Otahuhu Primary School
160th Birthday 1858 – 2018
160th Jubliee Reunion
Front Row: Noeleen Fox-Matamua, Ianeta Sini, Susana Nofo’akifolau, Jasoda Patel (Associate Principal), Jason Swann (Principal), Meritiana MacShane (Associate
Principal), Belinda Turner, Anne Govender, Phillipa Todd
2nd Row: Azreen Khan, Ngaire Jefferies, Shama Khan, Tania Slueva, Phyllis Ralmona, Devi Balbharan, Amina Ali, Majda Cassiem
3rd Row: Mohammed Khan, Jane Williamson, Rowena Pearson, James Vercoe, Adam Powell, Molavia Pulupuna, Malini Sione , Georgina Sionetuato, Sandra Grubb
4th Row: Malia Ika, Adriana Maroc, Asha Singh, Semo Letufuga, Maria Cecil, Rangikahiwi Panapa, Alapasita Lavaka, Lima Naea
Back Row: Suran Chandra, Nadra Sewnarain, Fatima Dollie, Melissa Bond, Sandra D’Lima, Fay Nelisi
Absent: Sina Faasisila , Mata Henry, Nisha Shahid
One Hundred Sixty Years
Table Of Contents 8
Board of Trustee Statement 18
Address from the Chairperson Sheryl Cardwell 54
Our Principals 84
Principals Statement Mr Jason Swann 104
History of our School 122
2018: A milestone achieved -
Our Heart Values
Otahuhu Primary School
Outstanding Performance & Service
Honesty Excellence Attitude Respect Tolerance
In all we do, all we say, all we are
An aerial view of our school in 1951
Table Of Contents 8
The Genesis 18
Our Principals 54
1953 - 1963: A steadfast foundation is set 84
1963 - 1973: Music, theatre, f ine arts - The gifts shine through 104
1973 - 1983: Trailblazers on the playing field 122
1983 - 1993: Reaching out in love and service 140
1993 - 2003: A milestone achieved - Celebrating Gold
2003 - 2013: A renewed commitment to God and humanity
SR. M. CELINE A.C. Our Journey
1953 – 1954
SR. MARIA ROSA A.C.
(Deceased) 1968 – 1977
(Retired. Residing at Carmel
Convent, New Delhi)
SR. M.ASTRID A.C.
1977 – 1982
SR. M. AIMEE A.C.
1954 – 1968
SR. M. CLARIBELLE A.C.
1982 – 1993
(Retired. Residing at Rosa Mystica
Convent, Aldona, Goa)
SR. MURIEL RITA A.C.
1995 – 2006
(Retired. Residing at Mount Carmel
Convent, Dhantoli, Nagpur)
SR. M. THEODOMIRA A.C. 9
1993 – 1995
(Currently Manager, Apostolic
Carmel High School and Junior
SR. M. PEARL-ANNE A.C.
2006 to date
Message from the Chairperson,
Board of Trustees
Sheryl Cardwell G reetings,
Chairperson, Board of Trustees It is a privilege and honour to be serving Otahuhu Primary School at this special time in its
history. There are not many schools in New Zealand that can celebrate being 160 years old.
Our school motto was changed in the late 1980’s from “Service” to, “He wahi tutaki mo nga tamariki o te ao”,
meaning, “A meeting place for the children of the world”. This is very appropriate as we have a very multi-
cultural community within the school - staff, teachers and students. We are one big whanau, where we look
after each other Otahuhu Primary has been known for many years as OPS.
We have used the letters OPS to stand for:
Outstanding Performance and Service in
Al l we do
Al l we say
Al l we are
In the ten years since the 150th Jubilee, there have been several changes made in We introduced the Mutukaroa programme which is a home school partnership
the school. between parents and the school.
2008, our Principal Mr Tamati Howard retired. 2017, parents, staff and the Board unanimously voted that Otahuhu Primary
2009, we appointed our current Principal Mr Jason Swann. School should introduce the first school uniform. The students look fabulous!!!
2010, we redesigned the front entrance to the school creating an in – out driveway. The school installed the electronic sign at the Station Rd entrance, displaying
2013, I officially opened the new two storey Senior School building on Thursday school information.
13th October. 2018, school uniform was established.
In 2014 we introduced PB4L - Positive Learning for Behaviour. Our schools Technology Block closed to outside schools due to most Year7&8
From PB4L we introduced our school values: classes having the facilities provided by their own school. An end of an era!
Honesty - Ngakaupono Many thanks to the Jubilee Committee for all their work in making this occasion
Excellence - Panekiretanga possible.
Attitude - Ahua Waiaro I look forward to meeting past pupils and staff during our celebrations.
