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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 15, Issue 3 (June 1, 1940)

Our Schoolmasters

Our Schoolmasters.

Kihikihi now had its real school, succeeding the primitive era of the Seventies. In the first little one-room school I knew the master made hot buttered toast for himself every winter morning at the fire while we hungry tantalised youngsters looked on and shivered. Not a crumb for us. He was a German, or Swiss; at any rate his name was.

The next teacher had a basin of gruel brought to him by his daughter every morning; he ladled in the burgoo with one eye on us and his cane ready to his hand at his high desk. I can't recall that I or my Maori mate, Billy Puke, who rode in from Orakau daily, ever learned anything under those two pedagogues.

In the early Eighties our first real teacher came and really taught us something—he was a good old Waipu Nova-Scotian Highlander, Mr. Norman Matheson, whose memory I love to this day. He had been one of the Rev. Norman McLeod's Gaelic flock, and the Highland tongue was strong upon him. As was the way with those who had “ta Gaelic” he had his own way with English consonants; he called me “Chimmy,” and called the school-kit a “kid.”