Property Development

Property Updates

The removal of 3 trees occurred last weekend (as shared in last week’s newsletter) and our children have had a great time playing in one of the piles of woodchips! The large tree trunks have been temporarily stored in the fenced off area at the front of the field until we are ready to use them.


We look forward to sharing more about creating our very own area for traditional Māori games and aro-tākaro (play items). You can find out more in this article soon.


Temporary Admin Block

Today contractors started drilling holes in the ground under the temporary admin block for foundations. We anticipate the work preparing the temp admin block for use will take until mid-late July. The building has been temporarily moved over to allow for drilling and will be moved back into position close to the fence and current admin block as soon as possible.

Connecting Services

As you can imagine the eventual removal of our administration blocks means many services which are connected have to be relocated... power, fire, security, data etc. Work will start in a couple of weeks to connect everything up. This will involve fencing off an area at the very front of the school to create a trench for cables underground. It should not impact the day to day operation of our school.


Temporary Classrooms

Work is underway to get more temporary classrooms on the field. Setting up a fenced work area will be the first part of this.

The fenced area will close off the end of our field and around the location of the new classrooms for a number of weeks. Once these are installed and connected up and the fencing is removed there will be a bit more field area for children to play in.


Creating A Worksite

We have made the decision to totally fence off the three projects from the school (admin, classrooms and connecting services) to avoid contractors and vehicles on the field where children have access.

This means that there will be a period while the fences are up where there is a large part of the field fenced off, but also means we can ensure safety for students


Mrs Arthur will be attending professional development next week to learn about traditional Māori games and aro-tākaro (play items). You can find out more in this article. Our plan is to use trunks from the trees which are being removed as part of a project which will come from this new learning.


Property Update - happening next week...

  • This Saturday, arborists will be on site to remove the three trees from beside the field, which were identified by the arborist as nearing the end of their lives, in preparation for our temporary buildings and later Stage 1 of our major build project. We will have a wood chipper on site to ‘chip’ any parts of the trees which can’t be used in our future ‘aro-tākaro’ play area. If there is any left over wood chips after we have used some around the school, we will advertise this to our OPS community.


  • Excavators will be on site next week to start drilling for the foundations of the temp admin block.



Since the Minister of Education’s announcement last term about funding approval for our new classrooms, things have been moving fast! Many of you came to the Library while Whānau Connect was on and saw how the vision and values which have been developed from community consultation have guided our planning process so far for building.

This display will be in the library (along with Paul, Megan or Viki) before school in the mornings and after school until 3.30pm most days for the next week. We encourage you to come along and have a look at our planning so far.


Fortnightly property meetings are now underway with our OPS team and external contractors. There is a significant amount to do over the next few months. Our focus is on both detailed design for the building, and the temporary admin and classroom blocks which will be used during construction.

While there are a lot of meetings and a lot to consider, we are really enjoying the very collaborative process with the Ministry of Education and Jasmax (lead designers).


Temporary Buildings

We are also meeting with the contractors who will get our temporary admin block and more relocatable classrooms ready to use on site. Once we get building consent from the council for the temporary admin block and the new relocatable classrooms we will have more idea about time frames for moving into the temporary spaces and when demolition will occur.


Landscape Design

One of the amazing opportunities this project gives us is the opportunity to be really strategic about our decisions. We know our current school site feels a bit like this has not been the case over the years! This means not only thinking about the building, it's also thinking about the outside environment.

As you will have seen from the initial designs we have shared in our Library, when the two stages of our master plan have been completed, we will not only get all of our field back, we also gain a significant area for outdoor play and learning in the central area of our school.

Along with architects for buildings, we have been working with a Landscape Architect who is part of the Jasmax team. He has met with our ‘Sustainability Committee’, our parent gardening group, and was taken on a tour of the school by some of our student enviro group. This group of students helped him to understand what is important in our school, to assist with landscape planning. They are really excited to be able to help plan the planting of trees in the future, which will encourage and support native birds and insects.

An arborist has reviewed the many established trees on our site to help with planning. There are some which have been identified as dying off due to age and will need to be removed, and others which will need to be removed as part of the project. Our aim is to maintain as many established trees as possible, especially the natives around our site.


Demolition Process

The timing for moving into new spaces and demolition will be quite tight. What is really exciting is that the contractors who do this work manage to recycle about 80% of the materials from the buildings. This fits really well with our sustainability philosophy.


