Te Kotukutuku School House

Opureora Road, Matakana Island, Tauranga

  • Te Kotukutuku School House.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Sonia Anderson.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 7768 Date Entered 27th June 2008

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes part only of the land described as Sec 1 Blk II Tauranga SD, (NZ Gazette 1956, p. 662), South Auckland Land District and the building known as Te Kotukutuku School House thereon, and its fittings and fixtures

City/District Council

Western Bay of Plenty District

Region

Bay of Plenty Region

Legal description

Sec 1 Blk II Tauranga SD, (NZ Gazette 1956, p. 662), South Auckland Land District

Location description

All travel to and from Matakana Island is via Barge. Departure is from Omokoroa and the jetty (drop off point) which connects with Opureora Road. Following Opureora Road, Opureora Marae is located on the right. Heading North along Opureora Road, continue past Matakana Road (on the left) until you reach a small cluster of buildings enter additional information to assist location of place

These buildings include the Matakana Island Hauora (Health Centre), the Matakana Island Recreation Centre and Te Kura o Te Moutere o Matakana ('Te Kotukutuku').

The Te Kotukutuku School House is on a slight rise away from the main school, overlooking the current school field beside the main driveway

Summaryopen/close

The Te Kotukutuku School House, located on Matakana Island in the Western Bay of Plenty was officially opened on 10 November 1897. The school house served for more than 50 years as the primary educational facility for Maori children on Matakana Island, ranging from new entrance level right up to Form Two. Before the Te Kotukutuku School House was built there had been no facility for the education and instruction of young Maori children on Matakana Island.

Such was also the case for European people taking residence on Matakana Island. The island was extremely rural and developments that took place on the mainland of Tauranga often bypassed the small island community. However with the establishment of the Te Kotukutuku School House and the subsequent arrival of European teaching staff, the Maori community who were so heavily focused on agriculture and farming, became a mixed race community who were not only focused on economy, but also education.

Te Kotukutuku School House is a single-storey building with an L-shaped plan on an east-west primary axis. The classroom is located in the eastern portion of the building, orientated to the north-south secondary axis. The interior of the school house is still divided into two distinct parts; the classroom, which still has many of its original features; and the teacher's residence, which has been frequently modified, and most of the features and finishes in this part of the building date to the 1950s. The Te Kotukutuku School House would have been a standard building of the 1800s. The few embellishments include elegant trusses, fretted ceiling vents and a large metal ventilator at the centre of the ridge and interior. Within the classroom, most of the original finishes from the earliest period of the building remain.

The Te Kotukutuku School House has aesthetic, architectural, cultural, historical and social significance and is considered as having 'outstanding' significance. It is a good representative and now rare remaining example of a once common building type that is also in largely original condition. It is also a place that reflects social concepts and processes that occurred in New Zealand and that it was an important building on Matakana Island.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The Te Kotukutuku School House is a representation of the philosophies of the Native School System established in 1867 to 1969. Those philosophies were the focus of European colonization and the employment of education as a vehicle of civilization.

It also reflects the aspirations of the elders who came together and donated their lands for the site of the Te Kotukutuku School House.

AESTHETIC SIGNIFICANCE OR VALUE:

The Te Kotukutuku School House is located on Matakana Island, surrounded by the Tauranga Harbour and overlooked by Mauao (Mount Maunganui) to the East. Given the vast and flat island landscape, the rural setting of 1897 still remains to an extent, enhancing the aesthetic value. The isolation of the school house also allows it to be recognised on its own as a rare and historic type of building.

ARCHITECTURAL SIGNIFICNACE OR VALUE:

The Te Kotukutuku School House demonstrates the architectural form used throughout the early period of New Zealand's education system. The Te Kotukutuku School House was designed according to the Department of Public Works plan (PWD 17930).

