by Geoffrey Churchman

school graphicWhichever of the major parties wins September’s election, it is now certain that the new school that has been intended for some years won’t be in the Waikanae North development, instead it will be in the Beach Zone, and built by 2025.

Exactly where, however, is not yet established.  We asked National Party candidate for Otaki, Tim Costley, for clarification about this article on the NZ Herald website.  He replied:

We believe that the current “Waikanae North” site is the wrong place for a new school.

The greater need is towards the beach. Hundred of students travel from there, past Kapakapanui School, and are driven for up to half an hour a day getting to and from Waikanae School, and now, under this government, they are expected to pay for the bus! We believe Kiwi kids should be able to go to the closest school, not have to pay for the bus, and most should be able to walk or bike to school.

There are a few options on the table for the final site, but I agree it should be west of the Expressway, and I understand the MoE are looking at some possible sites in that zone. They will make the final decision on location, but the funding we announced was not to build north of Waikanae, it was for west of the expressway.

In an article posted on the Kapiti Independent News website, the Labour candidate for the seat, Terisa Ngobi, is quoted as saying: “The Government is already on track to build a new school in Waikanae Beach in five years’ time.”

The cynical will probably see this as both parties claiming credit for something the Ministry of Education wanted to do anyway, but it means that there is agreement it should happen. However, the comments don’t throw light on precisely where it will be. A school is ideally sited just off an arterial route, and not where narrow side streets are involved — a problem with both the Waikanae North and the Maypole company developments, the latter being just west of the Expressway.

In June 2017 we requested details of the Ministry of Education’s intentions and this post reproduced the letter of response. There would be growth by last year (2019) of 140 students in Waikanae and Te Horo it said.  Presumably, future-proofing involves allowing for a greater capacity than that.