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“101 years of Ormondville May 1878”

transcribed by Elaine, For copies of any photos or articles contact Elaine

By Ormondville Centennial Committee 1978
Compiled and edited by F O PLAYLE
Researched by Mrs D ROPIHA and F O PLAYLE
Printed by The Daily Telegraph Co Ltd Napier NZ
Hastings District Libraries Tag No 167 3783
Dewey Numbers 993.469 Alpha One

The information on these pages is for genealogy research only. It may be linked to but not copied in any form without the owners permission
101 Years of Ormondville Intro

Ref Page 5 and 6


Ormondville is a small country township in Southern Hawke’s Bay situated 14 miles from Dannevirke and 4 miles from Norsewood. Being in the Dannevirke County residents rely on the County Council for the provision of services. Residents have to rely on well water or tank water, which causes considerable fire fighting problems.

The population at the last census in 1976 was 188 and it remains fairly stable about that number.

The town has a general store the oldest commercial building now owned by Hawke’s Bay Farmers Co-operative Association Ltd. Settlers Arms Hotel, Post Office, Primary School, Southern Haulage (HB) Ltd., (transport operators) and the Ormondville Timber Co.Ltd. The only church remaining is the Church of Epiphany (Anglican). Ormondville is very proud of its Volunteer Fire Brigade and Community Hall.

Being 986 feet above sea level and between the Ruahine and coastal range of hills its climate can be fairly bracing at times and two or three snowfalls each winter are not uncommon.

Recently six pensioner flats were built by the County and more are proposed as the agreeable climate lends itself to a peaceful retirement.

The town in the past supported a butcher shop, boot maker, blacksmith, saddler, undertaker, solicitor, library, draper, billiard room, three stores, a Police Station and a Courthouse. Times have changed and most of these services are now centred in Dannevirke. Roading is good and there are sealed roads in all directions. The New Zealand Railways “Endeavour” stops on request to set down or pick up passengers seven days a week and is the only public transport service available at present.

Situated in the Pahiatua Electorate the present representative is Mr John Falloon who succeeded Sir Keith Holyoake in 1977 when Sir Keith was appointed Governor General of New Zealand following 40 years in the House of Representatives.

Sawmilling was a major industry in the early days and many thousands of acres of native bush were cleared. The mill now cuts mainly pine and the small dairy farms have given way to the grazing of cattle and sheep.

A good sign has been the building of a number of new homes in the township and district over the past few years.


To all those people both in the Ormondville District and further a field who have assisted with the researching and checking of material the Committee extends its grateful thanks.

The loan of photographs and other records has been of considerable assistance and the selecting of photographs to print was quite a task on its own. Every effort has been made to ensure that the content of this book is as accurate as is humanly possibly and I personally thank those who have assisted in typing and printing.

When it was suggested to me by a very good friend in mid 1977 that I could assist by editing this book no one could have visualised the magnitude of the task ahead and I will always be grateful to have had the opportunity to have played a part in the Centennial.



Part 1


101 Years of Ormondville Centennial School Committee

Ref Page 12



Centennial Committee.

Ormondville School Centennial


Chairman: Mr. Alan Mason;

Secretary: Mr. P. T. Ropiha;

Treasurer: Mrs. Hazel Smyth;

Ground Planning: Mr A. Bolton, D. Harding, A. Castles and J. Finch;

Accommodation: Mrs. Marie Williams;

Entertainment: Mr. T. W. Castles and Mr. P. Robinson;

Finance: Mr R. Chadwick, Mr W. Ellingham and Mr D. McLean;

Catering: Mrs Barbara Anderson;

Transport: Mr G. J. Jonasen and Mr H. Ellingham;

Publicity: Mr C. C. Newling and Mr A. B. Evans;

Recorder Pool: Felicity Charlton-Jones;

School Activities: Mr A. B. Evans, Mr A. Castles, Mr J. Finch and Mr B. Anderson;

Parade: Mr D. Charlton-Jones.

101 Years of Ormondville Summary 1878-1978

***Note by Elaine-Any photo’s mentioned can be scanned upon request

References page 13 to 21

Ormondville School 1878-1978

Mrs. R. Gundrie held the first school on 8th July 1878 in a saw miller’s hut on a corner section across the road from the Settlers Arms Hotel. The first education board building was opened in January 1880 on an education reserve considered too swampy for household buildings. This fact created problems of drainage, poor ground facilities, etc. for the next eighty years. The six boys and eleven girls who were foundation pupils had the barest of equipment and an old table and a few planks were the only furniture. Mrs. Gundrie did her best with the meagre equipment available and her efforts impressed Mr. Henry Hill, B.A. who inspected the school on 28th August the same year.

Based on the English School System, which was generally adopted in all colonies the first term commenced in mid January until the last week of June and the second, term was from early July until mid December. The two-term school year lasted until the three-term year became universal in New Zealand in 1907. Run strictly to “Regulation” the school year was 315 days.

School districts and boundaries were defined on 10th January 1878 and householders elected first School Committees on 19th February 1878. Strong and enthusiastic committees down the years have contributed to equipment and facilities for teachers and pupils.

Primers and Standard 1 usually had a day off during the synchronous examinations and in 1887 it is recorded that the examinations were not completed until 7.30 p.m. The following day was declared a holiday by the School Committee.

By February 1887 the roll had grown to 82 pupils and the School Committee declared a holiday on 23rd March 1887 to allow children t~ accompany their families on the special train to Woodville to celebrate the opening of the railway south to that town.

The great bush fire of the 6th March 1888 caused the school to close and later pupils contributed $4.80 to assist Norsewood children replace books lost when their school was destroyed.

Arbor Day was always observed, trees and shrubs being planted in the school grounds.

From 1895 a regular school train trip was made to Napier each year, which included children from Te Uri, Whetukura and Norsewood as well as the local pupils and parents.

A total of 355 pupils, parents and teachers left Ormondville in 1917 departing at 7.30 a.m. and after a day in Napier returned at 8.15p.m. Particularly interesting for those who missed the return train as well remembered by Damer Redward who arrived home a day late!

The Influenza Epidemic of 1918 took a heavy toll of pupils and caused the school to close for 12 weeks until 4th February 1919.

The heating of the school required a constant supply of firewood for the cast iron potbelly stoves.

By 1894 it was necessary to use the porch as a classroom to accommodate the 120 pupils on the roll and an oil tin was used for heating the porch area. Mr. Henry Hill, School Inspector, was very critical of this practice especially being concerned at the fire hazard when the oil tin was standing on three bricks over a wooden floor!

J. C. Westall, LL.B., a former seaman, was a highly qualified teacher but by repute a very strict disciplinarian, flogging of the boys on the hand and breach being a common practice. Mr Westall later moved to Napier to join a legal practice and visited Ormondville every month for consultations with clients.

The school was upgraded in 1895 during which term infant classes were held in the Rechabite Hall (now part of the Peace Memorial Hall).

Childhood diseases including mumps, chickenpox, measles, scarlet fever, whooping cough, typhoid and meningitis took a heavy toll of children as various epidemics prevailed without adequate medical care available closer than Dannevirke or Waipukurau.

On the 9th August 1904 a violent earthquake caused the school chimney to collapse, injury to children being avoided due to the pupils being held in the porch at the time. Several after tremors shook the district for days but apart from many wrecked chimneys there was little other damage mainly due to all buildings being constructed of timber.

From 1926 Mr. E. Hurdsfield an itinerant Agriculture Instructor visited the school regularly until the scheme was discontinued in 1940 after the commencement of the 2nd World War.

Other itinerant teachers instructed pupils in needlework, arts and physical drill.

The school medical officers and dental nurses made regular calls to check on children’s health during the 1930s and 1940s using the dental clinic built in 1930.

The “B” Type Dental Clinic was equipped with a foot treadle drill and wooden shelves and benches requiring special care and sterilisation techniques. Refurbished in 1958 with stainless steel and glass the Clinic was re-equipped with an electric powered drill. Preschool children attended the Clinic from the mid 1 950s and this was a boon to families in the district. In 1961 the Clinic was moved to its present position adjacent to the new school.

1912 saw the school medical health scheme commenced by the Department of Education and later transferred to the Department of Health in 1921. Dr Clark visited the local schools in 1917 and Dr E. H. Sands School Medical Officer visited Ormondville in 1921. Nurse McLeod tested children’s eyes in 1922 a service to continue for many years. Dr Todd of Waipawa whose duties included Public Vaccinator visited the local schools for many years and his arrival was always met with mixed feelings!

The milk in schools scheme was introduced in 1937 providing half pint of milk per day for each child partly as a measure to alleviate under-nourishment of some children following the Depression Years in the early I 930s. This scheme was gradually phased out in 1960.

During the 1939-45 World War the shortage of suitable ships prevented New Zealand apples being exported to the U.K. and a major part of the 1940 crop of first grade apples was distributed to schools throughout New Zealand. Following resumption of normal trading conditions this scheme was phased out during the late 1940s.

The Hawke’s Bay Earthquake on 3rd February 1931 caused damage to chimneys and the school closed until the after tremors had subsided and debris had been removed. Another violent after shock at 1.35 p.m. on 13th February 1931 caused the dismissal of classes again but this time just for the day.

Following the closure of Whetukura School in May 1938, thirty pupils from that area were conveyed by bus to Ormondville to restore the roll after it had dropped to 33 during the depression years and the school regained three teacher status.

During the Infantile Paralysis (Poliomyelitis) epidemic throughout New Zealand from late 1947 the school remained closed after the summer holidays until March 1948.

Maintaining the school bus service caused concern during the 1950s and a suggestion was made that Whetukura School be reopened but this was not to be and the missed school days due to the closed the children accepted roads or bus breakdowns as a normal part of life.

The Hawke’s Bay Education Board built a new school in 1960 on a new site suitably drained with more adequate space for playing fields and other facilities. An 82nd Jubilee was held to celebrate the occasion and attended by many former pupils as well as the 105 children then attending Ormondville. The new school was fittingly described by Mr Ron Ward, Head Teacher as open, sunlit, well sheltered by trees from southerly winds and with a pleasant country outlook, and possibilities for a great future. Construction of School Baths commenced in 1961 using parent’s labor and subscriptions and opened in 1962. Prior to this swimming lessons had been held at Norsewood for many years.

While W. H. Smith was headmaster from 1925-1928 the 16 hays in the Rugby XV and Cricket XI were only defeated once in School teams traveled widely, winning many cups and shields. Originally based on “Old English Sports” the schools recreation activities have always been a feature of Ormondville and During the 1 970s have been broadened to include athletics, rugby, soccer, netball, cricket and gymnastics.

In 1977 the gymnastics teams won the Country B Grade and were placed 2nd in Country A Competitions — a great achievement.

The school has a three teacher grading and with the guidance and direction of Mr. A. B. Evans, Principal, provides a bright resting and informative education opportunity for all pupils in surrounding to be envied by many.

Photo Looking West by James WEBB 1st January 1885

Photo “Endeavour” traveling south through Ormondville 1978 courtesy R J MEYER PAGE 10

Photo of the Ormondville School 1880 Page 14

Photo of the Ormondville District School 1900 Page 16

Teachers J D WATSON M.A Miss ALLEN, Miss GRANT, Miss BARRY Page 4th row, 11th from left: Susan WEST (now DASSLER).

Photo of the Ormondville School 1920 page 18


Walter Bolton, Geoff. Fairbrother, Kingsley Port (Coach), Ian Benbow, Frank Forward.

Maurice Forward, John Petersen, Croydon Trask.

