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Published by Repro Graphics, 2018-06-24 17:42:49

History of Otahuhu

History of Otahuhu

Otahuhu Primary School
Te Kura1T8u5a8t-a2h0i1O8tahuhu

He wahi tutaki mo nga tamariki o te ao
(A meeting place for children of the world)

On the 15th May 1848, the sailing ship Ann arrived at the Waitemata Harbour, with the sixth
detachment of the Royal New Zealand Fencibles 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 families were to live in one of the four villages of Otahuhu, Onehunga, Panmure and
The village of Otahuhu where the fencibles from the Ann were to live, comprised of an area of 400
acres boarded by Fairburn Road, Hutton Street Atkinson Avenue and Luke Street.
As the bigger percentage of these ex-soldiers were labourers of the Irish and English stock, they
were set to work by the government doing public works, mainly building roads, for which they

The Standard Block

were paid in small sum of three shillings and small sum of money for their child’s education
sixpence. Later this included the construction and in order for the school to be subsidised by
of the Great South Road and the stone Tamaki the Education Board, the curriculum had to
Bridge on Otahuhu’s southern boundary. include, English Grammar, Geography, History
and Spelling.
Two years later, by 1850, there were 96
children under the age of seven in the Fencible During the first 14 years of school existence,
community. Because their fathers were duty from 1862-1865, classes were suspended for
bound to attend church parades, which their a number of reasons: “the terrible muddy
children also attended, the Anglican Church condition of the roads and therefore lack
authority felt that a school was necessary to of attendance of the students,” and “Mr
cater for the education of these youngsters. By WILLIAMS being out of pocket financially” and
1851, classes were held at the Anglican Church also “possible invasion of the district during the
building, where the Reverend S. WARD fulfilled Waikato Wars.”
the dual role of Minister and schoolmaster.
Mr BURNS took over when school resumed in
In 1856, the Anglican Church Committee 1865 and although he did not stay for long, he
advertised for a schoolmaster, but it was not became the second of several headmasters to
until 9th August 1858, under the instruction of oversee the education of hundreds of children.
Mr. I.R. Williams, that official school classes The first Otahuhu District School was sited on
started. The parents were obliged to pay a


the corner of the Great South Road and Station

Those early years provided no luxuries, with

bare floors, large classrooms and many students Schools report in 1875 the number of children in

in a room and a teacher with a hickory stick for attendance had risen to 109. In 1878 a ‘penny saving

misdemeanors. The younger girls bank’ was established at the school. The

wore ‘mother hubbard’ aprons over dummy text dummy children brought along their money

their outdoor clothes, boots on their tedteyikjak and Miss GOULD the assistant teacher

feet, their hair often in plaits or tied recorded the the amount, and by the

up with a ribbon. The boys often end of that first year, £6 had been

wore caps, some were barefooted, ldfsjdkfj deposited, by the 50 children in the

while others wore boots and knee scheme. Being thrifty was an important

high socks, with pants reaching part of the children’s education.

down to the top of their socks. Messrs T.H. BLANDFORD (1880-1889)

Even with the Education Board’s and James ARMSTRONG (1889-1894)
small contribution, the amount both contributed to the education of the
received was not really enough children at Otahuhu. Mr ARMSTRONG
to support a teacher. Still was described as a ‘guiding influence'.

under the administration of the Mr Tom WILSON accepted the position
Church Committee this situation in 1894. He was keenly interested
continued for about fourteen in horticulture and the Junior Cadet
years, until the Otahuhu District Movement. At the beginning of 1902, this
School Committee was elected new discipline was implemented into schools
in 1872. The Anglican Church then for Standard 5 and 6 boys. Known as the New
relinquished it responsibility. Classes Zealand Junior Cadets, the boys took this activity
were then held in the Otahuhu Public Hall from very seriously and the younger boys were eager to
1873-1874. The Church Hall was the rented for follow in their footsteps. Otahuhu Primary School
the following two years at £12 per annum. had such a unit under the command of Mr BULLEN.

