The Ministry of Education has spent $17 million on land for
two new schools in the Wakatipu basin.
According to purchase agreements released to the Otago
Daily Times under the Official Information Act (OIA), the
ministry paid $3.3 million on land for the proposed new
primary school in the Shotover Country greenfield residential
development from owner Shotover Country Ltd, and paid $13.7
million to Remarkables Park Ltd for land earmarked for the
new site of Wakatipu High School.
In response to OIA questions from the ODT, the
ministry again gave 2017 as the opening date for the
relocated Wakatipu High School in Remarkables Park, 10km from
its Fryer St site, subject to ministerial approval and
However, the ministry ''has not initiated work for this
relocation, or for the disposal of the existing site'', it
The responses follow months of silence from the ministry to
calls by principals, boards of trustees and parents for firm
details of its future plans for education in Queenstown.
Last October, Statistics New Zealand predicted an extra
17,400 people would be living in the Queenstown Lakes
district by 2031, increasing annually until then at a rate of
The district's population was 24,100 in 2006.
Parents who bought property in Lake Hayes Estate knowing it
was within the enrolment zone of Remarkables Primary School,
at Frankton, were shocked when the ministry ordered the board
of trustees to shrink the $17.3 million school's enrolment
zone on April 23 last year, after just two and a-half years.
The revised zone excluded Lake Hayes Estate but included
Jack's Point, a resort which experienced a sharp increase in
home ownership inquiries.
Last November Education Minister Hekia Parata and Associate
Minister Craig Foss announced 3ha in the middle of the 120ha
Shotover Country development had been secured for a 450-pupil
primary school, which is not expected to open until February
This was welcomed by Remarkables Primary School board
chairwoman Fiona Woodham. However, the Frankton school
already consistently teaches more pupils than its official
460 capacity. A double classroom unit is to be delivered to
Remarkables Primary School in time for the beginning of term
one later this month. It is intended two further teaching
spaces will be available by the end of term two, to cater for
the overflowing population.
Details are scarce about Wakatipu High School's relocation of
700 pupils and 70 staff, other than the ministry's
announcement in July 2012 it had secured 8ha of land at
Remarkables Park for either the relocation of Queenstown's
only secondary school, or a new school for 1500 pupils.
However, that school was not expected to open until at least
Meanwhile, the Wakatipu High School board had no choice but
to make the best of the crowded site, including the
construction of the $1.3 million Robertson block for drama
and music, which opened last year.
Principal Steve Hall told the ODT he understood the
school community would be consulted on the development of the
''I would envisage that process probably starting in 2014 and
running through 2015 and a build in 2016, but all that needs
to be confirmed with the ministry.''