The suburb, which is the largest and fastest growing in Christchurch, and one of the largest urban growth areas in the South Island, is currently home to five primary schools and 20 early learning centres, but there’s no sign of a high school.
According to Statistics New Zealand, from 2018 to 2023 Halswell population is expected to rise from 27,000 to 31,100.
In the Halswell Ward profile it was noted that the suburb has a higher proportion of modern homes than any other Christchurch suburb, reflecting the recent and ongoing property developments.
As a long-time resident of the area, Lydia Tait said that rising population growth and property developments in the area makes it more crucial that Halswell has a high school. That is what drove her to launch the petition, calling for change.
At the moment, Halswell teens have the option of four high schools in local, surrounding suburbs, but even they’re struggling with the demand.
Cashmere High School has had to decrease its zoned area twice in recent years to control the enrolment numbers. As it stands, the roll of 2134 is more than 300 students more than the aim.
Similarly, Lincoln High School has had to shrink its zoned area twice in recent years due to rapid residential development in the immediate area of Lincoln, as well as nearby and Rolleston.
That’s only going to get worse, with 2000 more residential sections planned for Lincoln in the proposed development scheme.
Another local option, Hillmorton High School, has been undergoing renovations to enable it to take more students.
"The petition is for the government to start planning, funding and developing now so that Hillmorton does not reach the overcrowding situation we are seeing with Cashmere and Lincoln", said Tait.
Tait said that although Hillmorton will be able to cater for more students with the renovations, it wont take long before they are at full capacity - leaving Halswell teenagers with minimal options.