Up until 1872, headmasters only stayed for One of Mr WILSON's pupils was Harold CLARK
a few months each, partly because of the who began school in 1907. Mr Harold CLARK,
low pay. The wages were determined by the (now in his 106th year), passed his Standard VI
number of children attending school and if the Proficiency Certificate in 1915. In 1919 Dulcie
absenteeism was high, then the headmaster’s NICHOLLS, started at Otahuhu Primary and
financial situation suffered. gained her Standard VI Proficiency Certificate
in 1920. (They married in 1929 in the Otahuhu
The role of headmaster from 1873 to 1880 was
filled by Mr WANNUP and in the Inspector of

L-R: Sr. Aimee,
SSre.aMteadr:iaM. other Mary

Methodist Church). Mr CLARK's memory is still Zealand JuniorSCra. dHeitlsd,engaavrydeb(luleefts)hworitths,Sbrl.aAckimee
exceptionally good and he has fond recall of his stockings with double red bands and black
days at the Otahuhu School. He is the school's boots. A colour sergeant wearing a red-fringed
oldest living ex-pupil. Sadly Mrs CLARK died sash was in charge and a bugler completed the
on the 24th July 2008 in her 102nd year. unit. Dummy rifles were used in training and
when not in use, were placed neatly in a rack in
Mr Harold CLARK still remembers Mr the old school's main corridor. A live musketry
BULLEN's Cadet Unit, which "wore uniforms competition for Auckland schools was held
consisting of Glengarry caps with tassels, navy annually and Otahuhu Primary always did very
blue jerseys with epaulettes printed with New well, much to the pleasure of Mr BULLEN."

With the advent of World War One in 1914, the

The Community with som
Sisters in brown serge (woolle
Seated (L-R): unknown, Sr
Mother Mary, Sr. Maria, Sr.
Standing (L-R) Sr. Hilde
Sr. Marita, Sr. Olga, Sr. Colu
unknown, Sr. Gratian, Sr.

Some teachers from

Mrs. Margaret Nazareth

Miss Lilla D'Souza Miss Anna Drego

Mrs. Eidel Rebello

Miss Vicky Dias

Miss Cynthia D’Souza

then government decided to disband the cadet headmaster's wife, Mrs Ivy MURDOCH, had
units, to the disappointment of the boy pupils a lucky escape one night. She fell through the
and Mr CLARK. rotting timber beams which covered the well,
but fortunately managed to hang on until she
Twenty-five years later, when World War Two was rescued. As the well was 40-feet deep, it
commenced in 1939, the Home Guard was was decided to cover it over with a concrete
formed and the volunteers used to gather on the slab, before anyone else fell in.
football field to practice marching when school
was closed for the weekend. At the swimming At the end of 1921, the School Committee
pool end of the football ground was a wooden decided to run a fundraising Queen Carnival.
shelter-shed with a small locked room attached. In 1922, five Queens were selected and the
Stacked inside were the `dummy rifles' the Education Board promised to match whatever
Junior Cadets had used all those years ago. was raised, with a £ for £ subsidy. They were
They were resurrected, dusted down and used somewhat surprised when £1,090 was raised.
to 'arm' the Home Guards. The Queen, who won the carnival by raising the
most money, was Miss Norine McGEEHAN.
Mr WILSON left in 1916 and was succeeded by
Mr A.J.C.HALL, who was an "earnest advocate The Education Board proposed to build a new
in the promotion of education". He served for school of ten rooms, but by the time the new
a term of five years until 1921, when Mr A. school opened in 1925, only three rooms had
MURDOCH became headmaster. been finished. Although the old school was
advertised for auction, it's possible there was
When Mr MURDOCH was appointed to few or no bidders, because it was eventually
Otahuhu, the headmaster's house was at the demolished. The original site on the Great
end of the football field, although it was little South Road was divided into 14 sections and
more than a paddock. Because the previous sold by auction in 1927.
headmaster, Mr A.J.C. HALL, had lived in
Auckland, he had let the school house to the The Infant Department, which was sited on the
Otahuhu policeman, Constable MOSS, who had left of the stone gates on the Great South Road,
stored equipment and chaff in one room of the was then moved on skids to the western edge
house while the police horses and a house cow of the property. Although six of the proposed
shared the paddock. After the Education Board ten rooms were to be built at the same time as
had sorted out the problem, Mr MURDOCH the Infant Department extensions, the latter
moved his wife and family to their new home was completed first. Two rooms were added
in April 1921. In the meantime he travelled by and the official opening ceremony for the
train from Newmarket to Otahuhu and walked Infant Department and the Memorial Gates
up from the station in time to take Pupil Teacher
classes at 8 a.m., before school commenced
each day.

