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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Taranaki, Hawke's Bay & Wellington Provincial Districts]



Taranaki possesses the usual facilities for carrying on the system of free, secular, and compulsory education, which has been in vogue in New Zealand since the year 1877. New Plymouth contains the office of the Taranaki Education Board, which has jurisdiction over the northern and central portion of the provincial district, including the counties of Taranaki, Egmont and Clifton. The Board employs not only a large staff of teachers, but also a qualified inspector, with an assistant, and a truant officer, as well as an architect, and a secretary and treasurer. In New Plymouth itself there is a large and well equipped Central School, under the care of a headmaster, twelve teachers and pupil teachers, and with from 500 to 600 children in attendance. The school known as the Westown School is devoted to the infants, numbering 150, and is in charge of a mistress, who has three assistants. The New Plymouth High School (for boys and girls) is conducted in a fine building, which occupies
Collis, photo.New Plymouth.

Collis, photo.
New Plymouth.

page 69 a prominent position in the town. This school, which is attended by about one hundred pupils, is under the management of a rector, who is assisted by a mistress, and five qualified teachers. Large areas of land have, from time to time, been set apart in the provincial district of Taranaki as endowments for education. The whole of these properties are vested in the Board of School Commissioners, whose duties are to secure the best financial results obtainable, and to distribute the revenues, proportionately, to the interested governing bodies. The Roman Catholic Church has a considerable number of monasteries and convent schools throughout Taranaki, and at the Monastery of the Presentation in New Plymouth, children are taught the higher branches of education. The Sisters in residence also take charge of the primary school. For those who prefer to have their children educated less publicly, New Plymouth has also a capital school for girls; it is known as “Chetwode,” and is situated at the seaside.

The New Plymouth High School Board Of Governors was constituted in the year 1889. Members: Messrs N. K. MacDiarmid (chairman), J. B. Roy, J. E. Wilson, M. Fraser, K. Dockrill, D. Berry, and S. Percy Smith. Mr. W. Bewley is secretary and treasurer. The Board of Governors controls the local High School, which has endowments of its own, and is situated on Avenue Road, at the east end of New Plymouth. The High School has separate apartments for boys and girls, and the staff consists of Mr. E. Pridham, M.A. (Rector), Miss Grant, M.A. (Assistant Mistress of the girls' department), Mr. H. H. Ward (Assistant Master), Miss Drew, M.A., Mr. T. Bain, and Miss Jones (Sewing Mistress). The Board gives free tuition in accordance with the Government regulations, and one free pupil for every £50 of net income from endowments, as well as free pupils in accordance with the Secondary Education Act, for which the Government pays subscriptions. The endowments of the Board bring in an income of from £700 to £800 per annum. They consist of some thousands of acres of agricultural land in the Taranaki district, including fifteen acres on which the school and the Rector's residence stand. The number of pupils in attendance varies from ninety to one hundred.

Mr. Neil K. MacDiarmid has for some years been chairman of the Board of Governors of the New Plymouth High School. He is further referred to as manager of the Bank of New South Wales.

Mr. Walter Bewley, Secretary and Treasurer of the Board of Governors of the New Plymouth High School, is further referred to in another article as senior partner of the firm of Bewley and Griffiths, land agents and auctioneers.

Secondary Schools.

The New Plymouth High School has been in existence since about the year 1883, and occupies a commanding site overlooking the town. The building is ornate, and affords excellent accommodation for the pupils in at tendance; and the grounds, which cover several acres, are well kept. The building contains four large class rooms, in addition to a room for the Principal, and there is an excellent gymnasium attached to the institution.

Mr. E. Pridham, M.A., Principal of the New Plymouth High School, is assisted by a well qualified staff, which includes a headmistress, in charge of the girls' department, first and second male teachers and female assistants.

School Commissioners.

