School History

1877 – 2003

Our Past

In 1872 the Walker and Cochrane families settled in Kuranui and in 1874 T. & S. Morrin acquired the Lockerbie Estate. In May 1876 a committee of settlers with $50 donation and 2 acres from Thomas Morrin applied for a school.

On 25th June 1877 the Morrinsville School opened on the Studholme Street site and bounded by the Topehahae Stream. The school was built by Mr J. Harp; a building 20 feet by 16 feet in size with a small porch at its entrance. Mr W.H. Pooley was the first teacher (1877-1879).

During the period 1800 to 1888 the roll fluctuated and the teacher worked at Waihou and Morrinsville. In 1895 the old school was demolished and a new building erected. In 1900 an additional acre of land was purchased and a school house was built (1 Studholme St). During the period 1906 to 1915 the school site and buildings were added to as the roll increased to 263.

As the roll grew it became apparent that a new school site was needed. Three and a half acres were purchased in Lincoln Street and in 1920 a new Infant building of three rooms was built. In 1923 two additional acres were purchased at the Lincoln Street site.

A District High School was established in 1923. A Manual Training Centre was built in 1924.

By 1924 the roll had reached 396 and an additional two buildings were built on Lincoln Street. The Lincoln Street site continued to acquire further classrooms as demand necessitated, completing a block of six classrooms by 1930. The Dental Clinic was established in 1928.

In 1936 eight acres were purchased in Alexandra Avenue from Miss B.E. Seales.

In 1937 the Secondary roll was 106 and the Primary Roll was 430.

In 1937 a new high school building was constructed on Alexandra Avenue by Mr R. Guy which consisted of six classrooms, a laboratory, staffroom and storage space. The new building was first used in 24th July 1939, 62 years after the opening of the first classroom on the original site.

Between 1939 to 1946 the Morrinsville Primary and the District High operated from three sites, Studholme Thorpe Streets, Lincoln Street and Alexandra Avenue. In 1946 the secondary roll was 227 and the primary school roll was 450 plus children.

In 1947 the school committee compiled a report which was intended to rationalize an approach to meet school needs within Morrinsville. As a result it was decided to build further on the Alexandra Avenue site moving the secondary department to Alexandra Avenue, closure of the Studholme/Thorpe St school and the acquisition of additional land and building on the Lincoln Street site.

On 10th April 1946 a further eleven and a half acres were acquired at the Alexandra Avenue site for use by the secondary department.

In the same year the old High School site was used for the erection of state houses. The school residence was retained. In 1948 additional land adjacent to Lincoln Street between David Street and North Street was acquired for use with the rest of the playing fields.

In 1949 the District High School was disestablished and Morrinsville College became the Post Primary School from 1950.

With the disestablishment of the District High the Primary School continued to grow and develop on the Lincoln Street site, where it is to this day. Additional building and prefabric classrooms were located on the site to meet changing roll demands. On 9th March 1956 Mrs Cornwall opened the school canteen.

In 1963 the Tahuroa School was closed and pupils transferred to Morrinsville Primary in 1964.

In 1965 the Morrinsville Primary Special Class was opened. In 1969-1971 the old Infant block was remodeled at the school. The infant classes went to the scout hall for term 1. The new infant block was occupied from Term 2.

In 1971 further buildings on the site were remodeled which included repositioning the Dental Clinic, the Manual Block to Junior Classrooms. It was during this period that a new library was built. In February 1979 the demolition of the old junior block commenced. Children were housed in 4 prefabs while construction of a new open plan building for the junior classes was completed and opened in September 1979.

In 1977 the Primary and District High celebrated its Centennial Jubilee with 1430 present for the formal dinner on 30th April. The roll at the beginning of 1977 was 462, with staff of 21.

In 1979 major structural replacements were made to the school.

A minor arson at the school in a porch area of a classroom occurred on the 12th October 1985. The following month on 21st November 1982 the two classroom block was extensively damaged by fire. It was decided that the building which consisted of two classrooms, pupils toilets, cloakbays, two workbays and two stores would be restored rather than replaced due to its significant historical value to the school’s history. These buildings were the original Manual Training Centre which had been relocated from the Moorhouse Street end of the school to the present position (presently known as Rms 11 and 12 B Block).

