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Through Ninety Years

Te Aute Trust Estate and College and Hukarere School

Te Aute Trust Estate and College and Hukarere School

In the thirty-third Chapter mention has been made of the progress of the Te Aute College and Hukarere Maori Girls' School up to 1890. As these schools occupied Bishop Williams's attention during his later years, some further reference to them will not be out of place.

The trustees of the Te Aute School property had arranged with Archdeacon Samuel Williams to farm and develop it. As the place was gradually improved he paid page 348 them an agreed rent increasing from time to time. This rent was revised again in 1902 and based on expert valuation at a rent ten per cent higher.

The lease was granted for a term of years. The Archdeacon was thus enabled to carry on improvements to the property.

His continued liberality had enabled the trustees in the past to make several additions and improvements to the Hukarere School from time to time. It had already been arranged in 1892 that the Te Aute Trust property should from its income contribute to the maintenance of the Hukarere Maori Girls' School as well as the Te Aute College.

Miss Minton continued as matron for a number of years, and Miss Down as teacher was assisted for various periods by Misses Webb, Prentice and L. Down. In 1899 Miss J. Bulstrode from England was appointed principal. Two years later her sister, Miss E. M. Bulstrode, joined her as head teacher. These two ladies gave a splendid record of service to the school and its pupils.

The Hukarere School was mysteriously burned to the ground with all its contents early on October 21st, 1910, happily without any loss of life. The girls had, however, to be sent to their homes until after the Christmas holidays.

The trustees promptly decided that the school must be rebuilt on a more roomy site. For this they were able to secure the lease of suitable sections on Napier Terrace from the trustees of the Hawke's Bay Church Trust. They were also able to secure from the same trustees other premises on Burlington and Selwyn Roads as temporary quarters for the school use. These buildings were then adapted for the school and furnished. Here a school to accommodate fifty-five was reopened in February, 1911.

Plans were prepared and a contract let to build the new school in camerated concrete. This was to provide fifty per cent more room than its predecessor.

The old school site was leased to tenants as building sites, with a right of renewal on revaluation.

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The amount recovered from the insurance of the old school was quite inadequate for the rebuilding. It was therefore decided to appeal for assistance from all friends and sympathisers, both Maori and European.

The Governor-General, Lord Islington, laid the foundation of the present Hukarere Maori Girls' School on September 30th, 1911. This was carried out with an appropriate ceremony, and gifts to a substantial sum were handed in.

After considerable delay the contract was finally completed. The Misses Bulstrode and their family of girls moved into their new quarters on July 18th, 1912. A formal opening ceremony was held on October 22nd.

During Mr. John Thornton's long term of thirty-four years as head master of Te Aute he had as assistants for varying periods Messrs. Winkleman, Jardine, Webb, Cato and others. Mr. Thornton had a breakdown and serious illness in June, 1912. He did not recover and sent in his resignation which was accepted. Mr. Thornton passed away on July 4th, 1914.

The Rev. J. A. McNickle was appointed head master of Te Aute College on October 21st, 1912. Mr. Cato who was second master under Mr. Thornton continued to fill the post for a time, but had to resign on account of ill health in June, 1915. A Mr. F. W. Christian had taken Mr. Cato's place temporarily. Mr. Brandon was also a teacher in 1915. Mr. O'Sullivan was appointed in 1915, and a Mr. Bannatyne in 1916. During the period of the Great War the trustees had great difficulty in maintaining their staff of assistants. This threw a great burden on Mr. McNickle.

After the death of Archdeacon S. Williams in 1907 his executors continued to work the Te Aute land and fulfil the terms of the lease until it expired. Anticipating this expiry the dispersal sale of the well-known stud herd of Shorthorn cattle was held in April, 1915.

As the development of the Te Aute land was then sufficiently complete, the trustees decided to form roads and subdivide the property into twenty-three farms, and page 350 offer them for lease by tender in January, 1916, with the right of renewal on revaluation.

A block of nearly eight hundred acres was not included in these farms, but provided the College Farm where the students could receive technical instruction and several residential sites to be let. These and the farms were all soon occupied and yielded a most satisfactory rental.

In October, 1877, the late Sir Douglas Maclean established the Te Makarini Trust and endowed it with £3,000 in memory of his late father, Sir Donald Maclean. The income from this has since provided annually a series of scholarships for many students at Te Aute College.

In 1908 a legacy of £1,000 from the late Sir Walter Buller was handed to the Te Aute Trustees for investment, the income from which was to provide for a scholarship for students at Te Aute College.