Raglan School (Former)

5 Stewart Street, Raglan

  • Raglan School (Former) from the street frontage.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Nick Empson. Date: 1/11/2006.
  • 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.
    Copyright: No Known Copyright Restrictions . Taken By: Gilmour Brothers Firm.
  • Raglan School (Former). Detail of one of the 1883 windows (rear wall) showing the decorative mouldings.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: Nick Empson. Date: 1/11/2006.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 7739 Date Entered 4th April 2008 Date of Effect 4th April 2008


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.)

City/District Council

Waikato District


Waikato Region

Legal description

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


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.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

Raglan School (Former) is the oldest remaining building in Raglan that has not undergone radical renovation or changes.

The school is part of a long tradition in Raglan of bicultural attitudes, from the election in 1881 of a local kaumatua to the School Committee, the attendance at school of Maori and Pakeha children, the building of a whare in the grounds in 1933 and the continued involvement of former pupils such as Tuaiwa (Eva) Rickard.


The Raglan School (Former) is a landmark in the town, situated on a slope facing the town centre and the recreational areas. It has a major visual impact for people going up Stewart Street.


The Raglan School (Former) is an excellent example of three main stages of expansion, each representative of the architectural style of its time. Existence of features such as the open fireplace, pot belly stove, blackboards, vents and internal wall divisions can be traced or still exist. Because the school closed in 1962, it did not undergo subsequent upgrading of its school facilities, thus preserving the older fabric and features.

The survival of the toilet block is of prime importance, as such structures have tended to be demolished as being of little significance or appeal because of their prosaic function and poor construction.

The building illustrates the architectural styles of the Auckland Education Board and government architects who were concerned with erecting impressive yet functional school buildings.


Raglan School (Former) was attended by children from the wider farming community, local marae and the township and played a major role in community relationships and activities. This is evidenced by the many anecdotes recorded in the commemorative booklets published to celebrate the school's centennial and 125th anniversary, with ex-pupils, teachers, dental nurses, committee members and parents of pupils contributing.

The school building continues to play a major role in the social and cultural life of the Raglan community, hosting events that attract people from the wider area as well as locals.

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

Raglan School strongly reflects the growth of a coastal town over a period of 150 years, the old building's growth being evidence for the period 1883-1962. The school illustrates the styles of Auckland Education Board architecture at three periods of its history: 1883, 1906 and 1929, with conservatism and then change being exhibited in the extensions.

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

The place is strongly associated with key figures in the development of Raglan, Cort Schnackenberg and Walter Harsant being examples, and with a key figure in national issues, Tuaiwa (Eva) Rickard. Schnackenberg was a Wesleyan mis-sionary who played a major role is establishing schools and missions in the dis-trict and who as chairman of the first Raglan School committee initiated the building of the Raglan School (Former). Walter Harsant was medical practitio-ner in Raglan, had several government administrative roles and served on the first school committee. Tuaiwa (Eva) Rickard was a former pupil of Raglan School who achieved national renown as a promoter of Maori land rights, in particular regarding the land used as the Raglan golf course.

(c) The potential of the place to provide knowledge of New Zealand history

The school was built before 1900 and is, therefore, an archaeological site under the provisions of the Historic Places Act. The site will have evidence of the building of the school, the original toilet facilities and former activities such as the trench dug as an air-raid shelter during WWII, student gardens and rubbish pits. The land may have been utilised by iwi prior to the building of the school but this has not been determined.

d) The importance of the place to the tangata whenua

The site is part of the rohe of Ngati Mahanga and as such is associated with re-spected ancestors such as Te Awaitaia. Most of the older local tangata whenua would have attended Raglan School (Former) prior to the building of the Norrie Street site.

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

The community has a strong association with the Raglan School (Former) building, either in its former use as a school or its current use as an arts centre. Pub-lic pressure ensured its survival and subsequent has had strong support from the local council and national funding agencies.

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

The building illustrates the architectural styles of the Auckland Education Board and government architects who were concerned with erecting impressive yet functional school buildings. The various extensions to the original building show a sympathy for former styles and a blending if the new with the old.

Summary of Significance or Values

This place was assessed and found to qualify under the following criteria: a, b, c, d, e and g.