Drawing by Alice WEBB 12 years Impressions of the 9th August 1904 earthquake page 20

Photo of Mrs GUNDRIE and I can scan it if this person is yours-Elaine

Page 21 Mrs Constance Rebecca Gundrie


Born Constance Rebecca Skelton in England 1840 she immigrated to New Zealand in 1860 landing at Dunedin. She married John Philip Osborne and had a son Philip St. John Osborne born in 1867. Widowed shortly after she later married Walter William Gundrie in 1870.

The Gundries moved north and W. W. Gundrie held timber licenses at Brown Owl Hutt Valley, Pigeon Bush and Morrisons Bush in the Wairarapa before moving to the Ormondville district. He operated sawmills on S. Brabazon’s property, Garfield Road and also on Gundries Line.

In 1878 Mrs Gundrie started the first school in Ormondville what is said to have been a hut on the corner opposite the hotel.

She had previously conducted a private school for young ladies in Dunedin. Her second family Florence, Walter and Beatrice were all foundation pupils of Ormondville School.

In 1888 Mrs Gundrie and her children moved to Te Aute taking over the store, which remained in the family until 1970.

Mrs Gundries first son Philip Osborne remained in Ormondville as a shingle maker. He later married Janet Russell a former pupil of Ormondville School and a Pupil Teacher. Janet’s brother James Russell was dux in 1902 being awarded Hawke’s Bay and Victoria. Scholarships and he later became Director of Education in Suva. Florence Gundrie ran the Te Aute store after her mother’s death. Walter Gundrie, Jnr. became a saddler in Tikokino for 17 years then ~ Martinborough until his death.

101 Years of Ormondville letter

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It is a great honour and a privilege for me to have been asked to write this message for the Centennial Book of the Ormondville School.

It has been my pleasure to represent this district as a Member of Parliament for many years. For this reason I am glad to make this contribution to the Centennial publication.

The organisation of celebration activities is a major task indeed, involving many thousands of hours checking rolls, directories, etc., compiling mailing lists, planning activities, addressing and mailing circulars and the numerous other aspects involved. An onerous task indeed.

This publication is intended to serve as a memento of the Centennial of the Ormondville School and to record some of its history. And in mentioning history, we must remember that Ormondville is named after the first Chairman of the Hawke’s Bay Education Board.

A poet, — I can’t remember his name — wrote about his schooldays:

“I have had playmates, I have had companions

In my days of childhood, in my joyful schooldays

All, all are gone, the old familiar faces.”

All? Some, yes, but here at this centenary celebration you will see again many of those “old familiar faces”.

May your reunion be as joyful as the best memories of your schooldays.

Yours Sincerely

Keith Holyoake

101 Years of Ormondville Proclamation

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All public Notifications which appear in this Gazette, with any Official Signature thereunto annexed are to be considered as Official Communications made to those persons to whom they relate, and are to be obeyed accordingly.

J. D. ORMOND, Superintendent.

VOL. XVI. FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 1876. No. 32


By His Honor JOHN DAVIES ORMOND, Superintendent of the Province of Hawke’s Bay, in the Islands of New Zealand.

WHEREAS, under the provision of the “Highways Act 1871” passed by the Provincial Council of Hawke’s Bay, it is provided that the Superintendent may for the purposes of the Act, from time to time, by proclamation, divide the province, or any part thereof, into Districts, and in like manner to alter and amend the names or boundaries of or abolish any such Districts, and to create new Districts. And whereas by Proclamation under my hand dated the 10th day of August 1876, the Norsewood Deferred Payments District was created a Highways District, in term of the Highways Act 1871, and whereas it is expedient to alter the name of that Highway District.

Now therefore I, JOHN DAVIES ORMOND, Superintendent of the Province of Hawke’s Bay, in virtue of the powers vested in me in that behalf, do hereby declare, that the Norsewood Deferred Payments District, shall from and after the date hereof be named the “Ormondville Highways District,” and that the area of land and boundaries of the “Ormondville District,” shall be the same area and boundaries as were assigned to the Norsewood Deferred Payments District, in the Proclamation issued in the Hawke’s Bay Government Gazette No. 24. Dated the 10th day of August 1876, and described in the Schedule thereto.

Given under my hand at Napier this 29th day of September, in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy-six.


101 years of Ormondville Early School Days

by Damer S REDWARD born 1896

Reference pages 23 to31 Abridged by Elaine

101 Years of Ormondville

Ref page 23

Early School Days In Ormondville

Teachers I remember: Headmaster — Frank Burley Curd

Miss Tuohy

Miss Wilson

Miss Grant

Miss Brabazon (Mrs Fred Selby)

Miss Tyerman (Mrs Jack Russell)

Miss Maud Paton (Mrs Allen Dickens)

Miss Mc Knutt.

The wonderful old wooden railway bridge, which spanned the Manga Stream just north of the town, and of which a picture given the school by Alex Baines, adorns the head schoolroom. Inspector Hill

Yes! I well remember that dear old man. I remember vividly to this day him entering the infant room and greeting Miss Cook and Miss Wilson our teachers, then turning to us asking us how well we knew our alphabet. Then proceeded to demonstrate in a practical way. It was now playtime. I took a couple of apples out of my bag having one for myself and giving the other to Jack Cross. He sailed hungrily into his, being watched by another boy who plaintively asked Jack if he could have the core. ‘Ain’t gonna be no core’, answered Jack.

Ref Page 24 Photo Ormondville Pupils 1880’s

The pigs were all weighed individually then were let go into a large pen to await loading on railway trucks bound for the ‘More Pork’ bacon factory which was situated just north east of the Woodville railway station and was owned by the DIMMOCK company or family. The works ceased to exist many years ago but there still exists to this day one or two remnants of the original buildings.

Photo Page 26 Ormondville School Group 1925

Our school cadet military training continued and we were visited several times by commissioned officers of the N.Z. Permanent Forces from various centres of the country. Then the news came that General Lord Kitchener was on his way out to inspect our military forces in Australia and New Zealand. The biggest and most suitable boys from the public and high schools in Hawke’s Bay were told that we were to be taken by train to attend a mass parade to be held on the trotting racecourse at Lower Hutt to be inspected by Lord Kitchener. This was one of the great events of our lives and entailed much preparation for this exciting event. Comparatively few boys had ever been so far away from their homes before.

We went via the Wairarapa route, the most exciting part of the journey being crawling up the steep Rimutaka incline pulled by four Fell engines at only a walking pace, eventually arriving at Lower Hutt railway station, from where we had to march a mile or so to a big canvas camp on the racecourse, where we were bundled into overcrowded bell tents with a thick covering of hay on the floor for bedding, and lit by kerosene hurricane lamps. We were glad to visit the temporary toilets then to flop tired and hungry into the hay. The most exciting part of that trip of course was passing through the Manawatu Gorge, with its many tunnels, and then pulling into the Woodville station where we were supplied with refreshments, then on home to dear old Ormondville, our great adventure at an end. Our military training came in good stead to us as many of us learned in the 1st World War.

Photo Page 28 Ormondville School Group 1932

Much rugby and cricket were played on the recreation ground against teams, which came from Waipukurau, Norsewood Dannevirke and other places. Annual sports day always attracted large crowds and was attended by the Dannevirke Municipal Band. The outstanding event was the mile race which was always won by Alec Campbell a farmer from Tikokino, who was N.Z,’s champion miler, closely followed by my brother Raymond who was a strict vegetarian and never drank tea, and whose main source of income those days was his lucrative winnings. Charlie WEENINK was our outstanding sprinter and won many events as was Bob MARSH at wrestling and catch as catch can. At school, while the girls played hopscotch and skipping, we boys played marbles for keeps and the best players won pockets full of marbles. Then we would play a game called chippy. We started arming ourselves with homemade weapons such as bows and arrows, spears, slings, shanghais and shields etc., but MR CURD our headmaster soon put a stop to all of this before someone was seriously injured. Punishments were reserved for the headmaster and his head mistress though infant teachers sometimes when their patience was exhausted used their rulers to rap our knuckles, or we were made to go and stand in the corner with our hands behind us, though in earlier days WESTALL and WATSON used to make the big boys bend down and touch their toes. The nearest ‘me mates’ and I came to that humiliation was when we were caught smoking in the school grounds and were reported by some girls. Mr Curd frightened us four boys by brandishing a cruel-looking supple jack, but his heart softened and he made us stay in after school and write a hundred lines. I was the first to accomplish this imposition by tying two pencils together, thus halving the job. Our cigarettes we made our selves by using dry dock leaves wrapped around with toilet paper. Newspaper was prohibited for toilet use in our schools, though it was the common thing in most homes those days. Mr Curd was a heavy pipe smoker and always had his pipe during morning and afternoon playtimes. It was a great day when a maypole swing was erected in the school grounds and gave much pleasure to the kids except when they fell off and got hurt.

(Page 31 Photo Football team 1912

Mr Edgar Wills, Randolf Feirabend, Albert Benbow, John Olsen, Critch Price, Tom Price, Bob Groom, Howard Pedersen

Arthur O’Leary, Frank Forward, Alf Dockery, Walter Wiseman, George Packer, Bill O’ Leary, Stan Howes

Lewis Benbow, Finnemore Jessep, (?) Stewart Dockery, Ray Stansell)

Doctors in the district in those days were Dr GODFREY, who lived in Waipukurau, and whose district seemed to extend in all directions, and he traveled mostly on horseback. Dr ALLEN, resident in Ormondville, who died before 1900 and whose son, my namesake, ‘Damer’, went home to study medicine in England and in later years took up aviation, and in trying to fly across the Irish Sea to Northern Ireland disappeared into the sea and was never seen again. His mother and two sisters were still in Ormondville in 1912. Mr McGAVIN lived in Makotuku. I remember crying all night with toothache and next morning my father took me to him to have the offending molar extracted. No anaesthetic. My father stood behind my chair holding my hands while I just writhed in agony while the deed was done. But I felt better next day. Next was Dr VEITCH who resided in Norsewood with his pretty wife who nearly always accompanied him in their gig, with a smart trotting horse. During World War 1 I met Major VEITCH in a hospital in England, and he seemed delighted to see me.

101 years of Ormondville School and Village to 1939


Ormondville School and Village Seen

Through The Eyes of a Pupil


Under Mr W. H. SMITH the school had a fine rugby reputation and always acquitted itself well in the King’s Birthday Seven A-side Tournaments held in Dannevirke.

Contributed by Alan HOSKING, Dux 1929 and Scholarship.

Later taught at Ormondville before service overseas.

Retired Principal Wairoa College.

***NB there is a contribution by above and is available upon request to Elaine



Ormondville, pre-war, to a small boy was a comfortable place to live in as I suppose most small villages were the length and breadth of N.Z. We provided our own entertainment and through our eyes it was sufficient. I have no doubt that our parents kept a very watchful eye on what we did and the benevolent policeman of the time Constable RYAN did likewise. Jack RYAN also owned a large Alsatian dog and it was a great treat to be offered a ride on the dogs back round to the Post Office after school.

At school Percy SMALLEY was the Head Teacher. The original schoolhouse was next to the old school with a hedge between and an orchard at the back a very pleasant place in spring to sit and learn ones reading. “Pat and May” from the Whitcomb’s Progressive Reader was in fashion then.

Mr SMALLEY had a flair for producing end-of-year school concerts that are still talked about and in 1937 Snow White was produced in the Memorial Hall November 5th. All parents I am sure were involved in some way in the production and surely the hallmark of district co-operation. Also during 1937 the shelter shed by the hedge was built and the old one by the back door was converted into a bicycle stand.

At the end of the first term the Whetukura School closed its doors for the last time and a bus provided by DONGHI’S store brought the children to Ormondville daily — its first driver was Fred BERKAHN, who died in 1976.

