The opening today of Waitakiri Primary school is not only an important milestone for this area, it is milestone for the City.
Burwood School was one of the oldest schools in Christchurch with a 141 year history and Windsor was the young neighbour with a modest 43 years.
Both schools were affected by the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes that devastated much of Christchurch. Burwood was one of the severely hit areas with over 50% of the school zone designated "Residential Red Zone" with a loss to the school roll in excess of 200 children.
With all the challenges facing the area, it took a special effort to bring the two schools together. I would like to acknowledge the incredible job your principal, staff and board have done.
For the past two years the school has been split into senior and junior campuses on both the old Windsor and Burwood school sites. So it really is great to see everyone come together.
I was the MP for the area when the merger was announced and if Neil had said I would be opening the new school as the Mayor of Christchurch I would have said he was dreaming. But here I am. And I am so glad to be here and see it for myself.
I am sure that students and teachers alike will enjoy the fantastic new learning spaces which support the school’s collaborative teaching practices.
Your new innovative learning spaces open up so many opportunities for students to learn anywhere, anytime - it is truly a 21st Century learning environment.
I will never forget the fact that when the devastating earthquake struck on February 22, five years ago, it was the teachers and principals who were there for the primary school children on that day and then every school day thereafter with so much happening around them and in their own lives.
Despite all the challenges we have had to confront we are starting to see the legacies emerge. And this is one of them. A magnificent legacy of which we can truly be proud.
There is an expression which says that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Waitakiri Primary School brings together the values that Burwood and Windsor instilled in generations of children and emerges stronger and optimistic for the future.
Congratulations one and all on the wonderful achievement that we celebrate tonight.