Waipawa School

OK. I know. A school isn’t a place you’re necessarily dying to see – as every town has one and they are hardly tourist attractions. But I got sent this school exercise book by someone in Wellington which was the work of a girl from Waipawa District School (1889) and I thought before I let you see that you need to know more about the history.

Besides my Family has some history with Waipawa District School /High School / Primary School too.

So I’ve picked out some highlights in the school’s history – and added some family bits too.

1862: Miss Maria Nye held school lessons in the newly built Anglican Church. She convinced a number of influential townspeople that a more permanent school was needed. Mr. Edward Bibby was made chairman of a committee to canvas for children and money, and Mr. Abbott donated the land on the corner of Kenilworth and Waverly Streets.

           Edward Bibby (my Great, Great Grandfather) not only canvassed for children and funding, but was the first secretary of the school AND afterwards became the chairman of the board (a position he held for 26 years!)

           But ironically, even though he was so instrumental in the schools existence, and his children attended the school, his eldest son did not send his children there to be educated. James had married a woman who was anti corporal punishment, and since caning was common place at public schools in those days, my Great Grandparents employed a Governess, built a schoolroom on the back of their house and had their children educated at home.

It was not until they were High School age did my grandfather and his brothers attend Waipawa District High School. Grandad’s sister (Nan Bibby) attended high school at Wanganui Collegiate.

1865: New School opened with a roll of 18 pupils

1873: Roll 38 pupils (31 boys & 7 girls).

School inspector described the school as ‘flourishing’ and that pupils had a ‘remarkably expert’ ability in higher mathematics

1878: Roll 180 pupils… school building only had space for 60… rented buildings while new additions completed.

           Application to Education Board for additions to school and for the establishment of both a Lower and High School.(High School request denied due to lack of funds)

1880: Application to turn existing school building into a District High School (found not to meet the necessary criteria)

1882: The Infant department graced by the addition of a bell tower.

1885: Roll 225 pupils

1886: Two more infant rooms added

1888: The famous ‘Waipawa Exhibition’ was held on 5th December. School Children were invited to take part in opening ceremony and the school committee recognizing the significance of the occasion granted a holiday.

1889: Roll 266 Pupils with seven teachers

1892: Applied again for a District High school – again told to wait.

1897: School Library formed

1904: Visiting committee noticed the absence of ANY toilet facilities!!!!

1906: The Headmaster reported ‘the long delayed erection of a lavatory is now accomplished and the comfort of pupils is greatly enhanced thereby.’

1906: Grant was given to build a technical school ( i.e. science woodwork, and cooking)

1907: Applied again to have District High School established. This time application was successful!

1908: Education Board gives a grant of £200 for alterations for Technical block and Secondary School. – 25 pupils

           The Tech block was adapted to become Waipawa District High School and later the manual training block for all Central Hawkes Bay primary schools. This building still exists today next to the Catholic Church in Waverly Street although today it is a private residence

1912: High School Roll 52 pupils. Primary School 200

1915: Committee reported the ‘WC’s not quite to the mark of cleanliness’. The toilets were only flushed ONCE a DAY! Headmaster pointed out water was expensive, but decided on a trial of a month where toilets would be flushed once an hour!

1922: School Committee pointed out to Education Board the need for acquiring a new site due to overcrowding and sloping terrain (meaning that rugby games and other sports had to be practiced on Lindsay Reserve)

1938: New school for Primary departments opened in Harker Street. The new school had five classrooms set in 8 ½ acres of flat land.

           In the 1940’s my mum and her sisters attended Waipawa District High School. It was a time when petrol was rationed and living outside of the Onga Onga village traveling to school each day was not an option – So they came to town (Waipawa) and lived with their Grandfather and Aunty Nan and attended school in Waipawa.

           My Mum (Kathleen Bibby) tells me that when she attended High School the classrooms we now-a-days think of as the ‘old manual block’ was the High School and they were just classrooms. Where the Waipawa Kindy is now was ‘Gat House’ which was the woodwork room – named that because the woodwork teacher had the initials G.A.T. Between the classrooms and the woodwork room there was a tennis court and a basketball court (which was basically all the flat land in the school). They had their Phys. Ed. Lessons across the road in the fairly new ‘Nellie Jull Park’ and boys went to play rugby then at Coronation Park.

1949: Two new classes added to Harker Street school

1951: Swimming pool built

1953: New Secondary school built in front of Primary School in Harker Street

1958: District High School closed – to reopen as CHB College in Waipukurau.

1962: Old High School in Waverly Street converted to Manual Training Block to cater for Form 1 & 2 pupils from all over Central Hawkes Bay.

1965: School Roll record number 470 pupils.

Assembly hall construction started.

1966: Assembly Hall opened by J.R. Harrison MP.

1971: Cooking Classes offered to Form Two boys! (couldnÕt find when Woodwork was offered to girls)

1976: School roll 459 pupils.

1987: School entered the computer age with 4 computers!

           Waipawa Primary School celebrated their 125th Jubilee and this was combined with Waipawa District High School Reunion

Cutting the cake at the jubilee is the youngest pupil, James Chote (aged5), the oldest pupil, E.S. Bibby, and the earliest registration Mrs Berta Begley (nee McIntyre).

Yes – the oldest pupil is my Grandad. It seems unusual that heÕs the oldest pupil but not the longest registered. This was because he was taught at home by a Governess for his Primary school years and only attended the school when he was older. 

OK. I’m going to skip ahead a few years and get to the present day (or nearly)

Oh – I nearly forgot. My husband, Murray Gosling, taught at Waipawa School in 1990-1995.

2001: In September the new Technology Centre was built – This was a major redesign and enlargement of two existing classrooms to allow the Technology component of Year 7 and 8Õs to be carried out within the main school grounds rather than on the separate site in Waverly Street. This consists of 3 main rooms – a hard technology room (woodwork to us old people), soft technology (sewing, electronics etc) and food technology (cooking) plus a couple of smaller rooms including a photography dark room, and computer suite.

2002: In January The Old Technology Centre (Manual rooms) closed in Waverly Street and the New Technology Centre was officially opened to cater for the technology syllabus for all Central Hawkes Bay Year 7 & 8 students.

(photos – sewing.jpg & woodwork.jpg & cooking.jpg)

2007: School roll now is 133. There are 8 classroom teachers.

Plus – 3 Technology teachers, 3 Resource Teachers of Learning and Behaviour, and 1 Resource Teacher of Literature – (attached to the school for the benefit of all primary schools in Central Hawkes Bay)

Old High School/Manual training building sold and converted into a private residence

Old High School as it was – and as it is now.