Support repaid at opening

Leading the official opening of Mount Aspiring College's new outdoor performance area yesterday are members of the school's kapa haka group, including (front from right) Taine Phillips (16), Finn Moore (17), Layne Opetaia (13) and Elliott Meldrum (18). Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
Leading the official opening of Mount Aspiring College's new outdoor performance area yesterday are members of the school's kapa haka group, including (front from right) Taine Phillips (16), Finn Moore (17), Layne Opetaia (13) and Elliott Meldrum (18). Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
The support shown to displaced Christchurch families by Wanaka's Mount Aspiring College in the wake of the February 2011 earthquake was repaid yesterday at the opening of a new outdoor performance area at the school.

An earlier attempt to officially open the $60,000 open-air stage and landscaped quad area named Te Atea - or "The Square" - was thwarted by bad weather. However, yesterday's opening went off without a hitch as pupils tested out the new open-air facility with a series of musical performances, after the ribbon-cutting and plaque unveiling.

The stage was funded by the Central Lakes Trust, Friends of Mount Aspiring College, the board of trustees, local families and families from Christchurch who enrolled their children at the college after the earthquake.

Deputy principal Greg Thornton said as a result of quake, the college experienced a 20% roll growth - one of the biggest in the country.

"Through the way we looked after those kids predominantly through that term, there was a lot of support given to us by those families in way of thanks," he told the Otago Daily Times.

At yesterday's opening, principal Wayne Bosley said the influx of pupils from Christchurch had helped the college "become a more compassionate and caring school".

"The response [after the earthquake] from all sectors of our community was heartwarming and one that we can be very proud of," Mr Bosley said.

He hoped the stage would be used not only for music, but for speech, drama and other performances.

The college is also celebrating its 25th reunion this weekend.

- lucy.ibbotson@oct.co.nz