Established in 1939, we are the second oldest Intermediate School in the South Island and the third oldest in New Zealand. Our motto is “Aim High”.

We are located between the suburbs of Addington and Cashmere. The area was once rich in natural resources and although this area has long since been modified, traditionally Māori would have utilised the abundance of natural resources available.

Forming part of a wider system of trails, rivers and streams which connected to the Ōpāwaho, this area was a source mahinga kai to Ngāi Tūāhuriri/Ngāi Tahu and was also a travel route between the Māori settlements on Te Pātaka o Rākaihautū and further afield, and at Kaiapoi Pā. Immediately prior to the school being built, the site was an old dairy farm and racing stables.

The school was known as Christchurch South Intermediate School until 2020 when the name changed to Christchurch South Karamata Intermediate School after the school was gifted the name “Karamata” by Ngāi Tūāhuriri.

Karamata means “the head, the canopy of the tree”. It can also mean “pinnacle, summit, high point, peak, climax”.
Karamata was chosen by Ngāi Tūāhuriri for our school as:
  • It has mana
  • It implies success
  • The canopy shelters and protects those under and in it
  • It attracts birds, provides a safe haven
  • A healthy canopy is a sign of a thriving culture, where all elements (i.e: water, sunlight, air, insects, birds, humans) work together for the best outcomes.
“Karamata” links beautifully with our traditions of Aiming High, excellence and success, of an environment that nurtures, that encourages collaboration and achieving together, a place that supports young people to spread their wings.
During its long history, our school has undergone many other changes.
Although a hall was originally planned for the school, the outbreak of World War II and the subsequent Government policy of “no assembly halls for intermediate schools” meant that the school was without a hall. After eighteen years of hope and frustration, a hall was finally officially opened in 1957 by the Minister of Education.
The school made do with a variety of temporary library facilities until 1955 when the old Art Room was redecorated and equipped as the first “proper” library. In 1973 a much larger library was opened in its present location. In 2003 a new computer suite was added to the library to enable wider access to research information.
The school has undergone a number of upgrades and refurbishments over the years. In recent times the construction of a new office and administration building (2003), the development of a hard court area (2004) and a complete remodel, including extensions for Biotechnology and specific design areas, of the Technology Block (2005) have been completed.
In 2012 work was completed on a rebuild of our main classroom block. The old classrooms, which were built in time for the school to open in 1939, have been replaced with 4 ‘pods’ of classrooms. Each modern learning environment ‘pod’ has 4 classrooms and a large shared space for collaborative large and small group learning.
The major rebuild of classrooms began prior to the September 2010 earthquake and February 2011 aftershock. The school buildings and resources, both old and new, suffered only very minor superficial damage in the earthquakes. The school was fortunate to only have minor liquefaction on part of the school fields and sealed court areas.
A long overdue full renovation of the school hall was completed in time for the start of the 2012 school year.
In 2022 a building programme started to replace the administration building and library (which had both been deemed leaky buildings) and the Science block (originally know as the Home Economics block). The Science laboratory will be moved into the main Technology block in a renovated space and the Arts, both Performing and Visual, will move into a new Arts block. Along with these changes a new building housing administration, staffroom and library will be opened during 2023.
An annual exchange with Broadgreen Intermediate in Nelson was begun in 1977 and it continues to be a highlight of our year