Those in the infant room were always very interested in the comings and goings of the infant mistresses. I think that we were particularly lucky with the calibre of teachers that we had — the first that comes to mind is Mrs BOYLE — she had an endless succession of boiled sweets that were destined to make the most luckless character really try and learn his reading. Miss E. Coleman arrived to take Mrs BOYLES position

The first August 1933 saw milk being supplied for the first time to the school from the Rawhiti Dairy — Dannevirke. Seventy bottles arrived and were duly distributed in the five minutes before morning interval. Makotuku and Norsewood also received their quota. I presume that someone had decreed that this should happen and as the welfare state was being built to lofty heights this was just another block in the ediface.

On the 8th December when Percy SMALLEY presented his last operetta for the school “Sleeping Beauty” the full house sign was put up.

3rd July 1938/1939

Talk and rumours of war did not really affect us; it was to a child’s mind too remote. However, radio had not long been available (about six years) and I can remember listening to the news from 2ZH as the Napier station was then known and not really comprehending the significance of what I heard.

In June another chicken-pox epidemic swept the school lowering the attendance to 68%. It was at this time that fire gutted the hotel, OATES store and the shop belonging to the bakery. Fire in a small country village is really feared because of the economic disaster it can bring and as it did in this case set the seal on the towns decline. The HEWALDS owned the hotel and all small boys who were friendly with Ron lost a lovely passage in which to skate down. To those over 21 a temporary bar was set up in the tin shed across the road. I believe the bar top is still there today.

In early July the village was plastered with posters advertising a circus. On the morning of arrival by the twenty to eight trains from Waipukurau it was snowing. The rails were very icy and the train after many abortive attempts to reach the station came to rest in the cutting below SELBYS. Three elephants were unloaded and the train duly made its way up the incline under elephant power. The tent was erected in the paddock behind DONGHI’S store later to become HILL and BROOKS and now the H.B.F. After school a mad scramble to have a preview of what we could expect that night.

101 years of Ormondville HALFORD J.A.N. (Bert)

Refs Page 7 and 9
Photo Page 8 Looking West, by James WEBB, 1st January 1885

As an ex-pupil of Ormondville School, and now as the Chairman of the Hawke’s Bay Education Board I have had the honour of being asked to write the preface to this Centennial Book.

Education in Hawke’s Bay originated with the missionaries who tried to establish schools wherever possible. Te Aute College is an example of their desire to provide educational institutions, even in the earliest days of settlement.

In the late l850’s a system was introduced where by a levy of one shilling per acre was made on the sale of all Crown land. These monies were vested in the Provincial Governments for the establishment, maintenance, and servicing of schools.

However, it was the Education Act of 1877, which laid the foundation for our present system. It provided land, buildings, equipment, and replaced the previously unsatisfactory staffing system, divided the country into Education Board districts, and made provision for the first School Committee elections to take place on the 10th of January 1878.

The Hawke’s Bay Education Board extended from the East Cape in the north to Woodville in the south and the school committees of the various schools within this area elected the first members to the Board on the 4th of April 1878.

Those elected were: -

Chairman: Hon. J. D. Ormond; Secretary and Inspector:

Henry Hill: Clerk, Treasurer and

Assistant Inspector: G. T. Fannin.

Members: Miss Herbert, the Rev. D. Sidey, Capt. W. R. Russell, Messrs. F. Sutton, G. E. Lee, R. Harding, J. R. Williams, S. Locke.

At this time, 1878, the total roll was 1,789, in 1915, 12,616, and today, 100 years later, 35,000.

Over the last 100 years school Committees have played an important part in the growth of the Educational system. In the earlier years they had considerable authority vested in them: especially in the hiring of staff, and the day-to-day administration of the school. As communications improved, and staff vacancies were advertised throughout the country, the authority of the Committees diminished. Today their activities, in the main, are confined to the day-to-day management of buildings, grounds, and expenditure of

“Education Board Grants”. Without a doubt an active Committee working in close conjunction with the Principal provides a sound base for the smooth running of an efficient school. The active support of lay people is just as necessary today as it was in the early formative years of our Education system.

In those early days, an Inspector was responsible for seeing that teachers and pupils carried out those aspects of the syllabus to qualify for the subsidy payable by Government. Today he is involved in the guidance of teachers, the provision of on-going training and the examination of teachers for purposes of promotion. At the end of 1936, the Proficiency Examination was abolished and legislation was passed to substitute internal assessment of Free place Certificates for progression to Secondary schools.

From the old days of long desks with anything up to 60 and more pupils in a large room that may or may not have had more than one teacher to teach them with very limited equipment, poor heating if any, and the limited syllabus with emphasis on “reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic”, we come to the modern classroom with considerable variety of equipment and wider coverage of subjects. We moved from the dual wooden desk to the single desk and more recently to the open plan type school with furniture and fittings to suit. The modern visual aids equipment, movie and film projectors and overhead projectors add a new dimension to the teaching scene, a great improvement on the blackboard preparation of earlier times when the only visual aid was more likely to be a home poster. Pupils today enjoy the use of the school swimming pool, playground equipment, science bits and the like — things that generally did not exist in my days at school. I am sure that you, like me, get great satisfaction from watching and enjoying these amenities including our children and grandchildren I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone connected with these celebrations, knowing that we will all enjoy ourselves and will always remember the Ormondville School Centennial.

Thank you all.

J.A. N. (Bert) HALFORD, M.B.E., J.P.,


Hawke’s Bay Education Board.

101 years of Ormondville GANDAR L.W.

Photo Page 10 “Endeavour” travelling through Ormondville 1978 (Courtesy R J MEYER).

Ref Page 11

Minister’s Message

Office of Minister of Education,


School centennials are typical of all reunions in that they naturally involve remembering and sharing past experiences. It is per haps ironic that in such a forward-looking age so much enjoyment comes from recalling the past.

One hundred years ago Ormondville School began providing education as one of the first schools in the district. The length of community service is even more significant when you consider that our national system of education and your school share the same length of service.

I am sure that many of you at the celebrations for Ormondville School will be discussing, perhaps with a touch of amazement, the changes, which have taken place in primary education since your school days. Primary education has indeed changed greatly and we must surely be aware on occasions like this that the progress achieved has only been made with the help of generations of past teachers, school committee members and the goodwill of parents and pupils.

This is a time to thank people for past performances, but just as importantly to plan for bigger and better things in the future.

With my best wishes for an enjoyable and successful centenary go my congratulations to everyone who has participated in the life of Ormondville School. I regret that I am not able to be with you at this time.


Minister of Education.

101 Years of Ormondville GUNDRIE Constance Rebecca

Photo page 21 Mrs Constance Rebecca Gundrie

Reference also page 21.

Mrs Constance Rebecca Gundrie


Born Constance Rebecca Skelton in England 1840 she immigrated to New Zealand in 1860 landing at Dunedin. She married John Philip Osborne and had a son Philip St. John Osborne born in 1867. Widowed shortly after she later married Walter William Gundrie in 1870.

The Gundries moved north and W. W. Gundrie held timber licenses at Brown Owl Hutt Valley, Pigeon Bush and Morrisons Bush in the Wairarapa before moving to the Ormondville district. He operated sawmills on S. Brabazon’s property, Garfield Road and also on Gundries Line.

In 1878 Mrs Gundrie started the first school in Ormondville what is said to have been a hut on the corner opposite the hotel.

She had previously conducted a private school for young ladies in Dunedin. Her second family Florence, Walter and Beatrice were all foundation pupils of Ormondville School.

In 1888 Mrs Gundrie and her children moved to Te Aute taking over the store, which remained in the family until 1970.

Mrs Gundries first son Philip Osborne remained in Ormondville as a shingle maker. He later married Janet Russell a former pupil of Ormondville School and a Pupil Teacher. Janet’s brother James Russell was dux in 1902 being awarded Hawke’s Bay and Victoria. Scholarships and he later became Director of Education in Suva. Florence Gundrie ran the Te Aute store after her mother’s death. Walter Gundrie, Jnr. became a saddler in Tikokino for 17 years then ~ Martinborough until his death.

101 Years of Ormondville Foundation Pupils

Ref Page 22

First Inspector’s Report-Available upon request to Elaine

October 15th, 1878.

H. HILL, B.A.,

Inspector of Schools.

Ref Page 22

Foundation Pupils

8th July 1878:

Charles Baines, Daniel Barnes, William Barnes, Thomas Fothergill, George Fothergill,

Walter Gundrie, James Packer, Thomas Packer, Allen Plank, George Plank, Joseph Howes,

Harriet Baines, Florence Gundrie, Beatrice Gundrie, Elizabeth Herbert, Julien Packer, Angela Plank.

101 years of Ormondville Damer REDWARD part 2

***All Abridged by Elaine

Ref pages 31 to 34

I well remember. BILLY FITZGERALD, a gaunt young man who lived in Makotuku and who had a beautiful deep bass voice, often entertained at socials, and was always requested to sing ‘Asleep in the Deep’ followed by ‘Old Man River’. My own talent was on the mouth organ, which was a present from dear old Mrs BEALE, who had noticed me on occasions gazing through the windows of her shop at that wonderful treasure. I saw her pick it up. Then she came outside, saying, ‘Here, sonny, is something you may like to play with! I was astounded and almost speechless, but I expressed my delight and thanks to her for her kindness. I had already learned to play the instrument on one that I had found in my Christmas stocking, so I there and then entertained her to quite a number of tunes. I can see her beaming smile in my memories.

The spirit of adventure had its day, and we boys had to have our turn, especially after reading such stories as ‘Robinson Crusoe’, ‘Swiss Family Robinson’, ‘Jack Harkaway in the Transvaal’ etc. Alex BAINES, George (Gorry) Packer and myself, got our heads together and discussed the matter, and one fine autumn weekend, with the consent of our parents, we set off at an early hour, armed with plenty of tucker in our school bags, Gorry and I with a fishing spear each, and Alex with the family pea rifle, which he managed to sneak from its hook over the kitchen mantelpiece without getting caught. Our destination was first to climb to the top of what we knew as the Rocky Edge; a high rocky long hill east of Kopua, then cross what was known to us as the Waiko River, which flows into the Manawatu thereabouts, and we would find ourselves in the Maori Block, covered with beautiful native bush, about one thousand acres or more in extent, and yet to be milled, cleared and settled for farming.

How wonderful fresh cool water can be to the famished. We ate some of our provisions, rested for a while, and then Alex shot a beautiful big rainbow trout, which he carried in his bag for the remainder of our journey. No fishing license either. Well, we wandered around the beautiful forest, admiring tree ferns and other shrubs, and also the tall kahikateas (white pine), matai, rimu, totara, main. hinau and other trees, when we suddenly realised that we had better be making off for home.

By DAMER S. REDWARD, born 1896.

101 years at Ormondville DASSLER and HOWES and School Bus

Ref pages 36 and 37

The School Bus

The School Bus service has become a familiar feature of rural New Zealand and has led to the demise of many a country school and the appearance of consolidated schools. The first mention of consolidation of schools in this district is mentioned in a speech made at the 25th anniversary of the Te Uri School in 1936. Strange to relate the Whetukura School with a roll of 20 closed first in 1938 and the children taken by school bus to Ormondville School. It was not until 1944, with a roll of 6 pupils, that Te Uri School closed. By this time the Mangahei Road provided access to Awariki School and only 2 or 3 pupils came to Ormondville.

