Ministry of Education
Exceptional workmanship delivers a bespoke design for Dunedin’s only Māori immersion school.
We completed the rebuild of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ōtepoti in two stages, the first being the construction of a new mixed-use building with administration, resource and two teaching spaces, wharekai and wharenui. Once we handed over the new building, the second stage involved the demolition of the old school building plus landscaping, including a stage, shade sails and koru patterned paving.
We enjoyed working with our subcontractors, the design team, the Ministry of Education and the school community to complete this project, which incorporated kura’s whakapapa in every element of the design. As a reference to Otago Harbour’s guardian taniwha, Matamata, there is a continuous pathway that winds its way right through the school, expressed in the exposed aggregate concrete paving, vinyl and carpet. The structural steel angled posts protruding through the roof represent ancestor Rākaihautū’s kō (digging stick), which he is said to have used to dig out the lakes and rivers of the South Island. The shade sails depict waka, and we formed intricate kōwhaiwhai patterns throughout the building in Autex Cube acoustic panel, laser-cut aluminium dado rail, window manifestations and plywood decals.
The building is completely sprinklered to accommodate the school’s noho (overnight stay) activities.
Our site team learned a lot about Māori culture during our year on site, with shared activities including a safety poster competition and a “school vs. builders” game of touch rugby which we held to celebrate the project’s half-way milestone and Matariki.