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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Nelson, Marlborough & Westland Provincial Districts]



There are two Education Boards on the West Coast; namely, one for Westland, and one for Grey. Westport, in the southern portion of the provincial district of Nelson, is under the jurisdiction of the Nelson Education Board. There is also a Board of School Commissioners at Hokitika for the administration of reserves set apart for education in the provincial district. District High Schools have been established at Hokitika, Greymouth, Reefton, and Westport, and public schools, not only in the larger towns, but also in a great number of the small country settlements. Denominational schools have also been established, chiefly by the Roman Catholic Church, which has Convent High Schools at Hokitika, Greymouth and Reeiton, and primary schools conducted by Sisters of Mercy. There are Schools of Mines at Westport, Reefton, and Kumara.

Secondary Schools.

The Hokitika High School Board has its offices in the Government buildings. It was constituted many years ago, but is practically non-effective, as the local District High School is administered by the Education Board. The building known as Government House in Hokitika is vested in the High School Board. Members for the year 1905: Messrs H. L. Michel (chairman) J. F. Byrne, J. J. Clarke, J. Tait, and the Hon. J. Holmes, M.L.C. Mr. C. K. Kirk is secretary.

The Hokitika District High School is an imposing brick building situated in Hampden Street. The school was founded in the year 1877, and the present building was erected in 1887. The school days of Hokitika date back as far as 1865. The old schoolhouse, which had done duty from 1877, was destroyed by fire in 1887. The present school contains seven class-rooms and two teachers rooms. The corridors are lofty, and the whole school is well ventilated, and supplied with hot water pipes. There is a fine library containing about 400 volumes. There are 280 scholars on the roll, and the average attendance is 270, which is considerably above the average for the colony. A classroom is set apart for secondary education, and this department has forty-five in attendance. Scholarships are annually offered by the Education Board for competition amongst the pupils of the public schools throughout Westland. Scholars are also admitted after passing Standard VI, upon payment of £2 per quarter. School staff for the year 1905: Mr. H. G. Wake, B.A. (Rector)), Mr. B. H. Low, B.A. (First Assistant Master, in charge of the secondary classes), Mr. H. Williams (First Assistant Master), Miss E. Ward (Infant Mistress), and five other teachers.

Mr. Hugh Godfrey Wake , B.A., was appointed Rector of the Hokitika District High School and Headmaster of the Primary School in the year 1899. He was born at Kaiapoi, Canterbury, in 1871. Prior to his present page 500 appointment, Mr. Wake was for two years at the Waimate District High School, as first extra assistant master.

Mr. Henry Williams , First Assistant Master of the Hokitika Dististrict High School, is a son of the late Mr. Henry Williams, of Hauhau, Hokitika, where he was born in the year 1866. He was educated at Kanieri, and there served his term as a pupil teacher. In 1886, Mr. Williams was appointed assistant master at Gillespie school, became headmaster of the Stafford public school in 1895, and remained there until he received his present appointment.

Mr. Benjamin Harris Low , B.A., is First Extra Assistant Master of the Hokitika District High School, and has charge of the secondary classes. Mr. Low is further referred to at page 876 of the Auckland volume of this work.

Miss A. E. B. Batten, formerly First Assistant Mistress of the Hokitika District High School, was born in Victoria, Australia, and commenced teaching in Port Melbourne. She was afterwards on the staff of the Redan school, Ballarat, and is now (1906) at Ross, where she is doing relieving work.

