The beginning

  • Prior to 1954 Papakura had one school – Papakura Normal (Old Central).  When pupils finished Primary School they travelled either to Otahuhu or Pukekohe for their secondary education.  The population “boom” of the 1950’s caused the Auckland Education Board to consider relieving the pressure on the single school.
  • 1954 saw four new schools open in Papakura – Papakura South, Papakura North (now Papakura Normal), St Marys and Papakura High School.
  • Land for our school was purchased in Beach Road from Mrs tui Kir for £2,300 and building began in 1953.  Due to building delays, Papakura South School opened in prefabricated classrooms in the grounds of the Old Central School.
  • The first Admission Register shows 186 names of pupils admitted to the school on 1st February 1954.  Mr J W Bartley was the headmaster and Mrs Skipper, Infant Mistress. The school catered for New Entrants to Form 2.

The1980s: an era of change

  • The roll was in steady decline, falling from 357 in 1980 to 163 at the end of 1989.  By the end of the decade the roll was mainly Māori and Pasifika.
  • With the increase in Māori pupils and the push for introduction of Māori in schools, Mrs K Kingi, formerly Miss Waapu, was employed two days a week in 1983 to take classes for basic Māori language and culture.   The 1990s were to herald the teaching of Maori as a curriculum subject.
  • In 1984 one of the empty classrooms was taken to host a Satellite Class from Rosehill Special School.
  • In February 1987 the first approaches were made to the school for a room for a Kohanga Reo.  Pukeroihi Kohanga Reo was officially opened and blessed in November 16 by kaumatua Kani Wawatai, assisted by Phillip Heteraka, Bubs McFarlane and Josie Heteraka.

The 1990s: a new era

  • In 1991 a survey on  establishing of a Bilingual Class showed 67% in favourof the initiative  and 39% wanting to enrol their children it it.  This became a reality in 1993 with the opening of Te Wahanga Māori unit with Anne Johnston as teacher and assisted by Wiremu Turner (ex-pupil).
  • The success of the venture gave rise to the appointment of a further teacher, Mrs M Haggie, to set up a total immersion class in Te Reo Maori from the beginning of 1994.