Education in Nelson region - 1842-2012
The Nelson Province played an important role in the history of New Zealand education. It was the first Province to initiate free public education, based on Matthew Campbell's secular school system, which became the model for the country. It had the first secondary school in New Zealand (Catholic) and the first secular secondary school, plus there is Wakefield School; the oldest continuous public school in New Zealand.
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March 27 - the first private school in the Nelson settlement opens in a house made of toi toi, in December it moves to a specially built room in Tasman Street
September 12: The Nelson Branch of the British and Foreign School Society, with land and financial support from the Nelson Wakefield Company (forerunner of New Zealand Company), opens the first public school in Nelson, located in Bridge Street near the eel pond. The headmaster is William Moore. It closes following the Wairau Affray in June 1843
- Mary Ann Baigent sets up a household school at her home, this is the start of Wakefield School. On 8 October 1843 the school moves to a cob cottage belonging to Mr Wilkinson. The cottage is located just below St Johns Church. Mr Wilkinson is the first schoolmaster.
January 1: An official opening ceremony is held for the Wakefield Branch School. Wakefield School is the oldest continuous public school in New Zealand
January 21: ‘Bishop's School' (Bishop Selwyn's Anglican School), a Church of England Elementary School is built in Nile Street, Nelson.
May 18: Spring Grove School is opened
December 28th: A school opens in Brook Green (the original name for Stoke) Later to become Stoke School.
February 16: The Nelson School Society opens Richmond School on the corner of Salisbury Road and Main Street, Richmond
- The Nelson School Scoeity also opens the first Waimea West School.
- The Lutheran's open Ranzau School in Waimea East
Riwaka School opens
The Roman Catholic School (later St. Josephs School) opens.
The first secondary school for boys in New Zealand opens in Nelson - a Marist (Catholic) School run by Brother Moreau. Earlier in the year, Father Garin opens a Catholic boys "first" school
The Nelson School Society opens "Hope School" in Waimea East and Spring Grove School.
Hope Public School opens in Hope.
- River Terrace School opens in Brightwater.
July: The Nelson Education Act of 1856 is passed, based on Matthew Campbell's school system. The Act made the Nelson Province the first in New Zealand to have public schools at which no fees are charged - a Central Board is established to run them. The schools are to be funded through taxation and public revenue
Nelson College opens in temporary premises in Manuka Street
October 8th: Richmond Primary School opens. Attendance is compulsory for both girls and boys
- Pangatōtara School was listed as being under the auspices of the Provincial Government - this was the first listing, so it may have been open for longer.1
- Richmond Primary School's present site is purchased for 50 pounds
A School opens in the home of Pastor Heine in Sarau. It later becomes Upper Moutere School
Motueka Primary School opens in Motueka (it's becomes Parklands School in 1956)
- Wai-iti School (formerly Upper Wakefield School) opens.
- The second Waimea West School opens.
- Foxhill School opens.
The Lower Moutere Public School is established
The Tākaka District High School (later Golden Bay High School) is established.
- Eighty Eight Valley School in Wakefield opens
Hampden Street School opens
- Ngatimoti School opens, in fairly rough premises, with 18 children2
- The first Motupiko School opens. This was the first school to be established on the west side of the Spooners Range. The school was moved to a new site in 1877. The school merged with Tapawera Consolidated School in 1942
Haven Road School made an independent school (formerly a branch of Bridge Street School, when it was also known as Saltwater Bridge School)
- The 'old' Dovedale School opens. It is later demolished in 1969. In 1938 the old school is replaced by the present Dovedale School.
- St Marys School for Girls (Roman Catholic secondary school for girls) established.
East Tākaka School is established. In Nelson a school is built at junction of Bridge and Tasman Streets (known as Bridge Street School, Town Boys or Tasman Street School).
- Motueka Valley School opens. It is renamed Tapawera School in 1907.
New Zealand Education Act passed (modelled on the Nelson education system).
Nelson Central School is established
- Tadmor School opens.
Toi Toi Valley school opens.
A new Haven Road School built ( it became Nelson's largest school in the 1890's)
- Stanley Brook School opens.
- A new school for girls and junior boys is established in Brightwater and is called Brightwater School. Mrs Bryant is the Head Mistress
- Baton Valley School opens. The school later closed on 1st January 1928
- Sherry River School opens.
