Tasman Education Timeline
Education in Tasman
The Nelson Province played an important role in the history of New Zealand education. It was the first Province to initiate free public education, based on Matthew Campbell's secular school system, which became the model for the country. Wakefield School is the oldest continuous public school in New Zealand, but there have been many other schools in the area now known as the Tasman District. Many of these schools were created to educate the children of workers in growing industries. This includes Aporo School/Tasman School which was established to educate children whose parents moved into the area to work in the apple industry. Because of this the following timeline doesn't just show us the history of education in Tasman, but the growth of the region and it's industries.
A Timeline of Tasman Schools
Mary Ann Baigent sets up a household school at her home, this is the start of Wakefield School. On 8 October 1843 the school moves to a cob cottage belonging to Mr Wilkinson. The cottage is located just below St Johns Church. Mr Wilkinson is the first schoolmaster.
January 1: An official opening ceremony is held for the Wakefield Branch School. Wakefield School is the oldest continuous public school in New Zealand.
May 18: Spring Grove School opens.
February 16: The Nelson School Society opens Richmond School on the corner of Salisbury Road and Main Street, (now Queen Street) Richmond.
The Nelson School Society also opens the first Waimea West School.
The Nelson School Society opens "Hope School" in Waimea East.
Hope Public School opens in Hope.
River Terrace School opens in Brightwater.
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
October 8th: Richmond Primary School opens. Attendance is compulsory for both girls and boys.
Pangatōtara School was listed as being under the auspices of the Provincial Government. It may have been open for longer as a household or independent school.1
The second Waimea West School opens.
Foxhill School opens.
The Lower Moutere Public School is established.
The Tākaka District High School (later Golden Bay High School) is established.
Eighty-Eight Valley School opens near Wakefield.
Ngatimoti School opens, in fairly rough premises, with 18 children. 2
The first Motupiko School opens. This was the first school to be established on the west side of the Spooners Range. The school was moved to a new site in 1877. The school merged with Tapawera Consolidated School in 1942.
The 'old' Dovedale School opens. It is later demolished in 1969. In 1938 the old school is replaced by the present Dovedale School.
East Tākaka School is established.
Motueka Valley School opens. It is renamed Tapawera School in 1907.
New Zealand Education Act passed (modelled on the Nelson education system).
Tadmor School opens.
Stanley Brook School opens.
A new school for girls and junior boys is established in Brightwater and is called Brightwater School. Mrs Bryant is the Head Mistress.
Baton Valley School opens. The school later closed on 1st January 1928.
Sherry River School opens.
Woodstock School opens.3
Pokororo School opens.4
Upper Motupiko School (later known as Korere School) opens.
Pigeon Valley School opens.
Gordon School opens near the junction of Eighty-Eight Valley and Wai-iti Valley.
October: A new school for boys is officially opened in Brightwater. Thomas Warnock is the first principal.
Brightwater School (for girls) closes, and pupils move to the Boy's School which becomes the new combined Brightwater School.
Wangapeka School opens.
Wairoa Valley School (also referred to as Garden Valley or The Valley School) opens.
Orinoco School opens.5
Upper Tadmor School (later known as Kiwi School) opens.
The site of Salisbury School in Richmond is used as a boy's school - and used continuously for children with special needs for the next century.
Golden Downs School opens.
- Richmond Girls' School is combined with Richmond Boys' School to form Richmond School.
Matariki School opens. Officially known as Wangapeka School, with the name Matariki School being adopted in 1912.
Wairoa Valley School closes and the children are transferred to River Terrace School.
Pangatōtara School closes.
Tui School opens.
Aporo School (later Tasman School) is established.
- Tophouse School opens. It is the only public building within a twenty mile radius (about 32km).
Māpua School is established.
Richmond Special School for Girls (later Salisbury School for Girls) opens on Salisbury Road, Richmond.
River Terrace School in Brightwater closes.
