On 20th September 2013 NaeNae College opened the doors to its new Special Needs Unit. The mornings festivities brought together staff, special needs students, parents, representatives of the MOE and the schools BOT.

Naenae College Principal John Russell welcomed visitors followed by a Haka performance by the special needs students under the main entrance canopy. There was a ceremonial planting of four cherry trees before visitors were welcomed into the building. Everyone gathered in the main lobby, which was designed to also serve as a multipurpose area together with the adjoining teaching space.

S&T’s Principal-in-charge Murray Robertson and Project Architect Chris Blanch were excited to attend the opening as it is a new step forward in 21st Century learning environments, in particular how these principles can relate to special needs. John Russell acknowledged all contributors of the project. In his acknowledgements he introduced Murray (a high level amputee) as being special too. It has been great for us to be part of this community. Julia Lee (Head of Department) shed tears of joy over how pleased she was that the students finally had a new learning space.

A morning tea followed and all visitors were invited to tour the building.

“I found [S&T] keen to listen and understand our wishlist and the needs of the students. They have been very informative, easy to talk with, explaining things in layman’s terms for us.” –Julia Lee, Head of Special Needs Naenae College