Respect - Whakaute
Tolerance - Tuku Marie Sheryl Cardwell
Chairperson, Board of Trustees
Board of Trustees
Dre Te Paea Hopkinson
Message from the Principal,
Dummy oCopy Otahuhu very appropriate as we have a very multi-cultural community within the school -
Primary School at this special time staff, teachers and students. We are one big whanau, where we look after each other
in its history. Otahuhu Primary has been known for many years as OPS. We have used the letters
OPS to stand for:
There are not many schools
in New Zealand that can celebrate Outstanding Performance and Service
being 160 years old. In
All we do
Our school motto was All we say
changed in the late 1980’s from All we are
“Service” to, “He wahi tutaki mo
nga tamariki o te ao”, meaning, In the ten years since the 150th Jubilee, there have been several changes
made in the school.
“A meeting place for the
children of the world”. This is 2008, our Principal Mr Tamati Howard retired.
(L-R) Adrianna Maroc, Ianeta Sini, Meritiana MacShane, Tania Siueva, Sheryl Cardwell, Jason Swann, Jasoda Patel, Georgina Sionetuato, Nadira Sewnarain,
Mania Cecil, Fatima Dollie, Rangikahiwi Panapa
History of Otahuhu Primary School
Te Kura Tuatahi O Otahuhu
He wahi tutaki mo nga tamariki o te ao
(A meeting place for children of the world)
O n the 15th May 1848, the sailing ship Ann arrived at the Waitemata and sixpence. Later this included the construction of the Great South Road and the
Harbour, with the sixth detachment of the Royal New Zealand Fencibles stone Tamaki Bridge on Otahuhu’s southern boundary.
and their families on board. The Fencibles came to New Zealand to provide a
defence force against possible invasion by southern Maori. The Fencibles and their Two years later, by 1850, there were 96 children under the age of seven in
families were to live in one of the four villages of Otahuhu, Onehunga, Panmure the Fencible community. Because their fathers were duty bound to attend church
and Howick. parades, which their children also attended, the Anglican Church authority felt
that a school was necessary to cater for the education of these youngsters. By 1851,
The village of Otahuhu where the fencibles from the Ann were to live, classes were held at the Anglican Church building, where the Reverend S. WARD
comprised of an area of 400 acres boarded by Fairburn Road, Hutton Street fulfilled the dual role of Minister and schoolmaster.
Atkinson Avenue and Luke Street.
In 1856, the Anglican Church Committee advertised for a schoolmaster, but it
As the bigger percentage of these ex-soldiers were labourers of the Irish was not until 9th August 1858, under the instruction of Mr. I.R. Williams, that official
and English stock, they were set to work by the government doing public works, school classes started. The parents were obliged to pay a small sum of money for their
mainly building roads, for which they were paid in small sum of three shillings child’s education and in order for the school to be subsidised by the Education Board,
the curriculum had to include, English Grammar, Geography, History and Spelling. socks, with pants reaching down to the top of their socks.
During the first 14 years of school existence, from 1862-1865, classes were Even with the Education Board’s small contribution, the amount received
suspended for a number of reasons: “the terrible muddy condition of the roads was not really enough to support a teacher. Still under the administration of the
and therefore lack of attendance of the students,” and “Mr WILLIAMS being out Church Committee this situation continued for about fourteen years, until the
of pocket financially” and also “possible invasion of the district during the Waikato Otahuhu District School Committee was elected in 1872. The Anglican Church then
Wars.” relinquished it responsibility. Classes were then held in the Otahuhu Public Hall
from 1873-1874. The Church Hall was the rented for the following two years at £12
Mr BURNS took over when school resumed in 1865 and although he did
not stay for long, he became the second of several
headmasters to oversee the education of hundreds
of children. The first Otahuhu District School was
sited on the corner of the Great South Road and
Those early years provided no luxuries, with
bare floors, large classrooms and many students
in a room and a teacher with a hickory stick for
misdemeanors. The younger girls wore ‘mother
hubbard’ aprons over their outdoor clothes, boots
on their feet, their hair often in plaits or tied up
with a ribbon. The boys often wore caps, some were
barefooted, while others wore boots and knee high
The Otahuhu Public Hall
Classes for the OTahuhu School were held here
during 1873-1874. Built in 1865. The hall burnt
down in 1943
per annum. school. The children brought along their money and Miss GOULD the assistant
Up until 1872, headmasters only stayed for a few months each, partly because teacher recorded the the amount, and by the end of that first year, £6 had been
deposited, by the 50 children in the scheme. Being thrifty was an important part of
of the low pay. The wages were determined by the number of children attending the children’s education.
school and if the absenteeism was high, then the headmaster’s financial situation
suffered. Messrs T.H. BLANDFORD (1880-1889) and James ARMSTRONG
(1889-1894) both contributed to the education of the children at Otahuhu. Mr
The role of headmaster from 1873 to 1880 was filled by Mr WANNUP and ARMSTRONG was described as a ‘guiding influence'.
in the Inspector of Schools report in 1875 the number of children in attendance
had risen to 109. In 1878 a ‘penny saving bank’ was established at the Mr Tom WILSON accepted the position in 1894.
