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Henry Hill – Frontier Inspector

Although school inspectors appear frequently as occasional actors in New Zealand nineteenth century educational history the part they played in developing regional systems of education has been little considered. Employed initially by provincial governments and later by education boards, inspectors were relied upon to be the public's educational watchdogs. Scholarly standards had to be attained and maintained, spending on education carefully supervised. Some insight into the role of the pioneering inspectorate is afforded by this 'case study' which examines the work done in Hawke's Bay between 1878 and 1900 by inspector Henry Hill. Primary education made free and compulsory by the 1877 Education Act, threw former provincial schools into disarray as hundreds of children flocked to the 14 schools in the Hawke's Bay Educational District. Hill1 s initial task, therefore, was to bring some semblance of order by negotiating the hireage of temporary school buildings, purchasing new school sites, supervising the construction and maintenance of schools, directing inexperienced teachers and advising newly elected school committee and Board members. Ever aware of the needs of both teachers and children, Hill strove to employ qualified teachers and to evolve a more relevant curriculum for children. Always motivated by a professional concern for those in his care the inspector introduced many innovative features to a national system of education. Because education derives its purpose, form and content from the particular social environment in which it develops its history, to be truly understood, must be viewed as a part of the total history of a people. The aim throughout this study has been, therefore to describe and explain educational developments within the province not in isolation from, but in relation to the evolving social order of nineteenth century Hawke's Bay. This study hypothesizes that throughout the Colony, education board inspectors were primarily responsible for implementing the 1877 Education Act and that in Hawke's Bay Inspector Henry Hill was particularly influential in bringing the work of the most educationally backward of provinces into line with others more richly endowed.
Type of thesis
Matthews, A. K. (1984). Henry Hill – Frontier Inspector (Thesis, Master of Education (MEd)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/9975
University of Waikato
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