HILL & BROOKS, Storekeepers of Ormondville, purchased a 1937 Chevrolet bus and began the first school bus service run on contract. It traveled 10 miles out to the Williams property as the last pick up point. Since 1965 the service began including the Ahiweka Road and since 1974 has included part of the Maunga Road. The Store continued the bus service, although under different owners until 1952 when Mr M. GURZINSKI bought the service to run it as a private concern. In 1964 Mr Ian HARRIS bought the bus service and with a 1948 Ford V8 ran it until 1966 when he purchased a 1949 Bedford. After 10 years he relinquished the service and in 1974 the Education Board took over the administration and the Department of Education supplied the buses. In 1975 a new Bedford bus was provided and the present driver is Mrs Myla EDMONDS.

Drivers — 1938 — F. BERKAHN, V. WATTS, G. HILL, L. BROOKS,


M. GURZINSKI, I. HARRIS and Mrs M. EDMONDS. Today the pupils who travel to Ormondville from the Whetukura, Waikopiro and Te Uri district form 66 percent of the roll of Ormondville School. Good roads and better transport facilities mean that rural children will continue to travel to central points for their education. With rising costs of administration and equipment even more consolidation is possible.

The records show that the school bus run has been plagued by the vagaries of the weather and things mechanical. The school bus children on the whole, enjoy their trip. There are times when threats of being put off for misbehaviour have resulted in good behaviour — for a few days anyway!

Contributed by Mrs MYLA EDMONDS.

101 years of Ormondville Henry HILL

Ref: -Pages 37 and 38

Page 37 Photo Henry Hill B.A., F G S 1849-1933

Mr Henry Hill, B.A., F.G.S., 1849-1933

Inspector of Schools, Hawkes Bay — 1878-1915.

Secretary to the Hawkes Bay Education Board — 1878-1891.

Member of the Napier Hospital Board, Electric Power Board, Napier High Schools Board and Napier Borough Council. Mayor of Napier 1917-1919.

No history of Hawke’s Bay Schools is complete (without mention of Mr Henry Hill, Inspector of Schools under the newly constituted Board of Education in Hawke’s Bay — whose appointment was made 100 years ago.

Born at Lye near Stourbridge, Worcestershire, England in 1849 he trained as a pupil teacher in his native town. He furthered his training at Cheltenham College and taught at Nottingham, England.

He came to New Zealand in 1873 under the auspices of the Canterbury Provincial Council to help organise the education system there.

He started the “New Zealand Schoolmaster” — a journal he edited for several years. He was the prime mover in the formation of the first ‘Teachers National Association’ — the forerunner of the ‘New Zealand Educational Institute’.

In 1878 Mr Hill was appointed Inspector of Schools, Hawkes Bay — a post he held for 37 years — for 13 of these he filled the associated position of Secretary to the Education Board. He relinquished the Secretary ship on account of the increase in examining work. He personally examined and promoted all children from Standard 2 upwards — from Woodville to East Cape.

He followed the famous William Colenso in directing education in Hawke’s Bay and it is interesting to note they shared similar interests in botany. He was a geologist of no mean ability specialising in Vulcanology. As one of the first to climb Mt Ruapehu he was responsible for naming several of the volcano’s peaks.

His district extended from Woodville to the East Cape —the ranges to the coast — and he traversed it on horseback being away from home for weeks at a time.

After his retirement from the Inspector ship he was a member of the Napier Borough Council and Mayor of Napier 1917-1919. He remained an active participant in civic affairs to his death.

Henry. A contemporary as a vigorous, stimulating and impressive personality described Hill. He is remembered by his (older) students as a kindly man. His visits were a treat to be looked forward to and he never failed to impress. “He had a practical method of teaching the alphabet,” recalls Damer Redward. “‘A’ is an Apple pie, ‘B’ bit it, ‘C’ craved for it, ‘D’ danced for it. “ etc. His interest in the children was paramount and at all times he stressed the need for improved teaching methods, improved equipment and as early as 1915 he criticized the School buildings and equipment in Ormondville as being old and out of date. The fact that another 45 years passed before the building was replaced is no reflection on Mr. Hill.

Above all he was a teacher, devoted to his profession and the welfare of future generations of New Zealanders. This remarkable man is remembered by thousands of Hawke’s Bay schoolchildren of yesteryear.

Courtesy:Henry Hill School, Onekawa, Napier. Cyclopaedia of New Zealand, 1906.

101 Years of Ormondville by B E PEDERSEN to 1944

Ref pages to Pages 42 to


Another source of amusement was the front room of the STUDD house (now where the SAILS live). This had seen very August days as the local courthouse shifted from where the pension flats now are. 1939

Talk and rumours of war did not really affect us; it was to a child’s mind too remote. However, radio had not long been available (about six years) and I can remember listening to the news from 2ZH as the Napier station was then known and not really comprehending the significance of what I heard.

Another source of amusement was the front room of the STUDD house (now where the SAILS live). This had seen very August days as the local courthouse shifted from where the pension flats now are. The front room had a boxing ring set up in it and this provided many hours of amusement as far as we were concerned. In September the new Settlers Arms Hotel was rebuilt — the Form I and II boys were taken to the building site and the techniques of building was explained by the foreman.

War was also declared in September and from memory this appeared to have no effect on us, as I have stated we were too young to appreciate the significance of such a declaration. What did loom large on our horizon was the fact that in 1940 the country would be celebrating its 100 years. Posters appeared in every shop in Dannevirke and Waipukurau advertising the Centennial Exhibition. The forthcoming event was further strengthened when we as a school were taken across to the chairman’s house, Mr H. J. NEWLING 2nd October to view the Maori Meeting House carved by Norsewood’s Mrs Jane BRINKLEY.

At the end of the school year Percy SMALLEY was transferred to Papatawa and Miss COLEMAN also left.


At the beginning of the school year we were faced with a complete change of school staff. Mr DUFF as head teacher and Miss FREEMAN as infant mistress moved in and the school settled down to its usual routine. I still have vivid recollections of listening to a record sung by Oscar Natzka called “The Dragon with the Fourteen Tails” all the infants used to sit on the mat shivering in anticipation. The other vivid memory of this time was the use of the spare room and streamers tied to the light and all the infants trying valiantly to remember the intricacies of the Maypole Dance!

On the 28th March the school was closed because of the death of the Prime Minister, M. J. SAVAGE.

On the 4th April the school log reads “the lawnmowers have just been resharpened”. Not exactly an earth shattering pronouncement but one that conjures up memories of school pupils pushing a mower for five minutes a time up and down an acre section. Those in the senior room used to hope that their time would come during mental arithmetic or some similar subject that was hated. The large clock at the back of the senior room used to be infuriatingly slow.

The 7th June was a red-letter day as a sewing machine was purchased. It was a Singer treadle and took pride of place in the infant room under the windows looking towards the tennis courts. The senior girls used it on Tuesday afternoons while we in the junior room were put to work on French knitting and not exactly told to keep out of the way but this was implied. The other infant room occupation was sewing raffia round milk bottle tops —these either made teapot stands or raffia balls — the latter use I have never quite managed to work out.

In the middle term cocoa was made for those staying at school for lunch the measurement of cocoa and milk to water was a constant source of puzzlement to all those who mixed it. On a cold winters day it was very pleasant to drink this brew while standing by the square iron stove in our room.

A frequent visitor to the school was a large genial man, Mr E. HURDSFIELD, agricultural adviser; he was affectionately known as Hirdy-Girdy. Mr HURDSFIELD brought a profound knowledge of his job to us and always seemed to hint at a world beyond that we knew little of. No school inspector ever had the same manner and simply came and went with little disruption to our school routine.

Flag raising ceremonies were held every Friday morning outside the infant room. The school was lined up in six rows and while the flag was duly raised the school saluted and sang the National Anthem.

On the 16th September an old boy of the school and dux, commenced relieving duties. Mr Alan HOSKING took the place of Miss FREEMAN who was absent on sick leave. The notable thing about Alan’s short stay with us was the appearance of a mild drinking chart on the board. We suddenly discovered that the competitive spirit worked wonders with those including myself who hated milk. On the 27th September he left Ormondville for military service. Two years ago he retired as principal of Wairoa College.

Most will remember the ditch at the bottom of the grounds by the tennis courts. This area provided endless hours of amusement for those of us who owned toy cars and trucks. Roads were carved on the sides and everyone had their garage.

MR DUFF finished as Head at the end of the year.


A new head teacher arrived, Mr Chas. LEGGETT, tall, thin and wearing glasses. He noted in the log that on the 5th February a dam was constructed in the local creek, a distinctly successful effort, little did he realise that we had had many years of practice at the art.

School picnics were events to be looked forward to and the ones held at Anzac Park in Norsewood were no exception. Not only was it a day off school but also a chance to test our swimming ability in the corrugated iron pool. On this particular occasion the pass rate was as follows: 440 yards, 3 passed; 220 yards, 2; 100 yards, 2; 75 yards, 2; 50 yards, 5; 25 yards, 6. Not a bad effort considering that our swimming hole at best was only 15 yards long.

The war loomed larger on our horizon than previously because of the number of patriotic functions held at the school to raise money. Penny concerts and copper trails were favourite activities. On the 4th May a letter was received from Mr P. CUTFORTH thanking the school for its services during the year and authorizing

Mr LEGGETT to spend 10/- on sports equipment or books; That today would not buy the dust jacket or a pair of laces. It was about this time that apples were delivered to the school and these were given out each day.

Messrs E. W. Leach, Woodville, and J. Galloway, Norsewood. The groups selected for the shield competition were:

1st group, Valery Cload, Ernie Cload, Merle Christie.

2nd group, Arthur Bolton, Mary Castles, Bruce Christie.


The war was the major talking point in the village and with America now in the conflict it was felt that all would soon be over. “Send offs” to local boys going overseas became a regular feature of social life in the township. At presentation time before supper it was a constant source of puzzlement to us why everyone laughed when the speaker on handing a parcel to the departing person would say, “You will find in there most things to keep you out of trouble”.

When Japan bombed Darwin the committee felt that it was getting a little too close for comfort and so on the 28th March a working-bee of parents dug 12 trenches under the pine trees by the dental clinic for the use of the school. One local resident was known to have constructed an elegant air-raid shelter that was equipped with enough tinned food to last for at least two years. Rumour has it that he also practiced wheeling his wife to the entrance in a wheelbarrow!

Dr ANDERSON and her entourage were annual visitors at the school — the usual stories circulated about the visit — three injections were to be given — you had to strip for an examination etc.

On the 23rd September the Governor-General, Sir Cyril NEWALL visited Norsewood. Standard I - Form II travelled by bus and car to stand in rows in the Norsewood Town Hall as the weather was atrocious. He duly appeared some forty minutes late to yells and cheers of his captive audience.


Another year started and to us the war was no nearer completion than it had been the year before. Patriotic fund raising still continued and from a ‘penny concert’ £15.4.0. was raised — Mr LEGGETT opened a National Savings account for the school. On the 6th July GENERAL FREYBERG passed through Ormondville by train — the occasion was thought to warrant a trip by the whole school to the station to see the great man go through at 3.30.

On the 17th July three pupils, Frank FORWARD, Donald and Colin REISTERER were taken to Dannevirke for the Ross Shield trials —history does not relate whether any of them made the team.

Earlier in the year an adequate supply of clay was ‘discovered’ in a bank on Bucklands Road. Two digging expeditions produced sufficient material for all classes to try their hand at coil pottery. We sat outside on long benches producing what we considered to be masterpieces! On the 7th August 250 bricks donated by

Mr Dick CHAPMAN for a pottery kiln were duly collected and in the third term it was built in the horse paddock behind the girls’ toilets. I can’t remember how many pieces survived the uneven firing, on reflection, probably not many.

At the end of the second term Miss BURTON who had been with us since 1942 was farewelled and

Miss GILMOUR replaced her, coming from the South Island a week late owing to shipping difficulties.

