Tour S3 - Kia Aroha College

Contact Details

Tour Departs at 1.15pm

Kia Aroha College
51 Othello Drive, Flat Bush

Venue Overview

Borne out of difficult circumstances in a low socio economic area in South Auckland, what started out as a primary school, eventually, after much community lobbying, grew into a fully fledged high school.

Kia Aroha College has a strong Maori focus and is closely arranged around a rebuilt marae space with a big emphasis on connecting with their students cultural roots. The school for many of these students is their only 'safe' space. The concept of whanau or family is fully engaged with a lot of community presence as adults and caregivers can often be found in the learning spaces. In the early days many of these students were rejected by the normal school system. They needed help.

The design is open plan, sited under the airport flight path the acoustic challenge was obvious both internally and externally. Many of these students had previously struggled in a traditional class room based learning environment. The school worked very closely with the architects to shape learning spaces that offered flexibility and support to their students. In many ways this school was the pioneer of the open learning studio space in the Auckland area, this was without reference to overseas trends or ideas but came directly from the schools own desire to have a very fluid and connected environment that they believe reflects the way Maori students understand space and approach their learning.

Outside the buildings and based on important cultural narratives the landscape paving patterns are derived from traditional weaving patterns. Selected by the school community these significant 'stories' are embedded and celebrated in the landscape.

If you are interested in looking at how learning and culture can connect and empower each other you will find this site visit a worthwhile experience.

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This page last updated: Friday 1 March 2013