Wairoa Gorge School opens a short distance up the Wairora Gorge Road.
The present Upper Moutere School is built. The original classroom is towed by traction engine to the current site. It is thought to be the oldest classroom still in use in New Zealand.
Eighty-Eight Valley School closes and the remaining pupils attend Koreke, a household school at Mrs Lukey's home.
June 17: several school buildings in Tasman, including the brick Brightwater School and Spring Grove School buildings are damaged during the Murchison earthquake
Koreke School is consolidated (merged) with Wakefield School at the end of 1930.
Brightwater School's new wooden building is finished. The brick building had been damaged in the Murchison earthquake and was unsafe for pupils.
Wai-iti School (formerly Upper Wakefield School) closes and is consolidated (merged) with Wakefield School.
Waimea West School closes and is consolidated with Brightwater School.
Wangapeka School closes.
Stanley Brook School closes.
Pokororo School closes and is consolidated with Ngatimoti School.
29th of May - Tapawera Consolidated High School officially opens with a roll of 175 students. The new primary school with a secondary school department combines, or consolidates, nine smaller schools on one site. The nine schools include: Tapawera, Golden Downs, Korere (formerly Upper Motupiko School), Motupiko, Sherry River, Kiwi (formerly upper Tadmor School), Tadmor, Matariki and Stanley Brook. The new school includes a dental clinic, woodwork and cooking facilities for students.
Tui School joins the new Tapawera Consolidated High School.
Woodstock School closes.
Gordon School closes and the remaining pupils are transferred to Foxhill School.
Totara Bush Household School closes.
Wairoa Gorge School closes and children are transported each school day to Brightwater School.
Pigeon Valley School officially closes. The school's pupils had been transported to Wakefield School from late 1949, due to the teacher being unwell.
- The Woodsman Training School at Golden Downs is established by the Forestry Service. The entrants are mainly 15 or 16 year olds and they are accommodated in hostels on site. They learnt standard forestry skills, fire fighting, and the use of forestry equipment and vehicles.
Motueka District High School opens in Whakarewa Street, Motueka.
February 5th: Waimea College opens.
February 5th: Waimea Intermediate opens.
November 28th: Henley School opens. Its name is decided by public vote, following a "name the school" competition. Henley was the name given to the area by one of the early settlers who came from Henley on Thames, England.
Richmond Kindergarten opened in September.
Spring Grove School closes and the children are given the choice of attending either Brightwater or Wakefield Schools.
In early 1975 Tapawera Area School is created, it is one of the first schools in New Zealand to become an Area School under new education reforms.
- Richmond te kōhanga starts in the Richmond Presbyterian church building
Kōhanga Reo at Te Āwhina Marae, Motueka opens.
Mountain Valley School opens to serve the children in the Graham Valley community.
- Nelson Polytechnic opens it's new campus in Salisbury Road, Richmond.
- Nelson Polytechnic opens a campus in Motueka. The campus closes in 1993.
- The Richmond Campus of Nelson Polytechnic moves to a new site in Lower Queen Street, Richmond. The campus is used for training in forestry, horticulture and other primary industries. In 2006 the campus closes and the site is leased to another education provider.
- October: Nelson Aviation College is officially opened in Queen Victoria Street, Motueka . It includes accommodation facilities for students, many of whom are Japanese. The college first opened in 1978 in a 'tiny wee shed' in College Street, Motueka.
January 27: Saint Paul's Catholic Primary School opens on Salisbury Road, Richmond.
Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Tuia Te Matangi opens in Richmond.
This story is based on a timeline originally drafted by Joy Stephens in 2002 for the Nelson Provincial Museum.
Last updated November 9, 2021.
Sources used in this story
- Ngatimoti School 150th Celebrations 1868-2018 (2018), p. 54. Booklet downloaded from Ngatimoti School website, August 2021:
- Ngatimoti School, p.41.
- Ngatimoti School, p.49.