It is considered that this place qualifies as a Category II historic place.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Allright, Henry

Allright (1827-1906) was born in Kent in 1827. After training as an architect, he emigrated to New Zealand in 1854. From 1856 he was employed in various positions by the Auckland Provincial Board of Works, becoming Provincial Engineer in 1874. In 1877 he was appointed architect to the Auckland Board of Education. He held this position for 15 years during a period of major building expansion following the passing of the 1877 Education Act. In 1883 he was appointed engineer to the Waitemata County, although he retained his position with the Education Board. He retired from the Education Board in 1892 and entered into practice as an engineer, from which he retired in 1901. He died in 1906.

From 1881-85, he was a member of the Auckland Institute of Engineers.

Pearce, James

Builder of Raglan School 1883.

Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

The Raglan-Whaingaroa Harbour area was part of the rohe of Tainui iwi Ngati Mahanga when Europeans first made contact in the early 19th century. The closest known pre-European contact occupation site to the Raglan School (Former) is on the shore of the Opotoru Inlet a few hundred metres away.

The survey ship Fanny called at Raglan in 1836, and subsequently traders brought small ships into the harbour. Methodist missionary Reverend James Wallis was stationed at Raglan first in 1835 and permanently from 1838. Rangatira Wiremu Neera [William Naylor] Te Awaitaia became a mission teacher after converting to Christianity in the early 1830s. During the 1850s and early 1860s Te Awaitaia and others sold parcels of land in and around Raglan to European settlers and to the government, allowing the settlement by Europeans earlier than in most of the Waikato. The first general store opened in c.1854. Raglan functioned as a bicultural community from these early days, with a Maori policeman being elected by the runanga in 1862 and serving alongside the Pakeha officer. Many of the ships using the harbour in the mid 19th century were Maori-owned.

Although Raglan was relatively isolated from the rest of the Waikato by the Hakarimata range and Mount Pirongia, the colonial government established a military outpost there at New Year 1864 to defend their troops from attack from the west during the Waikato War. At that time Raglan was a town with three stores, three hotels, stables, European settlers and about 100 of Te Awaitaia's men. There were no military engagements in the immediate area, but none the-less the Waikato wars had a major impact on the settlement as many local people evacuated the town and storemen and farmers suffered from troops and others pillaging, ruining crops and killing their stock. Wesleyan missionary Reverend Cort Schnackenberg, who had replaced Wallis in 1863, continued to hold church services during the Waikato war and ran a Sunday School and a day school in Raglan. Raglan School (Former) is closely associated with Schnackenberg, a man who had a major influence on the establishment of Christianity in the west coast of the greater Waikato region. Schnackenberg established several mission schools for Maori and part-Maori children and adults: Mokau in 1844, others at Kawhia and Aotea and Karakariki during the late 1850s-early 1860s. He also established or helped to establish secular schools at Waitetuna (1870) and Whatawhata (1877) and served on the Raglan School Committee until his death in August 1880.

In 1866 the Whaingaroa Highways Board was established as the first local body in the district. Also in 1866 the first secular school at Raglan was begun; this was a fee-charging school run by Mrs Corlett with a tent as the schoolroom. George H. Holmes was school master at Raglan from 1869-74, teaching in the Wesleyan chapel with 'only his wife assisting with the sewing' according to grandson T.S. Holmes. On 21 March 1873 a meeting was held in the chapel for the purpose of electing the school committee in accordance with the terms of the new Education Act 1872. Messrs Powell, Gilmour and Graham and Dr Harsant, the resident magistrate, were elected, with Rev. Schnackenberg elected as chairman. Dr Walter Harsant (1811-1897) moved to Raglan with his family in 1858 where as well as being a medical practitioner, he was Commissioner of Oaths, Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, and in 1863 was appointed Emigration Officer. Some of his children attended the first school.

The committee got off to a bad start as some members did not approve of the teacher, George Holmes, and Powell removed his children from the school even though the nearest alternative was at Ruapuke, about 16km away. Schnackenberg wrote to the Education Board to have the school committee dissolved and a commissioner appointed; after two further elections for the school committee a new committee was elected.

