More than Numbers on a Roll

Burwood Primary School, in the East of Christchurch, is a Primary school situated in the middle of an area of the city severely damaged by the earthquakes of 2010-2011. With many personal ties to the school, I decided to follow the process of it being ‘merged’ (closed) due to Ministry of Education decisions over the past 8 months. What follows is a selection of the thousands of images I have taken during my time spent at Burwood so far- I plan to follow it’s story indefinitely. I am learning a lot through this project, both about documentary photography and primary education, and the importance of the latter to a child’s growth. What I am still unable to comprehend is the injustice of the Ministry’s decisions; to rip out from under these children who have already gone through so much, the very basis of their early lives. It astounds me the kinds of lessons they are taught in these classrooms, and I question where they would learn these otherwise. I feel as though when Hekia Parata made these decisions to close local schools, she didn’t look at the bigger picture, or these pictures- the ones involving the children. You can take a school out of New Brighton, and you still have New Brighton. But Burwood Primary is truly the heart and soul of the community. Buildings are just buildings, roads are just roads, but people- people are irreplaceable, and these children are more than numbers on a roll.

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