Rangi Ruru has a picturesque campus with the historic homestead Te Koraha at the heart of the school, surrounded with beautiful gardens and green spaces.
Rangi Ruru’s campus has been designed around the needs of tomorrow’s female leaders, focused on personalised learning and grounded in best practice teaching and learning. These buildings include modern, airy classrooms as well as collaboration zones where girls work together to drive their own learning. Together with the latest technology, girls are now connecting not only with just each other and the wider community but also the world around them, for a truly global perspective to learning.
Te Koraha “The Wilderness” is a Grade 2 category listed heritage building which has been fully renovated and restored to its former glory following significant damage resulting from the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch.
In 1889, the eight Gibson sisters took over the operation of a small Papanui Road ‘dame’ school. The following year their father, Captain Frederick Gibson, built a large house with two schoolrooms on the corner of Webb Street. This was given the name Rangi Ruru, or ‘wide sky shelter’. In 1903 the school had 63 pupils. By the early 1920s the Webb Street house was proving too cramped and the decision was made to move to larger premises. In August 1923 the remaining four sisters shifted their school, day pupils and eighteen borders to Te Koraha. Ownership of the property was transferred to the Gibson’s in 1928 for £9000.
Rangi Ruru remained with the Gibson family until 1946 when the school was sold to the Presbyterian Church. “The House” as it was affectionately known, has undergone significant changes over its lifetime; after full restoration it was reopened in July 2012 and now serves as the administrative hub of the school.
The Gibson Centre
The Gibson Centre, named after the sisters who founded the School in 1889, is an exceptional building that houses the Library and Information Technology services.
Opened in April 2014, Terry Mason, Director of McIldowie Partners Architects, describes the building as ‘the jewel in the crown’ of the new academic precinct. Girls kick their shoes off and sprawl out, relax, chat and study at the same time. Excellent acoustics keep sound levels down.
The curved shape of the building, the sloping ceilings and free-flowing spaces designed for social interaction, are light years away from the formal, no-nonsense institutionalised educational structures of bygone eras. A large overhead ‘‘occulus’’ opens when needed for cooling and solar-powered charging stations are available to re-charge devices.
St Andrew’s at Rangi Ruru
St Andrew’s at Rangi Ruru Presbyterian Church is a Historic Places Grade 1 Listed historic building. Located in the Rangi Ruru Girls’ School grounds in Merivale Christchurch. As well as being the school chapel, it is also an active parish church offering friendship and fellowship in a caring church family. The church is run by the local parish .
St Andrew’s church is of timber construction and as such it has survived the devastating earthquakes virtually unscathed, as has the pipe organ. This means the wonderful acoustics of the building are still available to choirs, Christchurch’s City Orchestra, and other musicians as well as their audiences.
The Science Centre
The Science Centre opened in April 2014 is described by architect Craig Brown, as a remarkable living, breathing giant science experiment. ‘‘It’s a living building that will actively engage the students by being the very latest, environmentally responsive building that uses natural ventilation for both heating and cooling” (which might indeed be the only one of its kind in New Zealand).
Incorporated into the design are displays of how systems work, such as water use, solar power and energy efficiency. A living green wall, weather stations and a seismograph ensure a vibrant learning environment that is constantly evolving.
Names of rooms celebrate strong women, they include Marie Currie, Jane Goodall, Dame Atarangikahu, and Malala.
Mana Wahine meaning “Strong Women”, houses Social Sciences and Student Services. It was opened by Sir Tipene O’Regan at a dawn ceremony in May 2014. The entrance to the building is framed with a unique Maori carving by Riki Manuel and features the Gibson Sisters, Te Koraha flowers and Celtic imagery representing the school’s Presbyterian roots.
Names of rooms celebrate strong women; they include Helen Clark, Kate Sheppard, Dame Atarangikahu and Malala. One wall in Mana Wahine is lined with doors recovered from the old Fergusson Block and signed by girls and staff who were at the school during the February 2011 earthquake.
Rangi Ruru Museum and Gallery
The Rangi Ruru Museum and Gallery was officially opened in October 2014. While the new Museum and Gallery is the smallest building on the campus, it is one of the more significant buildings steeped with history. It was built in 1946 as a state-of-the-art science building complete with Bunsen burners, litmus paper and high-rise science tables.
The building was damaged following the Canterbury earthquakes but it stood firm and, with Te Koraha, it remains a visual reminder of the school’s past as it stands proud at the main gates on Hewitts Road. The refurbished building will house the archival collections and be available for research purposes and exhibitions.
Art and Technology Building
The Art and Technology building on the corner of Merivale Lane and Hewitts Road has undergone strengthening to repair damage sustained during the earthquakes and was reoccupied at the start of 2015. Originally opened in 1998, this building has been improved as part of the repair and this now completes the last component in Stage 1 of Project Blue Sky.