Otahuhu Primary School
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
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 The role of headmaster from 1873 to 1880 was filled
in a room and a teacher with a hickory stick for by Mr WANNUP and in the Inspector of Schools
misdemeanors. The younger girls report in 1875 the number of children
wore ‘mother hubbard’ aprons over dummy text dummy in attendance had risen to 109. In 1878
their outdoor clothes, boots on their tedteyikjak a ‘penny saving bank’ was established
feet, their hair often in plaits or tied at the school. The children brought
up with a ribbon. The boys often along their money and Miss GOULD
wore caps, some were barefooted, ldfsjdkfj the assistant teacher recorded the the
while others wore boots and knee amount, and by the end of that first
high socks, with pants reaching year, £6 had been deposited, by the 50
down to the top of their socks. children in the scheme. Being thrifty
was an important part of the children’s
Even with the Education Board’s education.
small contribution, the amount Messrs T.H. BLANDFORD (1880-1889)
received was not really enough and James ARMSTRONG (1889-1894)
to support a teacher. Still both contributed to the education of the
under the administration children at Otahuhu. Mr ARMSTRONG
of the Church Committee was described as a ‘guiding influence'.
this situation continued for
about fourteen years, until Mr Tom WILSON accepted the position
the Otahuhu District School in 1894. He was keenly interested in
Committee was elected in 1872. The horticulture and the Junior Cadet Movement.
Anglican Church then relinquished At the beginning of 1902, this new discipline
it responsibility. Classes were then held in was implemented into schools for Standard 5 and
the Otahuhu Public Hall from 1873-1874. The 6 boys. Known as the New Zealand Junior Cadets,
Church Hall was the rented for the following the boys took this activity very seriously and the
two years at £12 per annum. younger boys were eager to follow in their footsteps.
Up until 1872, headmasters only stayed for Otahuhu Primary School had such a unit under the
a few months each, partly because of the command of Mr BULLEN.
low pay. The wages were determined by the One of Mr WILSON's pupils was Harold CLARK
number of children attending school and if the who began school in 1907. Mr Harold CLARK,
absenteeism was high, then the headmaster’s (now in his 106th year), passed his Standard VI
financial situation suffered. Proficiency Certificate in 1915. In 1919 Dulcie
L-R: Sr. Aimee,
SSre.aMteadr:iaM. other Mary
BULLEN's Sr. Hildegarde ("lewfot)rewiutnhiSforr. mAismee
Cadet Unit, which
consisting of Glengarry caps with tassels, navy
blue jerseys with epaulettes printed with New
NICHOLLS, started at Otahuhu Primary and Zealand Junior Cadets, navy blue shorts, black
gained her Standard VI Proficiency Certificate
in 1920. (They married in 1929 in the Otahuhu stockings with double red bands and black
Methodist Church). Mr CLARK's memory is still
exceptionally good and he has fond recall of his boots. A colour sergeant wearing a red-fringed
days at the Otahuhu School. He is the school's
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
Mr Harold CLARK still remembers Mr
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
The Community with some
more Sisters in brown
serge (woollen attire)
Seated (L-R): unknown, Sr.
Aimee, Mother Mary, Sr.
Maria, Sr. Bonoza. Standing
(L-R) Sr. Hildegarde,
Sr. Marita, Sr. Olga, Sr.
Columbelle, unknown, Sr.
Gratian, Sr. Clement Mary
Some of our teachers... Miss Lilla D’Souza, Miss Agnes Britto, Mrs. Eidel Rebello, Miss Cynthia D’Souza,
Mrs. Margaret Nazareth, Miss Anna Drego, Miss Vicky Dias and a few others.
Mrs. Margaret Nazareth
Miss Lilla D'Souza Miss Anna Drego
Mrs. Eidel Rebello
Miss Vicky Dias
Miss Cynthia D’Souza
well, much to the pleasure of Mr BULLEN." and family to their new home in April 1921.
In the meantime he travelled by train from
With the advent of World War One in 1914, the Newmarket to Otahuhu and walked up from
then government decided to disband the cadet the station in time to take Pupil Teacher classes
units, to the disappointment of the boy pupils at 8 a.m., before school commenced each day.
and Mr CLARK.
