Opoutere Māori School

April 4, 2024

The Wharekawa Native School opened in 1908 after a request in 1903 from James McGregor, a resident of Ohui, to establish one to serve the inhabitants of Ohui and Lower Wharekawa districts. Mr. J H Lyall and his wife were the first teachers. The kura | school officially changed its name to Opoutere Maori (sic) School in 1912 due to its location's discrepancy with the previous name.

Te Whare Pātaka | The Treasury now holds a collection of 2 log books kept by the headmaster of the time which details kura events and operations. Te Whare Pātaka also holds the ‘New Zealand Maori School Register Admission Progress and Withdrawal Opoutere Maori School 1908’. This valued resource constains the names and details of pupils - their parents, date of birth, previous schools attended, standard reached, last day of attendance, the date removed from the attendance register and their destination.

Despite challenges like a decline in the school roll in 1913, efforts were made to facilitate access to education by cutting bush tracks and building bridges for children from outlying areas.

The early to mid-20th century saw the kura facing health challenges, with illnesses like influenza, measles, and whooping cough prevalent. It was temporarily closed in 1937 to prevent the spread of infantile paralysis. Despite efforts to inoculate children against diseases like typhoid and diphtheria, several tragic deaths occurred during this period.

By 1954, dissatisfaction with the kura buildings and site led to its relocation to the main highway, where a new two-classroom block and teachers' residence were built.

In 1969, the school officially dropped "Maori" from its name as the Education Department abolished a separate Māori School division. The school continues to operate today.

View the  logbooks here.

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