He was keenly interested in horticulture and the Junior
Cadet Movement. At the beginning of 1902, this new
discipline was implemented into schools for Standard 5
and 6 boys. Known as the New Zealand Junior Cadets,
the boys took this activity very seriously and the
younger boys were eager to follow in their footsteps.
Otahuhu Primary School had such a unit under the
command of Mr BULLEN.
One of Mr WILSON's pupils was Harold CLARK
who began school in 1907. Mr Harold CLARK, (now in
The Otahuhu District Primary School
Sited on the corner of the Great South Road & Station
his 106th year), passed his Standard VI Proficiency Certificate The Otahuhu School Junior Cadets
in 1915. In 1919 Dulcie NICHOLLS, started at Otahuhu Early 1900s
Primary and gained her Standard VI Proficiency Certificate
in 1920. (They married in 1929 in the Otahuhu Methodist end of the football ground was a wooden shelter-shed with a small locked room
Church). Mr CLARK's memory is still exceptionally good and attached. Stacked inside were the `dummy rifles' the Junior Cadets had used all
he has fond recall of his days at the Otahuhu School. He is those years ago. They were resurrected, dusted down and used to 'arm' the Home
the school's oldest living ex-pupil. Sadly Mrs CLARK died on Guards.
the 24th July 2008 in her 102nd year.
Mr WILSON left in 1916 and was succeeded by Mr A.J.C.HALL, who was an
Mr Harold CLARK still remembers Mr BULLEN's "earnest advocate in the promotion of education". He served for a term of five years
Cadet Unit, which "wore uniforms consisting of Glengarry until 1921, when Mr A. MURDOCH became headmaster.
caps with tassels, navy blue jerseys with epaulettes printed
with New Zealand Junior Cadets, navy blue shorts, black
stockings with double red bands and black boots. A colour
sergeant wearing a red-fringed sash was in charge and a
bugler completed the unit. Dummy rifles were used in
training and when not in use, were placed neatly in a rack in the
old school's main corridor. A live musketry competition for Auckland schools was
held annually and Otahuhu Primary always did very well, much to the pleasure of
Mr BULLEN." With the advent of World War One in 1914, the then government
decided to disband the cadet units, to the disappointment of the boy pupils and
Twenty-five years later, when World War Two commenced in 1939, the
Home Guard was formed and the volunteers used to gather on the football field to
practice marching when school was closed for the weekend. At the swimming pool
TDheemHoleisahdedmians1t9e7r1'stoHmoaukseeway for more classrooms The well outside the schoolmaster's house was originally used by the Fencibles
and a second one was sited near the Infant Department. The headmaster's wife,
When Mr MURDOCH was appointed to Otahuhu, the headmaster's house Mrs Ivy MURDOCH, had a lucky escape one night. She fell through the rotting
was at the end of the football field, although it was little more than a paddock. timber beams which covered the well, but fortunately managed to hang on until
Because the previous headmaster, Mr A.J.C. HALL, had lived in Auckland, he had she was rescued. As the well was 40-feet deep, it was decided to cover it over with a
let the school house to the Otahuhu policeman, Constable MOSS, who had stored concrete slab, before anyone else fell in.
equipment and chaff in one room of the house while the police horses and a house
cow shared the paddock. After the Education Board had sorted out the problem, At the end of 1921, the School Committee decided to run a fundraising Queen
Mr MURDOCH moved his wife and family to their new home in April 1921. In the Carnival. In 1922, five Queens were selected and the Education Board promised to
meantime he travelled by train from Newmarket to Otahuhu and walked up from match whatever was raised, with a £ for £ subsidy. They were somewhat surprised
the station in time to take Pupil Teacher classes at 8 a.m., before school commenced when £1,090 was raised. The Queen, who won the carnival by raising the most
each day. money, was Miss Norine McGEEHAN.
The Education Board proposed to build a new school of ten rooms, but by the
time the new school opened in 1925, only three rooms had been finished. Although
the old school was advertised for auction, it's possible there was few or no bidders,
because it was eventually demolished. The original site on the Great South Road
was divided into 14 sections and sold by auction in 1927.
The Infant Department, which was sited on the left of the stone gates on the
Great South Road, was then moved on skids to the western edge of the property.
Although six of the proposed ten rooms were to be built at the same time as the Infant
Department extensions, the latter was completed first. Two rooms were added and
the official opening ceremony for the Infant Department and the Memorial Gates
was performed on 17th October 1925. (Although the Infant Block is still in use, the
roof has been replaced. It is now a multifunctional building, featuring a classroom;
an information centre, including library, computer suite; a teacher resource centre;
and Resource Teacher offices). The Infant Department -
Towards the end of 1926, the brick additions to the Standard Block were the two roof colours show where the additions were
finally completed and the opening ceremony was held on the 10m March 1927.
