Kaiapoi, the North Canterbury river town, is a rapidly growing town of 12,000, located 18 kilometres north of central Christchurch. Originally the town’s economic basis was food production and gathering for Ngai Tahu. This was followed by developing trade, as the river port and railway came into use. For many years the freezing works and woollen mill provided most of the employment, but recent rapid change has seen these two industries disappear from Kaiapoi. With new commercial and residential developments, the community is seen as an attractive location to live. There is a strong community identity, characterised by loyalty and pride. A number of students attend Kaiapoi High School by bus from other parts of our community, such as Belfast, Ouruhia, Brooklands, Clarkville, Pines Beach, Woodend and Rangiora.
The September 2010 earthquake significantly affected Kaiapoi, but the community is resilient and the rebuild of the town is well underway with a new library and community centre, shops and cafes all being built. Fortunately there was very little damage to the buildings and grounds of the school and it has continued to serve the community by providing a safe and caring environment for all.
Kaiapoi High School is a Years 9-13 co-educational secondary school. The School was established in 1972, following strong lobbying in the local community for its own high school. Its roll sits close to 900 students, with approximately 19% of Maori descent and 6% Asian. The school is situated on a well-maintained 8 hectares of grounds with more than half being allocated to open spaces and sports fields. The Auditorium is a centrepiece for the School and the community, and is often used for productions, community meetings and prizegivings. We have excellent sports facilities and a state of the art technology block that includes two industrial kitchens for hospitality and catering. Our learning programmes are inclusive and based on student needs. There are multi-level courses, addressing both academic and vocational needs. The school has been recognised as being at the forefront of outdoor education and leadership, and the development of the Young Parents’ College. We have well-qualified and experienced staff.
We have been leaders in providing a policy of inclusion and mainstreaming of all students. Many sports groups in the local community use school facilities such as the tennis courts, the full size gymnasium, the squash courts and the community-provided sports pavilion. The School prides itself on its innovative approach to providing relevant programmes for the community, and its recent NCEA results.