Newlands College students began their first days of secondary school on 3rd February 1970. Sixty eight foundation students arrived to start the new school year, at the start of a new decade in a new school. The only problem was the school wasn't finished on time; building had been dogged by the difficulties of the site and persistent wet weather. What was reported to be the most difficult site for a school in New Zealand, locals described the Bracken Road land as goat country and it was necessary to move 384,000 cubic yards of soil and rock to prepare the ground. So for all foundation students and staff, their first schooling was in two small classrooms at nearby Raroa Intermediate.
Though Newlands College was unfinished, members of the College Board and the foundation Principal, Mr Rex Sage, visited every parent of an enrolled pupil, assuring them that the educational programme would proceed.
It was not until 27 April 1970, when the students and staff could walk down the driveway to their own school, Newlands College. Even then, the only permanent building, A block, was unfinished and the bitumen outside was laid the day the school was occupied.
In contrast, Newlands College today is a very well equipped school with modern teaching and learning areas; well established extensive sports grounds and gardens. The school continues to have a commitment to appropriate learning environments and this is reflected through a programme of extensive refurbishment and the construction of new buildings.