Because of a great increase in pupil numbers, the tenth room was added a year later. management' room was added in about 1909. It
was here, that Standard 5 and 6 boys were taught
During the next twenty or so years, the class room floors were oiled, the free- woodwork and the girls were taught to cook. Other
milk-in-schools scheme was introduced, cocoa was supplied in the winter, apples schools from Manurewa, Panmure and Papatoetoe
were distributed to the pupils (when they were in season), and health nurses made sent their standard 5 and 6 students to the school
annual visits. for half-day lessons. Mr Bill MORTON taught the
woodwork classes and Miss PORTER, followed by Mrs
The motto of the school was 'SERVICE', not just to the school, but to the town as HERBISON taught the cooking classes. (This block is
well. Pride in one's own achievements and those of the school, was also encouraged. now called the Otahuhu Primary Technology Centre,
and sewing has been added to the curriculum.) This
In the early 1900s the Manual Training Block was built. The 'household practice continued even after the introduction of
decapitation, which meant that Otahuhu Standard 5 and 6 students were no
longer taught at the primary school.
Three tennis courts were laid, and a playing field
levelled and grassed. This was used for rugby in the
winter and cricket during the summer months.
The students enjoyed taking part in various
sports, which included swimming, athletics and
physical education. Some ex-pupils can still
remember doing exercises out on the football field
and marching into school to 'Colonel Bogey's March'
Back Row: Nola FUNNELL, Hazel JOHNSON
Centre Row: Shirley BATES, Audrey STATHAM, Dorothy ARNOLD
Front with mascot: Colleen HOTHAM
played on the gramophone. (Yellow) and Takitimu (Red) - named after four of the Maori canoes and illustrated
Sport always played on a chart on Miss KIDD's Standard 4 room wall.
an integral part in school The Auckland War Memorial Museum was always a source of information
activities and learning for all ages and visits were arranged for the pupils. The museum also loaned some
to play fairly and accept of their display cases of butterflies and insects to the school and these were used
the wins and losses was in classrooms, where cases were changed regularly for variety. In the corridor near
the headmaster's study were shelves with glass doors, where science equipment
considered an important was stored. The senior teachers and the headmaster were able to demonstrate
part of sportsmanship and
competitive integrity. Over One end of the Standard Block with sundial it sandpit in foreground
the years, the Otahuhu
School pupils were
at basketball and rugby. They also won the
Primary Schools' Athletic Shield three years running. When Teddy HEDGE, Dave
COCHRANE and Dorothy REEVES were star performers in the 1927 Primary
School Tennis Association competitions, the school was extremely proud of their
success and their photo is still hanging in the school.
In 1936, six Otahuhu students won the Junior Relay Championship at the
Auckland Primary Schools Amateur Athletic Association meeting. Another great
coup for the school!
There were also school Sports Houses - Arawa (Blue), Aotea (Green), Tainui
To put caption To put caption To put caption To put Canoe, was erected on the corner of Atkinson Avenue and Portage Road).
To put caption To put caption on n To put caption To put A sandpit and sun dial were erected and, during the 1930s depression, men on
simple experiments for classroom study and participation. the No.13 Relief Scheme built a concrete relief map of New Zealand and Australia,
Many ex-students will recall the shelter sheds, the furnace room, the Samuel in front of the aviary.
Luke Memorial, (now in Otahuhu town centre), the cairn at the Station Road gates This work was under the jurisdiction of the caretaker Mr Harry WEIR. The
and of course the Dental Clinic, or 'murder house', built in 1929. No doubt Nurses Otahuhu School map provided the opportunity for some geography lessons and the
TOLLERTON followed by Nurse WAIN would not have appreciated the description. sandpit kept the primer children occupied in the lunchtime breaks.
Some of the pupils were taken to Mount Richmond for a history lesson and The aviary was stocked with budgerigars, canaries, zebra finches, java
shown where the Maori pa and terraces had once been. Both the Tamaki Estuary sparrows, African Love birds and Rosella parrots. A propagating house was also
and the Manukau Harbour were pointed out and the children were shown where built, and the plants grown were used for the school gardens. The fernery was
the Tainui Canoe had been dragged, from east to west hundreds of years before. constructed of rocks, and both of these buildings were used in a teaching capacity.
(Some years later, a stone with an inscription to mark the portage of the Tainui
Mr C.R. Petrie
Mr R. Woods
Chairman) & Mr IL
Otahuhu Primary During the 1920s, pupil absences were quite Ex-pupil, Mr Rae RANKIN, remembers that in 1935, at the end of the Great
School was one of significant, partly due to contagious diseases Depression, the Chairman of the School Committee was Mr Charles PETRIE and
the first schools to such as diphtheria, typhoid and impetigo. To opportunities were being sought to improve the school grounds.
have school banking help reduce the spread of germs from pupils
introduced by the drinking from communal school taps, bubble Then in 1936, in anticipation of the coronation of King Edward VIII, it
fountains were constructed by the caretaker, Mr was decided that Otahuhu School would hold its own Coronation, for which five
Auckland Savings WEIR and the headmaster, Bert MURDOCH. Princesses were chosen. Claire FULLER was the Primer princess, Peggy McANULTY
Bank was Standard 1 princess, Dorothy BEST was Standard 2 princess, Maureen
In 1930, the Education Board decided RICKARDS was Standard 3 princess and Enid NEILD Standard 4 princess.
