants, how they grow, what berries they produce, and what birds and other animals come to feed on the berries and live in the bush; and to have a school-wide project in which each new pupil provides a koha (donation) of a tree to plant in the gully.

The kura is designed as a clear flow of interconnected spaces enhancing the sense of inclusiveness and community - values that are central to the learning environment envisaged by the Whanau. Whilst the spaces are multifunctional, there is a clear delineation between the formal and informal. In this type of learning space, older children can help younger ones, and teachers can share knowledge and resources, whilst the space can also be used as a community centre for the whole whanau.

The NZIA describes the building as "a delight to be in", where "carefully considered cultural and teaching needs have been accommodated in a building that reinforces proudly the ambitions of the whanau and which provides an engaging and welcoming environment for the community... a unique, distinctive, community school that is rich in materiality and form."

Via NZIA Awards, Brewer Davidson Architecture and Naylor Love Construction.


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