It is a modest building and is similar to other native school houses built around the same period, that being a combination of a school house and residence which distinguishes native school houses from mainstream school

The Te Kotukutuku School House is one of the few surviving pre-1900 native school houses in New Zealand, and is unique in its island setting.

CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE OR VALUE:

Although the pupils taught at Te Kotukutuku were all Maori, all teaching staff were European. In this regard it was the first concentrated interaction that the Maori children, in fact the wider community had with the European culture. The underlying principle behind the school was to introduce western theories and ideas in the form of education

SOCIAL SIGNIFICANCE OR VALUE:

The community of Matakana Island has a very intimate association with the Te Kotukutuku School House. Members of the older generation, who were taught at Te Kotukutuku School House in the late 1800s, are a significant representation of those who were educated under the Native Schools Code 1880.

The community see the Te Kotukutuku School House as bridging the gap between yesteryear and today. Memoirs which were collected for the Te Kotukutuku School house Conservation Plan demonstrate intimate associations that the elders had with the School House in their time as school pupils.

(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history:

Although the Te Kotukutuku School House reflects several important ideas of New Zealand history, it mostly reflects the Native School System of 1867. The Native School System was established to facilitate the assimilation and civilization of Maori children.

(b) The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history:

The Te Kotukutuku School House is a product of the Native School System established in 1867. After the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, a great deal of attention went to the civilizing of Maori people and this was the main driving force behind the Native Schools Act. For the 50 + years that Te Kotukutuku ran as an educational facility, the instruction of the Maori children was about their immersion into the Western culture; which was an idea of extreme importance following the year 1840.

(d) The importance of the place to the tangata whenua:

Most of the elders of Matakana Island were taught in the Te Kotukutuku School House. Tangata whenua consider the school house as an extension of their local marae. They understand that many of their elders were taught there and it is in their own wishes to conserve the school house.

(e) The community association with or public esteem for the place:

The community are very intimately associated with the school house. The current school is located not far from the school house and staff members at the school have been instrumental in the conservation of the school. Memoirs collected from elders for the Te Kotukutuku School House Conservation Plan denote the fond memories which are associated with the school house.

(f) The potential of the place for public education:

The school house has great potential for public education. The local community have expressed that they wish for the school house to be used as a building where they can display archives and historical information relating to the school house, the community and the wider island of Matakana Island. The school house was established due to many important ideas in New Zealand's history such as the Native School Act and could be a great source of information on all of these aspects of New Zealand's history.

(g) The technical accomplishment or value, or design of the place:

The Te Kotukutuku School House was designed according to the Department of Public Works plan (PWD 17930). It is a modest building and is similar to other native school houses built around the same period, that being a combination of a school house and residence which distinguishes native school houses from mainstream school.

(j) The importance of identifying rare types of historic places:

Te Kotukutuku School is one of the few surviving pre-1900 native school houses in New Zealand, and is unique in its island setting.

SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANCE OR VALUES:

This place was assessed against, and found it to qualify under the following criteria: (a, b, d, e, f, g, and j)

CONCLUSION:

In several aspects of this assessment, this school House has been assessed as having 'outstanding' significance. It is a good representative and now rare remaining example of a once common building type that is also in largely original condition. It is also a place that reflects social concepts and processes that occurred in New Zealand and that it was an important building on Matakana Island. It is considered that this place qualifies as a Category I historic place

Linksopen/close

Construction Professionalsopen/close

Public Works Department

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Public Works Department

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

J.B Chappell

of Tauranga

Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

EARLY HISTORY OF TE KOTUKUTUKU SCHOOL HOUSE:

Around Tauranga Harbour, the main villages were at Matakana, Maungatapu, Otumoetai, and Motuhoa with several smaller settlements around the harbour shore.

Matakana Island was once an extensive area of fertile land. Agriculture and horticulture became the two most primary sources of activity on Matakana Island and in particular, the growing of maize and kumara.