to introduce ‘decapitation', which involved
The fund-raising committees for each princess held cake stalls, dance
transferring Standards Five and Six away from evenings, raffles and household socials and at the end of the fundraising, Maureen
RICKARDS became Queen of the Carnival. The parents were mainly responsible
the Otahuhu Primary School in order to start the for making the costumes and accessories. This event taught the students about
the protocols and high-ranking individuals involved, such as an Archbishop, the
Otahuhu Junior High School on Mangere Road, Otahuhu. (Some time later the Knights, the Ladies and High Chancellor.
junior school became known as Otahuhu Technical High School and then Otahuhu Rae said, "I was one of the four Peers of the Realm and I presented the Orb
at the ceremony."
After World War One, the Memorial Gates were installed at the Station Road
As the town grew, the main street was lined with businesses and several entrance to the school. These consisted of two stone pillars with a bronze plaque
on each, suitably inscribed to commemorate the Otahuhu School ex-pupils, who
industries, such as the Railway Workshops, Challenge Phosphate and Kempthorne gave their lives during the 1914-1918 war. The pillars were originally covered in a
climbing fig, until they were moved further apart in later years.
Prosser, were established close to the Otahuhu Railway Station. Progress meant the
Around 1944, a swimming pool was constructed in the north-west corner of
Otahuhu residents went from walking or travelling in a horse drawn buggy, to using the playing field by Mr HANCOCK. Swimming lessons proved very popular with
the children and gave them confidence in the water. When the American Military
bicycles, trains and buses. Very few working people owned a car. All these new
industries brought more working class families into the district and consequently
more children were enrolled in the school.
Otahuhu Primary School was one of the first schools to have school banking,
introduced by the Auckland Savings Bank and Bible in Schools by local ministers
was also held.
Back Row: Donald Currie, Gordon Prime, Jack Capp, Keith King, Valarie Dawson, Trevor Masking, Graham Barrett, Ivan Burgess, 23
Third Row: Zane Stone, Douglas Mattson, Elva Trenwith, Clare Porter, Colleen Hotham, Vaureen Rickards, Dawn Carter, June
Ryan, Ava Foster, Trevor Cornelius
Second Row: Dorothy Best, Enid Nield, Vivienne Kirkham, Peggy McAnulty, Clare Fuller
Front Row: Ken Tucker, Fred Porter, Ron Piper, Rae Rankin
loyalty of the school community.
Sometime between 1951 and 1954, the 8 majestic phoenix palms that were
lining the driveway, were moved and replaced with pohutukawa trees, which 55
years later are a rare feature of a 21st century primary school. Some of the other
native trees have since died or been removed. One was a rimu tree, which had been
planted to mark the occasion of Jean BATTEN, a New Zealand aviatrix, who made
the first direct solo flight from England to New Zealand in 1936.
Bert MURDOCH served as headmaster for 25 years, from 1921-1946. He has
The School's War Memorial Gates at Station Road, Otahuhu Roll of Honour
Base at Mangere was closed after World War Two ended, the School Committee William BROWN Claude LIPPIATT
had the opportunity to purchase a building, suitable for use as a hall. As the hall William CARSON Eric LIPPIATT
was dismantled, its parts were carefully numbered and over the following two William CORIN James MCANULTY
years, was rebuilt behind the Infant Department by voluntary labour, under the Samuel J. DIXON John MUIR
direction of Mr Maurie SEEL. The hall is no longer in existence. Walter FROST William PATTERSON
Bernard FARRELLY George SCURRAH
In 1944, towards the end of World War Two, the Otahuhu District & Returned Francis GRAHAM R. SIMMONDS
Services Association (RSA) decided to have a Queen Carnival, for which four Queens Gerald S. HALL William TRIMBLE
were selected. Those chosen were Kath BAILEY representing the Armed Forces, Robert HAYWARD Percy WILLS
Mary EWAN representing the RSA, Vivienne KIRKHAM representing Sports Joseph IRVINE Burt WHITELEY
and Sheila MURDOCH representing the schools. It was the combined efforts of Basil KELSEY Roy W. YATES
teachers, parents and pupils that made the Schools' Queen victorious. This was at a
time when war rationing was still being felt, so, when the huge sum of £6,000 was
raised for the RSA, it was seen as reflecting a strong school spirit and the intense
Mr L.Podmore (RSA Chairman) Miss Churches (Bugler) never forgotten that his chief and paramount duly is Education'',
Nan Scott, Sheila Murdoch (School's Queen), Julie Lewis, Rev Cook He was instrumental in the beautification of the grounds, from rat's tail grass
Dane Nodwell, Heather Murdoch, Elaine McLennan, Dorothy Wootton
to neatly kept lawns and gardens. He believed in the integrity of the individual. By
Marjory Pope, Kathleen Murdoch, Beverley Annabel the time he retired, the children of former pupils were being taught at the school.
