Minister pleased with college development

Education Minister Chris Hipkins is satisfied with the Government’s $46million investment in Mount Aspiring College’s new teaching spaces, whare, studios and library.

Mr Hipkins visited the college yesterday and viewed the construction project by building firm Naylor Love.

He was greeted by the college kapa haka group, led by Tawhiri Rupapera (17) of Ngati Kahu, Auckland and Hadley Tamati (17) of Ngati Pikiao, Wanaka.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins with (from left) principal Nicola Jacobsen and school leaders...
Education Minister Chris Hipkins with (from left) principal Nicola Jacobsen and school leaders Meg Thomas, Olive Blyth and Annabel Hutchison, during a visit to Mount Aspiring College yesterday. PHOTO: MARJORIE COOK
Tawhiri Rupapera, speaking in te reo, challenged the minister to keep to the main theme of education — focusing on pupils and helping them find their place in the world.

The school is being redeveloped to cater for a forecast future roll of between 1600-1800 pupils.

The roll now is 1140.

Mr Hipkins said significant progress was being made.

‘‘This investment recognises that Mount Aspiring College is growing rapidly and needs both expansion and modernisation to cope.

The minister also met principal Nicola Jacobsen, teachers and pupils.

He said seeing the project in person had emphasised the positive effect it was having on the local economy and in supporting jobs.

“I know what a difference new teaching and learning spaces can make in a community that is one of the fastest-growing in the country.

‘‘It is not only good for the school community, but this project is also providing a boost to the local economy, and supporting the Government’s goal of accelerating our economy post Covid-19 and building back better,” he said.

The project is part of the National School Redevelopment Programme, announced last year.

Ms Jacobsen said Mr Hipkins had arrived at a time of growth, as 20 more pupils had enrolled at the start of term 3.

The development project was a ‘‘home away from home’’, an investment in people and their future and would provide a great place to learn, work and connect, she said.

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