Brook Street School opens (2 Brook Street)
- Woodstock School opens.3
- Pokororo School opens.4
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- Upper Motupiko School (later known as Korere School) opens.
- Pigeon Valley School opens
- Gordon School opens near the junction of Eighty Eight valley and Wai-iti Valley
- October: A new school for boys is officially opened in Brightwater. Thomas Warnock is the first principal.
- Brightwater School (for girls) closes and pupils move to the Boy's School which becomes the new Brightwater School.
- Wangapeka School opens.
- Wairoa Valley School (also referred to as Garden Valley or The Valley School) opens.
1892 - 1893
Hampden Street School, Bridge Street School and Nelson's new Central School are set alight by an arsonist. The arsonist is caught in March 1893 and later sentenced to four years hard labour.
Land purchased for Nelson Central boys school - now the current site of Nelson Central School.
The Nelson School of Music is established. The new boys Central School is burned down. Johann Blecher is arrested for arson. August rebuilt boys Central School opened
- Orinoco School opens.5
Central School's lime trees are planted.
Hardy Street Girls School closes.
- St Marys School for Girls renamed Sacred Heart College.
- Upper Tadmor School (later known as Kiwi School) opens.
Mixed education discussed; Boys Central remains for boys, Toi Toi for girls, Tasman Street and Brook Street are joined under one head and Hampden Street and Haven Road under another head.
- The site of Salisbury School in Richmond is used as a boy's school - and used continuously for children with special needs for the next century
- Golden Downs School opens.
Reduction in number of Nelson schools to two: Nelson Boys Central (encompassing Brook Street and Tasman Street) and Nelson Girls Central (encompassing Haven Road and Hampden Street)
- Matariki School opens. Officially known as Wangapeka School, with the name Matariki School being adopted in 1912.
Nelson Central Girls opened in Shelbourne Street
- Tāhuna (initially Tatahi) School, opens as a side school to Stoke. it becomes independent in 1913 and is renamed Tāhunanui School in 1922.
- Wairoa valley School closes and the children are transferred to River terrace School.
- Pangatōtara School closes.
- Tui School opens.
Aporo School (later Tasman School) is established.
Māpua School is established.
Richmond Special School for Girls (later Salisbury School for Girls) opens on Salisbury Road Richmond.
- River Terrace School in Brightwater closes.
- Wairoa Gorge School opens a short distance up the Wairora Gorge Road.
Hampden Street School becomes Nelson's first mixed School.
Auckland Point School opens - Haven Road School site sold to City Council
Nelson Central Boys School is renamed Nelson Central School with the admittance of girls. The newly constituted school is made up of a main building in Nile Street and two separately located side schools - Brook Street School for Standards one and two and Tasman Street School for infants.
The present Upper Moutere School is built. The original classroom is towed by traction engine to the current site. It is thought to be the oldest classroom still in use in New Zealand.
- Eighty Eight valley School closes and the remaining pupils attend Koreke, a household school at Mrs Lukey's home.
June 17: The Nelson College clock tower is destroyed and other school buildings are damaged during the Murchison earthquake
- New Central Street school building opened
- Koreke School is consolidated (merged) with Wakefield School at the end of 1930.
- Brightwater School's new wooden building is finished. The brick building had been damaged in the Murchison earthquake and was unsafe for pupils.
- Wai-iti School (formerly Upper Wakefield School) closes and is consolidated (merged) with Wakefield School.
- Waimea West School closes and is consolidated with Brightwater School
- Wangapeka School closes.
- Renwick House becomes part of Nelson Central School
- Stanley Brook School closes
- Pokororo School closes and is consolidated with Ngatimoti School.
- 29th of May - Tapawera Consolidated High School officially opens with a roll of 175 students. The new primary school with a secondary school department combines, or consolidates, nine smaller schools on one site. The nine schools include: Tapawera, Golden Downs, Korere (formerly Upper Motupiko School), Motupiko, Sherry River, Kiwi (formerly upper Tadmor School), Tadmor, Matariki and Stanley Brook. The new school includes a dental clinic, woodwork and cooking facilities for students
- Tui School joins the new Tapawera Consolidated High School
- Woodstock School closes.
- Gordon School closes and the remaining pupils are transferred to Foxhill School
- Totara Bush Household School closes.
- Brook Street School closes as a school
- Wairoa Gorge School closes and children are transported to Brightwater School.
- Nelson first free kindergarten was established in a public hall at Nelson South in October.
