Topic: Te Arai Schools

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There were several schools in the Te Arai area at different times during the early years. Te Arai North School in 1875 was situated on Cemetery Rd, in 1888 Te Arai South School was erected on land donated by George Jennings,see map of early Te Arai for approximate site of this school (no.9 on the map) There was also a Arai Point School, otherwise known as Te Arai Point School aside Slipper Lake.

School at Te Arai began officially about 1864 after Charles Haselden  started teaching in a settler's home in the vicinity of Farrand's store, Cemetery Rd, where a cluster of buildings suggested a township would flourish.  The land was donated by Thomas Green Shepherd and cousin Henry Shepherd. A historic Norfolk Pine marks the site of Te Arai's first school.  Mr Haselden taught half time here or three days a week.  

In September of 1879 George Jennings bought "two acres more or less" from W.W.Weatcroft and donated them to the board so he and his neighbour's children could have a school nearby.  By February 1880 Te Arai South school house was erected where Mr George Alexander O'B Reid taught.  In March 1881 the school celebrated the first anniversary by gathering funds for a harmonium and for ploughing and sowing grass in the field paddock. In 1884 the Inspector's report was scathing: "Children are very dull and not inclined to speak at all.  Great difficulty in getting any answer from them.  School room neat and clean, window broken. Writing should be larger.  Parsing up to standard, rather careless.  Composition accurate but feeble."   Nationally this was a difficult time for learning, with children's attendance only reaching 39 percent in 1871.  Barbara Coughlan states "these figures tell of mud, rain, swollen streams, fatigue, lonely tracks, reluctant ponies, fear of the teacher, inability to pay tuition fees and terrible childhood illnesses of earache, whooping cough, measles, scarlet fever, chicken pox and tummy upsets for which there was no handy doctor or antibiotics"  quotes from Part 14: Schools and Scholars of Barbara Metcalf's 1989 When You and I Were Young Maggie...


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