The Board Of School Commissioners for the provincial district of Taranaki, was constituted in 1887. It acts as custodian for the education reserves in the whole of the provincial district. Generally the reserves consist of one-twentieth of all Crown lands in Taranaki, and as these are surveyed and laid off, they become vested in the Commissioners, as, according to law, 5 per cent. of the land thus surveyed is apportioned to the support of educational institutions. The reserves vested in the Commissioners amount in the aggregate to many thousands of acres, which return a revenue of about £3,500 per annum. The bulk of the land is let very cheaply on long leases, but as these expire, considerably increased revenues will be obtained for the Education Boards in the district. Proportional payments are made out of the funds at the disposal of the Commissioners to the Taranaki and Wanganui Education Boards, and to the Board of Governors of the New Plymouth High School. The Commissioners number five, three of whom are appointed by the Government, and two are representatives of the Taranaki Education Board. Members for 1906: Messrs J. Wade (chairman), H. Faull (representing the Taranaki Education Board), F. Simpson (Commissioner of Crown Lands), W. T. Jennings, M.H.R., and C. E. Major, M.H.R (Government appointees). Mr. F. P. Corkill acts as secretary to the Commissioners.

Education Board.

The Taranaki Education Board dates from the 1st of June, 1874, when it was known as the New Plymouth Education Board. At that time the late Mr. Benjamin Wells was chairman, and among the members were Major Atkinson, Archdeacon Govett and Messrs Hursthouse, Richmond, and Standish. Some years later the name of the Board was changed to the Taranaki Education Board. The district under its jurisdiction includes the counties of Taranaki, Egmont, Clifton, and Stratford. It extends from the Mokau river, on this north, to Ngaire, on the south, and the furthest inland school is situated fifty-two miles to the east of the borough of Stratford. At the beginning of 1905 there were seventy-seven schools under the control of the Board, and the children on the rolls numbered 4968, with an average attendance of 4190, under the care of 136 teachers. Members of the Board in 1906: Mr. J. Wade, chairman, Messrs G. Adlam, H. Faull, J. Mackay, M.A., D. H. McDonald, G. H. Maunder, A. Morton, W. Monkhouse, and Mrs J. R. Dougherty. Officers: Mr. W. E. Spencer, M.A., B.Sc., Chief Inspector; Mr. W. A. Ballantyne, B.A., Assistant Inspector; Mr. A. Hooker, Truant Officer; Mr. J. Sanderson, Architect; and Mr. P. S. Whitcombe, Secretary and Treasurer. The Board's offices are in Devon page 70 Street. There is a Technical School in New Plymouth, and another at Stratford; the latter of which has been in operation since 1904.

Mr. George Henry Maunder, who is a member of the Taranaki Education Board, was born in London, England, in November, 1844, and was educated at private schools. In 1858, he gained a certificate under the Committee for Education of the University of Oxford, and subsequently a first class certificate under the College of Preceptors. He afterwards learned flour milling in England and
Collis, photo.Mr. G. H. Maunder.

Collis, photo.
Mr. G. H. Maunder.

in Canada, whither he had emigrated in 1860. Two years later, he returned to England, but in another year went back to Canada, where he remained for two years at his trade. Mr. Maunder finally came to New Zealand in the ship “England,” and landed in Auckland, on the 9th of February, 1867. He found employment as a miller for some time, and also subsequently in Hawke's Bay for about two years. Then he returned to Auckland and settled at Mauku, where he had some experience of farming, and in 1874 he became teacher of the Mauku school. In the year 1882 he removed to Taranaki, and opened the Okaiawa school in 1883, and was, later, in charge of the Matapu school until 1892. Mr. Maunder was for some years farming in Hawera, and in 1902 he built his residence, “Waiake,” on the Carrington road, New Plymouth, where he has since resided. Mr. Maunder has been a member of the Mauku school committee, and the Mauku Road Board, and was a member of the Hawera County Council for the Okaiawa riding for three years. He has been a member of the New Plymouth school committee, the Taranaki Hospital and Charitable Aid Board, and honorary secretary of the New Plymouth No License League. Mr. Maunder married a daughter of the late Mr. William Taunt, of Ayrshire, Scotland, in the year 1885.