Following the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, a great deal of attention was focused on 'civilizing' Maori by encouraging them to abandon traditional Maori cultural values, customs and language in favour of those European. By way of assimilation, schooling was adopted as one of the most effective ways in which to achieve this objective.

The history of Te Kotukutuku School House on Matakana Island started with a written request from a local elder Mr. Hohepa Paama (Palmer). The letter, dated 17 June 1896, requested that a school house be built on his land at Opureora of which he would gift two acres towards. Two fellow locals supported Hohepa's initiative and also donated some of their shares in the Opureora Block in order to meet the criteria for the establishment of a Native School.

The Native Schools Code stipulated that 'If at least ten Maoris, actually residing in any locality, petition the Minister of Education for a Native School, and if they, or any of them, offer to give at least two acres of land suitable for a school site... the Government may establish a school in that locality'.

On 17 June 1896, Mr Hohepa Paama contacted Mr James Pope, the Organizing Inspector for Native Schools, with his proposal to establish a school. In November 1896, the five acre site was surveyed at Opureora and shortly after, building of the school house commenced.

On 10 November 1897, the school house was completed and officially opened and bestowed with the name 'Te Kotukutuku', this also being the name of the site on which the school house stands.

The Native Schools Code stipulated that European husband and wife teams were the most suitable candidates for the roles of headmaster and sewing mistress, and consequently, families were relocating to Matakana Island.

Suitable person(s) will be selected to take charge of the schools. As a rule the Government will appoint a married couple, the husband to act as master of the school, and the wife as sewing mistress. The master will be expected to teach the native children to read and write the English language, and to speak it.' He will further instruct them in the rudiments of arithmetic and geography and generally endeavour to give them such culture as may fit them to become good citizens.

It is not necessary that teachers should, at the time of their appointment, be acquainted with the Maori tongue. In all cases English is to be used by the teacher when he is instructing the senior classes. In the junior classes the Maori language may be used for the purpose of making the children acquainted with the meanings of English Words and sentences. The aim of the teacher however, should be to dispense with the use of Maori as soon as possible.'

At the time, life on Matakana Island relied heavily on agriculture and horticulture. With the introduction of schooling, it had an adverse effect on the economy as priorities for the students changed from seasonal work to education. However, as a matter of family welfare, education was often compromised as seasonal work helped supplement family income and the imperative to continue to attend school regularly created tension. As noted by one of the teachers at the school in the 1940s, this was not a measure of the parents' lack of support for the school and higher education as on the whole they liked the children coming to school except when they were needed at home for something important'. Evidently it was very much a matter of economic circumstance.

‘Farming was the main occupation on Matakana. When the school opened in 1897, cropping - particularly wheat - was the principal activity, with maize, kumara and dairying activities becoming increasingly significant throughout the twentieth century. The children's role in the family economy was significantly important for their contribution to the economy was through working the fields. The necessity to accommodate the demands of this role became a concern for the European teachers given that in accordance with Pakeha law, there was an expectation for the community to conform to school regulations relating to compulsory attendance.'

For this reason, the initial school years were hard for both pupils and teachers. With pupils often absent from school, resident teachers became increasingly frustrated by the fluctuating numbers in attendance. A lack of essential services and facilities also meant that some resident teachers would only stay on the island short term. The isolated nature of Matakana Island also played a role in the length of time teachers would stay on the island.

The Te Kotukutuku School House is important to the local community of Matakana Island because not only was it established from local initiative, but many local kaumatua and kuia (elders) were educated there. Even today, many local elders associate the Te Kotukutuku School House with their childhood experiences of social and cultural development as a result of European influence. Education was, and has always been, acknowledged by the older community of Matakana as a very important vehicle for development and progression of the youth. At the time of its establishment, Te Kotukutuku School House not only facilitated the teachings of children in their current situations at home and in the community, but it also helped facilitate the preparation of young students before they sought secondary within the wider community, before heading off to boarding school.