The well outside the schoolmaster's house was
Twenty-five years later, when World War Two originally used by the Fencibles and a second
commenced in 1939, the Home Guard was one was sited near the Infant Department. The
formed and the volunteers used to gather on the headmaster's wife, Mrs Ivy MURDOCH, had
football field to practice marching when school a lucky escape one night. She fell through the
was closed for the weekend. At the swimming rotting timber beams which covered the well,
pool end of the football ground was a wooden but fortunately managed to hang on until she
shelter-shed with a small locked room attached. was rescued. As the well was 40-feet deep, it
Stacked inside were the `dummy rifles' the was decided to cover it over with a concrete
Junior Cadets had used all those years ago. slab, before anyone else fell in.
They were resurrected, dusted down and used
to 'arm' the Home Guards. At the end of 1921, the School Committee
decided to run a fundraising Queen Carnival.
Mr WILSON left in 1916 and was succeeded by In 1922, five Queens were selected and the
Mr A.J.C.HALL, who was an "earnest advocate Education Board promised to match whatever
in the promotion of education". He served for was raised, with a £ for £ subsidy. They were
a term of five years until 1921, when Mr A. somewhat surprised when £1,090 was raised.
MURDOCH became headmaster. The Queen, who won the carnival by raising the
most money, was Miss Norine McGEEHAN.
When Mr MURDOCH was appointed to
Otahuhu, the headmaster's house was at the end The Education
of the football field, although it was little more
than a paddock. Because the
Mr A.J.C. HALL, had
lived in Auckland, he had
let the school house to
the Otahuhu policeman,
Constable MOSS, who
had stored 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, Mr
MURDOCH moved his wife
Board proposed to build a new school of ten In the early 1900s the Manual Training Block
rooms, but by the time the new school opened
in 1925, only three rooms had been finished. was built. The 'household management' room
Although the old school was advertised for
auction, it's possible there was few or no was added in about 1909. It was here, that
bidders, because it was eventually demolished.
The original site on the Great South Road was Standard 5 and 6 boys were taught woodwork
divided into 14 sections and sold by auction in
1927. and the girls were taught to cook. Other schools
The Infant Department, which was sited on the from Manurewa, Panmure and Papatoetoe sent
left of the stone gates on the Great South Road,
was then moved on skids to the western edge their standard 5 and 6 students to the school for
of the property. Although six of the proposed
ten rooms were to be built at the same time as half-day lessons. Mr Bill MORTON taught the
the Infant Department extensions, the latter
was completed first. Two rooms were added woodwork classes and Miss PORTER, followed
and the official opening ceremony for the
Infant Department and the Memorial Gates was by Mrs HERBISON taught the cooking classes.
performed on 17th October 1925. (Although the
Infant Block is still in use, the roof has been (This block is now called the Otahuhu Primary
replaced. It is now a multifunctional building,
featuring a classroom; an information centre, Technology Centre, and sewing has been
including library, computer suite; a teacher
resource centre; and Resource Teacher offices). added to the curriculum.) This p r a c t i c e
Towards the end of 1926, the brick additions continued even after
to the Standard Block were finally completed
and the opening ceremony was held on the 10m the introduction
March 1927. Because of a great increase in pupil
numbers, the tenth room was added a year later. of decapitation, Over the
During the next twenty or so years, the class w h i c h m e a n t years, the Otahuhu
room floors were oiled, the free-milk-in-schools
scheme was introduced, cocoa was supplied in that Otahuhu School pupils were
the winter, apples were distributed to the pupils
(when they were in season), and health nurses Standard 5 and 6 particularly successful
made annual visits.
students were no at basketball and
The motto of the school was 'SERVICE', not just
to the school, but to the town as well. Pride in longer taught at the rugby
one's own achievements and those of the school,
was also encouraged. 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' played
on the gramophone.
Sport always played an integral part in school
activities and learning to play fairly and
accept the wins and losses was considered
an important part of sportsmanship and
competitive integrity. Over the years, the
Otahuhu School pupils were particularly
successful at basketball and rugby. They also
won the Primary Schools' Athletic Shield three
The School akjdkfajdf
years running. When Teddy HEDGE, Dave Mr. adfadfsadfd
COCHRANE and Dorothy REEVES were star
performers in the 1927 Primary School Tennis Many ex-students will recall the shelter sheds,
Association competitions, the school was the furnace room, the Samuel Luke Memorial,
extremely proud of their success and their photo (now in Otahuhu town centre), the cairn at the
is still hanging in the school. Station Road gates and of course the Dental
Clinic, or 'murder house', built in 1929. No doubt
In 1936, six Otahuhu students won the Junior Nurses TOLLERTON followed by Nurse WAIN
Relay Championship at the Auckland Primary would not have appreciated the description.