By 1874 Raglan was a township of 52 dwellings housing a population of 112 men, women and children. A wharf was built in 1874 to service the town which continued to grow to such an extent that when Raglan County was constituted in 1876, Raglan was its centre. The district's main industries were flax milling, timber, fishing and sheep farming, with dairying developing from the 1890s.

In May 1874 Mr J.N. Pegler, Schnackenberg's brother-in-law, was appointed as teacher and his wife as teacher of needlework. At that time the roll was 23 pupils. As chairman of the school committee Rev. Schnackenberg agitated for a new school building, writing to the Central Board of Control on 2 February 1877 asking for funds for the building of a school house and a teacher's residence.

In 1879 ownership of Allotment 12 in Stewart Street was transferred to the Education Board District of Auckland; this land had been granted in fee simple to Walter Harsant in February 1874 and appears to have been in private owner-ship before this.

Many people were not happy with the teacher, Pegler: 'At Raglan in 1880, the parents lost confidence in their teacher; as an advertisement in the Waikato Times stated that 'unless the Schoolmaster made a Public Apology and consented to have his nose pulled for the malicious reports he had been circulating, legal proceedings would follow.' In 1881 Pegler resigned, the chapel lease expired, and the school went into recess for three months. Mr Horsey was appointed as school teacher and the school moved into the council room of the Raglan Highways Board. By then the roll was 40 pupils. In 1881 Mr Mita Karaka Ngatipane was elected to the school committee in Raglan the first Maori to be so elected.

In 1883 Raglan School, the first purpose-built secular school in the settlement, was built. It was sited on a slope on the poorly-formed Stewart Street with its frontage facing north-east. The school was a simple wooden structure, an example of the type described by Warwick Kellaway as the ‘classical period 1877-1892' for school buildings in New Zealand. Such schools consisted of a single room, with ‘a 50° high pitched gable roof giving a particularly ecclesiastical effect', usually of heart kauri with puriri piles and split kauri shingled roofs. Interiors were austere with close-boarded floors, walls and ceilings and a domestic-looking fireplace with mantelpiece. Ventilators in the ceiling were controlled by pulleys and lines. Plumbing usually consisted of a 400-gallon (1818.4 litres) square iron tank that collected rain water from the roof. These schools usually had a boot scraper by the porch door and wrought iron pegs in the porch for hanging hats and coats. While some of this detail is not confirmed for Raglan School, most is evident, including indications of the original open fireplace.

The architect of the school is not known, although it is highly probable that it was Henry Allright. Research undertaken by architect Warwick Kellaway found that ‘the early schools built by the Auckland Board of Education seem to have been undocumented; there is no indication of any Architect or Designer' except for a Board report from 1891 that recorded that ‘Mr Allright retired from the position of Architect of school buildings after 14 years'. Kellaway found some evidence for work having been undertaken for the Board prior to 1877 by Henry Allright, a civil engineer of Auckland, and that he had input into at least three Waikato schools between 1878 and 1880. Builder Jim Pearce built Raglan's first schoolroom and porch 1883; with Joseph Pretty he built Okete Congregational Church also.

A problematic issue right from the school's inception was a religion v. secular one. The new Education Act 1877 required public schools to be secular but Schnackenberg felt that as the chapel was used as the school it was appropriate to have at least the Lord's Prayer said at the beginning of the day. Other members of the first committee called for this practice to cease. Nonetheless Christianity was a strong influence at Raglan School. In 1887 half an hour a week was to be devoted to Temperance lessons and in 1896 Rev C.A. Lyon was granted permission to conduct Bible classes once a week. Former teacher Mrs C. Peart noted: ‘the previous headmaster, Mr Breach [1936-1938] had provided Bibles for every pupil in the school and I continued the practice instituted by my predecessor, Miss McIver, of starting the day by each pupil reading a verse of scripture... this procedure was followed for 2 years when pressure was brought to bear to cease the Bible-reading.'

The school played a central role in the small town, as evidenced by the farewell organised for Mr Horsey, headmaster from 1881-88:

‘all the local folk gathered at 6 p.m. for a meal at the hall ...followed by a school concert, a play ... lots of speeches and a presentation to the guests. Folk then danced until daylight... The evening was intended as a benefit for the teacher and his family. However, the expenses were so great that little was left to hand over.'

