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unique spaces giving students a sense of belonging

From humble beginnings to a state-of-the-art learning facility, Te Wharekura O Te Kaokaoroa O Pātetere creates a whānau operated learning environment. Te Wharekura O Te Kaokaoroa O Pātetere is a total immersion Māori school located in Putāruru, New Zealand. They are committed to being more than just a kura, creating a holistic learning environment to foster the growth of students.

The relationship between Keith and April Silveira, Principal and Deputy Principal of Te Wharekura O Te Kaokaoroa O Pātetere, and Furnware first began 10 years ago with their original project being based around the Bodyfurn® research. They began their school as parents who set out to create a better learning environment for students where they are part of something bigger.

Te Tihi o Manono is a purpose built Senior block at Te Wharekura o Te Kaokaoroa o Pātetere.

Furnware Account Manager, Ezra Murray, has worked closely with Keith and April on their most recent project where they have since expanded dramatically and, as a result, have worked with a local architect to create a state-of-the-art building. When designing the learning spaces for the building, Keith and April had a specific vision in mind.

“We wanted a space that created a sense of familiarity in a sophisticated environment to prepare senior students for a tertiary environment.”

Keith Silveira - Principal

Large windows allow sunlight and warmth into the spaces.

Keith and April lead the school with a “cultural narrative that has become our brand”. This philosophy is reflected in the buildings and furniture, influencing the master plan of the school. For example, the classrooms are designed with the path of the sun in mind. Entrances face east so children enter and work in sunny spaces, flowing through to exits facing west, where the sun sets.

“We seek suppliers who can deliver results within our cultural narrative, and Furnware is very good at that.”

Keith Silveira - Principal

The new state of the art building at Te Wharekura o Te Kaokaoroa o Pātetere.

Over the course of a year, Ezra managed the senior school project from design to installation, in alignment with the cultural narrative. The brief included having an open plan learning space where the furniture was all flexible and moveable. She had a budget to work within and was given the flexibility to design the space how she saw fit.

Using the Furnware 3D app, the school was able to see what the space could look like before making any final decisions. They were able to see the design come to life, with Ezra creating a learning hub and an auditorium to show the true versatility of the space.

“Furnware listened to what we wanted to achieve and helped us to achieve it, with quality products.”

Keith Silveira - Principal

Switch 1 Tables are a great way to introduce flexibility and maneuverability.

Base High Tables, Switch 1 tables, Bodyfurn® Sled and Lab stools were all products used in the student area. They also used Bookworms to create room divides and breakout spaces and where appropriate ensured the furniture was on castors. This allowed for flexibility and ease of maneuverability to give teachers the option of using the furniture to create alternate layouts.
When it came to the colour palette, the school opted for wood and earthy tones like green and brown which are complemented by the walls and carpets. This aligned with the schools’ cultural narrative and matched the rest of the campus classrooms and learning spaces.
Following the completion of the space, Māori King Tuhetia was invited to the school for a blessing and opening ceremony. This was a special moment for students, teachers, and parents to feel a sense of belonging and being part of one whānau.
Creating spaces where students have the facilities to learn, and grow is paramount for Furnware. We will continue to support Te Wharekura O Te Kaokaoroa O Pātetere in their future growth ventures.

“The lights are always on, so it has become a 24-hour safe space. Students want to be here. They want to be at school. They have an environment that they’re proud of.”

Keith Silveira - Principal

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