Project Taiao

At the end of 2017 Allandale became the first school to embrace the Te Puna Taiao kaupapa, with our “Project Taiao”.

Taiao, which translates to ‘the natural world’ or ‘environment’ in te Reo Māori, is a project that aims to transform our school’s outdoor areas to make a place that is both a fantastic outdoor learning environment for our tamariki during school-time, as well as a beautiful enriched playground and gardens for the Kopeopeo community outside of school hours.  

Our aim is that our school’s grounds are a true community taonga that is used extensively by our kura during the school day and by the Kopeopeo and wider-Whakatāne communities after school hours.

What is the Te Puna Taiao kaupapa?

Te Puna Taiao is an initiative, informed by both science and mātauranga Māori, on a mission to reimagine, transform and better use the outdoor areas of schools in Aotearoa. It aims to create places that are both fantastic outdoor play and learning environments for tamariki during school-time, as well as free to use, enriched playgrounds and gardens for the wider community outside of school hours.

To find out more about this exciting kaupapa and why we’re making the changes we are please visit:

What benefits will improving the outdoor environment at Allandale have for our tamariki? 

There is loads of research to show that one of the best ways children learn is through play. Play is essential to developing a child’s cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being. The skills our kids will need most in a changing world are creativity, teamwork and problem-solving. Our transformed grounds will stimulate growth in these essential skills, provide enriched play and learning opportunities for our tamariki, connect our kids to the natural world and to Te Ao Māori, and give our teachers an amazing physical environment in which to teach.

What benefits will improving the outdoor environment at Allandale School have for the Kopeopeo community?

The Council’s project ‘Ki Mua’ sought feedback in 2017 about what our communities want for the future of our town. One key message to come out of that consultation was that people want facilities in Kopeopeo to help bring back the strong sense of community the area used to be known for.

Our kura’s outdoor transformation helps meet these needs and provides our community with all the proven health-related benefits of near-by greenspace.

How has Te Puna Taiao transformed Allandale School?

We are now almost finished transforming our grounds with Te Puna Taiao. Our students and staff are loving the new spaces during school time. And the use after hours is greater than we even hoped.  The flying fox in particular seems to have queues at all times; it’s fantastic to see the collaboration, fun and physical activity involved with each ride.

The school grounds now include:

• Double flying fox and climbing hill – great for kids of all ages.
• Maara kai / community garden and outdoor classroom
• Accessible sensory garden
• Pātaka kai – anyone is welcome to both contribute and take kai from the pātaka at no cost
• Mountain bike track
• Scooter/road bike track
• Junior skate park
• Papa kāinga, including awa with flowing water to play in
• Sports facilities – basketball and netball goals, soccer and rugby posts
• Tree house and climbing play area
• Traditional fixed play ground ‘the middle park’
• Natural junior play area – access by booking through the school office

Check out Te Puna Taiao’s website for images of the transformation: 

How much does it cost to use the spaces?

Nothing; the spaces are free to use by the community. We warmly welcome you, your whānau and your friends to use the facilities as often as you’d like to outside school hours.

The junior block area is enclosed with fencing for security outside of school time. Like the school hall, this area can be booked for a small administration fee for whānau and community events via the school office.

Are there any rules for using the spaces? 

We ask that all users of the spaces respect the facilities at all times. This means picking up any rubbish you see, treating other users with respect and kindness and taking care when using facilities.

In line with Ministry of Education policy, the grounds are smoke and alcohol free at all times. And no dogs are allowed, even on a lead.

Please note that the spaces are not supervised by the school and use is at your own risk. We strongly encourage appropriate supervision of young children and the use of helmets when using the skate and cycle areas.

Note that there are no public toilets on site. The closest public facilities are on James Street in the Kopeopeo shopping centre and on Cutler Crescent. 

How is Allandale’s transformation being funded

We are extremely grateful for the enormous support we received for our transformation. It is this support that has meant we have been able to secure the funds to make this flax-roots project a reality for our kura and community. 

The Te Puna Taiao Charitable Trust team have given their time for the past 2 years at no cost to make our transformation happen. They have shared the research behind their kaupapa with us, written funding applications, worked with contractors, project managed the implementation and managed the communications. They are also giving their time, along with Toi Te Ora Public Health, to develop an evaluation programme to assess the impacts of the changes.

With the support of the Te Puna Taiao Charitable Trust, we are grateful to have secured very generous funding by Lotteries Community Facilities Fund, Grassroots Trust, Ministry of Education, Disability Resource Centre, and Eastern Bay Energy Trust, as well as private donations who contributed to the cost of the capital build.

What is still to come?

The main thing still to come is an outdoor stage area at the rear of our prefab classrooms. After that we have a few tidy-up jobs to do….restoring the accessway, planting a fee more trees and putting up signage on how to enjoy the spaces.

Health and safety during construction

As with the build to date, during the final stages of construction areas will be fully fenced to ensure safety of our kids and community. Please respect the contractors and their property and encourage others to do the same.  If you have any questions or comments, please call in to the office and speak with our friendly office team.

Who has done the work?

We’ve been very lucky to work with two main contractors to make the transformation happen; EarthArt Landscaping and Tracks Concrete.  Lots of other local businesses have provided advice and support throughout the build.

Will there be an official opening?

Yes, our school and the Te Puna Taiao Charitable Trust plan to host an official opening of the grounds on Tuesday the 24th of September. Save the date, and more details will be provided closer to the event.

Photos kindly provided by Claire House of and Erin Green of Te Puna Taiao Charitable Trust


Allandale Primary School

Allandale Primary School

167 King Street,Whakatane, 3120

Ph: (07) 308 7645

Cell: 021 025 01768

Fax: (07) 307 0868