We asked people around the country to send us stories in their own words about their experiences of country schooling.
What's your story?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When Hazel Simpkin started school in the Arapōhue district in Northland, she had to brave floodwaters to get there.
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.
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.
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.
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.