Christchurch school on the move after 66 years

A performance by the school’s kapa haka group.Photo: Supplied
A performance by the school’s kapa haka group.Photo: Supplied
This week marked Pareawa Banks Avenue School's last at its current site where it was opened in 1956.

Staff and pupils have been patiently waiting for a new school for 11 years, after the current one suffered damage in the February 22, 2011, earthquake.

A week-long celebration to end the term began on Sunday and included speeches from past pupils, activities and games and a visit from Mayor Lianne Dalziel.

Teacher and leaving co-ordinator Rhonda Aitken said the school is one of the last to have a complete rebuild, located at the Old Shirley Boys’ High School site on North Pde.

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied
"It [school] was deemed safe for us to operate out of but we’re hanging on by a thread really," she said.

Aitken said her classroom has a lot of cracks and a sinking floor in the corner due to the quake damage. The school has also had to operate without a hall as it was demolished.

She said the move to a new site is exciting but will also be emotional as some main buildings at the current site will be demolished.

"We wanted to make sure that we do a really good salute to the school before we leave it because it’s not just the buildings, it’s the people that actually make this community what it is."

Photo: Pareawa Banks Avenue School
Photo: Pareawa Banks Avenue School
On Friday the school hosted a final hui, attended by Dalziel and past principal Murray Edlin.

Aitken said while the pupils are excited to finally have a new school, some of the younger ones are anxious at the thought of uprooting.

"While there’s excitement, there’s also a bit of trepidation and anxiety because it’s a huge thing to move a new school."

First day pupil Wendy Steed gave a speech on Sunday to parents and staff to kick off the...
First day pupil Wendy Steed gave a speech on Sunday to parents and staff to kick off the celebration this week. Photo: Supplied
Pupils and staff will walk from their current site to their new site followed by a pōwhiri on July 27 when the school term starts again.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has also been invited to attend.

"The journey has been long but we’re just about at the end of it," Aitken said.

"Now we’re finally coming out of that big dark tunnel and heading to our new school."

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

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