The well outside the schoolmaster's house was
originally used by the Fencibles and a second
one was sited near the Infant Department. The

was performed on 17th October 1925. (Although in the winter and cricket during the summer
the Infant Block is still in use, the roof has been months. The students enjoyed taking part in
replaced. It is now a multifunctional building, various sports, which included swimming,
featuring a classroom; an information centre, athletics and physical education. Some ex-
including library, computer suite; a teacher pupils can still remember doing exercises out
resource centre; and Resource Teacher offices). on the football field and marching into school
to 'Colonel Bogey's March' played on the
Towards the end of 1926, the brick additions gramophone.
to the Standard Block were finally completed
and the opening ceremony was held on the 10m Sport always played an integral part in school
March 1927. Because of a great increase in pupil activities and learning to play fairly and accept
numbers, the tenth room was added a year later. the wins and losses was considered an important
part of sportsmanship and competitive
During the next twenty or so years, the class integrity. Over the years,
room floors were oiled, the free-milk-in-schools the Otahuhu School
scheme was introduced, cocoa was supplied in pupils were
the winter, apples were distributed to the pupils
(when they were in season), and health nurses Over the
made annual visits. particularly

The motto of the school was 'SERVICE', not just years, the Otahuhu
to the school, but to the town as well. Pride in successful at
one's own achievements and those of the school,
was also encouraged. School pupils were
basketball and
In the early 1900s the Manual Training Block
was built. The 'household management' room particularly successful
was added in about 1909. It was here, that rugby. They
Standard 5 and 6 boys were taught woodwork
and the girls were taught to cook. Other schools at basketball and
from Manurewa, Panmure and Papatoetoe sent also won the
their standard 5 and 6 students to the school for
half-day lessons. Mr Bill MORTON taught the rugby
woodwork classes and Miss PORTER, followed Primary Schools'
by Mrs HERBISON taught the cooking classes. Athletic Shield three
(This block is now called the Otahuhu Primary years running. When Teddy HEDGE, Dave
Technology Centre, and sewing has been added COCHRANE and Dorothy REEVES were star
to the curriculum.) This practice continued even performers in the 1927 Primary School Tennis
after the introduction of decapitation, which Association competitions, the school was
meant that Otahuhu Standard 5 and 6 students extremely proud of their success and their photo
were no longer taught at the primary school. is still hanging in the school.

Three tennis courts were laid, and a playing field In 1936, six Otahuhu students won the Junior
levelled and grassed. This was used for rugby 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 (Yellow) and
Takitimu (Red) - named after four of the Maori
canoes and illustrated on a chart on Miss
KIDD's Standard 4 room wall.

