"Education on the Hill "
Titirangi Primary School's Heritage
Titirangi Primary School has a rich heritage. There has been a school in the Village since 1850. One of the founding families of Titirangi, the Bishops built a two-story pit-sawn kauri home on their farm “Danvegan” and it was here, in the attic of the house that the first lessons were taught under the instruction of Mr. Peterson. The school was primarily setup to teach the Bishop children, but a few other local children attended paying 3d per week for their lessons.
In 1860, once the Bishop children had finished their schooling, the school moved to a farm shed on South Titirangi Road, provided by the Pugh family and Titirangi’s first headmaster, Mr Carol was appointed. This school is attributed to have been the first public school in Auckland at that time. The building was also used, as was the tradition in those days, as a community meeting place for dances and entertainment, and some of the soirees held there were legendary. The antics and fun that went on were reported far and wide. As a result of the inappropriate goings on and a lack of maintenance of the building, the Education Board formally took ownership of the school in 1872. It is from this period that official records were kept, and we see that there were 29 students. Ledgers of the day show that Mr Carol was paid a princely £100 per year and the board funded £30 per year for maintenance - a far cry from today's rather larger school operating budgets.
By 1890 the role had grown to 35 and a second teacher was employed; in 1912 the school employed its first female teacher and education in Titirangi went from strength to strength. Steadily the roll increased with between 70-80 students recorded in 1935 when an additional classroom was constructed.
The education of Titirangi’s young was assured until the 2nd January 1930, when calamity struck! A small fire started in the schoolhouse and spread quickly engulfing the school. In a very short time only 2 brick chimneys signified where once there had been a school. The village were in shock, but resolved to carry on educating their young. Classes operated out of a temporary tin shack, the Education Board was approached to rebuild the school, but Titirangi was told that there were insufficient funds. Once again, it would be up to the generosity of the locals to build a new school.
By 1935, the Director of Education announced that a new school would be built on a new site, adjacent to parkland on Atkinson Road - the school’s current position. Plans were drawn up in 1937 and the building costs were estimated to be £1937. The new school would have 2 open and airy classrooms, a cloakroom and tiny staff room. We would recognise the initial building as Rooms 5 and 6 and the Office. The new school was opened by the Minister of Justice, Mr. J.R. Mason on 18 February 1939.
In the years that have passed since our present school was first built, both the roll and reputation of our historic kura has grown out of all proportion. Additional classrooms have been constructed, other facilities added like the swimming pool and many thousands of children have initiated their learning journeys at Titirangi Primary School; many going onto huge successes e.g. cricketer Martin Crowe.