The annual school concert was held on the 3rd December, the proceeds again going to Patriotic Funds, £16.15.0. being raised.

The school and in fact the district was particularly fortunate in having Mrs H. 0. BAINES as the local correspondent for the Dannevirke Evening News. All events that took place in the district were well and faithfully reported. The newspaper as a means of communication played a vital part in those days and it was important to have someone of integrity to report and comment on the daily happenings of the village.


Dental nurses came and went with monotonous regularity but in 1944 Nurse BUCKLEY arrived. She soon became a firm favourite with the pupils. She later married in the district.

In June two folding shelves were built in the senior room under the windows — these were to prove invaluable for craft work, also for science (to hold glass jars with beans valiantly trying to grow from a water-logged environment) to holding piles of exercise books that Mr LEGGETT had marked or was about to do so.The 14th July saw the purchase of carpenters tools and when the stove in the spare room had been shifted by Mr ALEX THOMPSON, Norsewood the room was duly set up as a woodwork area.

In the third term a new film-strip projector was purchased and many a pleasant half hour was spent watching educational topics unfold before our eyes.

101 years of Ormondville 1944-1977

Ref pages 47 to 54

Rationing of all descriptions was a part of our daily lives, coupons were required for tea, sugar, clothing and also petrol. I think you were allowed four gallons per month for an average sized car. If, however, an emergency arose, hospital, dentist etc. the postmaster, Mr Lance FIELDS would issue a special permit.

On the 27th July the school went to Norsewood to see the Walt Disney film ‘Bambi’, this was a great treat and eagerly awaited for weeks beforehand, we weren’t disappointed.

Another favourite occupation was to climb through and along the hedge that bounded the school with the side road by NEWLINGS. Through constant use the branches inside the hedge had been worn smooth by the many hands that had swung from them. However, owing to an accident when someone fell from the top and broke their arm we were forbidden ever to climb in the hedge again. Woe betide anyone when waving branches gave them away. Mr LEGGETT’S eyes never deceived him!


At the beginning of 1945 it was becoming obvious that the Allies must eventually win the war and when on the 2nd May VE day was announced loud was the cheering. A special celebration was held in the Memorial Hall during the May holidays.

When 0n the 15th August at about 11.15 a.m. Mrs LEGGETT came across from the house and held a whispered conversation with Mr LEGGETT we soon guessed, and it proved to be correct that the war was over. I doubt whether there was a throat that did not have a lump in it that morning. All of us had in some way been affected by the war that had become part of our daily lives. There was no work completed for the rest of that day.

And so to the last term where it was found that the roll had increased to 80 pupils. Standard one was brought into the senior room and by Labour Weekend the roll had climbed to 84. Despite numerous appeals to the Education Board an extra assistant was not appointed as none were available and so 1945 came to an end. Mr LEGGETT departed for another school and we in Form II went our separate ways to various secondary schools.

Page 48 Ormondville School Football XV Photo



Page 49

The New Ormondville School


R W WARD 1958-1963

By far the most significant change in the hundred years of Ormondville School’s existence was the final abandoning of the old school and the move into the new one in 1960. I can well remember our arrival in Ormondville to take up a dual appointment myself as Principal and Mrs WARD as assistant in the lower standards. It was a cold wet May in 1959 and after obtaining the key we waded across the surface water into the school made a cup of tea in the icy cold staff room then tried to cross the swampy ground to the school house which was being renovated pending our arrival. Fortunately Ted and Dorothy McMILLAN (the School Committee Chairman and his wife) had heard of our plight and whisked us up to their place in Whetukura for a hot meal and a pleasant afternoon, the beginning of a warm friendship which has lasted to this day. As our furniture had been mislaid by the Railways Dept. we went for a short holiday to Gisbome after staying in the Ormondville hotel for a few days, then collected our three children from relatives and moved into the unfinished house.

Within weeks we realised the school was not fit to house children and after a wet winter during which one teacher and several children went down with pneumonia we called for a Board Inquiry. This resulted in the promise of a new school as soon as funds became available — a compromise the committee and I could not accept. In the August holidays, supported by the Member of Parliament for our Electorate, now

Sir Keith HOLYOAKE, we took a deputation to wait on the Minister of Education —

Mr P. SKOGLUND. We were well briefed and well primed and must have presented a convincing case because we won the day and had an assurance that a special grant would be made for a new school. After all if the water runs down the inside of the classroom walls and forms great pools on the classroom floor where classes of up to 56 pupils were jammed we had a fairly good case by anyone’s standards.Next term brought a District Senior and irate Staff Inspector on my back but again we won the day and convinced them that we had acted only in the best interests of our long suffering pupils.

The new school was built promptly on its present sunny site and in 1960 we all moved in. That year the move was celebrated by an 82nd anniversary to mark the changeover. A highlight of this was the burning down of the toilets in the Domain by vandals and a prompt turnout of the local Volunteer Fire Brigade in the middle of the Anniversary Dinner!

Teachers tend to remember people especially pupils rather than events. There are two kinds that stand out well, the very good ones and the very bad. We’d developed a useful approach to language teaching using children’s own school interests and some very interesting incidents are well remembered. Making hydrogen filled balloons to determine wind direction and force had a few humorous moments but the discovery of dead frogs in the nature corner, escaped geckos which plagued Mrs BAINES our caretaker and sundry animal innards smuggled aboard Mr GURINSKI’S school bus by over enthusiastic students gave everyone cause to reflect on the value of the scheme but provided plenty of language work.

All that remains of the old school are the giant redwoods at the front gate, and the memories of the pupils and teachers who passed through both the old and the new buildings. I’ve seen many of them since. Fine young men and women, many now married with families of their own, and citizens who have taken their place well in our society. Ormondville School in its hundred years of service to the local community can well be proud of its contribution to modern society and I for one look back with great satisfaction on the years we were privileged to spend with the residents and pupils of the district.

W. WARD 1958-1963


Page 52 Reference Ormondville School In The

Nineteen Seventies written by A.B. EVANS-Principal 1978

***NB by Elaine this has been abridged and is available upon request and consists of overview of school and events etc..

“We recognised the house because Mr George FAULKNER, maintenance officer for the Board had contacted us earlier expressing hopes that the drainage, new septic tank and excavations in the back yard would be completed before our arrival from Ngatapa. This was not to be. The house, built on a frog pond continues to have recurring drainage problems.”

101 Years of Ormondville Page 54to page 58

At the 1977 Makotuku Ormondville Sports Club Day we won Poras Relay for the tenth time in succession for an award presented by Mr George RUAKERE and now since his death entitled “Poras Memorial Cup”. Page

Page 55 Ref

Dux Board and Scholarships 1900 - 1955

1900 Olaf NIKOLAISON — £50 ($100) Hawke’s Bay Scholarship.

1901 Susan WEST — £50 ($100) Hawke’s Bay Scholarship.

1902 James RUSSELL — £50 ($100) Hawke’s Bay Scholarship plus Victoria Scholarship.

1903 Louise WILSON — 2nd in Scholarship plus William Grant Scholarship.

1904 Annie WEST — Hawke’s Bay Scholarship.

1905 John ADAMSON.

1906 Albert A. PRICE.

1907 Violet BENBOW.

1908 Doris VIGERS.

1909 Alan WILSON.

1910 Winifred GROOM.

Christian NIKOLAISON — Hawke’s Bay Scholarship.

Alan WILSON — Junior National Scholarship.

1911 Ivan PEDERSEN.

1912 Elsie THOMASEN.

1913 Christine THOMASEN — Junior National Scholarship.

1914 Dorothy PRICE.

1915 Elizabeth THOMASEN.

1916 Gydine NIKOLAISON.

1917 F. HOSKING.

1918 Arthur BAYLISS.

1919 Nancy WILSON — Junior National Scholarship.

1920 Kenneth BAYLISS.

Norris Turley — Junior National Scholarship.

Ethel Glover.

1921 Dulcie NIKOLAISON — Senior Scholarship.

1922 Weston MORRAH.

1923 Cecil NEWLING.

1924 Miriam REDWARD.

1925 Hector McKENZIE.

1926 Trevor BAYLISS.

1927 Stanley LORRIGAN.

1928 Laura FOUNTAIN.

1929 Alan B. HOSKING — Scholarship.

1930 Cedric FOUNTAIN.

1931 Ruth HOWES.

1932 Douglas MCLELLAN.

1933 Rona HARVEY.

1934 Leslie MITCHELL.

1935 Lawrence HOWES.

1936 Miriam HOWES.

1937 Zeta SMALLEY.


1939 Winifred ANDERSEN.

1940 Ngaire WILLIAMS.

1941 Margaret BENBOW.

1942 Pamela HOWES.

1943 Donald RIESTERER.

1944 Ngaire GENSHAW.

1945 Mary CASTLES.

1946 Carol WILLIAMS.

1947 Maurice OLSEN.

1948 Merle CHRISTIE.

1949 Rodney SEYMOUR.

1950 Valerie TAYLOR.

1951 Nancy HOWES.


1952 Christian OLSEN.

1953 Patricia BENBOW.

1954 Aileen MAHONEY.

1955 Joanne MITCHELL.

Award discontinued.

The Home & School Association was first discussed at a School Committee meeting in September 1954. Messrs DAVIDSON and SELBY proposed “ .a Home & School Parent Association be formed”. At a special meeting in the Hall on March 25, 1955 a Home & School Association was formed. Unfortunately records are not available as to the first officers.


Ref Page 56

School Committee

1978 — Chairman — A. BOLTON.


The Ormondville School Committee joins with the Centennial Committee in extending a welcome to all visitors to the school and district for the Centennial celebrations

A.BOLTON, Chairman.

First recorded School Committee

‘Hawke’s Bay Herald’ 30 Jan. 1879


Ref Page 57

School Committees

From 1878 until 1914 School Committees had an important function in that they had the general management of education matters in their school districts. The log records all householders meetings and the Secretary wrote his minutes in the School Log Book. The members of the Committee visited the school constantly inspecting the building and examining the work being done. On 6 August 1886 Mr C. Rogers suddenly disappeared from Ormondville overnight leaving his goats tethered on the lawn at the Schoolhouse. Rev. Anthony S. Webb, Hon. Sec., and School Committee write the account in the Log Book. Ref Page 58

Teachers 1878-1978

Head Teachers:




















Mr A. J. W. DUFF




Mr A. 0. K. SIM



































































































101 years at Ormondville Waikopiro Settlement

Part 2

Ref pages 59 to 62

Waikopiro Settlement

In 1893 14 members of the Small Farms Association at Ormondville applied to the Government for land on the Waikopiro Block. Members were co-operative labourers who had worked in the area under the construction system introduced in 1891 by Richard John Seddon then Minister of Works. The railway construction completed and bush contracts not readily available these men did not wish to follow the others to camps further afield.

As economic conditions were improving in 1890 steps were being taken by Government to assist settle more land for farming and in 1894 £2,500 ($5,000) was voted to purchase part of the Waikopiro Block and £1,000 ($2,000) was voted to purchase the Ngapaeruru Block.

By 1896 eight families had been settled and six more were building their homes. The Hawke’s Bay Crown Lands Office administered the settlement and subsidised grassing and other improvements to £857.0.0 by 31st December 1896. Bush contracts were let to settlers to enable them to earn some cash, as the average wage was only about five shillings and nine pence per day.

Roads were constructed over very broken and unstable country and in 1895 it was recorded that one cutting had a side height of 58 feet.

The chief surveyor Eric Gold Smith recorded in 1897 the necessity in new settlements for better roads to progress and retain the settlers on the land. He also noted the necessity for a bridge over the Manawatu River to give access from the railway at Ormondville.

