Raglan School (Former)

5 Stewart Street, RAGLAN

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The Raglan School (Former) in Stewart Street, Raglan, was built in 1883 and served as the local school for 80 years, catering for children of all ages. The school had begun as classes in a tent in 1866 and then moved into the Wesleyan-Methodist chapel before a one-room school with porch was built by the Auckland Education Board. By that stage there were 40 pupils including Maori and Pakeha. Reverend Cort Schnackenberg was one of the instigators in establishing the school and served as its chairman for several years. Raglan had been a mixed-race town from the mid 19th century, as not only were mission stations and traders established from the 1830s but the Christian chief Wiremu Neera (William Naylor) Te Awaitaia (Ngati Mahanga) and other rangatira encouraged European settlement by selling tribal land to prospective farmers in the 1850s. European shipping used the Whaingaroa Harbour as safe anchorage and traders sent out flax, wheat, flour and other produce grown or harvested by Maori and Pakeha farmers; Raglan township grew from this trade. The 1883 school building was a simple, timber-framed weatherboard construction with a shingle roof and a single gable. It consisted of a single classroom with a porch on the north-east side. The designer was probably Henry Allright of the Auckland Education Board but this has not been confirmed; the builder was local man James Pearce. The porch was enlarged in 1903 to form a small classroom which was probably designed by John Mitchell - he definitely designed the five-room teacher's residence on the adjacent site at this time. In 1906 another classroom was built beside the porch in a similar style to the original classroom to form a symmetrical building H-shaped in floor plan. The extension had a corrugated iron roof. Raglan continued to expand rapidly, pupil numbers grew and by 1929 another new classroom was necessary. This room was sited on the north-west side of the original classroom and necessitated changes in configuration. By 1937 it was necessary to split the school community, the senior classes being taught elsewhere until a new school was built nearby. The primary classes remained in the old school until 1963 and the building closed as a school. After standing empty for many years the Raglan School (Former) was used as a council depot, offices and tearoom until in 1988 the Whaingaroa Arts Centre took over the lease. It has been used and refurbished by the Lions Club as well and has been the venue for art classes, exhibitions and festivals. The Raglan School (Former) building represents changes in styles of New Zealand schools from three periods: 1880s, 1900s and 1920s. The designers of the two additions retained elements and styles of the preceding building phases so that the building remains an example of a rural primary school. The School represents relatively early development of European economy in the Waikato and the speed with which the local population expanded once the land issues were more settled, roads through to the interior were opened up and dairying and sheep farming became prominent industries in addition to fishing and flax milling. It is of strong significance to the community of Raglan and the surrounding farming districts and is a landmark in the town.

Raglan School (Former) from the street frontage | Nick Empson | 01/11/2006 | Heritage New Zealand
Raglan School (Former). Raglan Public School, 1910 - Price, William Archer, 1866-1948 :Collection of post card negatives. Ref: 1/2-001021-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/22816363 | Gilmour Brothers Firm | No Known Copyright Restrictions
Raglan School (Former). Detail of one of the 1883 windows (rear wall) showing the decorative mouldings | Nick Empson | 01/11/2006 | Heritage New Zealand



List Entry Information


Detailed List Entry



List Entry Status

Historic Place Category 2


Able to Visit

List Number


Date Entered

4th April 2008

Date of Effect

4th April 2008

City/District Council

Waikato District


Waikato Region

Extent of List Entry

Registration includes the land described as Allot 12 Sec 10 Town of Raglan (RT SA293493), South Auckland Land District, and the building known as the Raglan School (Former) and the toilet block associated with Raglan School (Former) thereon, and their fittings and fixtures. (Refer to Extent of Registration Map in Appendix 1 of the Registration Report for further information.)

Legal description

Allot 12 Sec 10 Town of Raglan (RT SA293493), South Auckland Land District

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