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Waiau District High School

 Record Group
Identifier: A0339


  • Majority of material found within 1938 - 1976

Waiau District High School

Before becoming a District High School in 1945, the school was primary only - please see the Tuatapere School record for information on these years.

In 1944 the need for a local district high school was evident due to growth in the community. Pupils had been travelling into Invercargill which was time consuming and expensive. At the time there were 41 students in high school from the district. Other factors were the Proficiency Examination for entry into high school being abolished in 1937, and the school leaving age increasing to 15 years in 1943.

The Waiau District High School was established in 1945 with Mr M.P. Lyng as principal. At first there were two classrooms, with classes also held in the Buffalo Hall. Classes in agriculture, homecraft, clothing and commercial featured alongside the "core" subjects. There was cooking classes for the girls and woodwork and metalwork for the boys. There were no staff toilets or staffroom. Overtime new buildings from closed down primary schools in the district were bought on site to accommodate the growing roll.

In 1953 new buildings were constructed, 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.

The big school rivalry was between Waiau and Riverton, especially with rugby and basketball. Other school events included socials, music festivals, the Spring Flower Show, debutante balls, and fundraising drives.

In 1977 the school split, with Forms I-VII staying in the district high, and primary leaving for new buildings near by. The new high school was called Waiau College. 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


2 box(es) (Boxes 1 - 2)

Language of Materials



Up The Waiau, The Story of Four Schools : marking the 75th anniversary of Tuatapere schools' by Gordon McLeod
Reference: LC 371 UP
  • Schools covered in the book : Te Tua 1898-1967; Te Wae Wae 1910-1970; Tuatapere School 1910; Happy Valley School 1917-1937.
  • Contains much local and social history. Names of many settler families can be found together with their occupations and/or farm locations. Photographs are accompanied by individual names, where known.
  • This booklet also documents the development of the railway system, needed to transport gold, timber, coal and farm produce. Riverton and Otautau 1879; Orepuke 1885; Nightcaps 1885; Waihoaka 1903; Tuatapere 1909.
  • Covers early settlers, services, industry, and the ferry.
  • Rolls of Honour feature on page 55.
Waiau District High School
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Repository Details

Part of the Invercargill City Libraries and Archives Repository

50 Dee Street
Invercargill Southland 9810 New Zealand