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Education in the Te Aroha district in the nineteenth century

Establishing a school at Te Aroha was delayed while the Education Board waited to see whether the settlement would become permanent. In the interim, temporary arrangements were made. Although some praised the building finally erected, others noted such defects as being cold in winter, and residents met some of the costs of necessary improvements. Details are given of all the teachers, of the development of the school, of the number of pupils, and of the quality of the teaching. At Waiorongomai there was same sequence of erecting and improving the school, and details are given of all the teachers and their teaching. In both communities, residents had to raise money through holding entertainments to fund necessary improvements. Examples of the curriculum are given, along with school inspectors’ reports on the effectiveness of the teaching. Patriotism was emphasized, and corporal punishment was a normal method of control. Irregular attendance handicapped many children’s success, and some parents clearly did not care about sending their children to school regularly. To vary the school year, there were occasional events such as Arbor Day, and a ‘treat’ was held at the end of every year. Providing religious education provoked controversy; and some attempts were made to provide much needed adult education. To conclude, the life of a particularly popular teacher, James William Rennick, is given in as much detail as is available. (Note that ‘most of the early records’ of the Te Aroha school ‘were destroyed by fire’, making a complete history of its early years impossible.)
Working Paper
Type of thesis
Te Aroha Mining District Working Papers
Hart, P. (2016). Education in the Te Aroha district in the nineteenth century. (Te Aroha Mining District Working papers, No. 128). Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato, Historical Research Unit.
Historical Research Unit, University of Waikato
© 2016 Philip Hart

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