THE FIRST TWENTY FIVE YEARS
MONDAY 24 MAY
On Monday 24 May 1965 the school known as Ngāruawāhia Number 3 opened with a roll of 275 and 8 classrooms. The pupils had previously attended Ngāruawāhia Primary but were resident on the east side of the Waikato River.
Mr. J.G. Sisley was appointed as the inaugural principal, Mr. T.N. Wise as the first assistant and Miss L. McPhee as the supervisor of junior classes. Four teachers came from Ngāruawāhia Primary and two were appointed by the South Auckland Education Board. The school secretary also came from Ngāruawāhia Primary.
The school grounds were not completed and the newly elected school committee was active in getting the classrooms ready, grounds cleared, fields marked and goals made.
The first parent teacher meeting was held. Sports colours were decided and the meeting decided unanimously to name the school Bernard Fergusson.
His Excellency the Governor General Sir Bernard Fergusson agreed to the school being called Bernard Fergusson School.
The first break-up was held in the Ngāruawāhia High School hall.
Preparations for the Vice Regal visit and official opening of the school is well under way. The school motto of ‘Kia Kaha Katoa’ (Be Strong Together) had been decided upon by the first school committee.
The Governor General Sir Bernard Fergusson officially opens the school. Head prefects David Paul, Daphne Tini, Joe Tini and Maxine Sellars show him around ‘his’ school.
J.G. Sisley writes “It was I believe a tremendously moving experience for us all. The effects I trust will be carried down through the years of this school’s existence”.
Mayor of Ngāruawāhia present at school assembly to plant the first of 80 shrubs and 20 trees.
Break-up held at Tūrangawaewae Marae upon invitation by Te Arikinui. Guest speaker was Mr. Michael Jones of Ōtewa, Ōtorohanga.
Farewell visit of Sir Bernard and Lady Fergusson.
16mm film projector purchased.
Aroha Middleton was the national winner of the Ngarimu V.C. and Māori Battalion essay competition.
Mr. Ces Badley was welcomed in pouring rain as the new principal. Difficult times ahead due to high staff turn over and a new direction which took time to be accepted by both staff and pupils.
Mr. and Mrs Badley wished well for forthcoming teaching exchange in the United Kingdom.
Mr. D.H. Leitch commenced as relieving principal for one month.
Mr. Barr commenced duties as long term relieving principal.
Principal approached to provide classrooms to house manuwhiri attending the Coronation celebrations.
Lord and Lady Ballantrae visited the school exchanged gifts and planted a totara tree near the front gate.
A swimming pool fundraising committee was formed.
Pupils attended the dedication ceremony of the new Kimiora to be officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II the following day.
Pupils were part of the welcome to the Royal visitors.
Senior pupils waited on tables at the Tūrangawaewae Poukai for the first time.
Pupils observed Para Machitt work on the mural in Kimiora.
Library is completed and in use.
Surrounds of library completed.
Reverend Tim Flavell blesses the new swimming pool.
Lord and Lady Ballantrae visit the school again, exchange gifts and plant trees.
Lady Ballantrae is accidentally killed by a branch falling on the car in which she was travelling.
Lord Ballantrae died. A cable was sent fro the school to his son Geordie.
At 9.00 a.m. a memorial service was held at school for Lord Ballantrae. A large group of elders from Tūrangawaewae including Mr. Hira Solomon and Mr. Tumokai Katipa and the Mayor attended.
Mr. Geordie Fergusson (son of Lord Ballantrae) and his wife Margaret visit the school and spend time mixing and mingling with staff and pupils. Geordie agrees to become the new patron of the school.
Newly appointed principal Mrs Hera Johns embarks on a mission to improve the school buildings and grounds.
The school grounds and surrounds underwent a serious face-lift.
The Sir Bernard Fergusson memorial flagpole carved by Wiremu Joseph a former pupil unveiled. The school’s own flag made by pupils with the help of staff member Mrs Mawhera McNicol was blessed and raised for the first time. Archdeacon Tiki Raumati led the karakia and the dedication plague was unveiled by Te Arikinui.
A school canteen was operated by Mrs Mary Salt and Mrs Nellie Bailey.
The beginning of a three day live-in at Tūrangawaewae Marae for all school’s in the district. The aim of the course was to bring the community together. Mr. Arnold Wilson was the director. Kimiora was transformed into a workshop with much interactive learning taking place.
The mural that was the result of the live-in was prepared for presentation to Te Arikinui.
A beautiful sunny day for the presentations by the district schools of their murals to Te Arikinui.
Senior violin lessons began with the Itinerant Teacher of Music Mr. McShane.
An increase in roll numbers resulted in a re-organization of classes.
Mrs. Te Atarangi Poutapu was appointed as the school’s first kaiarahi i te reo Māori to promote the use of te reo throughout the school.
A barbeque and sports afternoon was followed by a meeting to discuss a parent support group and the possibility of applying for bilingual status. The idea gained a very favourable response.
A relocatable classroom arrived on site to accommodate an influx of pupils.
Parents were unanimously in favour of applying to the Hamilton Education Board (HEB) seeking official bilingual status.
Te Arikinui visits the school and spends time with the pupils and the staff giving support to the proposal seeking bilingual status.
24 JUNE – 18 AUGUST
A series of meetings are convened to explain the process gaining bilingual status and the impact that would have on the school and community.
The general manager of the HEB recommends to the Minister of Education official bilingual status is accorded to the school.
A milestone in the school’s history is recorded when the school receives notification of its official bilingual status. At the end of year prize-giving at Tūrangawaewae Marae the announcement is made much to the delight of all concerned.
The first computers were put into use.
A meeting was held at Tūrangawaewae Marae to discuss the implications of the Picot Report.
The form two pupils were formally given over to Ngāruawāhia High School to protect, cherish and nurture for the next five years.
Mrs. Hera Johns resigned to take up a position with the Ministry of Education implementing the new ‘Tomorrow’s School’ requirements.
Mrs. Iria Whiu appointed as the fourth principal of the school.
Mrs. Te Atarangi Poutapu begins her teacher training with the newly established teacher training scheme for kaiarahi i te reo Māori setting the path for others from the community to follow.
Geordie Fergusson and family visit the school and spent time with pupils and staff. Just before leaving he planted a manuka tree in the triangular garden at the entrance to the quadrangle area.
NB. Taken from the booklet compiled for the silver jubilee 1966 – 1991 celebrations