Murchison Area School serves a large area. Although a large number of students are within the town itself, others come from farming communities within neighbouring valleys and travel in to school daily.
The Murchison area is surrounded by natural features including lakes, rivers, mountains and native forests, all protected in National Parks and other public reserves. Outdoor recreation industry provides abundant opportunities for caving, climbing, fishing, gold panning, hunting, jet boating, kayaking, rafting, tramping and wildlife appreciation; and our summer population increases to cater for the many travellers who come to the area seeking adventure tourism. We have a commitment to include aspects of our physical environment in our planning.
State Highway 6 runs through the centre of Murchison township, with Nelson, 1.5 hours north of us, Westport 1.5 hours south and Reefton 1 hour south east. The school is situated on the state highway in the centre of the township. The Buller River runs beside the school and therefore it is essential that pupils are provided with water skills.
Sport is a major part of community life with teams often travelling away to other towns for competitions. This small tight-knit community prides itself on its spirit and caring nature and the healthy option it provides for its people as an alternative to city living.
Our school roll is growing quickly and has increased by nearly 40% over the last 5 years to over 180. Our roll has historically been relatively transient though this has reduced in recent years. Our Maori roll fluctuates from 10-15%. Our local marae is at Arahura, just north of Hokitika. The primary hapū is Ngāti Waewae, also known as Poutini Ngāi Tahu (our iwi is Ngāi Tahu).
The school has many major strengths, including small class sizes, up to date ICT, modern facilities with significant recent roll growth building work and new classrooms. We have just spent roughly $4 million on major upgrades to our wonderful school site. We pride ourselves on strong relationships, great community links and a wide and varied curriculum accessible and appropriate to each individual student and whanau. We focus on our inclusive nature for all students, our EOTC (Education Outside the Classroom) and our commitment to Te Reo and Tikanga, again with significant financial investment and high class staffing.
Student achievement at Murchison is extremely high from Year 1 to Year 13 and significantly above national averages including for all Area Schools, all Decile 4 schools and all schools in total.