The Auckland War Memorial Museum was
always a source of information for all ages

The School akjdkfajdf

and visits were arranged for the pupils. The Mr. adfadfsadfd
museum also loaned some of their display cases
of butterflies and insects to the school and these Portage Road).
were used in classrooms, where cases were
changed regularly for variety. In the corridor A sandpit and sun dial were erected and, during
near the headmaster's study were shelves with the 1930s depression, men on the No.13 Relief
glass doors, where science equipment was Scheme built a concrete relief map of New
stored. The senior teachers and the headmaster Zealand and Australia, in front of the aviary.
were able to demonstrate simple experiments
for classroom study and participation. This work was under the jurisdiction of the
caretaker Mr Harry WEIR. The Otahuhu School
Many ex-students will recall the shelter sheds, map provided the opportunity for some geography
the furnace room, the Samuel Luke Memorial, lessons and the sandpit kept the primer children
(now in Otahuhu town centre), the cairn occupied in the lunchtime breaks.
at the Station Road gates and of course the
Dental Clinic, or 'murder house', built in 1929. The aviary was stocked with budgerigars,
No doubt Nurses TOLLERTON followed by canaries, zebra finches, java sparrows, African
Nurse WAIN would not have appreciated the Love birds and Rosella parrots. A propagating
description. house was also built, and the plants grown

Some of the pupils were taken to Mount
Richmond for a history lesson and shown where
the Maori pa and terraces had once been. Both
the Tamaki Estuary and the Manukau Harbour
were pointed out and the children were shown
where the Tainui Canoe had been dragged,
from east to west hundreds of years before.
(Some years later, a stone with an inscription
to mark the portage of the Tainui Canoe, was
erected on the corner of Atkinson Avenue and


“Mother Celine and Mother Mary (the next Superior) were
spiritually empowered. In their presence one felt humbled. They
were not overbearing and never lost their temper. They exuded love.
Though not directly involved with the functioning of the School,
their presence added strength and support”, as Margaret Colaco

were used for the school gardens. The fernery the Auckland Savings Bank and Bible in Schools
was constructed of rocks, and both of these by local ministers was also held.
buildings were used in a teaching capacity.
Ex-pupil, Mr Rae RANKIN, remembers that in
During the 1920s, pupil absences were quite 1935, at the end of the Great Depression, the
significant, partly due to contagious diseases Chairman of the School Committee was Mr
such as diphtheria, typhoid and impetigo. To Charles PETRIE and opportunities were being
help reduce the spread of germs from pupils sought to improve the school grounds.
drinking from communal school taps, bubble
fountains were constructed by the caretaker, Mr Then in 1936, in anticipation of the coronation
WEIR and the headmaster, Bert MURDOCH. of King Edward VIII, it was decided that
Otahuhu School would hold its own Coronation,
In 1930, the Education Board decided to for which five Princesses were chosen. Claire
introduce ‘decapitation', which involved FULLER was the Primer princess, Peggy
transferring Standards Five and Six away from McANULTY was Standard 1 princess, Dorothy
the Otahuhu Primary School in order to start BEST was Standard 2 princess, Maureen
the Otahuhu Junior High School on Mangere RICKARDS was Standard 3 princess and Enid
Road, Otahuhu. (Some time later the junior NEILD Standard 4 princess.
school became known as Otahuhu Technical
High School and then Otahuhu College). The fund-raising committees for each princess
held cake stalls, dance evenings, raffles
As the town grew, the main street was lined with and household socials and at the end of the
businesses and several industries, such as the fundraising, Maureen RICKARDS became
Railway Workshops, Challenge Phosphate and Queen of the Carnival. The parents were mainly
Kempthorne Prosser, were established close to responsible for making the costumes and
the Otahuhu Railway Station. Progress meant accessories. This event taught the students about
the Otahuhu residents went from walking or the protocols and high-ranking individuals
travelling in a horse drawn buggy, to using involved, such as an Archbishop, the Knights,
bicycles, trains and buses. Very few working the Ladies and High Chancellor.
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

