Topic: Tauranga Waldorf School: Tuapiro

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Tuapiro Point is a small sand-spit opposite the northern entrance to Tauranga Harbour. The end of the sand-spit provides a great view of the harbour and provides a resting place for estuary wildlife. In 1900 a school building was erected at Tuapiro. This historic building was purchased by the Tauranga Rudolf Steiner School in 2007 and relocated to the school grounds in Welcome Bay, Tauranga.

'By the end of 1878 only one school had been built (at Katikati). This was known as the Katikati Number 1 School and stood on the corner of the Kauri Point and Ongare Point roads' ... 'The number 1 school was soon used only by Athenree children, and when the Kauri Point building was burnt down by a careless swagger it was rebuilt near the Tuapiro River' (Sayer, 1977, p. 5).

In February 1900: 'Tenders were called for the new school on the site to be given by Mr W. Johnston and situated near the Tuapiro River' ... In November 1900: 'The new school opened in November' (Jordan, 1979, p. 14).Katikati Number 1 School in 1908

In September 1906: 'No 1 School seems to have escaped the scarlet fever scare which closed No. 2' ... In March 1911 the ‘school role stood at 11’ ... In April 1916: 'In 1916 a case of diphtheria occurred among the pupils and the school utensils such as slates etc were thoroughly washed in boiling water and the premises thoroughly fumigated with materials obtained from a Waihi chemist' (Jordan, 1979, p. 15).

In May 1929: 'The opening of the railway in 1928 provided a means of transporting the pupils to Katikati and No 1 closed in May 1929' (Jordan, 1979, p. 16). 'The Number 1 school register of 1898-1929 concludes with the entry "School Closed, May, 1929" (Sayer, 1977, p. 6).

In July 1929: ‘One might call this the old school that refused to fade away. Shortly after the school closed the Board was proposing to sell the building and site and have received offers, but the committee protested that the Board's representative had promised that the settlers should have the use of this building' ... In September 1932 'Tenders were called for the building for removal. The highest offer was 35 pounds whereas the Government valuation was 210 pounds so the offer was rejected' (Jordan, 1979, p. 32).'Tuapiro' in 1979

In October 1934: 'For nearly four years after this the building supplied the needs of the area as a meeting place. (Jordan, 1979, p. 33). Prices are listed for church services, afternoon and evening meetings and dances and social function.

In February 1955: 'The decision having been made that it was not required it was finally discharged from every educational trust in the Gazette of 10 February 1955' (Jordan, 1979, p. 34).

It seems that the Tuapiro Hall was at some stage shifted to the Tauranga Historic Village but so far no record of when this occurred has been found. It is next mentioned in the following Bay of Plenty Times articles:

District misses on hall, 8 December 1976

‘Because of the lack of any suitable site for the building, the Athenree community has missed out on the opportunity to acquire the old Tuapiro Hall. The Tuapiro Hall was closed by the Tauranga County Council earlier this year with a view to having it relocated. Since then there have been several requests for it from different groups and organisations in the western part of the country. This week the council received a recommendation from its reserves and recreational purposed committee that the building be shifted at county expense to Athenree, where it could serve as a community hall. However, the assistant county clerk, Mr D. B. Quigley, said the Athenree Community Council had recently decided there was no suitable site available on which to locate the fairly large building and the community's bid for it has lapsed. He said this by no means implied the people of the area did not want - and need a hall - all the same. After some discussion on whether it was worth trying to shift the old hall at all it was decided to investigate the possibility of moving it to the Uretara Domain in Katikati, subject to the agreement of the Katikati Community Council and organisations that regularly use the domain.’

