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TGS building opens in style

Flagstaff Team

Walk down memory lane… current principal Mary Nixon, with (from left) predecessors Simon Lamb, Paul Daley and John Morris

It was five years in the making, with two false starts due to Covid restrictions, but Takapuna Grammar School’s renovated main building finally had its official opening last Friday.

Guests were welcomed at the main entrance with a powhiri, with ex-pupil and benefactor Sir Stephen Tindall accepting the challenge.

The TGS chorale performed, conducted by Jacob Moore, and Tindall and principal Mary Nixon cut the ribbon.

Many current and former staff were in attendance, including three former principals: John Morris (1990-93), Paul Daley (1993-2003) and Simon Lamb (2003-2016).

Long-time teachers Robin and Terry Holding, Carol Craymer and Ian Lissette, were among the guests along with well-known old boys Ralph Roberts, Simon Gundry and Richard Jones.

Kaumatua Otene Reweti said those who were gathered “stood before the building in all its beauty and glory”.

Head boy Jake Avram said the Main Block had become cold and wet in winter, and hot and stuffy in summer. Students enjoyed attending Takapuna Grammar (TGS) during the restoration of one of New Zealand’s most historic school buildings.

Pupils loved the “flash interior” and having windows that opened and blinds that closed.

Head girl Catherine Fairbairn said the upgraded Main Block was a perfect metaphor for TGS, “keeping up with the times but reuniting with its history”.

Tindall said his time at the school had taught him self-motivation and respect for others, which he carried with him for the rest of his life.

The main building was built 93 years ago. Prinicipal Mary Nixon said when the white plastic shroud was lifted and the building “finally re-emerged, locals cheered and tourist buses stopped to let people take photos”.

Covid-19 caused problems but “did not stall the commitment of Woodview [Construction]’s senior site manager and former Takapuna Grammar pupil, Grant Wills, or the tenacity of Deputy Principal Brian Wynn from ensuring the completion of this project,” Nixon said.

The building had been “reinvented”, with innovative learning spaces, she said. “The effect on how students learn is noticeable and prompted a refresh of our educational philosophy at TGS to make use of this more agile learning environment.”

On a high note… The TGS Chorale, conducted by Jacob Moore
Current principal Mary Nixon with members of the school’s kapa haka group.
Taking up the challenge… Former pupil and benefactor Sir Stephen Tindall leads guests on the Takapuna Grammar School grounds ahead of the offical opening ceremony

This article originally appeared in the 29 January 2021 edition of the Flagstaff. Read online here.

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