Not all memories of Mr Horsey were fond ones however, as he was known for the discipline learnt in his previous army service: ‘Boys were drilled twice a week. He also believed in character building and severely punished such faults as lying and obscenity.'

The next headmaster, James LaTrobe (1889-1903), brought practical skills from his previous work as a farmer, sawyer, flax miller, and overseer to the Highways Board as well as being a lay preacher in the Church of England. When Elsie Fitzwilliam began school in 1898, Raglan School was a one-room, one-teacher school run by LaTrobe. Her memories include being made to stand on a table wearing a tall white dunce's cap, standing in the corner with a ‘Silence' placard around her neck as punishment for talking and at one time running away from the draconian measures employed by Mr LaTrobe. She recounts that her ‘last impression of those early years at school is of Mr LaTrobe standing at the porch door, ringing a large handbell ... calling the pupils into class; and me to quiet misery'.

Helping with the sewing seems to have been standard for the master's wife in the early decades, as Mesdames Holmes, Pegler and LaTrobe each in their turn took on this role.

The one-room school served the community's needs for 20 years. Initially the roll dropped but rose again in 1885 to 38, although the school inspector re-ported on very bad attendance. In 1886 a tender for 14/- was accepted by the School Committee for digging a drain around the school and cutting of fire-wood. In 1892 hundreds of trees were planted on Arbour Day, and in 1903 pine trees were planted on the hill side. By 1903 the growth of pupil numbers led to the enlargement of the small porch on the south-east side to form a sec-ond room of 13 x 18 feet (4 x 5.5 metres). At this time a five-bedroom house was built for the teacher in the adjacent section in Stewart Street. A local man, J Rowe, built the teacher's house and the first porch extension for £495. In 1906, when the roll had risen to 64, a new classroom was added, to the south-east side of the porch/classroom. This was the same size as the original room, built in similar style and materials to form a building symmetrical in floor plan and front and rear elevations, but with a corrugated iron roof, unlike the original shingle roof. At this time the open fireplace and chimney were removed and pot-bellied stoves were installed in the two main classrooms.

A 1910 photograph shows the front yard of the school was grassed, although the grass is worn away near the building itself; former pupils recall the mud that prevailed after rain. There were no retaining walls at this stage. There was a flag pole sited in the front yard. According to former pupil Ivy Bates, who was at the school some time after 1906: ‘after the age of 8 years we all had a small plot each to garden. Prizes were given for the best garden.' Another pupil from the 1930s, Joan White, recalled that the garden plots were inside the front gate.

Former pupil Ivy Bates (later Barnett) recalled that when she started school (some time between 1906 and 1917) ‘the teachers had a room each ... we stayed in Mr Blackett's room for two years and went into the other room to Standard 1 and stayed there for the rest of our school days. We started at 8.00 am. First singing the National Anthem and saluting the flag ... after which we marched into school...'.

Spouses and families of teaching staff also played their part in the community. For instance, Mrs Blackett, wife of a retired headmaster, was in charge of the temporary hospital set up in the school during the 1918-19 influenza epidemic. She was a nurse whose help ‘was freely available to those in need.' A few teachers married local people and stayed in the district.

Former teacher Connie Bernard recalled that when she was appointed in 1922, Raglan School was staffed by two teachers, plus two pupil teachers. In 1923 the pupil teachers were replaced by a fulltime assistant, Loveday Keam. ‘I taught the primers and Loveday had Standards 1 and 2. We were all in the same room with a curtain down the middle. When I had a loud lesson she had a quiet one and vice versa. Mr [W.R.] Moore taught the upper standards in the other room.' Moore was headmaster at Raglan School for 18 years except for two years' war service.

A third room was added in 1929 when the roll reached 100. This room was in a different style, with the gable roof set at right angles to the original room; the pitch of the roof was also lower. The addition necessitated several changes to the 1883 classroom, including shifting the side windows, replacing the front window with wider windows in the newer style of the addition, shortening the length of the 1883 room by making the rear into a corridor and re-lining the rear wall to match those in the addition. In 1932 there were three teachers, one woman taking a combined Standard 1, 2 and 3 class. In 1933 a Maori whare was erected in the school grounds at the request of the headmaster.

