Education in Nelson - 1842-2012
The Nelson Province played an important role in the history of New Zealand education. It was the first Province to initiate free public education, taking over the Nelson School Society established by Matthew Campbell. This was a secular school system, with "religious instruction free from all controversial character" and it became the model for the country. Between 1856 and 1859 the Nelson Province built 21 schools and 18 houses for teachers. It had the first secondary school in New Zealand (Catholic) and the first secular secondary school, plus there is Wakefield School; the oldest continuous public school in New Zealand.
This story includes schools which are now part of Nelson City; schools which are now part of Tasman District are listed in a separate story. Both areas were once in the Nelson Province and many of the schools were opened by the Nelson School Society.
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March 27 - the first private school in the Nelson settlement opens in a house made of toi toi, in December it moves to a specially built room in Tasman Street
September 12: The Nelson Branch of the British and Foreign School Society, with land and financial support from the Nelson Wakefield Company (forerunner of New Zealand Company), opens the first public school in Nelson, located in Bridge Street near the eel pond. The headmaster is William Moore. It closes following the Wairau Affray in June 1843
January 21: ‘Bishop's School' (Bishop Selwyn's Anglican School), a Church of England Elementary School is built in Nile Street, Nelson.
- february - the Nelson School Society under the leadership of Matthew Campbell establishes the Nelson Day school. Its first school opens April 7 near Moore's school, near the Eelpond. It closed following the Wairau Affray.
December 28th: A school opens in Brook Green (the original name for Stoke). Later to become Stoke School.
- An infant school (children under 7) opens in Nelson, which in 1867 is known as the Town Preparatory School. It feeds both Bridge Street and Hardy Street Schools, each now having separate Boys and Girls Schools (with upper and lower divisions).
The Roman Catholic School (later St. Josephs School) opens.
The first secondary school for boys in New Zealand opens in Nelson - a Marist (Catholic) School run by Brother Moreau. Earlier in the year, Father Garin opens a Catholic boys "first" school
July: The Nelson Education Act of 1856 is passed, based on Matthew Campbell's school system. The Act made the Nelson Province the first in New Zealand to have public schools at which no fees are charged - a Central Board is established to run them. The schools are to be funded through taxation and public revenue.
Nelson College opens in temporary premises in Manuka Street
- Clifton Terrace School opens
- Hillside School opens on the Glen side of Clifton Terrace, towards the Wakapuaka turn off. It closed in 1926.
Bridge Street School is handed over to the Central Board.
Hampden Street School opens
Haven Road School is made an independent school (formerly a branch of Bridge Street School, when it was also known as Saltwater Bridge School)
- St Marys School for Girls (a Roman Catholic secondary school) is established.
- Hira School is established. Initially known as Happy Valley School, it was sited along the valley road serving the local community, as Hillside school was too far.
In Nelson a school is built at junction of Bridge and Tasman Streets (known as Bridge Street School, Town Boys or Tasman Street School).
The New Zealand Education Act is passed (modelled on the Nelson education system).
Nelson Central School is established - it was actually a collection of Town Schools to begin with - Bridge St Boys', Bridge St Boys' Preparatory, Hardy St Girls', ToiToi Valley Girls', ToiToi Valley Infants', Haven Road, Hampden Street and Port School, which opened at different times over the years. Only Port School remained as a separate entity from Nelson Central School.
Toi Toi Valley school opens. In 1881 a new room for infants is built at the school and in 1883 a new room for senior girls. The school is closed in 1908 with the opening of Nelson Central Girls.
A new Haven Road School is built (it became Nelson's largest school in the 1890's)
Brook Street School opens (2 Brook Street)
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- Elizabeth Bird, the Whangamoa Postmistress ran a “household school”. Parents then provided a rudimentary schoolroom next to the mill, which was later shifted near the Kokorua road. For years there was no proper school committee, and Elizabeth took her turn as school Commissioner and contacted the Education Board when necessary. By 1930 there was an increase in the number of children in the Valley from saw milling and Public Works families and the Education Board was obliged to build a proper school. It remained open until approximately 1950 when the building was moved to become Delaware Bay School.