Rae said, "I was one of the four Peers of the Realm and Otahuhu District & Returned
I presented the Orb at the ceremony." Services Association (RSA)
decided to have a Queen Carnival,
After World War One, the Memorial Gates were for which four Queens were
installed at the Station Road entrance to the school. selected. Those chosen were Kath
These consisted of two stone pillars with a bronze BAILEY representing the Armed
plaque on each, suitably inscribed to commemorate the Forces, Mary EWAN representing
Otahuhu School ex-pupils, who gave their lives during the RSA, Vivienne KIRKHAM
the 1914-1918 war. The pillars were originally covered representing Sports and Sheila
in a climbing fig, until they were moved further apart MURDOCH representing the
in later years. schools. It was the combined
efforts of teachers, parents and
Around 1944, a swimming pool was constructed pupils that made the Schools'
in the north-west corner of the playing field by Mr Queen victorious. This was at a
HANCOCK. Swimming lessons proved very popular time when war rationing was still
with the children and gave them confidence in the being felt, so, when the huge sum
water. When the American Military Base at Mangere of £6,000 was raised for the RSA,
was closed after World War Two ended, the School it was seen as reflecting a strong
Committee had the opportunity to purchase a building, school spirit and the intense
suitable for use as a hall. As the hall was dismantled, its loyalty of the school community.
parts were carefully numbered and over the following
two years, was rebuilt behind the Infant Department Sometime between 1951 and 1954,
by voluntary labour, under the direction of Mr Maurie the 8 majestic phoenix palms
SEEL. The hall is no longer in existence.

In 1944, towards the end of World War Two, the

William BROWN Roll of Honour
William CARSON
Gerald S. HALL George SCURRAH

that were lining the driveway, were moved and Committees on their outstanding efforts, "In
replaced with pohutukawa trees, which 55 years providing additional educational aids and
later are a rare feature of a 21st century primary improving the environment of the school and
school. Some of the other native trees have since the grounds". This gratitude also extended to
died or been removed. One was a rimu tree, "The fine body of parents, who for the last ten
which had been planted to mark the occasion years operated the School Lunch Scheme so
of Jean BATTEN, a New Zealand aviatrix, who successfully".
made the first direct solo flight from England
to New Zealand in 1936. During his time as principal, the education
system was undergoing another change, and,
Bert MURDOCH served as headmaster for 25 where previously children who failed were
years, from 1921-1946. He has been the longest held back, this now saw the child moving
serving headmaster at the Otahuhu School. He forward with their age group. Mr KEMBLE said,
had a vision. It involved devotion to education "Instead of following a rigid pattern, today, we
and the well-being and health of children. He endeavour to have all children working to their
was a great believer in the education of all fullest capacity. It is our aim to develop fully
children, no matter what colour, race or creed. the potentialities of every child, intellectually,
He once said, "It should always be remembered socially, morally and physically and to give him
that the nation of tomorrow is dependent on the a feeling of security".
children of today". His viewpoint is still relevant
today. He also said "A teacher could have all the Mr KEMBLE expected a good standard of
ability and knowledge in the world, but if she or arithmetic and also placed strong emphasis on
he could not impart that knowledge to a pupil, cultural subjects. Junior and senior choirs were
so they could understand it, then they should formed and during the centennial celebrations
not be teaching". One observer, in 1938, wrote sang unaccompanied items.
"Mr MURDOCH has never forgotten that his
chief and paramount duly is Education'', The school always participated in Arbour Day
by planting trees in Sturges Park. One such
He was instrumental in the beautification of occasion was held in August 1958 at the time
the grounds, from rat's tail grass to neatly of the school's 100th birthday. The children
kept lawns and gardens. He believed in the helped plant 300 native trees, including kauri,
integrity of the individual. By the time he totara, pohutukawa, kowhai and rimu. The
retired, the children of former pupils were being trees had been donated by old pupils and
taught at the school. His influence spanned residents and each tree carried a small plaque to
the generations, Mr MURDOCH retired in commemorate a past pupil of Otahuhu School.
May 1946 and Mr A.E. KEMBLE took over as
headmaster. Mr KEMBLE retired in 1961 and the pupils
collected money to purchase a television set as
Mr KEMBLE and his family lived in the a retirement gift. He was followed by Messrs
schoolhouse for the next fifteen years until he J.J.CASKIE (1962-68), E.H. D'AthWESTON
retired. At the time of the school's centenary (1968-76) and R.A.GOLDSTONE (1977-80).
in 1958, he congratulated the members of
the Parent Teacher's Association and School In 1974, the Auckland Regional Authority