Schools Amateur Athletic Association meeting.
Another great coup for the school! Some of the pupils were taken to Mount
Richmond for a history lesson and shown where
There were also school Sports Houses - Arawa the Maori pa and terraces had once been. Both
(Blue), Aotea (Green), Tainui (Yellow) and the Tamaki Estuary and the Manukau Harbour
Takitimu (Red) - named after four of the Maori were pointed out and the children were shown
canoes and illustrated on a chart on Miss where the Tainui Canoe had been dragged, from
KIDD's Standard 4 room wall. east to west hundreds of years before. (Some
years later, a stone with an inscription to mark
The Auckland War Memorial Museum was
always a source of information for all ages
and visits were arranged for the pupils. The
museum also loaned some of their display cases
of butterflies and insects to the school and these
were used 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 was
stored. The senior teachers and the headmaster
were able to demonstrate simple experiments
for classroom study and participation.
the portage of the Tainui Canoe, was businesses and several industries, such as the
erected on the corner of Atkinson Avenue Railway Workshops, Challenge Phosphate and
and Portage Road). Kempthorne Prosser, were established close to
the Otahuhu Railway Station. Progress meant
A sandpit and sun dial were erected and, the Otahuhu residents went from walking or
during the 1930s depression, men on travelling in a horse drawn buggy, to using
the No.13 Relief Scheme built a concrete bicycles, trains and buses. Very few working
relief map of New Zealand and Australia, people owned a car. All these new industries
in front of the aviary. brought more working class families into the
district and consequently more children were
This work was under the jurisdiction of enrolled in the school.
the caretaker Mr Harry WEIR. The Otahuhu
School map provided the opportunity for some Otahuhu Primary School was one of the first
geography lessons and the sandpit kept the schools to have school banking, introduced by
primer children occupied in the lunchtime the Auckland Savings Bank and Bible in Schools
breaks. by local ministers was also held.
The aviary was stocked with budgerigars, Ex-pupil, Mr Rae RANKIN, remembers that in
canaries, zebra finches, java sparrows, African 1935, at the end of the Great Depression, the
Love birds and Rosella parrots. A propagating Chairman of the School Committee was Mr
house was also built, and the plants grown Charles PETRIE and opportunities were being
were used for the school gardens. The fernery sought to improve the school grounds.
was constructed of rocks, and both of these
buildings were used in a teaching capacity. Then in 1936, in anticipation of the coronation
of King Edward VIII, it was decided that
During the 1920s, pupil absences were quite Otahuhu School would hold its own Coronation,
significant, partly due to contagious diseases for which five Princesses were chosen. Claire
such as diphtheria, typhoid and impetigo. To FULLER was the Primer princess, Peggy
help reduce the spread of germs from pupils McANULTY was Standard 1 princess, Dorothy
drinking from communal school taps, bubble
fountains were constructed by the caretaker, Mr
WEIR and the headmaster, Bert MURDOCH.
In 1930, the Education Board decided to
introduce ‘decapitation', which involved
transferring Standards Five and Six away from
the Otahuhu Primary School in order to start
the Otahuhu Junior High School on Mangere
Road, Otahuhu. (Some time later the junior
school became known as Otahuhu Technical
High School and then Otahuhu College).
As the town grew, the main street was lined with
BEST was Standard 2 princess, Maureen RICKARDS Around 1944, a swimming pool
was Standard 3 princess and Enid NEILD Standard 4 was constructed in the north-west
princess. corner of the playing field by Mr
HANCOCK. Swimming lessons
The fund-raising committees for each princess held proved very popular with the
cake stalls, dance evenings, raffles and household children and gave them confidence
socials and at the end of the fundraising, Maureen in the water. When the American
RICKARDS became Queen of the Carnival. The parents Military Base at Mangere was
were mainly responsible for making the costumes and closed after World War Two
accessories. This event taught the students about the ended, the School Committee
protocols and high-ranking individuals involved, such had the opportunity to purchase
as an Archbishop, the Knights, the Ladies and High a building, suitable for use as a
Chancellor. hall. As the hall was dismantled,
its parts were carefully numbered
Rae said, "I was one of the four Peers of the Realm and and over the following two years,
I presented the Orb at the ceremony." was rebuilt behind the Infant
Department by voluntary labour,
After World War One, the Memorial Gates were under the direction of Mr Maurie
installed at the Station Road entrance to the school. SEEL. The hall is no longer in
These consisted of two stone pillars with a bronze existence.