1892 - 1893
Hampden Street School, Bridge Street School and Nelson's new Central School are set alight by an arsonist. The arsonist is caught in March 1893 and later sentenced to four years hard labour.
Land purchased for Nelson Central boys school - now the current site of Nelson Central School.
The Nelson School of Music is established. The new boys Central School is burned down. Johann Blecher is arrested for arson. In August, the rebuilt boys Central School is opened
Central School's lime trees are planted.
Hardy Street Girls School closes.
- St Marys School for Girls renamed Sacred Heart College.
Mixed education is discussed; Boys Central remains for boys, Toi Toi for girls, Tasman Street and Brook Street are joined under one head and Hampden Street and Haven Road under another head.
The number of Nelson schools is reduced to two: Nelson Boys Central (encompassing Brook Street and Tasman Street) and Nelson Girls Central (encompassing Haven Road and Hampden Street)
Nelson Central Girls is opened in Shelbourne Street on the site once occupied the Shelbourne Street Gaol. This is built to replace Toi Toi Valley School, which was deemed an unhealthy location.
- Tāhuna (initially Tatahi) School, opens as a side school to Stoke. it becomes independent in 1913 and is renamed Tāhunanui School in 1922.
- Hampden Street School becomes Nelson's first mixed School.
Auckland Point School opens - Haven Road School site is sold to the City Council
Nelson Central Boys School is renamed Nelson Central School with the admittance of girls. The newly constituted school is made up of a main building in Nile Street and two separately located side schools - Brook Street School for Standards one and two and Tasman Street School for infants.
June 17: The Nelson College clock tower is destroyed and other school buildings are damaged during the Murchison earthquake
- New Central Street school building opened
- Renwick House becomes part of Nelson Central School
- Brook Street School closes as a school
- Nelson's first free kindergarten was established in a public hall at Nelson South in October.
- Bridge Street Kindergarten is opened in May.
- Delaware Bay School opens - in the lounge of the Franklyn/Ingham House. In 1950 this is replaced by the building housing Whangamoa Saddle School when that closed.
- Victory School opens
- Nelson Intermediate opens.
- Grove Steet Kindergarten opened in their own buildings December.
- Nelson South Kindergarten opens in present location in July.
- Stoke Kindergarten opened in November.
- Nayland College opens.
- Sacred Heart College renamed Redwood College.
- Nelson Polytechnic established as a separate institution (was part of Nelson College for a period)
- Broadgreen Intermediate opens on November 13 in Stoke - on a field which used to be an orchard.
- Tasman Street School for infants is relocated to Nelson Central School.
- The first Kohanga Reo is established in Nelson
- Redwood College closes.
- Te Pouahi, the bi-lingual Maori/English language unit opens in Nelson Central School.
- February 23: Garin College in Champion Road, Stoke is blessed and officially opened. The college is named after Nelson's first Parish Priest who established schools in his time
Timeline originally drafted 2002 for the Nelson Provincial Museum and published on the Prow March 2010 with additions (updated 2021)
Sources used in this story
- May, H. (2005) School beginnings: a 19th Century Colonial story. Wellington: NZCER Press
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Further sources - Education in Nelson - 1842-2012
- Lundy, D. J. (1963). Development of the Nelson Provincial school system 1842-1878. Unpublished masters thesis, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.
- Nelson Education Board. (1956) Historical Booklet 1856-1956. Nelson, New Zealand: Nelson Education Board, p.3.
- Street, I.E. (1932) A history of education in the Nelson Province, 1842-1877. Thesis. Christchurch, New Zealand: Canterbury University College.
- Broadgreen Intermediate School
Broadgreen 25 (1996) Nelson, New Zealand : Broadgreen Intermediate
- Clifton Terrace School
Clifton Terrace School, 1856-2006 : 150th celebrations, 20-22 October 2006 (2006). Nelson, New Zealand: The School.
Miller, Kerry (2006). Clifton Terrace School 1856 - 2006. Nelson, New Zealand: The Author.
