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Makauri past and present mark new block opening

Three generations of the Clarke family cut the ribbon to officially open a new classroom block at Makauri School yesterday — former Gisborne mayor John Clarke, daughter Rachael Spriggs and her sons Mitchell and Lachlan.

Mr Clarke is a past student, Mitchell and Lachlan are current students and their mother is the architect, from Architects 44, who worked on the design of the new classrooms.

Mr Clarke attended the school from 1955 to 1962 — “before the time of Chromebooks and Google” — and recalled when the school pool was filled by turning on the tap to an aquifer.

The new modern learning environment for years 5 and 6 students is a welcome addition to the school.

It is an open plan space treated with acoustic panels in the walls and roof to suppress noise.

Principal Judy Nicoll said the teachers and students were enjoying their new collaborative learning space where the purpose-built environment complemented modern teaching practices.

There are nooks where children can sit and read, or use their Chromebooks.

Work on the new building started in February but was delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The children moved into their new block at the beginning of term from their temporary accommodation in the school hall.

Makauri is one of the oldest schools in Gisborne, built in 1886. Being a rural school, it has a deep connection to the land.

“The legend of the Makauri Tree is one highly valued by us all and shared with us over time with kaumatua in this area,” says Mrs Nicoll.

Three generations of the Clarke family cut the ribbon to officially open a new classroom block at Makauri School yesterday — former Gisborne mayor John Clarke, daughter Rachael Spriggs and her sons Mitchell (left) and Lachlan. Picture by Liam Clayton