His influence spanned the generations, Mr MURDOCH retired in May 1946 and Mr
been the longest serving headmaster at the Otahuhu School. He had a vision. It A.E. KEMBLE took over as headmaster.
involved devotion to education and the well-being and health of children. He was a
great believer in the education of all children, no matter what colour, race or creed. Mr KEMBLE and his family lived in the schoolhouse for the next fifteen years
He once said, "It should always be remembered that the nation of tomorrow is until he retired. At the time of the school's centenary in 1958, he congratulated
dependent on the children of today". His viewpoint is still relevant today. He also the members of the Parent Teacher's Association and School Committees on their
said "A teacher could have all the ability and knowledge in the world, but if she or outstanding efforts, "In providing additional educational aids and improving the
he could not impart that knowledge to a pupil, so they could understand it, then environment of the school and the grounds". This gratitude also extended to "The
they should not be teaching". One observer, in 1938, wrote "Mr MURDOCH has fine body of parents, who for the last ten years operated the School Lunch Scheme
During his time as principal, the education system was undergoing another
change, and, where
who failed were held
back, this now saw the
child moving forward
with their age group.
Mr KEMBLE said,
"Instead of following
a rigid pattern, today,
we endeavour to
The Change Over 25
Mr Murdoch welcomes Mr Kemble
to Otahuhu School
have all children working to their fullest capacity. It is our aim to develop "Board of my appointment to the principal's position at the Otahuhu Primary
fully the potentialities of every child, intellectually, socially, morally and School, so made an excited phone call to the retiring principal and book a
physically and to give him a feeling of security". drive up the Great South Road to view the school and meet the staff.
The entrance from Station Road, through the old gates and the
Mr KEMBLE expected a good standard of arithmetic and also placed driveway, in the shadow of the lovely old trees. was most welcoming.
strong emphasis on cultural subjects. Junior and senior choirs were formed However, it was what lay beyond this lovely and welcoming facade that
and during the centennial celebrations sang unaccompanied items. took me by surprise.
Despite Otahuhu Primary's 100 years of history, what greeted me was
The school always participated in Arbour Day by planting trees in one permanent block of 4 classrooms and approximately 17 prefabricated
Sturges Park. One such occasion was held in August 1958 at the time of buildings! The main buildings had been condemned and demolished for
the school's 100th birthday. The children helped plant 300 native trees, safety reasons and had been replaced with these temporary monstrosities!
including kauri, totara, pohutukawa, kowhai and rimu. The trees had been The school office and principal's den were in one half of a double
donated by old pupils and residents and each tree carried a small plaque to prefab, with the staff room in the other half. Apart from those teachers and
commemorate a past pupil of Otahuhu School. students accommodated in the one remaining historic building, all others
were taught in these temporary classrooms. Nevertheless, staff accepted the
Mr KEMBLE retired in 1961 and the pupils collected money challenges and made their working environments most attractive .for their
to purchase a television set as a retirement gift. He was followed by young charges and were always professional. The library and resource
Messrs J.J.CASKIE (1962-68), E.H. D'AthWESTON (1968-76) and rooms were also in prefab buildings, while the Dental and Speech Therapy
R.A.GOLDSTONE (1977-80). clinics were housed in the best buildings on the site.
The prefab buildings had been placed on the perimeter of the
In 1974, the Auckland Regional Authority decided to place a sewage construction site of the proposed new buildings, which, in the ensuing wet
pipe right through the school grounds and, in the process of constructing winter, became a major challenge, not just for the workmen and heavy
the tunnel, caused irreversible damage to the concrete Standard Block. Five machines, but also for the children, teachers and visitors. One lovely little
of the ten classrooms were condemned as dangerous. It was not until 1975 Scottish teacher, who was only 5- feet-2-inches tall and always immaculately
that the building was finally demolished. Mr Roger GOLDSTONE arrived
when construction of the new school was in progress.
He remembers some of his years at the school.
In November 1976, I had just been advised by the Auckland Education
attired, brought her gumboots and umbrella to school, and the position as principals, Mrs Dorothy A. McMILLAN (1981-82), then Miss Wallis J.WALKER
slushed through the mud and puddles. She retained her
sense of humour, as did all the staff. (1982-1987). Miss WALKER arrived at the school in 1982 and was the principal at the time of the
Despite the challenges, many excellent achievements school's 125th Jubilee in 1983.
were made at Otahuhu Primary School during this period.
