Short History of Rangiora New Life School

The Rangiora New Life School was established in 1979, with a roll of 16 students, and commenced classes on the premises of Leigh Camp in Loburn. In 1980 it relocated to very modest facilities, built on 4 hectares of land purchased by the church in Southbrook, Rangiora.

Initially the school was formed when a previous pastor of the Rangiora New Life Fellowship (Graham McMechan) and a headmaster from their congregation (Trevor Bartle), met together with the other church elders and out of moral concern came up with a vision to see Christian Education made available in the area for their children and others. When Graham moved on, his successor (Pastor Spence Donaldson) picked up that dream and helped to make it become a reality. The Burwood New Life Church (now called Travis Junction) was also very supportive of the school and provided transportation so that students could travel in daily from Christchurch to attend - a service they continue to provide to this day.

The first curriculum used by the school was based on a system called A.C.E (Accelerated Christian Education). It was chosen because it was a Christian-based curriculum that met the needs of all the students within the limitations of staffing available. A.C.E. operated from a programme where students worked individually from booklets called 'paces', which were marked and tested for assessment. This system was not without merit, because it promoted students to set goals and to achieve them. However, some core subjects were also covered within a normal classroom format in order to meet the New Zealand curriculum standards and later the A.C.E system was phased out completely.

In the early days the school was unable to cater for the needs of secondary students, but during the late eighties, after Alan Harrison had taken over from Trevor Bartle as Principal, the school was able to extend and begin to take on students at these levels as well.

In 1994, during Brian Seatter's ten years as principal, the school became an Integrated State School. A specialist High School block (made up of Technology, Art, Home Economic rooms and Science laboratory etc.) was also completed in that year to meet the terms of integration. Being integrated allowed the school to maintain its special Christian Character, while having most of its educational expenses covered by the government. This transition had the effect of making Christian Education a lot more affordable for many families and as a result the roll grew considerably over the following six years.

This roll growth meant new buildings were needed and a library, music, computing and classroom block was built in 1999, allowing the roll to increase to 250 students. An Administration block and a third new classroom block soon followed the next year, and a Technology and Visual Arts block was completed in 2001. A further two new classrooms were added to accommodate the growing number of primary students in 2002.

From 2003 to 2011 under principal, Gregg Weaver further positive changes were made, particularly in the area of curriculum development. Expansion and ongoing renovation of the facilities have continued, most notably, the addition of two more secondary rooms, the remodelling of: three of the primary classrooms and the workshop technology area. In addition the grounds have recently been substantially developed with the establishment of new secondary hard courts, soft court, cricket nets, a 400 metre grass athletics track, a fitness trail, new carparking, new fencing, pathways and landscaping.

Brian Seatter was appointed principal from January 2012. In mid-2013 a new 1600 sq.m. Events Centre comprising a large gymnasium/hall with stage and drama facilities, classrooms and many other amenities is scheduled for completion as the roll increased to approximately 350 students, including over 200 at secondary levels. In February 2014 a further new block containing science laboratories and classrooms was opened to cater for the growing roll.

In early 2015 Stephen Walters became principal. At present (September 2015) the roll numbers 420, including 11 international students.