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Colac Bay School

 Record Group
Identifier: A0180


  • Majority of material found within 1897 - 1991

Colac Bay School

Around 1887 Colac Bay Native School was phased out and reopened as the public Colac Bay School. Angus McNeill and Mary McKay were the school’s first teachers and they eventually became husband and wife in 1900.

The school operated from the same beachfront site its predecessor did. In 1934 it unfortunately fell victim to fire and when it was rebuilt it was moved even closer to the beach.

From 1974 onwards the school passed its students on to Aparima College. It closed in 1991.

See Bibliography for References

Notes on Colac Bay Native School (there are no records from this school available in the Archive):

Colac Bay was one of the area’s oldest Māori settlements and was left largely alone by the Europeans until the 1860’s when the westward expansion began and the railway was introduced.

The Riverton Colac-Bay line officially opened on 25 July 1881 and the first freight sent on it was educational material for the new Colac Bay Native School. This school was the result of the local people, in 1877, refusing to let their children go to Riverton Māori School and fighting for their own school instead. Resultantly, by1880, a one room school and a teacher’s residence were built.

The school opened in 1881 with a roll of 31 students; 29 Māori and 2 Pakeha. This continued to change drastically over the years with Māori students declining and Pakeha increasing. By 1885 only 15 of the schools 78pupils were Māori.

In an attempt to deal with the imbalance a new school was opened at Oraki in 1886 to take the sawmilling families children. (See Oraki School). Not long after this the Colac Bay Native School was phased out and reopened as Colac Bay School by the Southland Education Board.

See Bibliography for References


4 box(es) (Boxes 1 - 4)

Language of Materials



"Pieces of Chalk: History of Riverton District Schools", by George Perkins.
Ref: LC 371.009 PER
Colac Bay School
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Invercargill City Libraries and Archives Repository

50 Dee Street
Invercargill Southland 9810 New Zealand