Home' Central District Times : February 28th 2012 Contents 4 CENTRAL DISTRICT TIMES, FEBRUARY 28, 2012
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School to celebrate 125
sometimes difficult years
The forthcoming 125 Year
Hunterville School Reunion
over Easter will see a huge
number of ex-pupils attend a
full-on weekend. Although
enrolment to the reunion does
not close until March 19,
accommodation in the town is
at a premium. The organising
committee have arranged
parking for self-contained
motor homes and camper
vans and are asking anyone in
Hunterville with a spare bed for
that weekend to contact the
school or Hunterville
Bookshop with the details.
By TERRY KARATAU
School is dated
Hunterville School became a ''consolidated
school'' in 1937 after a meeting of
householders from Silverhope and Rata
overwhelmingly voted for consolidation
with Hunterville and the consequent clos-
ure of the Silverhope School.
It was initially called Paraekaretu, the
first school to be built in the area.
It opened with a roll of 36 pupils in 1886.
The first teacher was George Samuel
The Rata School built in 1890 opened
with 27 pupils. Mr J R Black was appointed
teacher. The school also closed in 1937
when the pupils joined Hunterville.
When the roll stood at 44 in 1891 a grant
of £13 was used for fencing and a pound-for-
pound subsidy was allowed for a shelter
A reminder of the way the elements con-
trolled life in those early days can be
appreciated when in February 1891 only
three children reached the school
due to floods.
In 1920 the school was closed
during the influenza outbreak
which caused many fatalities
throughout New Zealand.
Two months after Rata School
closed, the Education Department
approved the demolition of the old
school building to make way for a
On Wednesday, March 28,1894,
an aided school was opened at
Mangaonoho. The settlers pro-
vided a building which the board
furnished. Twenty-three pupils
attended with the first teacher
In May 1938 a meeting was held
and all parents present were
unanimously in favour of consoli-
Mangaonoho children joined
Hunterville School at the begin-
ning of 1939.
Three months after having the
original application to build
Poukiore School turned down in
March 1894, the board decided to
go ahead. The school opened with
a roll of three boys and 10 girls on
January 28 1895. Miss Harriet
Curtis was the first teacher.
The last recorded entry in the
Education Board's file for
Poukiore School read: ''On Sept-
ember 1941, with a roll of eight
pupils, work was reported as
being almost entirely individual,
and owing to the distance of most
homes from the school, the attend-
ance of pupils was a big problem.''
It is thought Mr C R Laird
applied for a capitation grant from
the Education Board for the estab-
lishment of an aided school at
Mangahoe in October 1983.
The following year the board
told a deputation from the district
that there were no funds for build-
ings purposes and the settlers
must provide a building.
In September the following year
a £7 grant was made to help fur-
nish the school.
Miss Rose McGonnell was sole
teacher of 28 pupils when the
She boarded with Alex
Cameron's family and had to ride side-
saddle three miles (5km) to the school sited
on Nolan's property adjoining the Suther-
A new school was built in 1899. There
were difficulties recruiting teachers, poss-
ibly due to problems over board and dis-
tances travelled. In 1908 no school com-
mittee was formed so Mr T Cameron was
The following year he asked the board to
close the school and they decided to keep it
open until the end of the year. The school
closed in 1909 with the children attending
In March 1921, Mrs J W Gladstone wrote
to the board applying to start a household
school. This school was closed by the board
in September, 1927.
Rata-iti School opened on July 1, 1903.
Helen Campbell was the teacher with 11
pupils attending. Mr W P Campbell was
appointed commissioner because the board
considered there were too few pupils to war-
rant a school committee.
In 1911 the settlers appealed to the board
to provide a school building. The inspector
at that time found the school premises the
''worst ever seen''. However, there was some
indecision as to where the new school
should be sited.
In 1916 the owner of the schoolroom noti-
fied the board that he wished to resume
possession. The board then warned settlers
that nothing could be done until they
reached agreement as to the site. In May
1917, Mr and Mrs Joblin gave a site but it
was not until 1918 that the board finally
decided to move the Mangahoe school build-
ing to Rata-iti.
Rata-iti School consolidated with
Hunterville in 1952.
The establishment of a new school at
Putorino was first recommended to the
Education Board in an inspector's report in
October 1919. A grant was sought to erect
a ''cheap building'' and in August the follow-
ing year £355 was granted by the Education
Department. On May 16, 1921 the school
was opened with 14 pupils attending.
Eleven of these had attended Rata School.
Around 1925 the school roll had grown
due to the number of children of returned
soldiers families who were settling in the
area. In this year lack of funds delayed the
installation of electric light for the school.
In 1933 the roll was 36 and the porch was
being used as a classroom.
Frequent epidemics hit the schools. At
each outbreak of whooping cough, scarlet
fever, chicken pox, measles or diphtheria,
the children would be sent outside to do
gardening while the chairman of the school
committee would fumigate the school with
A postal vote in 1938 regarding consoli-
dation with Hunterville resulted in 14 for
the move and 11 against.
Putorino School held its last day on
August 18, 1939.
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