The period 1977(Centennial Year) to the late 80’s saw the school’s physical presentation continually change with prefab classrooms being established to cater for roll development to be later removed when rolls dropped. During the 90’s the roll increased which resulted in three new classrooms being built by the Ministry of Education. The Board of Trustees purchased its own classroom in 1995 to provide a space for extra curricula work, extension learning programmes and to meet the need for additional classroom space.

A new gymnasium was built in 1980 and an extension added in 1992.

Former School Committee Chairman were:

1948 Mr John Hughes
1950 Mr Andrew French
1953 Mrs Lonelle Mitchell
1955 Mr Ralph Shaw
1957 Mr Gavin Gifford
1959 Mr John Badham
1961 Mr Gordon Budd
1971 Mr Kenneth Thomas
1975 Mr Robert Dodd
1979 Mr Ronald Bean
1981 Mr Ron Gibson
1983 Mr Brian Wallace
1986 Mr Wayne Morris
1988 Mr Rodney Needham

1989 Inaugural Board of Trustees – Chairman
1989 Mr Rodney Needham
1997 Mr Graham Silvester
1998 Mr Tony Tissingh
2009 Mr Brett Johnstone – Current

Todays School

The advent of Tomorrows Schools in October 1989 saw the structure and management of schools change. An inaugural Board of Trustees was elected with Rodney Needham, the previous School Committee Chairman as Board Chairman. From this time the school has once again seen further changes. The old school residence was sold by the Ministry of Education in 1990. The staffroom was extended. The interior and exterior have been refurbished. All toilets blocks were upgraded also during this period. The asphalt areas were upgraded with paving and the boundary fences replaced. The site has had its water reticulation system fully replaced. The school is fully alarmed and has a video surveillance capability.  All classrooms are on a modern ICT network.  A new computer suite was built during this period.   A caretakers shed was built (1992) and a shade house for children’s horticultural work was added (1991).  A cricket wicket and a cricket practice wicket were put down.  In 2001 a new administration area was constructed providing additional office space, sickbay and toilets.  2002 saw the completion of a new sportsdome providing an all weather facility for school’s cultural, sports and physical education programmes.  The turf was renewed in 2022.  On 29th November 2005 our School Aquatic Centre (25m short course swimming pool with beach area, changing sheds and seating) was officially opened.  From humble beginnings in 1877 and spanning three centuries the school now provides on its 2.45 hectares:

Technologies Room
Information and Computer Technology Suite
Modern Library
3 playing fields and a cricket wicket
Dental Clinic
School Aquatic Centre housing a Short Course Pool (25m)
Multipurpose Classroom
Allweather 900 m2 Astroturf Covered Sportsdome
13 classrooms
Native Tree Reserve — a plantation of many large totara, rimu and kauri

The school operates within a roll range of 200 to 230 with a closing roll in December 2021 of 221 pupils.

With the advent of Tomorrows Schools, Morrinsville School, like all New Zealand schools, experienced major changes in curriculum, assessment processes and the level of parent and community involvement in the school.  Our school still remains strongly focused on numeracy and literacy — the old “3 Rs” of yesteryear.  There is a broader science curriculum and a social studies curriculum.  We have iPads available to our junior school and Chromebooks for Yrs 4-8.  Our children’s days are very full with health and PE programmes — where the children can join in school teams for rugby, netball, hockey, soccer, basketball or cricket. There are also the cross country days, athletic days, swimming sports and the gymnastic competitions. The school’s sports dome is a reflection of the emphasis we place on the PE and Health development of the children. We have our Calf Club days, and musical productions.

All the children from Years 3-4 go to camp at Waharau and Waitomo every year. The Year 5 & 6’s still go to Port Waikato for their annual 6 day camp.  The Year 7 & 8 children attend a 3 day Leadership Camp at Whitianga every year and Snow Camp biannual.  Children can perform in the school choir, the kapa haka group, learn to play a musical instrument or join a school maths, science or computer club.  They complete art displays for community events and Wallace Art Gallery;  join their families for Carol singing;  folk dances at school with Grandparents and get involved in many community projects.  A particular feature of life at Morrinsville School today is the significant level of parental and family involvement in school programmes.  The school door is always open and parents help out both in the classroom with reading, on trips and coaching sports teams, on school camps and at gala and calf club days. Our school continues to enjoy the confidence and loyal support of the parent body and the local community.