September Pānui, 2019


Ngā Taonga Tuku Iho

Ngā Taonga Tuku Iho Okoha School pupils with teachers Miss Baigent, Kipa Hemi Whiro and Miss Byles. Photo: National Library of New Zealand Date: ca 1910

This information is from Te Tau Ihu o te Waka and is reprinted with the permission of authors Hilary and John Mitchell. If you are able to provide any further information about this photo or if you are able to name any of the tūpuna please contact or phone 0800 578 900.

At the end of the 19th century two new schools for Māori pupils opened: Whangarae, at the Koata settlement in Croisilles Harbour, in 1898; and Okoha at Anakoha Bay in outer Pelorous Sound, a Landless Natives Settlement allocated by the Government in 1896, and occupied largely by Kuia, in 1900. These schools were Church of England initiatives, known as “subsidised schools”.

The issue of denominational education raised its head in 1907 with a petition from parents asking the department to take over both schools on the grounds that Māori understood it was the teachers duty to impart Church of England doctrines and to baptise children, that children were compelled to attend Sunday School under threat of school closure if they did not, and that some children had been baptised against the parents’ will. Māori were assured by Archdeacon Grace that all religious classes were absolutely voluntary and the education department declined to take over the schools.

The Education Department in fact withdrew its subsidy from both schools at the end of 1904, although the school roll at Okoha stood at 22 at the time. The Marlborough Education Board took over both schools in about 1909, paying the teachers and maintaining the schools from that time, but it closed Okoha at the beginning of 1915, and Whangarae in 1917 on grounds of low attendance. The schools struggled on under an allowance from the Nelson Diocesan Māori Mission Fund, private contributions, and a reinstatement of the capitation grant from the Public Trustee for those eligible. It is not clear when Whangarae closed, but Okoha seems to have continued until 1937.

Mitchell H & J, 2007 ‘Church of England Schools, Te Tau Ihu o te Waka’, Volume ll, pp 344 - 345

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