We were one of five pilot schools that worked with Dr Marie She took over the helm, at the time in New Zealand's history, when society was undergoing
CLAY in trialing her Reading Recovery Programme.
significant changes to its racial composition. "The role of the school has changed over the years,
During this time, the responsibility for the tuck
shop was passed from the principal to a group of parent from being an institution of rote learning and mass instruction, in classes of 50 to 60 pupils,
volunteers. This change to the principal's morning schedule,
allowed staff greater access to my time before 9 am, than where the aim was to have everyone achieve proficiency and those that didn't, failed. Today, we
had previously been the case. Several members of that
team moved on to well-earned principal and managerial have children from every continent of the world at our school, many whose cultural heritage is
different from ours and some whose first language is not English. They have abilities in social,
The challenge of teaching in the midst of a building site
eventually paid off when we moved in to the new building. It physical, cultural, academic and emotional spheres that we do not yet fully appreciate. These
brought the whole staff together as a very strong supportive
body, of professionals. Despite the frustrations, they were children and the staff are contributing
always able to laugh at themselves and were a group who
had a great deal of .fun. After all, that is what life and towards the fixture of our school and
education is all about —meeting challenges.
Roger GOLDSTONE. (1977-1980)
I pay tribute to the thousands
At the end of Mr GOLDSTONE's term of office, and for
the first time in the school's history, two women took over of people who have influenced the
development of this school. To those
who are continuing to do so at present,
and, to those among us who will be
leading Otahuhu Primary School into
Miss WALKER left the school in
1987 and her position was taken over by
Mr Dave McDONALD (1988-1996).
After winning a clean-up campaign, Mr McDonald with the award
organized to collect rubbish and plant
twenty-one trees in five separate locations, a print titled Depicting Land and Sea 25 ethnic groups. As a consequence it was felt the school motto needed to reflect
was awarded to the school. that change in cultural mix. Although the school colours of gold and black have
remained, the logo is now a Maori greenstone fish-hook.
In 1993, during Mr McDONALD's time as headmaster, the school's new hall
was finally completed. It had taken three years of fund-raising, hard work and The new school motto of "He wahi tutaki mo nga tamariki o to ao" is translated
determination, by students, parents and school committee members, to accumulate as, "A meeting place for the children of the world" and
$100,000 towards its construction. The Lottery Grants Board contributed $50,000 one has only to visit the playground at playtime to realize
and the ASB Trusts gave $30,000. The hall was four years in the making and the just how appropriate the motto is.
result of all their efforts provided a building, which has proved to be an enormous
asset for the school. A Maori blessing was performed and the Otahuhu Primary A second initiative of Tamati HOWARD involved
School Hall was officially opened in June 1993. replacing the old flagpole. The school used to have a
flagpole set in a garden, around which Anzac Services
The present principal is Mr Tamati HOWARD, who took over in 1997. Tamati were held and the flag also flew on other important
HOWARD is the 22nd principal to serve Otahuhu Primary during its 150 years. occasions. In more recent years, it was deemed necessary to extend the present
One of the changes initiated by Tamati HOWARD was to change the school motto school buildings and the flagpole disappeared. When the 140th Otahuhu Primary
to make it more in keeping with the cultural changes in the school. School Jubilee was held, a new flagpole was erected near the entrance to the present
Office Buildings with a suitably inscribed plaque.
During the late 1800s and early 1890s nearly all the Otahuhu School pupils
had been born of Irish or English parents although a few Maori and Chinese Also during Mr TAMATI's tenure, greater emphasis has been given to
children were also enrolled. In the 1940s children from Poland and England arrived catering for the special needs of individual children. In the early days of education,
to escape the terror of war. After World War Two they were followed by Dutch little consideration was given to meeting the needs of disabled children within
immigrants. New Zealand in the 1970s had full employment and its immigration the mainstream system. Teachers did not always understand and were certainly
policies opened up for the Pacific Island people. Again in the 1980s and 1990s not qualified. Fortunately, the school now provides such tuition and resources are
because of their military coups, Fijian families also emigrated to New Zealand. available to cater for their needs.
More recently, immigrants from the Middle East, India, China and Hong Kong
chose New Zealand as their adopted country. Otahuhu Primary School has seen many changes in its 150-year history.
From slates, chalk and blackboards, to whiteboards and marker pens; from roughly
Consequently the present day school roll includes children from at least hewn benches to bulky dual desks to modern multi-functional work-stations; from
lessons via radio broadcast, to overhead projectors and now personal computers.
One good idea from the past was reintroduced more recently. Fruit such as apples and kiwifruit are back on the menu.
One hundred and fifty years ago there were barely enough fee-paying pupils to afford one teacher's salary. At this present time, in 2008, the staff numbers 55 and
the roll fluctuates around 500 students. One cannot help but wonder what changes will have evolved by the time the next anniversary of the Otahuhu Primary School is
The base of the new flagpole with
"He wahi tutaki mo nga tamariki o to ac"
A meeting place for the children of the world".
