Inside The Gardens School, Manurewa

Published: Tuesday 26 March 2019

The Gardens School in Manurewa, Auckland was the venue for the NZ Chapter event on 21st March 2019.

There was an excellent attendance with members and supporters wanting to see what had been created to replace a very troublesome “leaky” school built less than twenty years ago.

The new three storey (yes 3 storey) block was designed by MOAA Architects based in Hamilton. Its flexible learning environment is designed for a capacity of 700 students Years 1 to 8. Tim Horne, practice director, was there to outline some of the key concepts of the design approach.

Tim focussed on the need for an “open” environment. It felt more like an open landscape plan for a garden where you move “from room to room”. The working spaces for students or groups of students had boundaries without walls and seemed to almost have a cosy feel about them.


The Principal, Susannah Fowler, provided the group with an outline of the essential process that the leadership team undertook in taking their staff and parents through the transition from single cell classrooms to 21st Century learning. This was without doubt a key to the success of the school since its opening in February 2018.

Susannah likened the process to the experience of being on a waterslide – not everything goes in a straight line and there can be hiccups along the way. See some of the re-build videos via their site.

It was an enjoyable evening and the tour of the school was very much the icing. Our members can look forward to another exciting event in Term 2, Thursday 20th June at Red Hill School in Papakura, we hope to see many of you there to see and hear about their new buildings.

Article: Alan Curtis

Photos: Jacque Allen, Averil Moore