- Bridge Street Kindergarten opened in May.
- Pigeon Valley School officially closes. The school's pupils had been transported to Wakefield School from late 1949, due to the teacher being unwell.
- Nelson Intermediate opens.
- Motueka District High School opens in Whakarewa Street, Motueka.
- Grove Steet Kindergarten opened in their own buildings December.
- February 5th: Waimea College opens.
- Nelson South Kindergarten opens in present location in July.
- February 5th: Waimea Intermediate opens.
- Stoke Kindergarten opened in November.
- November 28th: Henley School opens. Its name is decided by public vote, following a "name the school" competition. Henley was the name given to the area by one of the early settlers who came from Henley on Thames, England.
- Richmond Kindergarten oped in September .
- Nayland College opens.
- Sacred Heart College renamed Redwood College.
- Nelson Polytechnic established as a separate institution (was part of Nelson College for a period)
- Broadgreen Intermediate opens on November 13 in Stoke - on a field which used to be an orchard.
- Spring Grove School closes and the children are given the choice of attending either Brightwater or Wakefield Schools.
- In early 1975 Tapawera Area School is created, it is one of the first schools in New Zealand to become an Area School under new education reforms.
- Tasman Street School for infants is relocated to Nelson Central School.
- The first Kohanga Reo is established in Nelson
- Redwood College closes.
- Kohanga Reo at Te Awhina Marae, Motueka opens.
- Te Pouahi, the bi-lingual Maori/English language unit which began in Nelson Central School.
- Mountain valley School opens to serve the children in the Graham Valley community.
- January 27: Saint Paul's Catholic Primary School opens on Salisbury Road, Richmond.
- February 23: Garin College in Champion Road, Stoke is blessed and officially opened. The college is named after Nelson's first Parish Priest who established schools in his time
- July: Motueka Rudolf Steiner School (Primary school) opens.
- Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Tuia Te Matangi opens in Richmond.
Timeline originally drafted 2002 for the Nelson Provincial Museum and published on the Prow March 2010 with additions
Sources used in this story
- Ngatimoti School 150th Celebrations 1868-2018 (2018), p. 54. Booklet downloaded from Ngatimoti School website August 2021:
- Ngatimoti School , p.41
- Ngatimoti School, p.49
- Ngatimoti School, p.53
- Ngatimoti School, p.51
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Further sources - Education in Nelson region - 1842-2012
- Lundy, D. J. (1963). Development of the Nelson Provincial school system 1842-1878. Unpublished masters thesis, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.
- Nelson Education Board. (1956) Historical Booklet 1856-1956. Nelson, New Zealand: Nelson Education Board, p.3.
- Street, I.E. (1932) A history of education in the Nelson Province, 1842-1877. Thesis. Christchurch, New Zealand: Canterbury University College.
- 150 years of education, Stoke School, 1845-1995 (1995) Nelson, New Zealand: Jubilee Committee.
- As we remember: Ranzau school (1998). Nelson, New Zealand: Ranzau School.
- Batchelor, B., & J. Marris. (1979). Centennial history, Brightwater and district schools: Waimea West, Brightwater Girls, Garden Valley, River Terrace, Brightwater Boys, Wairoa Gorge, Totara Bush Household. Brightwater, New Zealand: Centennial Organising Committee.
- Batt, R. (2018). Schools in the valleys: educating our ancestors in Waimea South 1843-2003.
- Beatson, K.A. (1993). The river flows on: Ngatimoti through flood and fortune.
- Brightwater School. (2013). 125th Reunion of Brightwater School 1888-2013: Brightwater History & District Schools. Brightwater, New Zealand: Brightwater School.
- Centenary of the Spring Grove School: 1845-1945: historical record. (1945). Nelson, New Zealand: Centennial Committee.
- Chapman-Cohen, G (1949). Early Takaka and the Lower Takaka School, a history, 1860-1949. Tākaka, New Zealand: The Schools.
- Clark, A. (2018). Into the 21st century: A history of Wakefield School, 1993-2018. Richmond, New Zealand: Wakefield School Board of Trustees.
- Clark, John Robertson (1956). Richmond Public School centenary: 1856-1956. Nelson, New Zealand: R. Lucas & Son.
- Clifton Terrace School, 1856-2006 : 150th celebrations, 20-22 October 2006 (2006). Nelson, New Zealand: The School.