plaque on each, suitably inscribed to commemorate the
Otahuhu School ex-pupils, who gave their lives during In 1944, towards the end of World
the 1914-1918 war. The pillars were originally covered War Two, the Otahuhu District &
in a climbing fig, until they were moved further apart
in later years.
William BROWN Roll of Honour
William CORIN Claude LIPPIATT
Samuel J. DIXON Eric LIPPIATT
Walter FROST James MCANULTY
Bernard FARRELLY John MUIR
Francis GRAHAM William PATTERSON
Gerald S. HALL George SCURRAH
Robert HAYWARD R. SIMMONDS
Joseph IRVINE William TRIMBLE
Returned Services Association (RSA) decided to He was instrumental in the beautification of
have a Queen Carnival, for which four Queens the grounds, from rat's tail grass to neatly
were selected. Those chosen were Kath BAILEY kept lawns and gardens. He believed in the
representing the Armed Forces, Mary EWAN integrity of the individual. By the time he
representing the RSA, Vivienne KIRKHAM retired, the children of former pupils were being
representing Sports and Sheila MURDOCH taught at the school. His influence spanned
representing the schools. It was the combined the generations, Mr MURDOCH retired in
efforts of teachers, parents and pupils that made May 1946 and Mr A.E. KEMBLE took over as
the Schools' Queen victorious. This was at a time headmaster.
when war rationing was still being felt, so, when
the huge sum of £6,000 was raised for the RSA, Mr KEMBLE and his family lived in the
it was seen as reflecting a strong school spirit schoolhouse for the next fifteen years until he
and the intense loyalty of the school community. retired. At the time of the school's centenary
in 1958, he congratulated the members of
Sometime between 1951 and 1954, the 8 majestic the Parent Teacher's Association and School
phoenix palms that were lining the driveway, Committees on their outstanding efforts, "In
were moved and replaced with pohutukawa providing additional educational aids and
trees, which 55 years later are a rare feature of improving the environment of the school and
a 21st century primary school. Some of the other the grounds". This gratitude also extended to
native trees have since died or been removed. "The fine body of parents, who for the last ten
One was a rimu tree, which had been planted years operated the School Lunch Scheme so
to mark the occasion of Jean BATTEN, a New successfully".
Zealand aviatrix, who 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
occasion was held in August 1958 at the time new school was in progress.
of the school's 100th birthday. The children
helped plant 300 native trees, including kauri, He remembers some of his years at the school.
totara, pohutukawa, kowhai and rimu. The "In November 1976, I had just been advised
trees had been donated by old pupils and by the Auckland Education Board of my
residents and each tree carried a small plaque to appointment to the principal's position at the
commemorate a past pupil of Otahuhu School. Otahuhu Primary School, so made an excited
phone call to the retiring principal and book a
Mr KEMBLE retired in 1961 and the pupils drive up the Great South Road to view the school
collected money to purchase a television set as and meet the staff.
a retirement gift. He was followed by Messrs
J.J.CASKIE (1962-68), E.H. D'AthWESTON The entrance from Station Road, through the
(1968-76) and R.A.GOLDSTONE (1977-80). old gates and the driveway, in the shadow
of the lovely old trees. was most welcoming.
In 1974, the Auckland Regional Authority However, it was what lay beyond this lovely
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
Arrangements of flowers handmade from asdfdfd
monstrosities! School during this period. We were one of five
pilot schools that worked with Dr Marie CLAY
The school office and principal's den were in in trialing her Reading Recovery Programme.
one half of a double prefab, with the staff room
in the other half. Apart from those teachers and During this time, the responsibility for the
students accommodated in the one remaining tuck shop was passed from the principal to a
historic building, all others were taught in group of parent volunteers. This change to the
these temporary classrooms. Nevertheless, staff principal's morning schedule, allowed staff
accepted the challenges and made their working greater access to my time before 9 am, than had
environments most attractive .for their young previously been the case. Several members of
charges and were always professional. The that team moved on to well-earned principal
library and resource rooms were also in prefab and managerial positions elsewhere.
