Official opening of Saint Kentigern Girls' School on Shore Road

August 11, 2022 at 3:44 PM

Saint Kentigern Girls’ School celebrated the official opening of its brand-new premises on Shore Road today, marking a major milestone in the 12-year history of the Girls’ School. The school was officially opened by the Right Honourable Dame Patsy Reddy, the 21st Governor-General of New Zealand in a special ceremony that was well attended by invited guests which included past and present Saint Kentigern Trust Board members and senior leaders, parents and guardians, and the Foundation staff and girls of the school. The Saint Kentigern Pipes and Drums welcomed guests as they arrived. The special event was livestreamed to share the occasion with the local and wider community.

The celebration began with a beautiful Powhiri by representatives of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, followed by performances by the Girls’ School Kapa Haka group and orchestra which interspersed between speeches. Thanks to fine weather, invited guests proceeded to the top field of the Girls’ School where the Right Honourable Dame Patsy Reddy gave her address, unveiled the plaque, and cut the ribbon to commemorate the official opening. The school choir then performed before the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand’s Moderator Elect Reverend Rose Luxford came on stage to present the Prayer of Dedication to close the event. 

Speaking at the official opening ceremony, Principal of the Girls’ School Ms Juliet Small expressed delight to have worked on, and gratitude to have worked with, a collective team that have created such a magnificent new school.

“Today young girls’ dreams finally become a reality. Over four years ago we brought together our girls, staff and community to feedback and ideate the school of our dreams and explore the very best for the learning of our girls now and for the future. Our girls envisioned their school to be a place where they can be themselves and feel comfortable in the environment. Key themes that were proposed and are now reflected in the new design include the outdoor learning opportunities for girls, a strong identity for the Girls’ School, unique play areas for the younger girls, as well as appropriate places for senior girls.” 

“The result is the marvel of this spectacular new Girls’ School, where every area is fit for purpose and every design is deliberate with girls’ learning in mind. This building has exceeded all our expectations with purpose-built features that mirror our collective aspirations and needs for a future-focussed girls’ education. This has enabled our girls and staff to effortlessly settle into their new learning spaces.”

In her remarks, Ms Small reiterated the Girls’ School’s commitment to excellence in teaching, student leadership and wellbeing in an environment where it challenges girls to try all activities, embrace new challenges and explore the world of opportunities while striving to be the best they can be.

“Our core beliefs, structure and ethos remain steadfast. We continue to strongly uphold the essence of our girls. This move to Shore Road offers greater opportunities for our girls’ than ever before with bigger state-of-the-art facilities, and custom and learning inspired resources and spaces to support their development. I am confident this new school, which will enable us to offer so much more in delivering a world class education for our girls, will be a catalyst for our girls to further thrive, develop, and succeed,” Ms Small added.

The building’s open and friendly design is welcoming and inclusive. The dynamic environment is aimed at fostering connectedness and encouraging interaction, providing a conducive environment for all girls to reach their important learning potential. It takes into consideration biophilic design concepts, optimising use of natural lighting and ventilation, and taking advantage of the contoured landscape to create a multi-level terraced building surrounded by lush greens.

Saint Kentigern Girls’ School on Shore Road has 19 classrooms with each syndicate occupying a dedicated floor. The first floor houses the Reception, Senior Leadership offices and large storage areas. The classrooms for Years 1-3 and a large, dedicated art studio are on the second floor. The Staffroom occupies a corner of this floor. Years 4-6 classrooms are on the third floor while Years 7-8 classrooms, music studios and ample learning spaces are located on the top floor of the new school.

Every floor of the Girls’ School has a dedicated library catered for specific age groups and many collaborative learning areas connected by a multi-purpose Social Stairs, an atrium that opens from the second to the fourth floor. Other unique features of the Girls’ School include four outdoor spaces tailored for different age groups, an Adventure Trail, a pet enclosure for the beloved school rabbit, a raised planting bed to grow vegetables and large purpose designed playground facility.

In thanking the team who contributed to the development of the Girls’ School, Saint Kentigern Trust Board Chair Mr Mark Conelly acknowledged that it took the whole community and many experts to imagine, design, fund, build and fit out the new school. “Every little detail was given consideration as to how it might impact the flow of students, the efficiency for our staff and the flexibility for the future. Today we can be proud of what we have collectively created, and we are thankful to all involved in building a great school for Girls.

“It is our mission to provide education which inspires students to strive for excellence in all areas of life for the glory of God and the service of others.  This new School, our superb staff lead by Ms Small and the vibrancy of this community of families gives the Trust Board great confidence that we are meeting our mission and will continue to do that well into the future,” added Mr Conelly.

Saint Kentigern Girls’ School was built on a collective dream and effort of the community and a team of experts. We would like to extend our gratitude to Architectus, Outline Design, Boffa Miskell, Aspec and the broader Saint Kentigern community for helping us achieve this major milestone for our Girl’s School.

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