School bringing bullrush back

01:43, Jan 31 2009
OUTDOOR ENTHUSIAST: Gaike Knottenbelt, who has been appointed of principal of Christchurch school Seven Oaks. The school is embracing 'good old Kiwi outdoor life' and bringing back bullrush to the schoolyard.

Bullrush will be back in the schoolyard at a new Christchurch school due to open in February.

After four years of planning, the Holistic Education Trust will establish its school on the former horticulture campus of the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) in Opawa.

The school will carry the site's former name, Seven Oaks.

Trust chairman Bruce McIntyre said the school's philosophy would embrace aspects of conventional state education, Montessori, Steiner and "the good old Kiwi outdoor life".

"We believe that boys need to run around and play bullrush and climb trees and get scraped knees. It's about being real - as real as we can be," he said.

"As long as we start shutting down massive parts of our beings, then we're going to continue to live unhappy lives and destroy the planet."


McIntyre founded outdoor apparel company Macpac.

The school had chosen eight teachers from 105 applicants, McIntyre said.

It would be led by principal Gaike Knottenbelt, formerly with Nelson College for Girls and a former director of Outward Bound.

Knottenbelt said the private school would provide a significant point of difference.

"Kids need to be able to have adventures and take risks. Stubbing toes and getting a plaster here or there is all part of being a kid and growing up," he said.

The school is expected to open with 80 pupils aged five to 10.

McIntyre said he planned to increase the roll by 24 each year, up to 360 pupils.

The Press