decided to place a sewage pipe right through and welcoming facade that took me by surprise.
the school grounds and, in the process of
constructing the tunnel, caused irreversible Despite Otahuhu Primary's 100 years of history,
damage to the concrete Standard Block. what greeted me was one permanent block of 4
Five of the ten classrooms were condemned classrooms and approximately 17 prefabricated
as dangerous. It was not until 1975 that the buildings! The main buildings had been
building was finally demolished. Mr Roger condemned and demolished for safety reasons
GOLDSTONE arrived when construction of the and had been replaced with these temporary
new school was in progress. monstrosities!

He remembers some of his years at the school. The school office and principal's den were in
"In November 1976, I had just been advised one half of a double prefab, with the staff room
by the Auckland Education Board of my in the other half. Apart from those teachers and
appointment to the principal's position at the students accommodated in the one remaining
Otahuhu Primary School, so made an excited historic building, all others were taught in
phone call to the retiring principal and book a these temporary classrooms. Nevertheless, staff
drive up the Great South Road to view the school accepted the challenges and made their working
and meet the staff. environments most attractive .for their young
charges and were always professional. The
The entrance from Station Road, through the library and resource rooms were also in prefab
old gates and the driveway, in the shadow buildings, while the Dental and Speech Therapy
of the lovely old trees. was most welcoming. clinics were housed in the best buildings on
However, it was what lay beyond this lovely

Arrangements of flowers handmade from asdfdfd

the site. in to the new building. It brought the whole
staff together as a very strong supportive body,
The prefab buildings had been placed on of professionals. Despite the frustrations, they
the perimeter of the construction site of the were always able to laugh at themselves and
proposed new buildings, which, in the ensuing were a group who had a great deal of .fun. After
wet winter, became a major challenge, not just all, that is what life and education is all about
for the workmen and heavy machines, but also —meeting challenges." Roger GOLDSTONE.
for the children, teachers and visitors. One (1977-1980).
lovely little Scottish teacher, who was only
5- feet-2-inches tall and always immaculately At the end of Mr GOLDSTONE's term of office,
attired, brought her gumboots and umbrella and for the first time in the school's history,
to school, and slushed through the mud and two women took over the position as principals,
puddles. She retained her sense of humour, as Mrs Dorothy A. McMILLAN (1981-82), then
did all the staff. Miss Wallis J.WALKER (1982-1987). Miss
WALKER arrived at the school in 1982 and was
Despite the challenges, many excellent the principal at the time of the school's 125th
achievements were made at Otahuhu Primary Jubilee in 1983.
School during this period. We were one of five
pilot schools that worked with Dr Marie CLAY She took over the helm, at the time in New
in trialing her Reading Recovery Programme. Zealand's history, when society was undergoing
significant changes to its racial composition.
During this time, the responsibility for the "The role of the school has changed over the
tuck shop was passed from the principal to a years, from being an institution of rote learning
group of parent volunteers. This change to the and mass instruction, in classes of 50 to 60
principal's morning schedule, allowed staff pupils, where the aim was to have everyone
greater access to my time before 9 am, than had achieve proficiency and those that didn't, failed.
previously been the case. Several members of Today, we have children from every continent
that team moved on to well-earned principal
and managerial positions elsewhere.