9th August 1858 to 9th August 1958
This plaque was unveiled at a ceremony on the
28th November 1998
A Pictorial History of our School
A photo of the early
The Standards Block
Early photos of Otahuhu
Otahuhu Public Hall, built in 1865, came to an abrupt end by fire in 1943 An early scene in Otahuhu
Old railway yard Mr. Frank Andrew horse bus running business in 1885, now recognised
32 as one of the foremost heavy transport organisation
The early gas lights in Otahuhu
1917 - Standard III Boys
Back Row: Miss Muir, Huggins, Biddulph, Whitmore, Travena, Knott, Otahuhu School 1-4-1926
Stonemuller, Firth, Jackson Winners of the Boys Walking Relay Race
Second Row: Murray Woods, Jones, Austin, Whitmore, Morris, Earn, Roberts Back: A. Greenwood, P. Cochranie
Third Row: Aukett, Brennan, _, Thwaites, Morris, Ellery, _, Webber, White, Front: W.H. Hughes, T. Orinter
Fourth Row: Beattie, Cameron, Harris, McGavin, Kelly, _, Turnbull
Otahuhu District School Otahuhu District School
Football team 1927 Basket Ball Team 1927 - Section Winners
Back Row: O. Neal, J. Ogilvie, S. Burman, C. Stewart, Mr. E.W. Caddy, G.
Greenwood, C. Docherty, S. Hieat, D. Cochranie
Front Row: A. Greenwood, M. Stacey, S. Brewer, C. Shaw, L. Trevena (Captain),
D. Reid, J. Greenhalgh, G. Patrick, R. Bennett
Otahuhu Primary Juniors – Champion of Champions 1946 1945 Standard 3
Standing: I. Craig, R. G. Wells, D.H. Flay, M.J. Orpin, D.L. Meiklejohn, D.L.
Page, B. Fallen, R.C. Adams
Sitting: R.M. King, W.J.Booth, P.J. O’hara (Vice Captain), S.G.Dvett (Captain),
A.R. Sanderson, B.R. Whittle, Mr. D.V. Moore
Ground: D.J.H. Pollock, I.A. Pulman, W.D. Dalton, W. Cammell
1945 Otahuhu Primary 1946 Standard 4
Mrs. E. Pierce - Life Member, 1953
Otahuhu Primary School Centennial 1858-1958
Otahuhu Primary School Centennial 1858-1958
Otahuhu Primary School Centennial 1858-1958
Otahuhu Primary School Committee
Back Row: Messrs. Rae, Bonner, Sayers, Williams,
Front Row: Mrs. Latta, Mr. C. Handisides
(Chairman), Mr. L. Laloli, Mrs. Roulston
Otahuhu Primary School Centennial 1858-1958
Otahuhu Primary School Staff
Back Row: J. Slane, D. Thorne, Mrs. Hardy, Mrs. Masters, Mrs. Stead, Mrs. Boothboyd, Nurse Levick, Miss Russell,
Mrs. Hunt, M. Thompson
Middle Row: P Ridgeway, Miss Pilkington, Miss Williams, Mrs. Carpinter, Mrs. Stirling, Mrs. Werner, L. Werner, D.
Front Row: J. Carr, Mrs. Williams, A.E. Kemble (Headmaster), Mrs. Hammond, B. Wilson
Otahuhu Primary School – Midget Rugby Team
Winners of Otahuhu District Competition
Winners of Auckland Primary School Championship
Winners of Auckland Field Day
Back Row: Tony Jefferies, Brian Hill, Roy Redfern, Kenneth Baker, Alan Mathers, Brian Mafi
Middle Row: Bruce Skelton, George Collins, Geoffrey Farquhar, Nuikino Dean, Grant Allen,Mark Wilcox, Mr. J. Burton
Front Row: Graeme Snookes, Karl Sweetman, Graham Rogers (Captain), William Killin, Wayne Miller
Otahuhu Primary School – Auckland Champions 1960 A. Melrose, G. Paul, S. Panckhurst, S.
44 Steel, K. Toms, P. Dower.
L. Foster, L. Gordon, R. Sutcliffe, C.
Pitkethley, R. Smith, W.Kahi
Mr.B.M. Wilson, R. Wilson, J.
Herdman, S. Brown (Captain), D.
Sorensen (Vice Captain), M. Rowsell.
Otahuhu Primary School – ‘A’ Basketball Team – 1967
Winners of Otahuhu District Competition
Winners of Auckland Primary Schools Championship
BACK ROW: Tansy Hicks, Mrs J. Hearne (Coach), Carol Gadsby, Mrs K. Hook (Coach), Gertie Harris, Mr A. Quiton (Coach)
FRONT ROW: Niru Manga, Ema Ford, Susan Heke, Fa’ave Perese (Captain), Mabel Swann, Pamela Manga
ABSENT: Patricia McCowatt
Otahuhu Primary School – Netball Team – Auckland
R. WIKI, P. SELWYN, I. WEBSTER
L. NICHOLLS, R. FORD, R. RENNIE, MISS MUIR
P. KOTEKA, D. WALKER, S. CORNER
Absent: T. STEWART, J. WITAHERA