Waitakiri School has bright first day

Merger school Waitakiri opens for lessons

JODY O'CALLAGHAN
Last updated 12:22 06/02/2014
Waitikiri School balloons
Dean Kozanic
BALLOONS GALORE: A ceremonial release of balloons marked the opening of Waitikiri School, the merger of Burwood and Windsor schools.

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Christchurch's first post-quake merger school is open for lessons.

Excited children, their families and staff celebrated the opening of their new merged Waitakiri School in Burwood yesterday.

Hundreds of coloured helium balloons peppered the grey sky after they were released by the school's 715 pupils, who for the next couple of years will be split into senior and junior campuses on both the old Windsor and Burwood school sites.

The two schools closed at the end of last year and merged as part of the Ministry of Education's post- quake shake-up.

Principal Neill O'Reilly announced the school open, before Ngai Tahu elder Rick Tau offered a blessing and pupils sang and performed kapa haka. Past pupils also joined the celebration.

O'Reilly said it was the start of "something really new and really exciting" for the pupils and the community.

"Our sense of community is stronger than it has ever been."

The name Waitakiri meant meandering waters, with the spelling - which differs from the local Waitikiri Drive and golf course - advised by Canterbury University linguists.

"We wanted to get a name that represents the greater community, the area that extended from Bottle Lake Forest to South Shore. And there is going to be some meandering as we set up the school."

The school was "humming along" nicely for 2014, O'Reilly said. "It is a very, very dynamic process when you're bringing together two schools, and splitting into junior and senior on two campuses."

Rachael Tobeck, whose son is in year 2, after starting school at Windsor last year, said there was an exciting future ahead for the school.

"It's a good step forward, especially after what the community's been through."

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- The Press

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