- Collingwood School and District High School: souvenir brochure of schools history 1859-1959. (1959). Nelson, New Zealand: R. Lucas & Son
- Dovedale schools, 1864-1994: a collection of memories (1994). Nelson, New Zealand: Nelson Education Centre; Christchurch, New Zealand: Christchurch College of Education.
- Dunn, T. (1990) Mapua School 75th jubilee, 1915-1990. Mapua, New Zealand: Jubilee Committee, 1990]
- Dungan, J. (2007). Waimea College: the first 50 years 1957-2007. Richmond, New Zealand: Waimea College Reunion Committee.
- Dunstan, M. and Dodson, M. (2006). Nelson College: images of an era. Nelson, New Zealand: Nelson College Old Boys' Association
- Early history of Stoke School 1845-1945 (1945). Nelson, New Zealand: The School.
- Gallas, F. E. (1982). Waimea College, silver jubilee, 1982: a souvenir booklet Richmond, New Zealand: Stiles Printing.
- Gee. M. (1978). 1878-1978 Nelson Central School: A History. Nelson, New Zealand: Nelson Central School Centennial Committee.
- Gregson, Peggy (1997). Hira School 125th reunion. Hira, New Zealand: The School.
- Haldane, Olive L. (1957). Centennial celebrations, 1857- 1957, Motueka schools: Motueka primary and secondary, Pangatotara, and Hau. Nelson, New Zealand: R. Lucas & Son.
- Hall, J (2002). Hope School 150th anniversary: 1852-2002. Richmond, New Zealand: Dry Crust.
- Hoult, M.J. Kevin (1973) A history of the Foxhill and Gordon Schools. [Nelson, New Zealand: The Centennial Committee.
- Langston, Nigel (1954). Dovedale stories. Nelson. New Zealand: Enterprise Publishing Co. Ltd
- Lower Moutere & Wills' Road schools: souvenir brochure of schools' history 1857-1957: centennial celebrations January 25, 26, 27, 1957 (1957). Lower Moutere, New Zealand: Brochure Committee
- Marshall, G. (1981). School days - school days!: 100 years of education, Tapawera and districts. Tapawera: Tapawera and Districts Schools Reunion Committee.
- McHardy, J. (1991) Nayland college the growing years. Nelson, New Zealand: Nayland Jubilee Committee.
- Marris, John S. (1980) Hampden Street School, Nelson: reunion, 1868-1980. Nelson, New Zealand: Reunion Organising Committee.
- Miller, Kerry (2006). Clifton Terrace School 1856 - 2006. Nelson, New Zealand: The Author.
- Mills, C. B. (1933). Nelson College for Girls: fifty years 1883-1933. Nelson, New Zealand: A.G. Betts & Son, Printers.
- Motueka District High School & Parklands School celebrate 125 years of schooling (1983). Nelson, New Zealand: Stiles.
- Ngatimoti schools reunion 125yrs: 1868-1993 (1993). Ngatimoti, New Zealand: The Reunion Committee.
- Newport, J. N. W. (1979). Rockville schools centenary, 1879-1979 : Rockville, Dall's Creek, Bedstead Gully, Kaituna-Aorere, Bainham, Silverstream. Rockville, New Zealand: Rockville Schools Centennial Committee.
- Nicholls, Murray (1973). Ranzau School : 125th Anniversary, 1848-1973. Ranzau, New Zealand: 125th Ranzau School Anniversary Committee.
- O'Connor, M. E. (2008). Salisbury School: a lesson in special education. Auckland, New Zealand: Te Whānau o Salisbury.
- O'Connor, Myles (1959). Appleby School, Nelson: centennial history, 1859-1959. Richmond, New Zealand: Appleby School Centennial Committee.
- O'Connor, Myles (1984). Appleby School, Nelson: centennial history, 1859-1959 and supplement to centennial history 1959-1984. Richmond, New Zealand: Appleby School Centennial Committee.
- Pestell, J., & Appleby School (2009). Lessons from the past: Appleby School history, 1859-2009. Nelson, New Zealand: Appleby School.
- Price, K. (2008). The school on the hill: Nelson College for Girls 1883-2007. Nelson, New Zealand: Nelson College for Girls.
- Riwaka School centenary 1848-1948 (1948). Riwaka, New Zealand: Stiles Printing.
- Rogers, B. (1996). East Takaka School, 1874 - 1968: the school's life. Tākaka, New Zealand: Beryl Rogers.