- Ngatimoti School, p.53.
- Ngatimoti School, p.51.
Many other books and articles were used to create this timeline, these are listed in the resources below.
Want to find out more about the Tasman Education Timeline ? View Further Sources here.
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Further sources - Tasman Education Timeline
- 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.
- Allsop, F.(1973). The first fifty years of the New Zealand Forestry Service: A history from the time of its setting up in 1919 to the celebration of its fiftieth anniversary in 1969. Wellington: New Zealand Forest Service. P.100-101.
- As we remember: Ranzau School. (1998). Nelson, New Zealand: Ranzau School.
- Batchelor, B., & J. Marris. (1979). Centennial history, Brightwater and district schools: Waimea West, Brightwater Girls, Garden Valley, River Terrace, Brightwater Boys, Wairoa Gorge, Totara Bush Household. Brightwater, New Zealand: Centennial Organising Committee.
- Batt, R. (2018). Schools in the valleys: educating our ancestors in Waimea South 1843-2003.
- Beatson, K.A. (1993). The river flows on: Ngatimoti through flood and fortune.
- Brightwater School. (2013). 125th Reunion of Brightwater School 1888-2013: Brightwater History & District Schools. Brightwater, New Zealand: Brightwater School.
- Centenary of the Spring Grove School: 1845-1945: historical record. (1945). Nelson, New Zealand: Centennial Committee.
- Chapman-Cohen, G (1949). Early Takaka and the Lower Takaka School, a history, 1860-1949. Tākaka, New Zealand: The Schools.
- Clark, A. (2018). Into the 21st century: A history of Wakefield School, 1993-2018. Richmond, New Zealand: Wakefield School Board of Trustees.
- Clark, John Robertson. (1956). Richmond Public School centenary: 1856-1956. Nelson, New Zealand: R. Lucas & Son.
- Collingwood School and District High School: souvenir brochure of schools history 1859-1959. (1959). Nelson, New Zealand: R. Lucas & Son.
- Dovedale schools, 1864-1994: a collection of memories (1994). Nelson, New Zealand: Nelson Education Centre; Christchurch, New Zealand: Christchurch College of Education.
- Dunn, T. (1990) Mapua School 75th jubilee, 1915-1990. Mapua, New Zealand: Jubilee Committee, 1990].
- Dungan, J. (2007). Waimea College: the first 50 years 1957-2007. Richmond, New Zealand: Waimea College Reunion Committee.
- Gallas, F. E. (1982). Waimea College, silver jubilee, 1982: a souvenir booklet Richmond, New Zealand: Stiles Printing.
- Haldane, Olive L.(1957). Centennial celebrations, 1857- 1957, Motueka schools: Motueka primary and secondary, Pangatotara, and Hau. Nelson, New Zealand: R. Lucas & Son.
- Hall, J (2002). Hope School 150th anniversary: 1852-2002. Richmond, New Zealand: Dry Crust.
- Hoult, M.J. Kevin (1973) A history of the Foxhill and Gordon Schools. [Nelson, New Zealand: The Centennial Committee.
- Langston, Nigel (1954). Dovedale stories. Nelson. New Zealand: Enterprise Publishing Co. Ltd.
- Lower Moutere & Wills' Road schools: souvenir brochure of schools' history 1857-1957: centennial celebrations January 25, 26, 27, 1957 (1957). Lower Moutere, New Zealand: Brochure Committee.
- Marshall, G. (1981). School days - school days!: 100 years of education, Tapawera and districts. Tapawera: Tapawera and Districts Schools Reunion Committee.
- Motueka District High School & Parklands School celebrate 125 years of schooling. (1983). Nelson, New Zealand: Stiles.
- Murchison District Historical and Museum Society. (1984). Stories of School Days in the Murchison District 1883-1983. Murchison New Zealand: Murchison District Historical and Museum Society.