- Hampden Street School
Marris, John S. (1980) Hampden Street School, Nelson: reunion, 1868-1980. Nelson, New Zealand: Reunion Organising Committee.
- Hira School
Gregson, P. (1997) Hira School 125th reunion. [Hira, N.Z.] : The School
- Nayland College
McHardy, J. (1991) Nayland college the growing years. Nelson, New Zealand: Nayland Jubilee Committee.
Stade, K. (2016) Daring to be different : the Nayland College way 1966-2016. Nelson, New Zealand : Nayland College
- Nelson Central School
Gee. M. (1978). 1878-1978 Nelson Central School: A History. Nelson, New Zealand: Nelson Central School Centennial Committee.
Stade, K. (2003) Aim high = Ki runga rawa : the story of Nelson Central School, 1878-2003, 125th Jubilee. Nelson, New Zealand: K. Stade
- Nelson College
Dunstan, M. and Dodson, M. (2006). Nelson College: images of an era. Nelson, New Zealand: Nelson College Old Boys' Association
- Nelson College for Girls
Mills, C. B. (1933). Nelson College for Girls: fifty years 1883-1933. Nelson, New Zealand: A.G. Betts & Son, Printers.
Price, K. (2008). The school on the hill: Nelson College for Girls 1883-2007. Nelson, New Zealand: Nelson College for Girls.
Voller, L.C. (1982). Sentinel at the gates: Nelson College for Girls 1883 - 1983. Nelson, New Zealand: Nelson College for Girls' Old Girls Assoc.(Inc.).
- Nelson Intermediate School
Ellis-Emery, F. (1991) Nelson Intermediate School history, 1951-1991[Nelson, N.Z.] : Nelson Intermediate School
- Saint Josephs School
Sisters of our lady of the Missions, Nelson (1971) Sisters of Our Lady of the Missions, Nelson, New Zealand: Sacred Heart College - St Joseph's School, 1871-1971. [Nelson, NZ]: authors
- Stoke School
150 years of education, Stoke School, 1845-1995 (1995) Nelson, New Zealand: Jubilee Committee.
Early history of Stoke School 1845-1945 (1945). Nelson, New Zealand: The School.
Stoke School 125 years, 1845-1970: a summary of the history of Stoke School (1970) Stoke, New Zealand: 125th Anniversary Committee.
- Tāhunanui School
Stade, K (2008). The school by the sands: a century of Tahunanui School, Nelson : 1908-2008. Nelson, New Zealand: The School.
- Victory School
Victory School : fiftieth anniversary 1949-1999. (1999) Nelson, N.Z. : Victory School
- Airey, E. (2009) The school house. Heritage New Zealand 113, p.24-25
- Baigent, L. (1957) An early incident [school arsonist] Journal of the Nelson Historical Society, 1(2) pp.14-15
- Dakin, J. (1982). The elementary schools of early Nelson 1842-1856: A case of community development. Journal of the Nelson and Marlborough Historical Societies, 1(2), p.11-25.
- McKay, J.G. (1961) The beginning of education in Nelson settlement. Journal of the Nelson Historical Society 1(5), p.8-10
- State of Education in the Nelson Province (1868, September 5) Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, p. 6
- Teal, F. (1987) Bishop's School roll : an analysis. Journal of the Nelson and Marlborough Historical Societies, 2(1), pp.3-17
Links to school sites are in text.
- Broad, L. & Jubilee Committee. (1892). The Jubilee History of Nelson: From 1842 to 1892. Nelson, New Zealand: Bond, Finney, and Co.157.
- Broad, L. & Jubilee Committee. (1892). Foundation and History of Nelson College. In The Jubilee History of Nelson: From 1842 to 1892. Nelson, New Zealand: Bond, Finney, and Co . p. 164
- Fowler, C. & Smith, S. (2008) Can A Poll Tax Ever Be Acceptable? - Evidence from Colonial New Zealand. Research Archive. Wellington, N.Z. University of Victoria
- McLintock, A.H. (Ed.)(1966; 2009) Education - evolution of present system. In An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand: Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand
- Stoke School: historical [includes information on early education in Nelson].