The challenge of teaching in the midst of a
building site eventually paid off when we moved

Another great entertainer was adfdfd

of the world at our school, many whose cultural (1988-1996).
heritage is different from ours and some
whose first language is not English. They have After winning a clean-up campaign, organized
abilities in social, physical, cultural, academic to collect rubbish and plant twenty-one trees in
and emotional spheres that we do not yet fully five separate locations, a print titled Depicting
appreciate. These children and the staff are Land and Sea was awarded to the school.
contributing towards the fixture of our school
and society. In 1993, during Mr McDONALD's time as
headmaster, the school's new hall was finally
I pay tribute to the thousands of people who completed. It had taken three years of fund-
have influenced the development of this school. raising, hard work and determination, by
To those who are continuing to do so at present, students, parents and school committee
and, to those among us who will be leading
Otahuhu Primary School into the future".

Miss WALKER left the school in 1987 and her
position was taken over by Mr Dave McDONALD

The buildings visible are (from left to right) the
erstwhile Secondary Section built in 1954 (now
the Primary Section), another building of the
Secondary section built in 1957 (now the Convent
premises), and the old Anchorage house (then used
by the Convent which has now been replaced by the
Provincial House).

Some Sisters at prayer
the new chapel

members, to accumulate $100,000 towards all the Otahuhu School pupils had been born of
its construction. The Lottery Grants Board Irish or English parents although a few Maori
contributed $50,000 and the ASB Trusts gave and Chinese children were also enrolled. In the
$30,000. The hall was four years in the making 1940s children from Poland and England arrived
and the result of all their efforts provided a to escape the terror of war. After World War Two
building, which has proved to be an enormous they were followed by Dutch immigrants. New
asset for the school. A Maori blessing was Zealand in the 1970s had full employment and
performed and the Otahuhu Primary School its immigration policies opened up for the Pacific
Hall was officially opened in June 1993. Island people. Again in the 1980s and 1990s
because of their military coups, Fijian families
The present principal is Mr Tamati HOWARD, also emigrated to New Zealand. More recently,
who took over in 1997. Tamati HOWARD is the immigrants from the Middle East, India, China
22nd principal to serve Otahuhu Primary during and Hong Kong chose New Zealand as their
its 150 years. One of the changes initiated by adopted country.
Tamati HOWARD was to change the school
motto to make it more in keeping with the Consequently the present day school roll includes
cultural changes in the school. children from at least 25 ethnic groups. As a
consequence it was felt the school motto needed
During the late 1800s and early 1890s nearly to reflect that change in cultural mix. Although
the school colours of gold and black have
remained, the logo is now a Maori greenstone

Ms. Rachael Ezekiel, the The new school motto of "He wahi tutaki mo nga
much feared Hindi teacher tamariki o to ao" is translated as, "A meeting
place for the children of the world" and one has
only to visit the playground at playtime to realize
just how appropriate the motto is.

A second initiative of Tamati HOWARD involved
replacing the old flagpole. The school used to
have a flagpole set in a garden, around which
Anzac Services were held and the flag also flew on
other important occasions. In more recent years,
it was deemed necessary to extend the present
school buildings and the flagpole disappeared.
When the 140th Otahuhu Primary School Jubilee
was held, a new flagpole was erected near the
entrance to the present Office Buildings with a
suitably inscribed plaque.

Also during Mr TAMATI's tenure, greater

Maria Gerson, a student who lived on the premises, ran the canteen and sold toffee and chikki
as well as boiled gram kept in huge aluminium containers

emphasis has been given to catering for the
special needs of individual children. In the
early days of education, little consideration was
given to meeting the needs of disabled children
within the mainstream system. Teachers did
not always understand and were certainly not
qualified. Fortunately, the school now provides
such tuition and resources are available to cater
for their needs.

Otahuhu Primary School has seen many changes
in its 150-year history. From slates, chalk and
blackboards, to whiteboards and marker pens;
from roughly 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 celebrated.

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