top of page
  • Keith Newman

Haumoana School history: Tsunami safe centre of learning (Part 1 of 3)

The Haumoana School is at the centre of the Cape Coast community, not only because it’s a well-regarded high decile primary school but because its elevated position makes it the designated safe place in during flooding, inundation and other civil emergencies.

Land was donated by a local farmer for what was originally known as Clive Grange School, at the corner of Parkhill and Raymond Rd, which opened on 4 April 1921, with two classrooms and about 40 pupils. At its Golden Jubilee in 1971, Haumoana School had a headmaster, nine teachers, a dental nurse, an assistant and a roll of 280 children. The school motto remains: “Honour and effort lead to success” with many children among the 176 on the 2017 roll now from third and fourth generation families.

“This is our place…our turangawaewae…everyone belongs here,” says Moira Lindsay, who served 30-years as an office administrator at the school, eventually retiring in 2016.

The Education Review Board in Feb 2016 commended the school for its focus on improving outcomes for all students, its high-quality systems to support student needs and a curriculum that fosters student’s ability to “confidently take responsibility for their learning”.

The school is an Enviro-School, involved in the Cape to City project and the Garden to Table programme with the school’s vision of “Think Challenge Achieve apparent through the school,” says the Review Board.

Humble beginnings

Initially pupils from Haumoana, Te Awanga and the Tukituki valley attended Clive School but local residents wanted their children taught closer to home.

In 1914 the Education Board threatened to stop the coach service carrying local children to Clive for, unless the Clive School Committee agreed to pay a share of the losses. That was finally agreed and by June 20 of the 32 children “allegedly of school age” were using the coach.

The Clive Grange Education Committee began lobbying for their own school. By June 1919 there were 90 children in the Grange area, 64 of them of school age but the bus to Clive could only seat 25. A site at Park Hill was set aside as an education reserve and a petition called on the Education Board to establish a school there.

When it first opened in 1921 the headmaster was Mr E. (Ned) Webster with assistant Miss Iggleton. Mr Webster cycled up to the school each day from the beachfront. A headmaster’s residence was established in 1923 by which time the school had a roll of 60 pupils.

Access to the school was mainly by foot, pushbike or horse, those who chose horseback could graze their animals in the horse paddock where the present-day kindergarten is located. Children went off to sports and other events on the back of a pick-up truck. The school library was established with books donated from private homes and in 1924 the first piano was purchased. A replacement arrived in 1928 and was still being used 60-years later despite having at one time fallen from the back of a truck.

Mr R. Florance became the second headmaster in 1927 and under his guidance Clive Grange School became a three-teacher school. In 1928 the school won the first in a long succession of awards from Hawke’s Bay Education Board award for being the most attractive school in the district.

Award winning grounds

Mr W.S Cockerill was headmaster from 1932 until the early 1940s. A third classroom was completed, the first school ball held and he began setting out the school grounds, placing marble slabs in the driveway, making trellises, rustic fences and carving an archway out of redwood at the entrance.

In 1935 the name was changed from Clive Grange to Haumoana School to avoid confusion with Clive School. After Mr Cockerill, Mr A. O Sim was headmaster for two years followed by Jack Izatt, F.H Bacon and D.H. Lee.

In 1936 a log cabin was built in the school grounds which became the domain of the boys. The girls already had a shelter for their playground entertainment. In 1947 the log cabin, having been such a popular place, was rebuilt along with a ‘Bridge of Peace’ in the school grounds. A collaboration of student memories from the Haumoana School 75th Jubilee magazine describe the sports grounds as lined with gum and pine trees; magpies attacking those who got too near the big gums at the wrong time of year, boys amusing themselves endlessly at playtime, building elaborate huts from fallen branches and pine needles with passageways between them.

The horses that many pupils rode to school once escaped from the horse paddock into the school grounds. One of the tasks senior pupils did not look forward to, was cleaning the lavatories by removing and burying the content every Friday. Maureen Heaps (nee Burdon) and two of her siblings from Te Awanga often took turns sharing one bike to get to school and in the winter, carrying milk in a billy on the handlebars from Palleson’s farm. The milk was for the cocoa that would be prepared in four-gallon kerosene tins, with each pupil having their own mug, stored in the rack of pigeon holes in the front of the school building.

Maureen reminisces in the Haumoana School 75th Jubilee magazine, of the New Zealand flag being run up the flagpole every morning to the chorus of God Defend New Zealand; “the dread fear of mental arithmetic tests”, with the threat of the strap “if the mark was less than five out of ten”. She recalled marble players using the grooved circles in the packed down dirt of the bike sheds, the well swept hard dirt floors of the old log cabin; the floor marked out into different ‘rooms’ or houses with status gauged by the number of coloured bottles of water lined up.

Watch for Part Two: Haumoana School history: Surviving earth quakes and war (1930s to 1970s)

Sources: Photographs: Haumoana School; Archives Education Review results: 13 June 1914, letter J H Heron, Clive in Hastings Standard Demand for a school, Hastings Standard, 13 June 1919 School has been at Haumoana 50 years, The Daily Telegraph, Say Feb 20, 1971 Interview with Moira Lindsay

Featured Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
Recent Posts
bottom of page