This weekend the special character school, Te Pā o Rākaihautū, opened in its new site, having been in a different temporary location since opening in January.
It may well be a marvellous school – it certainly looks interesting, and I’ve no reason to think it’s anything but good. That’s not what raised my eyebrows. No.
What made me look twice is that it is on the former Linwood Intermediate School site. You know, one of the schools closed by Hekia Parata.
An article about the school quotes Rangimarie Parata Takurua. as saying:
“Linwood Intermediate was closed after the earthquakes and I came upon the buildings quite by chance,”
Really? Is there an educator in Chch that doesn’t know the name of every school forcibly closed by Hekia Parata?
And this from Rangimarie Parata Takurua, cousin of the person that closed the school…
Which was in the media for months…
But she came across it “quite by chance”? ** (Update, I am informed that “Although Linwood Intermediate was closed by the minister the site was reopened in January 2014 for another school that was found to have a black mould problem 7 days before that school was due to reopen for the year. That school returned to their original site Easter 2015. The chairperson of Te Pā went to a fitness class, when it was occupied by the other school, and then proceeded to question MOE of it’s availability.”) Source
The article then quotes Rangimarie Parata Takurua as saying they:
“worked hard with the Ministry of Education to secure [the site]”
Can you see the Ministry putting up much of a fight to give Hekia Parata’s cousin the school site she wants? Perhaps they did…? (UPDATE: the new information above raises a new question – given the Linwood Intermediate site was deemed to need over $3 Million of repairs to be fit for use, how come two schools have used the site since Linwood was moved out? Was it not as damaged as claimed?)
What am I missing here?
As I said at the start of this post, this school may well be fabulous. It certainly sounds good from the article (and people on the SOSNZ facebook page are saying great things about it). The quality of Te Pa is not what I’m querying.
It’s more that something doesn’t seem to sit right when a school is closed due to unsafe buildings and then the site is used by one, perhaps two, other schools. Did the site miraculously repair itself? I’m sure the community that fought so hard to keep Linwood open would love to know.
(Article edited 10.30pm to remove paragraph containing unclear/inaccurate information on which bilingual units were/weren’t eventually closed as per 2012 Stuff article.)