- Ngatimoti schools reunion 125yrs: 1868-1993. (1993). Ngatimoti, New Zealand: The Reunion Committee.
- Newport, J. N. W. (1979). Rockville schools centenary, 1879-1979 : Rockville, Dall's Creek, Bedstead Gully, Kaituna-Aorere, Bainham, Silverstream. Rockville, New Zealand: Rockville Schools Centennial Committee.
- Nicholls, M. (1973). Ranzau School : 125th Anniversary, 1848-1973. Ranzau, New Zealand: 125th Ranzau School Anniversary Committee.
- O'Connor, M. E. (2008). Salisbury School: a lesson in special education. Auckland, New Zealand: Te Whānau o Salisbury.
- O'Connor, M. (1959). Appleby School, Nelson: centennial history, 1859-1959. Richmond, New Zealand: Appleby School Centennial Committee.
- O'Connor, M. (1984). Appleby School, Nelson: centennial history, 1859-1959 and supplement to centennial history 1959-1984. Richmond, New Zealand: Appleby School Centennial Committee.
- Pestell, J., & Appleby School (2009). Lessons from the past: Appleby School history, 1859-2009. Nelson, New Zealand: Appleby School.
- Riwaka School centenary 1848-1948. (1948). Riwaka, New Zealand: Stiles Printing.
- Rogers, B. (1996). East Takaka School, 1874 - 1968: the school's life. Tākaka, New Zealand: Beryl Rogers.
- School days..school days! 100 years of education - Tapawera and Districts (1981) Tapawera, New Zealand: Tapawera & Districts School Reunion Committee.
- Stade, K (2006). Richmond Primary School: 150 years, 1856-2006. Richmond, New Zealand: Richmond Primary School.
- Stringer, Marion. J. (1993). 150 years of Wakefield schooldays, 1843-1993. Wakefield, New Zealand: Wakefield School 150th Anniversary Committee.
- Sutton, J. S. (1981). Richmond Public School 125th jubilee . Nelson, New Zealand: Stiles Printing.
- Tasman School Jubilee, 1913-1963: celebrations -- 25-27 January, 1963 (1963). Tasman, New Zealand: Jubilee Committee.
- Timings, P. (1995). Golden Bay schools register. Takaka, New Zealand: P. Timings.
- Timings, P. (1996). Takaka Valley schools: slate and chalk to silicon chip. Tākaka, New Zealand: P. Timings.
- Weston, J. (1984). Collingwood Area School 125th anniversary, Easter 1984: supplement to centennial brochure, 1959-1984. Collingwood, New Zealand: Collingwood Schools Anniversary Committee.
- Win, Cheryl and Sandy Isbister. (2009). Collingwood kids: 150 years of learning. Collingwood, New Zealand: Collingwood Area School.
- 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.
- Harris, J. (2008). Education from the beginning [Wakefield School] New Zealand education review, 13(47), p.8-9
- Manson, B.(1998,October 12). Dream comes true [Nelson Aviation College]. Nelson Mail, p. 10.
- McKay, J.G. (1961) The beginning of education in Nelson settlement. Journal of the Nelson Historical Society 1(5), p.8-10
Rural education : Tapawera District High School.(1942, May 28). Nelson Evening Mail, p. 4.
- State of Education in the Nelson Province (1868, September 5) Nelson Examiner and New Zealand Chronicle, p. 6
- Tophouse [Tophouse School opens] (1914, July 14). Colonist, p.3.
- Year 13 Computer Studies students. (2005).Motueka High School golden jubilee : slide shows, 1955-1960, 1961-1970, 1971-1980, 1981-1990, 1991-2005 . Motueka, New Zealand: Motueka High School. [held Tasman District Library].
Podcasts and Audio recordings
- Wakefield remembers days of the old schoolyard.(2018, November 9). [Interview] Radio New Zealand.
- NMIT. (n.d.).About Our history. Retrieved 10 November 2021 from