By 1897 nine settlers were in the area to become Whetukura Village on a total area of 52 acres.

(Photo page 60 Slab hut on Chadwick’s “Moastone” Station.)

Prior to the opening up of the land for settlement, there was just a rough track cut through the bush from Ormondville to Whetukura. Travelling over it was a nightmare even in daylight but if darkness overtook the traveller he just had to stay where he was, light a fire and wait for the morning. All stores were taken in on packhorses when procurable. When horses were unprocurable the settlers themselves had to take their place and carry the loads on their own backs. Many a load has slipped from a pack-saddle while the horse was crossing a particularly steep papa face leading down to the worse creek on the track and the precious tea, sugar and flour fallen into the water. One can imagine the disappointment of the settlers longing for fresh groceries finding them on arrival wet and almost useless.

It is a wonder how the pioneer women managed so well and were so hospitable when all their cooking was done under primitive conditions frequently in camp ovens or even over open fires. Pioneer housewives were not easily defeated. Later the bush track was widened to six feet, which was a help to the settlers, and still later a 14-foot road was formed.

Eric Gold Smith, Chief Surveyor, reported on the Waikopiro Co-operative Road Works as follows:

“Thirteen contracts for bush felling in the Waikopiro improved farm settlement were completed. Average rates of wages earned wet and dry have been 5/9d (58c) . . . there have been some low earnings. One party earned 20/- ($2) per acre and another 35/- ($3.50) per acre. The Commissioner reports the men as being unaccustomed to felling bush. 1895 — a sum of $2232.60 was spent on road formation to open up 14,000 acres. The road on both sides of the Manawatu River from plateau to bridge site necessitating very heavy side cuttings in papa rock and the bridge over the river was not built until after 1900. A pedestrian swing bridge a few chains down the river from the present bridge anchored to a totara tree on one side and a stout post on the other.” This replaced the totara felled across the river and the only “bridge” up to this time.

The road from Ormondville to Whetukura became a sea of slush in winter and a bullock in Jack Smiths team fell and died in the mud. Pedestrians walked on a narrow slippery track between the road and the creek. Riding from Whetukura to Mangapuaka was along a bridle track. It is related that when

Mrs W. Castles broke her leg in a fall from her horse 5 p.m. one evening it took six men carrying her on a stretcher until 5 a.m. next day to reach the Manawatu River.

During those early years Waikopiro settlers were usually without capital and many became discouraged by bad roads and poor markets and gave up the struggle. They sold their sections for a trifling sum and turned to other employment. Those who remained bought out neighbours and built up good holdings. As in most settlements of that period the original size sections were too small to support a family. The Waikopiro land is for the main part rich limestone formation never affected by flood and rarely by drought.

Nearly all the homes in the district were built from native timber milled in the district. Even ‘the bricks for “Moastone” were molded on the property. Other material such as roofing iron was packed in from Ormondville, as was all the early farm equipment.

The Ellingham boys, J. W. and T. W. became blade Shearer’s of renown. Along with many others from Ormondville they travelled around Southern Hawke’s Bay shearing in 12-aside sheds for 10 days on end. T. W. Ellingham (ringer) could turn out over 200 in a day while J. W. Ellingham’s tally was 150 per day.

In 1914 the Waikopiro settlers became some of the first shareholders in the Hawke’s Bay Meat Company Ltd. Mr R. S. Chadwick was a Director from 1915 and Chairman for 33 years. Mr J. W. Ellingham was a Director from 1917 to 1946. The formation of this company at Whakatu was a great boon to the farmers. Prior to this time Fred Selby had drafted the stock, travelling to Te Uri on horseback drafting all the way taking two to three days. This stock was then sent to Gear Meat Company Ltd. at Petone.

J. Smith was an early carrier who carted in roofing iron, metal and stores after delivering totara posts, firewood, wool and other farm produce to the railway station at Ormondville.

Mr A. Lucas, a market gardener of Whetukura, delivered mail on foot in the Waikopiro and Te Un districts after collecting it from Ormondville Post Office three times a week from 1893 until 1898 for 5-0-0 ($10.00) per annum. When the Whetukura Post Office was opened in the Store in 1901 the mail contractor was A. Hegh who drove from Ormondville to Te Un where he stayed over night and returned to Ormondville next day. The Whetukura Post Office Store provided postal facilities and also contained a small telephone exchange catering for private line owners in the Waikopiro and Te Un districts. After the Post Office Store was destroyed by fire in 1916 all services were transferred to Ormondville. The store was owned at various times by William Copeland, J. Muhleison and Dan Riggir.

From 1910 until the 1930s Dan Riggir using a four-horse team carrying mail and delivering stores serviced the district. Later Charlie Schmidt operated a carrying business, which provided a service to Ormondville and Norsewood.

Walter Clegg and later G. Chapman owned a blacksmith shop.

The Waikopiro Institute was built in 1901 and provided a social centre for the district until 1975.

The Beatty and Long Creamery built in 1901 and managed by Bill Rendle was in use until 1904 when the Nikolaison “Alpha” factory commenced a collection service. All that remains of the creamery are a few blocks of concrete in a paddock on the north side of the road.

In course of time some of the dairy farmers sold out to their neighbours who in turn sold out and now the holdings are quite large compared with the original State farms. The majority of settlers in Waikopiro today are sheep and cattle farmers on the very fertile land and little remains of the dense bush and scrub in which the wild cattle and pigs used to roam.

Descendants of early settlers are still on original sections the families having survived the lack of medical care and amenities most people take for granted today.

For the settlers beyond the Manawatu River access has improved with all homes being served by telephone and electricity, modern cars and other road transport have made the distance from markets relatively unimportant.

Photo Page 60 Slab Hut on CHADWICK’S “Moastone” Station.

(Photo Page 62 Bush Camp-“Moastone”).

101 years of Ormondville Cave Farm CASTLES J C

Ref Pages 63 to 70

Cave Farm (J. C. CASTLES)

In 1897 15,000 acres, approximately six miles south east of Ormondville, of the Waikopiro block was opened for ballot by settlers, 150-800 acres according to the estimated carrying capacity of the land, then un-roaded and much of it in dense bush. The successful ballotees endured many hardships before wheeled traffic could be used on the boggy tracks, which they cut to their land through the bush. All materials were packed in over narrow muddy tracks.

One of the many farms was that of W. J. CASTLES whose 300-acre section consisted of steep limestone hills and bluff in dense native bush. As he improved his farm he bought in adjoining holdings until he owned 1,100 acres now known as Cave farm. Bounded in the south by the Mangapuaka Stream and waterfall and in the north by the summit of the Raikatea Range. In the early years wild cattle and pigs, numerous in the bush were shot and formed a large part of some of the earlier settlers food.

In 1905 a power plant was installed, driven by water conducted by flume from a small stream to a 12 ft. steel over-shot water wheel 4ft. wide. A 4 h.p. £40.0.0 ($80.00) dynamo powered by the wheel, electricity was wired to the shearing shed where light and power shearing was supplied at 110 volts. It also supplied light to the homestead, the stables and barn for chaff cutting. This use of waterpower to supply an individual electric power plant was then something of a novelty and the N.Z. Farmer Stock and Station Journal of July 1913 (forerunner of The N.Z. Farmer) devoted a page of photographs and a description of Mr CASTLES Cave Farm water-powered electrical unit. A smaller plant was installed on the property of Mr H. H. PHILLIPS of Te Rehunga. Mr Castles was so enthusiastic about the ease and simplicity of his system that he often voluntarily devoted considerable time to visiting farms where owners sought his advice in installing similar wheels, his own having given him no troubles or worries in all the years in which it was in use. In 1938 the pump house was destroyed by fire and Mr J. Castles installed a diesel generator to reticulate electricity to his home and farm not being connected to the national grid until 1946. The water wheel from the Castles property was removed to Norsewood in the 1960s and is now operating in the lower Norsewood Park.

Mr and Mrs A. R. MASON, (Mrs M. MASON being a granddaughter of J. C. CASTLES now occupy cave Farm formerly owned by J. C. Castles.)

Page 64 Photo Whetakura Creamery 1901-1904

Waikopiro Institute


From left: Schoolhouse, School and Institute.

Being aware of the need for a village centre at Whetukura, Samuel CHADWICK (1845-1903) appealed to the Commissioner of Crown Lands for permission to erect a hall on a vacant Crown section.

Permission was not granted as the site had been set aside for a library. Mr CHADWICK adopted the concept of a mechanics institute and library and re-applied for the Crown section. The lease was then approved and the institute and library hall was opened in 1901 as the Waikopiro Institute.

The first committee was: -



Donations for the building came from Ormondville, Makotuku, Dannevirke, Napier, Sir George Hunter, MACKERSEY of Lake Station, W. RATHBONE, D. MARTIN as well as the Ngapaeruri and Waikopiro settlers.

The 1905 Board of Trustees : -

J. K. WEBSTER (Chairman),




Librarians included J. W. SMITH, W. J. KING, W. NEWLING, H. 0. KING, W. H. RENDLE, A. PACKER and B. A. KING.

The Government Subsidy from 1902 to 1921 helped to maintain a comprehensive list of 111 titles by 1911.

Following a fire in Ormondville in 1931 books were donated to the Ormondville Library to give them a fresh start.

Dancing classes for the many bachelors in the district were well attended by up to “60” at a time.

Page 67

There was also the Roadmen’s Dance. Benedicts Ball and Masquerade, Bachelors’ and Spinsters’ Ball and National Party Ball. Social gatherings including concerts, wedding receptions, farewells and welcome homes, Farmers’ Union meetings, political meetings, religious services, school committee meetings, card evenings, tennis club, rifle club, Country Women’s Institute and Women’s Division of Federated Farmers all used the hall at one time or another.

Following the advent of the Country Library Service and the ceasing of the Government Subsidy finances became strained and a constant worry to the Board of Trustees.

The upgrading required by the Health Regulations and for Fire Safety resulted in the Board deciding that the continuation of the Hall and Institute would be uneconomical.

A decision was made to close the Hall in 1975 much to the concern of many of the local residents.

A Grand Ball was held in 1975 when friends and neighbours got together remembering some or all of the many occasions when they had enjoyed many pleasant hours at the Village Centre. The last dancers took the Band home for breakfast and it was only a matter of time before the demolishers moved in.

Demolished shortly afterwards the materials from the building were sold by auction and the site completely cleared removing a vital landmark to many early settlers and their families.

Since 1975 the district has had to hold its functions in homes or the Peace Memorial Hall, Ormondville.

The Mechanics Institute was the brainchild of a would-be adult educator from Scotland Professor

GEORGE BIRKBECK in 1823. Professor Birkbeck held the Chair of Natural Philosophy and Chemistry in Andersons University. Glasgow. His dream was to give the workingman a little pleasure with free lectures on the mechanical arts. The word mechanic was given to craftsmen or working men who operated the revolutionary new machines in the villages and industrial towns. Even though the Mechanics Institute did not achieve the original purpose in broadening the mind of the workingman they were the forerunner of adult education in New Zealand.

They were also the civic centres of the day and the local lending library. The constitution of Institutes called for the provision of a reference and lending library, a reading room, a museum of machines, models, minerals and natural history. A call was also made for classes for lectures. Some established geological museums, orthinological collections and even art galleries.

Many institutes later became the local town hall with buildings in classic Greek or Roman styles some being renamed “Free Library”, “Temperance Hall” or “School of Mines”.

Page 68

Waikopiro & Te Uri Patriotic Society

In October 1939, one month after the outbreak of World War II, a meeting of 17 local residents was held in the Waikopiro Institute Hall and it was decided to form the above Society to provide comforts to local servicemen.