Mr. Archie Hooker, Truant Inspector of the Taranaki Education Board, was born in the year 1868, in New Plymouth, where he was educated. He afterwards learned the printing trade, which he followed for fourteen years. Mr. Hooker subsequently joined the Police Force, and served for several years in the Auckland district. He then went to Australia, and for two years he was employed in Mort's Dock, in Sydney. He returned to New Zealand, and in 1900 was appointed to his present position. Mr. Hooker is a member of Lodge Egmont, Independent Order of Oddfellows, Manchester Unity. For some years he was secretary of the New Plymouth Horticultural Society, by the managers of which he was presented with a watch in 1904; and he was sergeant of the Taranaki Rifles, and won the district medal for the Taranaki-Wanganui district. Mr. Hooker has a fine collection of coins. He is married, and has three children.

Primary Schools.

The Central Public School in New Plymouth is conducted in a handsome wooden building, which stands on a prominent site in the town. There are seven class rooms, a headmaster's room, a teachers' room, and a fine gymnasium, and the building is surrounded by spacious playgrounds. Two cadet corps, over 100 strong, are carried on in connection with the school. The headmaster is supported by a staff of two male and five female teachers, and five pupil teachers, and there are 580 names on the roll.

The West End School is situated on the South Road, and is a fine large wooden building with five class rooms, and two halls. The grounds are about half an acre in extent, and there are also shelter sheds. There are three hundred names on the school roll. The staff consists of a head teacher, a first assistant, two female assistants, and three pupil teachers. There is a cadet corps, with a membership of forty-eight, and with Mr. E. Barry, first assistant master, in command.

Mrs M. Dowling, Head Teacher of the West End School, New Plymouth, was born at Renwicktown, in Marlborough. She became a pupil teacher in Blenheim, served for four years, and was afterwards appointed assistant teacher in the same school for three years. Mrs Dowling was subsequently for five years mistress of the Charleston
Collis, photo,Mrs M. Dowling.

Collis, photo,
Mrs M. Dowling.

Girls' School. Later on, she became assistant teacher in the Central School, New Plymouth, and took charge of the West End School in 1900. Mrs Dowling is a widow, and has two daughters and one son.

Private Schools.

The Chetwode Private School, Devon Street West, New Plymouth. This school was acquired by Miss E. O. Stanford in the year 1897. It is a girls' school, situated near the seaside, with facilities for both boarding and day scholars. Teaching is given up to the requirements of the matriculation examinations, in which the school has been very successful. A special feature is the teaching of the theory and the practice of music.

Miss E. O. Stanford, Principal and Proprietress of the Chetwode Private School for Girls, took it over in the year 1897. She is assisted by three teachers.

The Monastery Of The Presentation at New Plymouth was founded in the year 1884. It is a fine three-storied building of wood and iron, erected on a site of one acre and a-quarter, bounded by Devon Street, Dawson Street and Powderham page 71 Street, and contains a large school room, several class rooms, three dormitories, a refectory, a chapel, and kitchen, lavatories, and bathrooms. The upper floors are reached by two flights of stairs, one at each end of the building; and on each of the upper floors are balconies, from which magnificent views of New Plymouth, Mount Egmont, and the sea can be obtained. Modern fire escapes are provided. The grounds are beautifully laid out in lawns, walks and flower borders. Instruction is given by the Sisters, in languages, music, and the higher branches of education, and special attention is given to pupils desiring to enter for matriculation and music examinations. About forty boarders are in residence at the Monastery, and there are about fifty day pupils. The parochial school, adjoining the Monastery, is a new building erected in the year 1903, and has an attendance of about 100 scholars. The school and Monastery are under the charge of fifteen Sisters, of the order of our Lady of the Missions.

Monastery of the Presentation. Collis, photo.

Monastery of the Presentation. Collis, photo.