The Convent of St. Columbkill at Hokitika, was founded on the 15th of October, 1878, on a site of an acre in extent, at the corner of Stafford Street and Sewell Street, Hokitika. The portion of the building fronting Sewell Street, was the first to be erected, but in 1881 the portion facing Stafford Street was made, and includes a number of cells, a chapel, a refectory and sacristy. In the year 1890, another wing was added to the building, to supply boarders' quarters, and the community room; and in 1905 a one-storey music room and an infant school were also erected. The other portion of the convent is two-storied. The Sisters conduct three schools; namely, the parish school, with an attendance of about sixty children; the infant school, with forty children; and the select school, with about twenty children. Four sisters daily teach at Kanieri, where from forty to fifty children attend, and at Rimu, where the attendance is from twenty-five to thirty. Branches of the convent are conducted at Ross, and Kumara; the branch at Ross is known as St. Patrick's, and that at Kumara as St. Bridget's. Thirty children are taught at Ross, and 130 at Kumara, and, in addition to the primary instruction, secondary education, including music and languages, is also supplied, and pupils are prepared for matriculation in connection with the University of New Zealand. Thirteen Sisters are engaged in teaching, including the four who have charge of the out-schools. The convent at Hokitika was the first convent of the Order of Mercy in the Middle Island, and from it the convent at Greymouth was established in the year 1881, that at Lyttelton in 1890, and those at Ross and Kumara in 1889. Most of the Sisters in residence have come from Ireland.

School Commissioners.

The School Commissioners of the District of Westland have control over education reserves throughout the provincial district, which includes not only the Westland but also the Grey education district. Commissioners for the year 1905: Mr. J. Staines, chairman, and Messrs J. Grimmond, H. L. Michel, and T. V. Byrne, Mr. A. J. Morton is secretary.

Mr. John Staines , Chairman of the School Commissioners for the district of Westland, is further referred to as a former member of the Westland County Council.

Mr. Albert James Morton , B.A., Secretary of the School Commissioners of Westland, is further referred to as Inspector and Secretary of the Westland Education Board.

Education Board.

The Education Board of Westland. This Board's district originally included the district now under the control of the Education Board of the district of Grey, but, on the 14th of September, 1885, Grey was constituted a separate district. The country under the control of the Westland Board extends from the Teremakau river southward to the boundaries of the old provincial district of Westland, and includes the boroughs of Hokitika, Kumara, and Ross, and the pastoral districts to the southward of Ross. The original Board was constituted under the old Act, and the existing Board under the Westland and Grey Education Boards Act of 1888. The returns for the year ending 31st of March, 1905, showed that there were thirty-four schools under the control of the Board; these had a total number of 1015 names on their rolls, with an average attendance of 903, and were in charge of forty-eight teachers. The offices of the Board are at the back of the Supreme Court, between Sewell Street and Fitzherbert Street; the building, which is of wood and iron, and contains a board room, an inspector's room, and a store room, was originally used by the Survey Department, and has been in the occupation of the Board since 1888. Members of the Board for the year 1905: Messrs T. W. Beare, LL.B. (chairman), H. L. Michel (treasurer), J. S. Benyon, J. J. Clarke, A. Cumming, T. W. Duff, J. Staines, J. Grimmond, and G. A. Perry. Mr. A. J. Morton is secretary and inspector of schools, and M. C. R. Kirk, clerk and truant officer.

Mr. Thomas W. Beare , LL.B., Chairman of the Westland Education Board for the year 1905, has been a member of the Board for several years. He is further referred to as a solicitor of the Supreme Court at Hokitika.

Mr. Albert James Morton , B.A., Inspector and Secretary of the Education Board of Westland, was born in the year 1860, in South Australia. He was educated in New South Wales, and in New Zealand, and graduated B.A. in the New Zealand University while at Napier. In 1874, Mr. Morton became a pupil teacher at East Christchurch School, where he was afterwards assistant master, and served in all for six years. Later, he was second master of the Boys' School at Napier for five years. In 1886, Mr. Morton became headmaster of the Woodville school, and was appointed Inspector and Secretary under the Westland Board in 1893. For several years he has been conductor of the Hokitika Glee Club, which has performed some important cantatas and oratorios. Mr. Morton is a member of the library committee of the Westland Institute.

Mr. Charles Robert Kirk was appointed Clerk and Truant Officer of page 501 the Westland Education Board in December, 1893. He was born at Kanieri in the year 1876, and was educated in Hokitika. Mr. Kirk afterwards became clerk of the Westland Education Board, secretary to the Hokitika High School Board and clerk to the Hokitika District High School Committee. He is a member of the Menti-cultural Society in connection with the Methodist church, and a member of the local orchestra. Mr. Kirk married a daughter of Mr. Robert Sweney, of Woodstock, in August, 1903, and has two sons.