Health and Safety

A big part of our planning is considering how our site will operate as a school while this major project is underway. There is a team who is working specifically on the many aspects of this.


Website Updates

Later this term we will set up a page on our website with property updates on it. This will be shared initially via our newsletter.

One of the projects we want to set up is the making of a timelapse movie about our building process. Ideally we would involve a group of students who are in Year 3 and 4 so that they can continue to add to it throughout this process. If you are interested in getting involved in this project or have expertise you can share with us, please email me. vholley@onehngaprimary.school.nz


Please feel free to get in contact if you have any questions or come in and see us before and after school in the Library over the next week.


Last Friday’s announcement by the Minister of Education was a significant one for our school. The journey to get to this announcement has been going on since before I arrived in 2014. There have been 3 Boards of Trustees who have worked very hard to get us here. We have had challenges and some disappointments along the way but we kept pushing forwards to get our OPS community the school and learning spaces they deserve.


“Onehunga Primary School is in desperate need of further space to teach in – and will see a new three-level block built with 14 teaching spaces, library and admin space,” Chris Hipkins announced during a visit to the school today.

“This includes four roll growth classrooms, at a total allocation of $14.5 million. Construction is estimated to begin later this year.”


While it is a bit of a ‘sigh of relief’ to finally get to this point, there is no time to stop and rest. As many of you have already seen over the last two afternoons in our library, planning is well underway for the redevelopment of our school site in two significant stages. All of our planning has been guided by our OPS Vision, Values and Principles - the teaching and learning approaches which we believe will achieve our goals for our children.

The preliminary designs shared and the Key Design Concepts we shared in the Library this week will be available on our website early next term. We aim to keep the page updated as this very exciting project progresses.

OPS Redevelopment Project Timeline 2014 - 2023 (added April 2021)

Please note that this timeline is only tentative as of April 2011


2014 - 2021

  • OPS Values and Vision (based on staff and community consultation) used to complete Education Design Brief. OPS Education Brief updated multiple times over the 7 year period

  • OPS Board and Principal work to ensure a master plan is considered for the school rather than the addition of ad hoc classrooms

  • OPS Boards (over 2 three-year tenures) challenged MOE to combine roll growth classrooms and upgrade of classrooms into one project. Long drawn-out process, that was at times confrontational to finally receive desired results of an agreed long term version for the school

  • Roll growth projections continually presented to the MoE by the Principal raising concerns about expected growth that was not being factored by MoE

  • Protection of green space a key consideration for the Board

July 2020

  • Jasmax appointed as Lead Designer for OPS project

Oct - Dec 2020

  • OPS Team works with Jasmax to review and further develop the master plan for the OPS site

  • Master plan and preliminary designs submitted to the Ministry’s Investment Board for approval

March 2021

  • Temporary Admin Block on OPS site. Waiting for consents to be approved before work can start to ready it for use

March 2021

  • Minister of Education announces funding for OPS redevelopment plan Stage 1



Please note that times listed below are still tentative

March - April

OPS, Ministry of Education and Jasmax developing detailed designs. We are in the Developed Design phase. Detailed Design and Consenting phase will be May – August 2021.


31 March and 1 April

Preliminary designs and concepts shared with the OPS community.


Tentative Timeline

Late April 2021

Procurement process is on the way for the Main Contractor and they will be involved in the development of the design as soon as appointed.


March - June 2021 Additional temporary classrooms on site.

The decanting buildings will consist of 3 temp classrooms, a toilet block and an admin block. Relocation and installation of the admin block started in early March 2021 and subject to approval of building consent, expected completion is end May 2021. Installation of temp classrooms and toilet block to start end of April and expected completion is June 2021.

TBC - July 2021 - Demolition of Admin block, Library, ESOL Space, Offices and Room 1-4

The temp classrooms and admin building will need to be completed prior to this and consenting approval has now affected timeframes. Subject to structural investigations, Block 12 to be converted into temp library.

September 2021 - Construction Starts on Stage 1 (3 levels 14 learning spaces, staffroom, Library, admin and resource spaces)

Main Construction starts. Blocks 2, 4d, and 8 will be demolished and grounds to be reinstated at the end of construction.

End of Term 1/Early Term 2 - 2023 OPS occupy and use new block.

The demobilisation, removal and reinstatement of the decanting buildings, including the 2 x temp classrooms installed in 2020, will follow once the new building has been occupied.