WARDVILLE TO WAIRERE
Wairere has a significant history and is an important part of the local area.
The first teacher at Wardville School was Mr Gauntlet who started the school with 12 students. The school roll eventually increased to 60 students, so an assistant teacher was appointed to help him. There was only one classroom at that time, so the teachers put a curtain in the middle of the one room classroom to split the space. The students rode on horseback to school, often with three to four students on one horse, there were up to 20 horses at school most days. There was no playground at that time, so the students played among the horses on the field. The Education Board finally built a two roomed school that was called Wardville School. The first building was completed and officially opened in 1924. School began 4 days after the opening.
Around the time of the year 2000 the fear was that the Ministry or Government was going to close down more of the small schools. Wardville School and Tauranga-O-Moana school were both in that situation. So they decided to amalgamate. Turanga-O-Moana came to Wardville School because Wardville had a bigger site and a bigger swimming pool. The two schools joined into one. It was decided that Heather Brown would be the Principal; she had been the Principal of Turanga-O-Moana School. They didn’t want to keep the name Wardville because it wouldn’t be fair for Turanga-O-Moana. Wairere became the name for the new school. Heather Brown worked at Wairere School for another ten years.
The Wardville district school was renamed when the two small country schools joined together. Since they were neither Turanga-o-Moana nor Wardville, a vote was taken on what name to choose using a survey. There were eight choices including Ward-Moana, Turangaville and Wairere, the vote was open to all the community. Most of the people thought it appropriate to name the school after the district in which it was placed. Wairere means flowing water, a waterfall which happens to be nearby. The school had to check with the local iwi to get permission to use the name, the Iwi agreed and offered to carve a sign to put in front of the school.
Modern Learning Environments
At Wairere the year groups have their own classroom names, and are named after native trees in New Zealand; Year 1 and 2 are Kowhai, Year 3 and 4 Pohutukawa, and Year 5 and 6 Totara. Over recent years the class rooms have been upgraded to modern learning environments that allow for flexible and collaborative learning. The walls in the classrooms are full of bright displays showcasing the creativity of the students.
Computers, tablets and cameras are an important part of teaching and learning at Wairere, with eLearning opportunities and ICTs used to support the curriculum. The school is connected to fibre and the students have access to cameras and computers. Even though Wairere is a small school the school is well resourced and has an active community and the Friends of Wairere (PTA).
The Gingko Tree
The Gingko tree was planted in 1970 by Isabel and Tony Middleton in memory of their son Geordie, who died in 1956. It is a very special tree for those at Wairere School. As time has passed the Gingko tree is quite massive in size and is a splendid climbing tree. It is the tree of choice when it comes to play time, and gives a bird’s eye view of the things below. The Gingko tree has brilliant gold, yellow and green leaves. When these leaves fall to the ground, it is a sign of winter and looks like hundreds of golden coins falling from the sky. There is another special tree, a Cherry Blossom that was planted in memory of Sheena McVeigh, This tree isn’t as big as the Gingko tree, and you can’t climb it, but it still is a wonderful tree. I guess these people knew that by planting these trees it would bring plenty of pleasure to the students at Wairere School.
Even though Wairere is a small school there still is Agriculture Day. Not all of the students live in the country, but the ones that do have an opportunity to join in, and have a go. The students put in a lot of effort to try and get that special first place ribbon. There are a group of people who come to judge the animals and give the scores for the big competition. The students that don’t have any animals sadly have to stay in class, but do get to go out and see all the pets and watch the contestants compete. Luckily Wairere School has plenty of supporters to help with the prizes and the set-up for the day. The people that help are very important, if they were not available then there probably wouldn’t be Agriculture Day and there wouldn’t be anything to write about! It’s a great day for all the community to come along and enjoy the fun!