By 1938 only standards 1 and 2 were combined, space having been freed up by the shifting of the seniors to the old Anglican Parish hall in 1937. The senior school started with 18 girls and one boy in the charge of Mr A.S. Reynolds. By the end of the year there were enough pupils to elevate the school to District High School status.

In 1938 the Auckland Education Board purchased land for a new school in Norrie Street, Raglan, and in May 1939 a grant was approved for the erection of two classrooms there. When the new school for the senior students was opened in 1940, at first the primer classes and standards 1 and 2 remained at Stewart Street with two teachers. Kauroa School amalgamated with Raglan in 1941 and their buildings were shifted to the new site. Former principal T.S. Holmes recalls that when he assumed charge in 1947 there were again three teachers at the Stewart Street School, two in the Kauroa building and three in the high school building.

During the Second World War, the Home Guard used the school for exercises. Former teacher Mrs C. Peart recalls being at the Stewart Street School: ‘We were there during the war years, so had to drill the children in air raid precautions. At the ringing of a handbell they had to be marched out and rush helter skelter to any shelter they could find - under trees, in ditches or under hedges ... The children thought the exercises great fun'. In 1942 an air raid shelter was to be constructed at the infant school by deepening the existing drain. Many former pupils from Raglan School served New Zealand during overseas conflicts. Those serving in World War Two have had their names recorded with pride on a Roll of Honour. In 1948 the school was closed for three months because of a polio epidemic.

Despite the continuing growth of the township and the school, it was many years before new buildings were erected to accommodate the primary and infant classes. In 1961 tenders were called for phase 1 of a new primary school at the Norrie street campus. In 1962 some primary students were still being taught at the old Stewart Street site but in 1963 the new buildings were officially opened and the original school buildings were closed.

In late 1967 the land was vested in Her Majesty the Queen and soon after set aside as a recreation reserve vested in the County of Raglan. The Raglan School (Former) building was empty for many years, being used at times as a storeroom then in 1975 as a ‘smoko' room [tea room] and office for the Council depot staff. In 1988 the school building was saved from impending demolition and restored by volunteers as the Whaingaroa Arts and Work Centre, a com-bined group of the Raglan Community Arts Council and the Whaingaroa Work Co-operative (later the Kokiri Centre). Maori land activist Tuaiwa (Eva) Rickard, a past pupil, was one of the many supporters who saved the school from demo-lition and later re-opened the building as the Whaingaroa Arts and Work Cen-tre. After her death in 1997 the then Raglan School principal, Clive Hamill, said: ‘The passing of kuia, nana and friend of the school Mrs Eva Rickard has been a big loss to the school. Aunt Eva has been very supportive of the school over a long period of time in a host of different capacities.' Tuaiwa (Eva) Rickard achieved national renown as a promoter of Maori land rights, in particular regarding the land used as the Raglan golf course.

The land status was revised under the Reserves Act 1977 to local purpose (community use) reserve on 11 August 1989. The Kokiri Centre moved out in 1994 and management of the building passed to the Raglan Community Arts Council. In 2000 the local Lions Club adopted the building as their headquarters and installed the kitchen in the entry-room. Since then it has been the venue for a regular creative market, summer art programmes, weaving classes run by Te Wananga o Aotearoa, talks and exhibitions with funding coming from a variety of sources. It was re-named as the Old School Arts Centre in 2005. The Rag-lan School (Former) building continues to be part of community activities, with a Raglan Community Arts Council representative stating recently that ‘The central focus of our being is this building'. The pride and affection with which the school is regarded is seen by the several anniversary reunions and celebrations that have been held: for the New Zealand centennial in 1940, the school centennial (1966) and the 125th anniversary (1991).

The Community Arts Council commissioned a conservation plan which was funded by a grant from the Lotteries Heritage Fund. The conservation plan was undertaken by Ros Empson, Auburn Design, and approved by the Historic Places Trust on 25 July 2007.

The date for the erection of the toilet block is unknown. It is situated on the slope to the south of the 1906 classroom and comprises water closets. It is pre-sumed that earth closets would have existed on site in the school's earliest days, but their location has not been established.