- School days..school days! 100 years of education - Tapawera and Districts (1981) Tapawera, New Zealand: Tapawera & Districts School Reunion Committee.
- Stade, K (2008). The school by the sands: a century of Tahunanui School, Nelson : 1908-2008. Nelson, New Zealand: The School.
- Stade, K (2006). Richmond Primary School: 150 years, 1856-2006. Richmond, New Zealand: Richmond Primary School.
- Stade, K. (2003) Aim high = Ki runga rawa : the story of Nelson Central School, 1878-2003, 125th Jubilee. Nelson, New Zealand: K. Stade
- Stoke School 125 years, 1845-1970: a summary of the history of Stoke School (1970) Stoke, New Zealand: 125th Anniversary Committee.
- Stringer, Marion. J. (1993). 150 years of Wakefield schooldays, 1843-1993. Wakefield, New Zealand: Wakefield School 150th Anniversary Committee.
- Sutton, J. S. (1981). Richmond Public School 125th jubilee . Nelson, New Zealand: Stiles Printing.
- Tasman School Jubilee, 1913-1963: celebrations -- 25-27 January, 1963 (1963). Tasman, New Zealand: Jubilee Committee.
- Timings, Pat (1995). Golden Bay schools register. Takaka, New Zealand: P. Timings.
- Timings, Pat (1996). Takaka Valley schools: slate and chalk to silicon chip. Tākaka, New Zealand: P. Timings.
- Voller, L.C. (1982). Sentinel at the gates: Nelson College for Girls 1883 - 1983. Nelson, New Zealand: Nelson College for Girls' Old Girls Assoc.(Inc.).
- Weston, John (1984). Collingwood Area School 125th anniversary, Easter 1984: supplement to centennial brochure, 1959-1984. Collingwood, New Zealand: Collingwood Schools Anniversary Committee.
- Win, Cheryl and Sandy Isbister (2009). Collingwood kids: 150 years of learning. Collingwood, New Zealand: Collingwood Area School.
- Airey, E. (2009) The school house. Heritage New Zealand 113, p.24-25
- Baigent, L. (1957) An early incident [school arsonist] Journal of the Nelson Historical Society, 1(2) pp.14-15
- Dakin, J. (1982). The elementary schools of early Nelson 1842-1856: A case of community development. Journal of the Nelson and Marlborough Historical Societies, 1(2), p.11-25.
- Harris, J. (2008) Education from the beginning [Wakefield School] New Zealand education review, 13(47), p.8-9
- McKay, J.G. (1961) The beginning of education in Nelson settlement. Journal of the Nelson Historical Society 1(5), p.8-10
Rural education : Tapawera District High School.(1942, May 28). Nelson Evening Mail, p. 4.
- State of Education in the Nelson Province (1868, September 5) Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, p. 6
- Teal, F. (1987) Bishop's School roll : an analysis. Journal of the Nelson and Marlborough Historical Societies, 2(1), pp.3-17
- Year 13 Computer Studies students. (2005).Motueka High School golden jubilee : slide shows, 1955-1960, 1961-1970, 1971-1980, 1981-1990, 1991-2005 . Motueka, New Zealand: Motueka High School. [held Tasman District Library]
Podcasts and Audio recordings
- Wakefield remembers days of the old schoolyard.(2018, November 9) [Interview] Radio New Zealand. https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/morningreport/audio/2018670481/wakefield-remembers-days-of-the-old-schoolyard
Links to school sites are in text.
- Broad, L. & Jubilee Committee. (1892). The Jubilee History of Nelson: From 1842 to 1892. Nelson, New Zealand: Bond, Finney, and Co.157.
- Broad, L. & Jubilee Committee. (1892). Foundation and History of Nelson College. In The Jubilee History of Nelson: From 1842 to 1892. Nelson, New Zealand: Bond, Finney, and Co . p. 164
- Fowler, C. & Smith, S. (2008) Can A Poll Tax Ever Be Acceptable? - Evidence from Colonial New Zealand. Research Archive. Wellington, N.Z. University of Victoria
- Henley School: Our School History.
- Motupiko School. On Living Heritage by the Tapawera Community.
- McLintock, A.H. (Ed.)(1966; 2009) Education - evolution of present system. In An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand: Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand
- Stoke School: historical [includes information on early education in Nelson].
- Tapawera Area School.