A name with a long association to the Mataura River valley has been chosen for the new Longford Intermediate and Gore High School merged school.

Maruawai, meaning valley of water, was gifted by Kai Tahu as the name for the year 7-13 college.

Longford-Gore Merged School board of trustees presiding member Leah Wilson announced the name to about 400 guests, including pupils, staff, parents and iwi in Gore last week.

The school was based in the heart of the Mataura valley, Mrs Wilson said.

‘‘This area has a rich history and cultural identity, and together with the contributions the two schools have made to this area, this history will be incorporated into our school’s new brand, reflecting our hard working rural, inclusive community.

‘‘Maruawai College will endeavour to both reflect and celebrate all of this,’’ she said.

Maruawai College principal Melanie Hamilton said it was incredible to have the community there to celebrate such a special announcement.

‘‘The name of the new school had been gifted as part of its te Tiriti o Waitangi partnership with its iwi as part of the board of trustees consultation process,’’ she said.

Hokonui Runanga kaitoko matauranga Jo Brand said it was exciting to be involved with such an historic moment within the community.

‘‘We have worked in collaboration with both schools and community to gift such a special name, and we’re looking forward to the future of Maruawai College and watching every student succeed,’’ she said.

Tuatahi Creatives developed the logo.

Chief executive Jordan Tuhura said they wanted to incorporate a variety of significant elements to create the logo.

‘‘Drawing inspiration from harakeke (flax), the logo signifies the weaving together and connection between the two schools, students, the teachers, the community and the taiao (natural environment) of Gore.

‘‘The shield-like structure is to pay homage to the predecessor logo of Gore High School, acknowledging the whakapapa of the school and signifying continuity and resilience.

‘‘The colours of green and navy reflect the local environment of the Hokonui Hills, Longford Intermediate and the Mataura and Clutha rivers, with the gold representing the school’s aspiration for its students to shine brightly,’’ he said.

Gore High School acting rector Melanie Hamilton was appointed principal of the new school this year.

The merger will happen at the end of the year.

The college will be accommodated on the Gore High School site and a redevelopment of the buildings is being planned.

It is hoped the project will start in 2024.

The merged school will run from two sites in the interim.