The Te Kotukutuku School House was highly regarded as a place of opportunity for the children and youth on Matakana Island and was viewed as a vehicle for social, cultural and economical change. Apart from the attainment of new knowledge and the emphasis placed on education, this change was apparent in the shift of community economy.

NATIVE SCHOOL ACT 1867:

In 1867 the Native Schools Act was passed. This Act focused on incentives such as bringing non-tutored but intelligent and high-spirited Maori children in line with European culture and to a large extent, by instructing them in the use of the English language, and placing European families to serve as teachers in native schools. It was believed that these families would be exemplars of a new and more desirable way of living within a Maori settlement'.

The Native Schools Act was disestablished 102 years later in 1969. From 1900, it grew steadily from 89 primary schools to a peak of 166 schools in the 1950s. In 1887, the Pakeha head of the system, Mr James Pope, saw the schools as centres for spreading European ideas and habits among Maori.' The Native Schools Code remained the standard method of practice for Maori in education for just over a century; until the introduction of mainstream schooling in 1969.

MODIFICATIONS TO THE TE KOTUKUTUKU SCHOOL HOUSE:

In spite of hardships experienced in the earlier school years, the school roll showed a gradual increase, so much so that by 1929, the committee wrote to the Department of Education about the concern they had with over-crowding.

In 1930, a new classroom and shelter shed was built to temporarily address the problem of overcrowding and drainage. However, there was still no adequate permanent water supply or electricity.

In 1931, the horse-drawn school bus became the primary source of transport. The pupils, who used to walk for long distances across muddy roads, now had the opportunity to be transported to and from school by way of a new school bus.

In 1937 the School Milk Scheme was introduced to provide half a pint of milk to each New Zealand child and the scheme ran for 30 years. At the end of the 1930s, the Department of Education grew more concerned about the facilities available at Te Kotukutuku for the supply of school milk and given the ongoing overcrowding issues, plans were made to modify and convert the school building to a new open air block in the next few years. This would accommodate for the increasing number of pupils.

In February 1940, tenders were called for the construction of a new teacher's residence and for the relocation of the original building and ‘although the building is no longer on its original site, it is still on the school grounds and retains its original orientation'.

In 1945 a dental clinic was proposed for one of the former rooms, and the milk-room became a bedroom for the junior assistant. The main room was the school room and the other smaller room was positioned at a forty-five degree angle to form an ‘L' shape, which served as the accommodation block for the teachers.

The Te Kotukutuku School House was relocated to its present-day site in 1970 and still used as a school, pre-school and further to that, a store. In the 1990s it became an accommodation dwelling for the local school caretaker when the addition of the mezzanine floor, cupboards and dado were added. The Te Kotukutuku School House was the focus for the Matakana Island community for over seventy years and functioned as a school house until the late 1960s.

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS:

The Te Kotukutuku School House was designed according to the Department of Public Works plan (PWD 17930). Later adaptations to the building were proposed and planned by teachers based at the school, although the current building layout is very close to its original design of the combined school house and master's residence, as was specified in the PWD plan.

Te Kotukutuku School House is a modest building and is similar to other native school houses built around the same period, that being a combination of a school house and residence which distinguishes native school houses from mainstream schools.

After the initial correspondence that took place to establish the Te Kotukutuku School House in 1896 and more than two hundred years later, it is still a very significant and valuable building for the community of Matakana Island. Despite its poor condition, it is in good condition for the type of building and time period that it represents. There is a rarity of school houses that remain standing today; two other school houses of similar structure remain in Manaia and Karioi. The Manaia School House is considered to be a sister school to Te Kotukutuku and was built around the same time, of the same design.

The Te Kotukutuku School House is a representation of over a century of Maori education on Matakana Island. The dreams and aspirations expressed by Hohepa Paama and others was what triggered the idea of introducing education to the rural and isolated setting of Matakana Island. Despite the principles behind the Native School Code, the Te Kotukutuku School House is fondly remembered by the elders, who as children, were educated in its rooms and taught the language, customs and values of European culture.