Mr W. M. CHADWICK was elected Chairman,

Mrs Mc LEAN Secretary


Funds were raised by raffles, stock drives, soldiers’ envelopes and donations from local residents and the Young Farmers Club, Women’s Institute and school children.

26 local farmers supported one stock drive.

When the Hawke’s Bay Provincial Patriotic Council called on the Dannevirke District to raise £76900.0 ($15,380.00) out of £1,129,500.0.o in 1943 the local committee subscribed £21 1.0.0 (($422.00) by direct donations.

A total of £192.9.6 was raised for the Fighting Services Appeal in 1942.

Send-off functions were held for all of the local 28 servicemen to serve overseas and as they returned Welcome Homes were held in the Hall at some of which up to four servicemen were guests of honour.

A Victory Ball with Te TAU’S Orchestra was held in the Institute Hall at Whetukura on 3rd May 1946 and the Society’s affairs were wound up on that occasion and the funds in hand were evenly distributed to the returned soldiers.

Waikopiro Brass Band

On Saturday 20th June 1903 a meeting was held in the Reading Room of the Waikopiro Institute and it was resolved to form a local Brass Band.

Mr Walter Junius KING (schoolmaster) was in the chair

Mr R. CHADWICK was Secretary.

The following registered their intention to support the band.



Subscriptions were fixed at £1 .0.0 ($2.00) per annum and 70 debentures of £1 .0.0 each bearing interest at 4% and redeemable after seven years were issued to finance the purchase of new and used instruments from Wellington, Dannevirke, Stratford and Paki Paki at a total cost of £32.15.0.

Later a further £27.5.0 was spent on additional instruments and it appears that the band was very well equipped.

A premier performance was held in Ormondville in January 1904, the bandsmen and instruments being conveyed without charge to and from Ormondville by Mr A. HUTT. The Bandmaster was Mr R. Wilkins and on the 21st September 1904 it was decided to admit junior members (under 18 years of age) at 5/- per annum, the first two boys to join being Hedley King (who later farmed at Whetukura) and his brother Wilford KING. Instruments included Comets, Tenor Horns, Baritones, Drums, Eb Bass and Euphoniums. It is believed that the band was in existence until the Great War in 1914. The comet played by Hedley King (deceased.) is still owned by Mrs D. KING (now 80 years), McPhee Street, Dannevirke. Rule 12 read as follows: “No smoking shall be allowed around the stands when music is being played.”

Page 69

Waikopiro Country Women’s Institute

On June 18th 1930 a group of women met in Waikopiro Hall for the purpose of forming a Women’s Institute. A number of Executive members of the Hawke’s Bay district brought a case of articles to demonstrate what could be achieved in handcrafts.

From this meeting the following members were enrolled:

Mesdames E. McLean, H. Logan, S. Fairbrother, J. Galloway, M. Healey, E. Engebretson, J. J. Clegg,

A. Jonasen, W. Chadwick, W. Castles, E. A. King, F. Healey, J. Castles, H. 0. King, E. Berkahn.

Miss Jerome-Spencer, founder of the N.Z. Country Women’s Institute was guest at the first birthday and the annual birthday became a most successful entertainment each year.

An annual Christmas party was organised each year with each child receiving a gift. The annual Flower Show was a much looked forward to event.

During the War members worked to provide parcels for the Forces, knitting and sewing for Red Cross and helping with the “Send Off” or “Welcome Home” for the local boys. Food parcels were sent to the Institute in Britain. Appeals for worthy causes have always benefited and much help given.

The War Memorial corner is kept in trim and a wreath placed each Anzac Day.

While there have been times of falling attendances and talk of going into recess, today the Waikopiro Country Women’s Institute still meets regularly after 48 years of friendliness and co-operation.

Page 70

Waikopiro-Te Uri W.D.F.F.

At a meeting convened by the Farmers Union on June 10th, 1944 and on the suggestion of the Provincial Secretary of the Southern Hawke’s Bay Provincial of the Women’s Division of the Farmers Union it was unanimously decided to form a Branch of the W.D.F.U. Mrs S. Chadwick consented to convene a meeting to elect officers. Subsequently on July 12th, this meeting was held and the Waikopiro-Te Uri Branch of the W.D.F.U., later to become W.D.F.F. was in existence.

The foundation members: -

President, Mrs J. CASTLES;

Secretary, Mrs S. CHADWICK and Mesdames L. JENSEN, D. FINCH, J. CHRISTIE, A. JONASEN, E. CASTLES, B. Mclean, C. WILLIAMS, B.A. KING, H. 0. KING and F. HEALEY.

Since then the Waikopiro-Te Uri W.D.F.F. had been part of this district. Membership has fluctuated over the years as has its activities but it has always been a common meeting-ground for the women of the district to gather and enjoy fellowship.

The Waikopiro Hall was the venue for these meetings until its demolition. Many interesting and varied guest speakers, demonstrations and lively debates have taken place within it. The Annual Ball, Flower Show and Guy Fawkes celebrations were all happy family occasions until a changing community and a different mode of life saw their gradual decline and eventual demise. Highlight of the Branch’s celebrations in the Waikopiro Hall was the luncheon held on July 12th, 1965, to mark the Branch’s Twenty-first birthday. Many past members returned for these celebrations and the present W.D.F.F. National President, Mrs 0. WELLS was guest of honour.

As well as concern for the welfare of country women the aims of the W.D.F.F. are philanthropic. Very many charitable organisations, appeals and worthy causes have been supported over the years. The Branch has sponsored a child for several years and it has provided active organisation to assist with local activities. Many homes in the district have benefited from a W.D.F.F. housekeeper to assist in difficult times.

The Branch was very proud to have Mrs D. FINCH as a Dominion Counsellor for several years. Other members have held high office in the Southern Hawke’s Bay Executive. Two members, Mrs M. PLUMMER and Mrs F. PATERSON have been honoured with Life Membership of the Branch. Although changing, there is still a place in this district for the W.D.F.F. Meetings are now held in members’ homes and fellowship is still enjoyed. Service to the community remains an integral part of its functions.

101 years of Ormondville Whetukura School 1898-1938

ref Pages 71-72 also part of the Bruce MATTSEN and BENSEMANN family tree enq to Elaine

Whetukura School — 1898 to 1938

Page 71 Photo of Walter Junius KING

The first head teacher when the school was opened on the 25th July 1898 was Walter Junius KING formerly head teacher at Ormond near Gisborne.

The 25 foundation pupils were:

Hebe KING, Pat TUOHY, Alice KING, Jane CLEGG, Michael TUOHY, Cecil LUCAS, Walter KING, Ernest BERKAHN, Effie BERKAHN, Mary CHRISTIANSEN, Norah TUOHY, Venton CASTLES,

Leslie KING, Albert HUTT, Walter CHADWICK, Alfred INGS, William BELL, Kate INGS,

Elizabeth READY, Annie CLEGG, William CASTLES, Ernest DONGHI, Walter DONGHI, Frank CHRISTIANSEN, Thomas WEST.

By 1899 the roll had increased to 49 pupils and continued around this number until the 1920s when due to amalgamation of farms and the change from dairy to sheep and cattle stations the roll dropped considerably. The school continued until the Government policy of consolidation of rural schools plus the advent of school buses brought the school to a close in May 1938. The inferior roads in the district plagued the school bus and for many years the completion of the morning and afternoon services was a challenge to drivers until the roads were eventually upgraded and sealed in the 1960s.

During the early 1 950s a suggestion was made to re-open the school but this did not eventuate. The school buildings were sold in the 1950s and part of the building was transported to Dannevirke South School and the schoolhouse is now part of A Bolton’s wool shed. Chris Olsen now farms the school site.

Page 72 Photo W J KING and foundation pupils Whetukura School 1898

After the Relief of Mafeking and following the battle for Ladysmith in South Africa during the Boer war oak trees were planted and they survived until a few years ago when they were damaged during a storm and later cut down.

101 Years of Ormondville Whetukura

Ref Page 73 to 76

Page 73

Schooldays At Whetukura

Contributed by Mrs Beth BURLACE

My grandfather Walter Junius KING was an ardent talker, loving people to call for a cup of tea during his retirement. I remember him as an ancient man with a flowing white beard who used to roam around the roads inviting all and sundry to call and see him. On one occasion he even invited the notorious Powelka (on the run for murder) to call and see him. When he first took up his appoint­ment at Whetukura his salary was $72.00 per annum.

My grandmother was sewing mistress and he also had an assistant teacher. Those who learnt sewing under the stern eyes of Mrs KING became very proficient and had to be perfect or else all the work was unpicked and redone. She was a tiny woman who rode for miles on horseback to attend births and help in times of sickness.

My father Hedley KING often spoke of the years he was engaged on fencing with Jimmy Snaddon and how they packed in posts on their backs up and over the range to where the fencing materials were needed.

He worked on SNADDON’S prior to the First World War and returned there until taking up his own farm in 1924. Manuka had to be cleared to enable my father to build a house, as the block was completely covered in scrub. One of my earliest recollections is of my father cutting Manuka in which is now the yard paddock and my mother working beside him heaping it for burning. The great scrub fires were a delight to a child and seemed great fun but each one represented a great deal of hard work and another piece of cleared land for farming.

Page 74 Photo

Whetekura Pupils 1937



Photo page 75 “Mousey” and friend off to Whetukura School 1930’s.

Then off to school with a half mile walk to the Junction and by gig driven by Lorna ENGEBRETSON. Lorna drove “hell for leather” singing lustily while cream cans and I jostled for position. A most exhilarating and hair-raising ride but a truly wonderful time. I later graduated to a Shetland pony, which required a sharp swot on the rear to start it off both from home and again in the afternoon when Miss SPEIGHT pointed the pony towards home and encouraged it to move with a belt. The many birds’ nests to be explored, watching the young hatch and fly away; the butterflies, leaves and flowers, watching the willow catkins unfold are things missed by the children today rushing past in a school bus. A good trip in favourable weather but petrifying when thunder boomed and lightning flashed around the hills. The pony seemed to realise my nervousness and was inclined to respond badly too.

I can remember Miss HASSETT, in her green velvet frock torn under the arms, throwing up her window as we arrived at school to command the girls to commence class. We thought this lovely and little was done until Miss HASSETT arrived at about 10 a.m.

Mr FREEMAN was the local roadman and we always stopped to talk to him. He had considerable knowledge of stamps and it was due to his efforts that many children became ardent stamp collectors.

What a great job those roadmen did in those days. They were proud of their work with shovels and wheelbarrows keeping culverts cleared and water tables open. Then slips fell and they started all over again clearing the roads and drains.

Then there was Mr DEADMAN the grader driver who sang at the top of his voice and could be heard even over the roar of the noisy old grader. My pony did not like the grader at all and bucked and reared.

Mr DEADMAN would stop the grader and I then led my pony past the machine before remounting and proceeding on my way.

Page 76

The NIKOLAISON boys would be planting trees and they always called out greetings. The trees have long been milled.

We used to play hockey making our sticks out of supple-jacks cut in the native bush. There were paper-chase races over lunch time when we were due back by 1 p.m. but how often we were late; sometimes arriving back at school at 2.30 p.m. Needless to say that game would be banned for a few weeks.

Granny OLSEN cleaned the school and what a dear she was. We loved to run to her home with messages and were rewarded with a boiled sweet out of her ever-ready glass sweet jar. Her pet magpie caused consternation when it flew into the grounds and it attacked and scratched any child who incurred “Maggies” displeasure. Those were the days of the old toilets away down the path (no flush jobs then) and care had to be experienced to avoid being locked in by another pupil. Of course after missing part of class and being finally found and released no one ever owned up. I left Whetukura School at the end of 1937 shortly before it closed in May 1938.

