Story: Country schooling

Page 5. Personal experiences of country schools

We asked people around the country to send us stories in their own words about their experiences of country schooling.

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Little River School, Canterbury

Little River School, Canterbury

Harvey McQueen went to Little River School in Canterbury during the early 1940s, when memories of the economic depression of the 1930s lingered, and lessons were overshadowed by wartime concerns.

Riding to school on Great Barrier Island

Riding to school on Great Barrier Island

Lesley Rockell (then Lesley Mabey) remembers the adventurous horse ride to and from school with her brother and cousins in the 1940s and 1950s on Great Barrier Island.

Pakeho school, King Country

Pakeho school, King Country

After the Second World War some country schools expanded, as servicemen settled on farms with government assistance, married, and raised families. Ann Somerville recalls the glory days of Pakeho school, near Te Kūiti.

Manahune School, North Canterbury

Manahune School, North Canterbury (1st of 3)

When Helen Hirst left school in 1946, she was told she would have a better chance of being accepted for teacher training if she spent a year in a sole charge country school; so she went to teach on a farm called Manahune, at Waipara, North Canterbury.

Te Arakura School, Manawatū

Te Arakura School, Manawatū

Ngaire Swinburne (then Ngaire Harper) went to Te Arakura School, between Feilding and Palmerston North, in the 1930s. She remembers some enjoyable times both in and out of the classroom.

Kahuika School in the Catlins

Kahuika School in the Catlins

Slates, swaggers and sugarbags are among the memories of Mary Murphy who went to school in the Catlins, South Otago, in the depression years of the 1930s.

Tokorangi School, Manawatū

Tokorangi School, Manawatū (1st of 2)

Some country children had to learn to look after themselves at an early age, but they also looked after each other. Celia Geary, who went to school in Hawke’s Bay, remembers both chores and games with pleasure.

Crownthorpe School, Hawke's Bay

Crownthorpe School, Hawke's Bay

Margaret Joll remembers Mr Chadwick, the long-suffering bus driver who transported children to Crownthorpe School near Hastings in the 1950s, and the fun of getting to the bus stop.

School at Arapōhue, Northland

School at Arapōhue, Northland

When Hazel Simpkin started school in the Arapōhue district in Northland, she had to brave floodwaters to get there.

Riding to school

Riding to school

The trip to and from school is a vivid memory for many who attended country schools. Mrs D. McGregor, Mr J. L. Brunel and Mrs N. Johnson recall their adventures.

Fun and games

Fun and games

Learning to read and write and do arithmetic was just part of the country school experience. Mrs Eileen Shaw, Mrs Dawn Beattie and Mrs Noline Johnson remember some of the games children played and the trouble they got into.

Different lessons

Different lessons

Children who went to country schools learned to take responsibility for themselves and others at an early age, and acquired a range of skills not necessarily shared by children in city schools. Mrs N. Johnson, Mrs G. Peddie, Mrs Eileen Shaw and Mrs Dawn Beattie explain.

Piripiri aided school

Piripiri aided school (1st of 2)

Grace Shaw (nee Dassler) was just 17 years old and had completed three years at high school when in 1927 she was employed as the sole teacher of the Piripiri aided school, south-west of Ōtorohanga in the King Country.

How to cite this page:

Nancy Swarbrick, 'Country schooling - Personal experiences of country schools', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/country-schooling/page-5 (accessed 10 December 2019)

Story by Nancy Swarbrick, published 24 Nov 2008