The Te Kotukutuku School House is the oldest surviving European building on Matakana Island.

Physical Description

DESCRRIPTION OF SITE:

The immediate site of Te Kotukutuku School House is a flat, predominantly grass covered site, which is elevated slightly in comparison to the rest of the school surroundings. There is a small amount of both native and non-native vegetation growing around the north and west sides of the School House. A concrete path also runs around these two sides of the building.

EXTERIOR OF THE SCHOOL HOUSE:

Te Kotukutuku School House is a single-storey building with an L-shaped plan on an east-west primary axis. The classroom is located in the eastern portion of the building, orientated to the north-south secondary axis.

ROOF:

The school house has an L-shaped gabled roof with a 45 degree pitch over the schoolroom, and a 35 degree pitch over the teacher's residence. The roofing is short-run corrugated iron with galvanized steel valleys. The barges are overhung with wide timber flashings. The barge to the classroom has a plain planted board to the top edge. The bottom edge is arrised and ends in a flair. At the north end of the School House the barge pitches into a sub-barge over the entry porch. The barge of the teacher's residence is also of wide timber, however it is not arrised or flaired, but the top plant of this barge is a stepped quarter round moulding. The eaves are covered with a fascia board. The spouting is plain quarter-round pipes with external bracketing, with galvanized down pipes. There is a metal ridge ventilator centred over the classroom, and a tank platform has been built at the north east corner of the classroom roof. Beside this is a remnant metal flue.

EXTERNAL WALLS:

The exterior of the school house is clad in horizontal lapped boards, with boxed corners and window facings with 30mm scribers. The window facings are plain boards, except on the windows of the teacher's residence, which are arrised on the internal edge. Most of the windows are double-hung, with deep cills, and no sub-cill board.

NORTH FAÇADE:

The windows on the northern gable are a replacement of earlier windows, and consist of two pairs of sliding folding windows, with awning windows above. The louvre panel above the main window at this end has been covered. The connections for electrical services are located on this façade. The original entry porch to the classroom is located in the north-west corner of the classroom, and is lined with horizontal tongue & groove (tongue and groove) boards, with dowel to the changes of angle. The ceiling of the porch is also tongue and groove, with vent-holes drilled into the inside board. There is a small timber window in the porch, divided by a vertical glazing bar. The door into the building is not original, and the wall in the known position of the original entry to the classroom is covered by particle board sheet.

EAST FAÇADE:

The east elevation consists of two sets of two double-hung windows that look into the classroom. On the north edge of the façade is a door into the classroom that is a later addition to the original form of the School House.

SOUTH FAÇADE:

The main windows in the classroom south gable are a bank of three double-hung windows, with horizontally pivoting windows above the double-hung windows. Centred above the gable windows at each end is a small timber louvered panel, finished to match the windows. A later window addition into the bathroom is located on the western end of this façade, next to the covered porch. This window is has a fixed lower pane, and a top awning. A fixed timber louvre for ventilating the kitchen safe is located near the middle of the south façade, to the east of two double hung windows that look into the teacher's residence. There is a door into the classroom on the eastern side of the façade, which is a later addition to the building. The west end of the south façade has a porch leading into the teacher's residence. This porch is a simple lean-to, lined with vertical tongue and groove boards, and a roof made of a flat sheet of galvanized iron. The door within this porch dates from the alterations of the 1950s.

WEST FAÇADE:

The west façade has two sash windows that look into the teacher's residence.

INTERIOR OF THE SCHOOL HOUSE:

The interior of the school house is still divided into two distinct parts; the classroom, which still has many of its original features; and the teacher's residence, which has been frequently modified, and most of the features and finishes in this part of the building date to the 1950s.

