Te Wharekura o Manurewa community is celebrating today, they've waited 17 years for news of new classrooms, including a sorely-needed science laboratory.
Last week Te Ao Māori News revealed students learning science outdoors on recycling and rubbish bins at the kura because their classrooms weren't safe.
The Ministry of Education has confirmed that the staff and students will be able to move into the new buildings, including a new science laboratory, by 2021.
School Board chairperson Pania Wilson says, “That's awesome, we're really grateful to have that date because everything else is just a process thing and working towards that end. So, we're happy to be able to say that next year, 2020, we're going to have soil turned."
Right now the school is situated behind Manurewa Marae. They moved here 17 years ago temporarily.
"I'm so grateful that all the tauira that have come through here since 2003 have been resilient and have learnt to cope and grow with the resources that we do have."
The previous government announced the initial funding for the project in 2017. It also included Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Manurewa which will combine wharekura and kōhanga reo through to tertiary education.
"The first process of that is the co-location of Kura Kaupapa Māori o Manurewa and the wharekura to the Browns Rd [Manurewa] site. So we're excited for that."
The school will contain classrooms fit for purpose for teachers and students including science laboratories.
During this year's Budget announcement Te Ao Maori News filmed wharekura students using rubbish bins for their chemicals because their actual classrooms weren't considered up to standard.
"It comes to a point where that direct dialogue has to be shifted out between that relationships and included with the public knowing what we've battled for, for our kids."
Minister of Education Chris Hipkins told Te Ao Māori News, "The Ministry is now working on a project brief with the school principals and boards of trustees. Once the project brief is completed and agreed, work on the design will begin."
It's a new era of education for this community with a forecast to house 300 students.