Physical Description

The Stewart Street school site is a rectangular sloping site on the southwest side of the road. It is bordered by the sloping road with grassed road verge on the northeast side, a common stormwater swale drain to the rear of the site, the Raglan Playcentre buildings and rear yard to the northwest boundary and a grassed sloping site to the southeast boundary. The school house, built in 1903, is sited on Stewart Street above the school site, with a steep, grassed slope between the two buildings.

The school building is set back from the road frontage, with a large flat sealed car parking area in front, with concrete retaining walls around the two edges. A sealed driveway leads to the rear of the site, and the remainder of the site is mown grassed areas. There are some large established trees adjacent to the stormwater drain. Two re-locatable garages have been erected behind the building for use by community groups.

The building is a timber framed structure built in three stages and subsequently altered. The original single classroom and porch is now the central section of the building. It was constructed of timber framing, with a steeply pitched timber shingled roof with a central double-hung window (six panes/sash) on the front gable wall, and two double-hung windows to the northwest wall. Early photographs show gable finials front and back (which have now disappeared) and gutters to the shingle roof discharging to copper downpipes, which discharged onto the ground. The windows have decorative mouldings over the window and a tilted weatherboard cap above the head architrave.

The weatherboards are wide straight boards, with solid corner boxes on the external corners. The earliest photographs show the building on timber piles and a timber step to the front door. The front door is a single solid panelled door, opening inwards. Adjacent to the door is a coverboard with scribers, which probably marks the position of the 1903 extension of the porch into a second teaching room. There is still a central double-hung window on the rear gable wall of the original block, and additional double-hung windows have been added to the rear wall either side of the original window. The photo looking up Stewart Street shows a central chimney on the original block.

The second main classroom (added in 1906) is a gable roof structure to the southeast side of the original block. It appears to have been roofed in galvanised corrugated iron from the start, as a 1910 photo shows the school with two different roof claddings. The 1906 structure is a single room, with two double-hung 12-pane windows to the front façade, and with a decorative moulding to match the existing one over these windows and over the new window to the extended porch. The porch window matches the original windows, but the new classroom windows have no board cap and are slightly higher. All windows have squared applied mouldings above each window, which show in earlier photos as painted in a dark contrasting colour to the weatherboards. The 1906 classroom had a central window to the south, and double windows to the west wall. The porch had an external window at the rear.

An iron roof ventilator is mounted at the junction of roof ridges. The roof over the porch is lower than the two classroom roof heights. Matching gable finials are shown on the photos, although missing today. The two classroom roof pitches are identical, with matching fascia boards. The weatherboards are identical in profile, but the internal corner boards are smaller in the newer building. The 1910 photo with the children shows a glimpse through the window to a corrugated iron water tank behind this.

A new classroom was added to the north-western end of the original building in 1929, with a gable roof, lower than the others and running at 90 degrees to the original roofline. This classroom had a strip of casement and pivoting awning windows on the front façade, and the single double-hung window on the original front wall was removed and replaced with a casement and awning strip of windows matching the 1929 structure.

In the 1980s the rear porch was enclosed in a temporary manner, with weatherboards to the exterior, and a low sloping roof between the two main classroom gables. There had been a roofed porch over part of this area originally, but this extended the roof over the whole area. A single glazed exterior door opens out of this enclosed porch. The front door was originally unprotected from the weather, as can be seen in the photograph of the school pupils in front of the main entry. A roof with minimal slope has been built over the main entry door, spanning between both gable end walls. This was built during the 1990s.

The existing condition of the exterior building fabric is good.


The exterior of the front entry porch looks very similar to the early photographs, but internally the space has been altered by installing kitchen joinery and removing the chimney. New double doors have been installed between the corridor and the porch.

The interior of the original classroom consists of painted wide timber tongue and groove horizontal sarking, which is in good condition, and clearly shows many of the alterations that have taken place. Where the 1929 corridor continues into the original classroom, an interior classroom wall has been removed. The coved ceiling shows the extent of the original room, but the end wall has been relined when the third classroom was added, in matching vertical matchlining to the new classroom.

