To help brighten the area, students have decorated the hoardings, bollards and even a bus stop outside the 139 Greys Avenue worksite, where a 276-apartment complex is being built by construction firm Icon.

Twelve-year-old Noa beams when describing her enlarged hot air balloon drawing on the outer hoarding.

“The hot air balloons represents people, and the clouds represent the challenges we face. While some people might be higher in the sky than others, it’s important to remember the only way to go is up, and some point we’ll get through the clouds.”

Fellow classmate, Alec, included a quote from Dr. Seuss book, The Lorax, in his nature-themed drawing: “I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongue.

The 12-year-old says the quote highlights the importance of protecting the environment. “As people, we need to give a voice to nature and protect the place we call home.”

The creative talents of Kadimah School

As a show of thanks for their artwork, the students were taken on a tour of the 139 Greys Avenue project site.

“It was a valuable learning experience”, says 12-year-old Eli. “Lots of concrete, big diggers; the construction process is really interesting,” she adds.

Situated across the road from Kadimah School, the Greys Avenue development is intended to provide a mix of public and market rentals. Due for completion in late 2022, a number of the state homes will cater to residents with higher needs, including people who have experienced homelessness. Tenants will have access to onsite medical facilities and 24/7 support services.

Kadimah School Principal Sue Meltzer says the students know the complex will serve an important purpose. “The children have a strong social conscience and are proud of their neighbourhood. Some of the students have even helped raise money for homeless people in the area.”

Kāinga Ora and Icon have developed a close relationship with Kadimah School as part of a wider community engagement programme. Community barbecues and information days will be held throughout the construction phase, while a newsletter to keep the community up to date on the development’s progress will be be published on a regular basis.

Icon and Kāinga Ora have also agreed on a set of initiatives to help boost employment and training opportunities, grow Māori and Pasifika businesses, and support worker wellbeing.

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Page updated: 11 March 2021