Kaikorai Valley High School, as it was formerly known, was opened to pupils on 4 February 1958. When the decision to build a new high school in Dunedin at this time was made due to ‘baby boom’ roll growth, four possible locations were suggested: Tainui Inlet; the Ocean Beach golf links; Kaikorai Valley; and the Balmacewen golf links. The costs of reclaiming land at the Tainui Inlet and opposition from golf players and ratepayers meant the current site was chosen.
101 third form students attended the school’s very first assembly in C block, as at the time it was the only building completed of the planned four single-storey blocks capable of accommodating 600 pupils. Kaikorai Valley road itself was a narrow, gravelled, corrugated country lane, deeply pitted by the continual battering received from heavy trucks and earth moving equipment.
At this inaugural assembly, the school’s first Principal, Mr Rex Maslin, introduced the six other staff members and the Board Chairman, Professor Guy Manton, explained to the pupils that their school motto, ‘Quaerite et invenietis’, meant “seek and you shall find.” The official opening ceremony of the school did not take place until November, once the assembly hall and A block were completed. This was a unique event, not only in the history of the school itself, but also in the history of education in Dunedin; KVHS was the first co-educational and multi-course school of its kind in Otago. Instead of being a single, large multi-storeyed building, it had been based on the relatively new cluster principle, where the classrooms were grouped in several single-story blocks.
In the 1990s one of the most significant developments in the history of the school was the amalgamation of KVHS and Kenmure Intermediate School to form Kaikorai Valley College, one of the country’s first urban based, non integrated, co-educational Year 7 to 13 colleges. The merger included an exciting refurbishment of C block as a dedicated homeroom base for the younger students and their staff. The Minister of Education, Wyatt Creech, officially launched Kaikorai Valley College on 4 June, 1997, following a formal welcome to the school.
Major recent building developments have included the construction of a new, full sized gymnasium in 2006, which is often used by the All Blacks for pre-test training purposes; a custom designed, special needs facility, named the Helen Brathwaite Centre; and a spacious, modern administration and reception area, which was officially opened by the Prime Minister, John Key, in November 2012.