The 1906 classroom is lined with vertical matchlining, with some dado rails in varying positions. There are many surface-run cables and conduits, and the distribution/switch board is mounted at a high level on the front wall of this room. The blackboard is still in place in this room, complete with subfloor vent in the wall beneath the board.

The office (third classroom) has vertical tongue and groove matchlining, with panels of infill sheet lining where pinboards have been installed, and where the blackboard has been removed. There is a dado mould around the room. The new wall backing the toilet/store alteration is lined with pine vertical boarding. The new toilet area has been relined in a sympathetic style, with vertical tongue and groove matchlining and dado mould to match elsewhere in the corridor. The corridor area had vertical tongue and groove matchlining, with dado mould. Part of the original interior glazing between classroom and corridor remains.

It appears that the large double-hung window in the centre of this wall is the original classroom window, and the small double-hung windows were added into the wall when the third classroom and end offices were built. Also at this time, the corridor wall to the original classroom would have been installed.

The enclosed porch has three walls with weatherboard, and the fourth (external) wall is unlined.

The original classroom has a coved ceiling, with the same wide horizontal boards lining the ceiling as the walls. The position of the pot belly stove flue is clearly shown, as is the position of the fireplace chimney. There are two framed ventilation grilles to the ceiling, with mesh inserts. The entry porch ceiling is wide boards similar to the original classroom. This ceiling was built in two stages but retained the detailing of the original building.

The 1906 classroom has a timber tongue and grooved matchlined ceiling, steeply pitched, with exposed decorative rafters, brackets and purlins. Steel rods tie the base of the rafters together. The central position of the roof ventilator is boxed in, and the corner position of the pot belly flue is also boxed in at ceiling level, with the hole for the flue still open. The office/ third classroom (1929) ceiling is a flat tongue and grooved matchlined ceiling. The position of the pot belly flue is boxed in. The ceiling has been recently painted. The enclosed porch ceiling is not lined.


To the south of the 1906 classroom is a separate derelict open air toilet block surrounded by planting and accessed by an old concrete pathway. The toilet block is constructed of timber, corrugated iron and concrete, with a separating wall dividing the building in two. There are two water closets in separate rooms on each of the boys' and girls' sides. The age of the toilet block has not been determined. Conservation Architect Ros Empson describes the toilet block as being 'a rare remaining example of the standard school toilet blocks previously built around the country'. She considers the toilet block has 'considerable heritage value' and recommends that it 'be cleared of overgrown plant material, cleared and cleaned, then inspected again for condition'.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1883 -
Building of one-room school with porch.

1903 -
Enlargement of porch and building of teacher's house.

1906 -
New classroom added to south-east side of porch.

1929 -
New classroom added to north-west side of 1883 classroom.

1962 -
Site closed as a school.

1963 - 1975
Buildings empty.

1975 -
Used as Raglan County Council office and smoko room.

1988 -
Restoration and refurbishment by new tenants Whaingaroa Arts Centre.

2000 -
Kitchen added; plus two exterior separate rooms (garages).

2006 -
Internal toilets remodelled for accessibility.

2007 -
Conservation plan approved by HPT.

Construction Details

Timber and corrugated iron.

Completion Date

12th December 2007

Report Written By

Lynette Williams

Information Sources

Arts Reach

Arts Reach

12, Oct 2006.

Fitzwilliam, 1975

Elsie Fitzwilliam, Life at The Oaks: memoirs of Raglan and Hamilton 1890-1912. Pegasus Press, Christchurch 1975.

Hammer, 1991

G E J Hammer, A pioneer missionary, Raglan to Mokau; Cort Schnackenberg. Wesley Historical Society, 1991.

Vennell, 1976

C W Vennell & Susan Williams Raglan County hills and sea; a centennial history 1876-1976 Wilson & Horton Ltd, Auckland 1976.

Vernon, 1984

R T Vernon, Raglan [publisher not cited], 1984

Raglan County Chronicle

Raglan County Chronicle

Raglan Old Settlers' Association Committee Raglan Old Settlers Centennial Re-union 1840-1940, 1940.

Other Information

A fully referenced registration report is available from the NZHPT Lower Northern Area Office

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.