School Days

Schooling at Manawaru had begun  before 1900.  Classes were held at the Old Temperance Hotel, on the  Shaftesbury side of the river, by the first schoolmaster, Mr Blackett. But demand had become high enough that by 1899, the Auckland Education Board decided to erect a purpose built school.  The school was built in       January 1900 by Mr Firth and Mr W Mackie.

The site had been purchased by the residents and the build cost was £158.

 

JJ Keaney was appointed teacher and the doors opened on the 7th May 1900, with a roll of forty children and a Pupil Teacher from Te Awamutu, Miss Mandeno.  Almost immediately the school was not fit for purpose as the roll expanded rapidly.

 

By February 1901, grumblings in the community exploded into the papers after the Auckland Education Board told JJ to keep the roll to 55 and to send children many miles to the Te Aroha West School.  At least twenty children were kept at home without education, in a time when mandatory education had become law.  JJ refused to do this and demanded an extra classroom. By April 1901, tenders were being asked for to build the second classroom, which opened in 1902 with a fully qualified assistant teacher, Miss Hill.

 

The school continued to grow, with a third classroom and updates of the school and teachers residence in 1920. At this time a concrete tennis court and basketball court was added, a piano, science equipment and dolls house purchased, all with donations raised by the school  community.

 

By 1960, the original school and its additions were completely unfit for purpose and a new school, which still stands today, was built.  JJ Keaney turned the key in the lock for the first time of the new school and opened it for use. By 1974 the school roll had peaked at 210  children.

 

The school now stands today, with about 90 pupils, four classrooms, library, multipurpose block and swimming pool .