The project, which will involve constructing buildings to replace those destroyed in an arson attack in 2013, will be finished by the end of July, says Nukutere College Board deputy chairman, Eddie Drollet.
For some years the future of the college was in doubt because of ongoing land issues. At the school’s junior prizegiving in November, Drollet offered special thanks to the island’s Catholic Community for raising $1.7 million to pay compensation to the landowners.
He also thanked the government for organising a perpetual deed of lease for the Nukutere College lands and its contribution of $500,000 towards the building project.
Drollet made special mention of board chairwoman Munokoa Purea and her hardworking Tuakata Vaine Tini Housie organisation which he said had contributed $60,000 towards the college building project in 2018.
And he paid tribute to the teachers for their hard work and patience in teaching the students in what he described as “a very difficult” classroom environment at the college since the fire.
“It has been five years of frustration, crying and hard work.”
A blaze at Nukutere College on October 19, 2013 wrecked the school’s west wing, including five classrooms, three resource rooms, a science lab, the tuck-shop and a store. The classrooms were form rooms for students from Year 9, 10 and 11. Around two-thirds of the school’s teaching space and most of its resources were destroyed in the blaze.
The fire was reported at 1am on Saturday October 19. However, fire services were unable to respond immediately because three aircrafts were arriving at the Rarotonga International Airport at the same time and the fire appliances were required to be on the tarmac.
Ironically, the arrival of three aircraft at the airport also held up response at an earlier fire at the college in 2006.
On February 6 that year, a fire started under a classroom block at Nukutere College, destroying the west wing.