CLASSROOM INTERIOR:

The classroom is within the eastern gable, which runs north to south. This was originally a single open room; however a mezzanine is now located at the southern end of the room, and the area below the mezzanine has been walled off with cupboards built in. The floor is wide tongue and groove timber boards running the length of the room, and is painted. At the centre of the western wall a section of the flooring has been replaced where the chimney was originally located (now removed). At the south west corner of the room the floor has been overlaid with a galvanized iron panel. An overlay is also located in the north-east corner directly below the flue remnant on the roof, indicating an earlier wood burner. An opening on the west wall to the teacher's residence has been created where the chimney once was, and is finished with wide Pinus radiata boards.

A 215mm high moulded skirting runs around the base of the internal walls. There is a vertical tongue and groove dado around the room, up to a moulded dado rail which is level with the window cills. The original tongue and groove dado has been replaced with ply-wood along the western wall. Above the dado, the walls are lined in horizontal tongue and groove with dowels to the intersections between the walls, and between the walls and ceiling. The interior of the windows at the northern end have plain architraves, and the windows on the south and eastern walls have moulded architraves.

Two evenly set timber scissor trusses tie the side walls, and support the roof. The edges of the timber trusses are stop arrised, and they are bolted to the walls on metal plates. There are remnants of pilaster posts against the walls beneath the trusses which run down from the spring point of each truss to the floor. The truss finishes to the pilaster with a fretted bracket, which is bolted to the bottom chord of the truss and to the pilaster.

The ceiling is also tongue and groove boards, with dowel at the intersections. The ceiling follows the pitch of the roof up to a finished height of 4.69m, at which point the ceiling runs flat. Three fretted ceiling roses with ventilation voids on circular moulded bases run along this flat span.

TEACHER'S RESIDENCE:

This part of the school house has been altered many times, and in the 1950s the walls were relined, the doors changed, and the laundry and bathroom upgraded. In the south-east corner of the room is a very basic kitchen, with units built of particle board. Beside this is a bathroom which forms a partition for the laundry in the south west corner. The northwest corner of the teacher's residence is the bedroom.

The Te Kotukutuku School House would have been a standard building of the 1800s. The few embellishments include elegant trusses, fretted ceiling vents and a large metal ventilator at the centre of the ridge and interior. Within the classroom, most of the original finishes from the earliest period of the building remain.

An impressive feature of the room are three fretted rose ventilators centred between the trusses and the end walls on a circular moulded base.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
- 1897
Building completed

Modification
1940 -
Building converted to teacher's residence, craft building and centre for distribution of milk

Modification
1950 -
Alterations made

Addition
1951 -
Type B Dental Block built

Modification
-
School House used for pre-school children and became the school caretaker/cleaner's residence

Construction Details

Wood; Galvanized iron; Glass

Completion Date

15th July 2008

Report Written By

T Ngata

Information Sources

Belich, 2001

James Belich, 'Paradise Reforged: A History of the New Zealanders from the 1880s to the year 2000', Auckland, 2001

Western Bay of Plenty District Council

Western Bay of Plenty District Council

Notice of Rating Valuation, 2002

Kellaway, 1981

J. Warwick Kellaway, Education 150: From Schoolhouse to Classpace in the Waikato-Bay of Plenty, Hamilton, 1981

Simon, 1998

J. Simon, (ed), Nga Kura Maori: the Native Schools System, 1867-1969, Auckland, 1998

Simon, 2001

J. Simon and L. Smith, (eds.), A Civilising Mission? Perceptions and representations of the New Zealand Native School System, Auckland, 2001

Waitangi Tribunal

Waitangi Tribunal Report, www.waitangi-tribunal.govt.nz

Woodley, S; Matakana Island: Waitangi Tribunal Research Series 1993/5, Department of Justice, Wellington (1993)

Conservation Plan

Conservation Plan

Burgess and Treep, Te Kotukutuku School House (1897) Conservation Plan', 2002

Other Information

A fully referenced Registration Report is available from the Maori Heritage Team of the NZHPT at National Office in Wellington.

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.