Future of Tuapiro Hall discussed 7 February 1977

‘Moving the Tuapiro Hall onto the Uretara Domain met with a lukewarm reception when it was discussed by users of the domain and members of the Katikati Community Council at a meeting last week. Representatives of the Katikati Soccer Club, the Katikati Light Horse Club and the Katikati branch of the Tauranga Pony Club, said their clubs had no funds to contribute to moving and renovating the hall. The chief executive officer of the Tauranga County Council said the Tuapiro Hall was little used and local residents had shown no interest in upgrading it on its present site. Athenree residents had suggested it should be moved there, but no suitable site could be found and the suggestion had been shelved. It had then been suggested it could be moved to the Uretara Domain and placed behind the present domain pavilion. The back portion of the pavilion was in a poor condition and appeared to be beyond repair. To bring the hall and pavilion together and to renovate them to a standard suitable for use by sports bodies, had been estimated to cost $4000, of which the council was prepared to contribute half. Speaking for the Katikati A and P Society, Mr An. N. Williams, said society representatives had taken a plan to build a new hall to the council last year and the council had declined to assist financially. Yet it was apparently prepared to spend money on this project. The Tuapiro Hall was one of the original schools in Katikati but only one speaker valued the historical associations of the buildings. Mr A. R. Diggelmann, a community councillor, said the architecture of the pavilion was well worth retaining and he would not like to see a modern building replace it. Mr C. Welten, speaking for the soccer club, said there were no facilities for soccer players on the domain and anything would be better than what they had not. Mr G. Leech, a member of the A and P Society executive and a builder, said the Tuapiro Hall was rotten below floor level. The fact that it had vertical weatherboarding and vertical lining, together with a high stud would make it difficult to move. The president of the A and P Society, Mr M. G. Watkins, said the society's hall needed replacing and rather than replacing it with a barn like structure - which would meet the society's needs on one day each year - the society would like to see a second hall provided for everyone in Katikati, but smaller than the War Memorial Hall. The chairman of the community council, Mr A. A. Yeoman, said it appeared there were several questions to answer. "Is the Tuapiro Hall sound enough to shift?" he asked. "Should the estimated $4000 it would cost to move the hall and renovate it be spent in this way?" "Has the A and P Society alternative better proposals?" A past president of the A and P Society, Mr Owen Henry, said the society had $5000 which it was prepared to contribute to a suitable project. The domain was without a kitchen at present and the provision of suitable facilities was important. It was decided to ask the county council to provide detailed reports on the cost and feasibility of moving the Tuapiro Hall and the cost of building a building of similar size of weatherboard construction to give a comparison. The matter would be reconsidered.’

Users want to keep hall where it is 26 September 1977

‘Organisations using the Uretara Domain are opposed to moving the Tuapiro Hall on to the domain to enlarge and improve the present pavilion. The Tuapiro Hall was formerly a school built late last century. The Tauranga County Council, which administers the hall, has suggested that it be moved from its present site and renovated. The users told the Katikati Community Council at a meeting last week that they would rather renovate the existing kitchen at the pavilion, because they would have no use for the hall. Mr M. J. Pickering, vice-president of the Katikati Light Horse Club and a committee member of the Katikati A and P Society and of the Katikati Branch of the Tauranga Pony Club, said these organisations had discussed the proposal to move the hall to the domain and add it to the existing pavilion. None was in favour. "The old school has an eleven foot stud. It would look quite out of place tacked on to the pavilion. The plans drawn up propose to remove the gabled roof of the pavilion and replace it with a lean-to roof. To our minds, this will quite spoil the appearance of the pavilion, which is an attractive building that fits well into its surroundings. We would prefer to renovate the existing kitchen. We have already had three offers of $50 each to help to cover the cost of the work, which has been estimated at $600. We are told that the county council had offered to pay $1600 toward the cost of moving and renovating the Tuapiro Hall. But they have also said that they did not intend to bring it up to the standard of a public hall. It would still serve only as a sports pavilion. What we have got - if it were renovated and upgraded - is all the main users consider they need on the domain at present." The chairman of the Katikati Community Council, Mr A. A. Yeoman, said his council had not yet made its decision on the question of moving the hall on to the Uretara Domain. Further discussions were being held with Katikati groups.

The 108 year old Tuapiro on site at the Tauranga Rudolf Steiner School in 2008

The historic building, Tuapiro, was built in 1900. It was purchased by the Tauranga Rudolf Steiner School in 2007. In 2008 it was home to Class 6 taught by Mario Gude.

- Researched and written by Debbie McCauley, July 2008. I have a personal connection with this building as my great-grandmother, Rachel McCauley (nee Hamilton) was born at Tuapiro in 1880.



Jordan, E. (1979). Hours of minutes: The inside story of schooling in Katikati through its first century 1877-1977. An extract from the Katikati School records. Katikati, New Zealand: Author.

Sayer, T. (1977). Katikati schools centennial reunion 1877-1977. Tauranga, New Zealand: Publicity Printing.

The Bay of Plenty Times (1976-1977).

Ellen McCormack (Katikati Historian) - personal communication, July 13, 2008.

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Tauranga Waldorf School: Tuapiro


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