Our Beginnings

On 25 May 1897 Messrs Wadsworth & Whittaker submitted to the Auckland Education Board a tender of 130 pounds for the erection of a school building at Tairua Block. The very next day the tender was accepted and the construction of a single classroom, built mainly out of heart kauri began. The classroom measured 25ft by 14ft and included a small entrance porch. The classroom remains in it's original spot to this day and continues to function as a classroom, as it did almost 125 years ago!

 

'Tairua Block School' opened on August 23rd 1897 with a roll of 16 pupils from only 4 families. 

 

By the end of the first year the roll had risen to 25 pupils. Of these 25 pupils there were 17, with an average age of 9 years old, who had never attended school before. In these days many pupils stayed at school until they were 17 in order to be able to "read, write and reckon" a little.

 

In May 1915 the Education Board acceded to a request from a meeting of Hikuai 'Householders' that the name of the school be altered from Tairua Block School to Hikuai School.

 

In 1909 a 16 year old girl by the name of Violet Dufty opened a school of her own at Broken Hills in response to a request from parents. Fed up with having to get their children to Tairua Block School, along 4 miles of treacherous muddy road and over 2 river crossings, these parents approached Ms Dufty of Hikuai and asked her to run a school for their children at Puketui. Each family paid Ms Dufty one shilling a week for each child.

 

From 1914 - 1917 the headmaster, Mr Herbert Insull, was placed in charge of both Hikuai And Puketui Schools and they were formally regarded as one 'divided' school. Mr Insull provided 3 days teaching in each school each week. Puketui School closed in 1917 which saw Hikuai School become the sole provider of primary education in the valley.