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Tuatapere School

 Record Group
Identifier: A0340


  • Majority of material found within 1910 - 1948

Tuatapere School

In 1909 the Education Board toured the Western Districts and visited several schools to determine whether one should be built at Tuatapere. Schools and places visited: Koromiko School (earlier named 'Waihoka'), Te Wae Wae where they were met by residents petitioning for a school at the Dairy Factory corner at Saddle Creek, Te Tua School, Papatotara School, and Tuatapere to ascertain the number of children in the district not started at school and the likely population increase.

In 1910 the site for a school was reserved. In 1911 Mr Hugh McFeely, was first appointed Head Master. He was to become a "leading light" in community affairs over the next decade and beyond. Classes were held in the Cymric Hall, owned and built by John Davies. First day of school 16 children registered. Surnames were: Howarth; Coughlan; Rask; McLean; Sneyd; Fitzgerald; Gray; Mills; and Purdue. When it was thought the noise from the Billiard Room, attached to the hall, was a distraction to the children, classes were transferred to the newly-built Methodist Church, until the roll outgrew the hall space. It was in May 1913 that the first dedicated school building opened.

The school roll continued to grow as more people moved to the district, so when it reached 56 in 1916, a second classroom was built and Miss S. Wilson appointed teacher. Mr Hugh McFeely left in 1922 and Mr Higgins became principal.

Due to growth in the community, as well as changes to the rules for entry into secondary school, Tuatapere School changed to Tuatapere District High in 1945, accommodating both primary and secondary. It soon after changed it's name to Waiau District High School.

In 1953 a new school was built, with amongst other things, offices, staff toilets, new heating, and a medical room. In 1957 a manual department was built in the old secondary rooms. Further extensions happened in 1959 and 1964. A pool and playing grounds also appeared.

In 1977 the school seperated, with the high school staying in the old buildings and the primary moving to newly built buildings nearby. In 2002, Waiau College and Tuatapere Primary School merged back again to create Tuatapere Community College. In 2012 it was renamed Waiau Area School, and it continues as a co-educational composite school under this name in 2019.

- Notes by E. Easton -

See Bibliography for References


1 box(es) (Box 1)

Language of Materials



'The hole in the bush : a Tuatapere centennial review' by D. J. Williams
Reference: LC 993.96 HOL
  • A very comprehensive compilation of events and people for the years 1901-2010. Each chapter is devoted to a decade, so the book is a diary of a community and district in Western Southland. The omission of an Index makes it essential for the family historian to have prior knowledge of when family lived in the district.
  • It begins with a Dedication to Teachers and Educators who have served in the Tuatapere and surrounding districts.
  • Prologue: by Des Williams. It also contains Profiles of Horomon (Solomon) Paatu(Pukuheti) (c.1820-1893) Kati Mamoe Chief andChief Surveyor John Hay(1848-1906), Chief Surveyor, Southland. Pp.12-13.
  • Many photographs of people and places, plus anecdotes concerning individuals.
  • There is information concerning Tuatapere School in each chapter. Class and school photos have been included. School group photos are generally accompanied by names, except where a list of registrations precedes the photo.
  • Important events like the establishment of the Railway, Post Office are described, as are early businesses and their owners. Recollections from early residents make for interesting reading.
  • List of past school teachers are on p.82.
  • Appendix: Tuatapere Teachers and Support Staff 1910-2010. Pp.308-9.
  • Rolls of honour are placed in relevant chpaters throughout the book. Each Serviceman/woman is accompanied by Service No., Regiment, Names of parents and where died.


'Up the Waiau: the story of four schools' compiled by Gordon McLeod
Reference: LA 371 UP
  • This book marks the 75th anniversary of the Tuatapere Schools including Waiau College, Happy Valley, Te Tua and Te Wae Wae (up to 1985).
  • Icludes a history of the Lower Waiau Valley, early Maori settlement. Provides details on Drummond's Ferry whic provided links between settlements on either side of the river.
  • There is a history of each school as well as pictures, list of teachers and list of school committees.
  • Includes a picture of first day pupils in 1910.
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Invercargill City Libraries and Archives Repository

50 Dee Street
Invercargill Southland 9810 New Zealand