buildings, while the Dental and Speech Therapy
clinics were housed in the best buildings on The challenge of teaching in the midst of a
the site. building site eventually paid off when we moved
in to the new building. It brought the whole
The prefab buildings had been placed on staff together as a very strong supportive body,
the perimeter of the construction site of the of professionals. Despite the frustrations, they
proposed new buildings, which, in the ensuing were always able to laugh at themselves and
wet winter, became a major challenge, not just were a group who had a great deal of .fun. After
for the workmen and heavy machines, but also all, that is what life and education is all about
for the children, teachers and visitors. One —meeting challenges." Roger GOLDSTONE.
lovely little Scottish teacher, who was only (1977-1980).
5- feet-2-inches tall and always immaculately
attired, brought her gumboots and umbrella At the end of Mr GOLDSTONE's term of office,
to school, and slushed through the mud and and for the first time in the school's history,
puddles. She retained her sense of humour, as two women took over the position as principals,
did all the staff.
Despite the challenges, many excellent
achievements were made at Otahuhu Primary
Another great entertainer was adfdfd
Mrs Dorothy A. McMILLAN (1981-82), then many whose cultural heritage is different from
Miss Wallis J.WALKER (1982-1987). Miss ours and some whose first language is not
WALKER arrived at the school in 1982 and was English. They have abilities in social, physical,
the principal at the time of the school's 125th cultural, academic and emotional spheres that
Jubilee in 1983. we do not yet fully appreciate. These children
and the staff are contributing towards the
She took over the helm, at the time in New fixture of our school and society.
Zealand's history, when society was undergoing
significant changes to its racial composition. I pay tribute to the thousands of people who
"The role of the school has changed over the have influenced the development of this school.
years, from being an institution of rote learning To those who are continuing to do so at present,
and mass instruction, in classes of 50 to 60 and, to those among us who will be leading
pupils, where the aim was to have everyone
achieve proficiency and those that didn't, failed.
Today, we have children from every
continent of the world at our school,
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
Some Sisters at prayer
the new chapel
Otahuhu Primary School into the future". of the changes initiated by Tamati HOWARD was
to change the school motto to make it more in
Miss WALKER left the school in 1987 and keeping with the cultural changes in the school.
her position was taken over by Mr Dave
McDONALD (1988-1996). During the late 1800s and early 1890s nearly
all the Otahuhu School pupils had been born of
After winning a clean-up campaign, organized Irish or English parents although a few Maori
to collect rubbish and plant twenty-one trees in and Chinese children were also enrolled. In the
five separate locations, a print titled Depicting 1940s children from Poland and England arrived
Land and Sea was awarded to the school. to escape the terror of war. After World War Two
they were followed by Dutch immigrants. New
In 1993, during Mr McDONALD's time as Zealand in the 1970s had full employment and
headmaster, the school's new hall was finally its immigration policies opened up for the Pacific
completed. It had taken three years of fund- Island people. Again in the 1980s and 1990s
raising, hard work and determination, by because of their military coups, Fijian families
students, parents and school committee also emigrated to New Zealand. More recently,
members, to accumulate $100,000 towards immigrants from the Middle East, India, China
its construction. The Lottery Grants Board and Hong Kong chose New Zealand as their
contributed $50,000 and the ASB Trusts gave adopted country.
$30,000. The hall was four years in the making
and the result of all their efforts provided a Consequently the present day school roll includes
building, which has proved to be an enormous children from at least 25 ethnic groups. As a
asset for the school. A Maori blessing was consequence it was felt the school motto needed
performed and the Otahuhu Primary School to reflect that change in cultural mix. Although
Hall was officially opened in June 1993. the school colours of gold and black have
remained, the logo is now a Maori greenstone
The present principal is Mr Tamati HOWARD, fish-hook.
who took over in 1997. Tamati HOWARD is
the 22nd principal to serve Otahuhu Primary The new school motto of "He wahi
during its 150 years. One tutaki mo nga 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
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
flew on other important occasions. In more roll fluctuates around 500 students. One cannot
recent years, it was deemed necessary to extend help but wonder what changes will have evolved
the present school buildings and the flagpole by the time the next anniversary of the Otahuhu
disappeared. When the 140th Otahuhu Primary Primary School is celebrated.
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
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