Whetukura Teachers

Head Teachers:—

KING, W. J., 1898/1922.

McRAE, 1922/23




WHITTINGTON, C., 1919/20.

PALMER, MISS, 1898/1913.

WEBBER, MISS, 1913/16.

SHANAHAN, MRS, 1920/22.

MC WILLIAM, MISS, 1922/23.

MUNRO, MR, 1922.

HASSETT, E., MISS, 1930/32.

MITCHELL, J. M., MISS, 1932/

SPEIGHT, R., MISS, 1935/37

GRAHAM, R., MR. 1932/38

101 years of Ormondville Te URI

RefsPage 77 to 83

Part 3


Te Uri Settlement

Following the purchase of the Waikopiro and Ngapaeruru Blocks by the Crown in 1895 and later, surveyors arrived to lay out roads and cut up the land for settlement.

Te Uri was all in heavy bush including Tawa, Matai, Totara, Rimu and Kakihetea (white pine) and it was necessary for large scale bush felling and land clearing operations before the settlers could commence farming the land. Ngapaeruri No. 2 as it was known was balloted in 1900 and successful ballotees pitched their camps and begun the work of felling and clearing. A typical bush camp comprised a hut about 10 feet by 14 feet with walls of 6 foot pongas fastened top and bottom with a rail. A split sack hung over the doorway and the chimney of pongas was over a fireplace up to 8 feet wide..

Mrs J. L. PEDERSEN was the first woman to arrive in 1903. The journey from Ormondville had taken two days with an overnight stop at an accommodation house previously an outstation of Mackersey’s Lake Station situated near the present McKENZIE property. The road had been formed for eight miles from Ormondville but the following ten miles was a bridle track. Weather conditions made the track impassable for up to eight months of the year and added to the isolation of the early settlers. Up to six months supply of stores were taken in by packhorse and later by bullock wagons. In the 1920s Dan RIGGIR operating out of Ormondville with horses and wagon conveyed stores and mail. The death of three children awakened the need for better communication with the outside world and a meeting of settlers decided to erect a private telephone line.

Money was also raised for road improvements and gradually access to Te Uri became easier.

A severe drought in 1914 followed by an exceptionally heavy gale in December resulted in a devastating fire which spelt dismay and ruin for many of the struggling settlers. By 1920 with depressed overseas prices many had to leave and start anew elsewhere.

By increasingly high standards of farming the families of the early settlers have maintained and improved their properties, surviving under great odds and under many circumstances which would deter many of the present generation.

Page 78 Photo Dan RIGGIRS Te Uri Mail near Symes Road 1910

There were some compensation including the beautiful native bush, abundance of clematis and plentiful Huias. Early settlers varied their diet with wood pidgeons, wild pigs and wild cattle. The wild cattle are believed to have moved south from J. D. ORMOND’S Wallingford Station.

The urgent need for a school became apparent and an approach was made to the Hawke’s Bay Education Board who did not consider the small number of children warranted the construction of a schoolhouse.

A compromise after many delays resulted in the Te Un “Aided” school being opened in October 1911 in a room in an unused cottage owned by Pastor Pedersen purely as an emergency.

The nine foundation pupils were:


Archibald DASSLER.



Miss Agnes GREEN, schoolmistress is pictured with Mr J. J. SMITH an Inspector of Schools for the Hawke’s Bay Education Board outside this building.

The first committee appointed about 18 months after the school opened in 1911 were: -

Messrs W. DASSLER (Chairman),


Over the next three years the roll grew to nineteen and Mr Henry HILL, Inspector of Schools, pointed out the unsuitable conditions to the Education Board in a blistering report in September 1914.

“In a room 11 feet by 13 feet 6 inches are crowded nineteen pupils and four cumbersome desks, apart from the school teacher and desk. The room is so crowded that it is positively injurious to the health of the children and teacher. I attempted to conduct a lesson in natural history but it became quite impossible to carry on the room was so overcrowded and stifling.”

In 1915 the room was enlarged to 23 feet by 16 feet and the walls were papered. The roll dipped to approximately nine from 1919-1921 but rose to its highest peak of 20 pupils in 1924-1925.


The first committee appointed about 18 months after the school opened in 1911 were: -

Messrs W. DASSLER (Chairman),


In 1924 when Miss V. THOMAS (Mrs A. JONASEN) was sole teacher Inspector Mr L. F. PEGLER reported “ . . . this is without doubt one of the best sole charge schools I have visited.”

Page 80 Photo Te Uri School 1911

Back row:- Muriel NEILSEN, Archie Dassler, Len PEDERSEN, Percy JONES, HAROLD PEDERSEN, ALF SHAW

Front Row:- Eileen DASSLER, Doris PEDERSEN, Kristian BJELKE-PEDERSEN, Agnes NEILSEN,

Nita SHAW ,Miss “Biddy” GREEN (Teacher Mr SMITH (inspector)

Distance and consolidation of land holdings over the following years compounded by depression times led to a decline in the roll.

In 1936 the Government began a scheme of consolidation of rural schools and at the 25th Anniversary function the Education Board representative Mr H. S. M. QUIGLEY spoke of the uncertain future of the school. By 1938 the condition of the building became a matter of concern to the teacher Mr W. FINDLAY and parents and the School Committee pressed for a new school. The first one room building built by the Education Board was erected in 1938 for an average of ten pupils. Six years later the new school with a roll of seven closed.

It had been opened after much difficulty; it had been located in a cottage, merely as an emergency; an emergency that lasted 27 years. When reading of the achievements of the pupils of this school one is aware that the physical handicaps this school suffered did not deter the quality of the education provided or the abilities of those pupils who attended it.

Te Uri Teachers

1911-1915 Miss A. E. GREEN (dec.)

1916 Miss Cora MARTIN (Mrs de GREENLAW)

1916-1918 Mrs C. de GREENLAW

1918-1920 Miss M. RIES (Mrs E. S. WHITFIELD)

1920-1924 Mrs I. B. PRIMROSE

1920-1924 Miss V. THOMAS (Mrs A. JONASEN)

1925-1928 Miss F. BEDINGFIELD (Mrs PURCELL)

1928-1929 Miss M. L. Mcdonald

1929-1 931 Miss G. R. HAWLEY

1931-1934 Miss E. M. MILLER (Mrs H. A. HENDERSON)

1934-1935 Mr G. R. TURNER

1935-1936 Mr W. A. FINDLAY

1937 Mrs E. H. YOUNG.

1937-1939 Mr E. R. YOUNG

1939-1940 Mr L. T. ARMSTRONG

1940-1941 Mr J. W. TAYLOR

1941-1942 Miss N. WILLIAMSON

1942-1 943 Mr M. M. CRAWFORD

1943 Mr. S. LAMBERG

1944 Miss R. J. W. DOWNEY

Te Uri School

Mrs Florence PURCELL — nee BEDINGFIELD; teacher 1925-28 writes: — I had just left Wellington Teachers’ Training College in December, 1924, so my appointment to Te Uri in 1925 was my first school as a fully qualified teacher.

Mr and Mrs DASSLER picked me up at my home in Matamau and took me to Te Uri. Though metalled the road was very winding. It was raining and I remember looking across at the hills, still covered with black gaunt, burnt out trees, relics of a mighty bush fire which had swept the district a few years before. After tea, they took me to Mr and Mrs J. L. PEDERSEN’s, where I had a very happy home for over three years. I must pay tribute to their outstanding hospitality and there was always an excellent meal and a good bed for any wayfarers. How these women managed. Miles from a shop, no freezers, etc. to always have full and plenty for 10 and 12 people I’ll never know. They were wonderful people.

The school was an old disused cottage belonging to PASTOR PEDERSEN in a paddock and they often told me how the parents had to battle to get even the humblest of buildings to commence a school. The equipment consisted of about £5’s worth of chalk, duster, ruler, set squares, compass and a map or two on the wall. The first thing I asked for was some black boarding to go round the walls for the small children to use. Some sheets of this arrived and I was fortunate that Mrs PEDERSEN’s nephew — a carpenter, was there, and put them up beautifully for me. Then I realized one blackboard on the wall for the teacher’s use was insufficient, so wrote for more. Did the Secretary of the Education Board tell me off — “didn’t I know I had already had so many feet of blackboard,” etc. etc. When I think of it and compare it all to the carpets, furniture, marvellous books, library and all the other equipment now possessed by schools, I gaze in wonder at it all, and wonder how we ever taught and how anyone ever learned. We were absolutely barren of books or reference books, toys, learning aids or anything else.

However, we had a happy atmosphere, every year we had a school picnic and a fancy dress ball, as well as little functions in the school at times.

There were some clever children in this school. I did not teach Miss Doris PEDERSEN, but I have enclosed a snap of her working at her desk in New Delhi when Nursing Adviser to World Health. Her younger sister, Edna PEDERSEN, gained a Junior National Scholarship under my tuition and brought great credit to her school —it was an almost unheard of feat for a pupil in such a remote school to achieve.

A great highlight was when Mc GRUER’s van of Napier, came loaded. The driver Mr J. WHALES stayed the week at Pedersen’s, and we had a great time shopping from a shop on wheels.

In the evening Mr PEDERSEN loved a game of cards and we played every card game you could imagine. Whenever the school had a visitor Mrs PEDERSEN made them most welcome at her lunch table and they all held the family in highest regard.

In those days the road into JOHNSTON’S was unmetalled and became a sea of mud in the winter, but I can remember us going in for a game of cards — storm lantern and all, over the hills, one step up and two sliding back.

I am sure others will have told you about the terrible winds which could blow at Windy Corner.

Mrs PEDERSEN could do wonderful fine crochet work and under her guidance we learnt this skill and many more of drawn thread work, fancy work, and most useful it has been.

We had wonderful fun at DASSLER’S tennis court what a boon it was.

Mr Henry HILL never inspected me as a teacher but I “vividly remember him when a pupil at Makotuku School.

Silver Jubilee

In November 1936 a 25 year banquet-dance was held in the woolshed at “Rata” owned by A. F. DAMPNEY, Esq., now farmed by R.C.J.RENALL. Suitably decorated with greenery and the school colours, black and white streamers, the banquet was attended by five first day pupils. They were Mrs Ken GALLOWAY (Agnes NEILSEN) Kiritai; Sister Doris PEDERSEN, Karitane, Wellington; Mrs G. TURNER (Eileen DASSLER) Hunterville; Mr Archie DASSLER, Ngamoko; Mr L. A. PEDERSEN, Te Un.

Of the original seven first day pupils

Harold PEDERSEN and Christian BJELKE PEDERSEN had passed away.

The dinner was followed by suitable speeches honouring the occasion. Mr C. E. WILLIAMS, Chairman of the Te Uri School Com­mittee presided and Mr H. S. M. QUIGLEY represented the Hawke’s Bay Education Board. Concern was expressed that a 50-year’s reunion would be unlikely due to the falling roll and anticipated consolidation of rural schools. Very favourable comment was made on the high standard of teachers who had served the school over the years and the high standard of inspector’s reports. A dance with music supplied by Les Anderson’s Orchestra rounded off a very successful evening.

The school committee at the Silver Jubilee was Messrs C. WILLIAMS (Chairman), L. A. PEDERSEN (Secretary), A. WARD, J. SYME and A. S. BAINES.

Photos Page 84 Miss D PEDERSEN Te Uri

Edna PEDERSEN Te Uri (Award Junior National Scholarship.

Doris T. Pedersen

Daughter of N. K. PEDERSEN original settler Te Uri.

Born in 1907 and attended Te Uri School 1911-1919.

A career in nursing.

Following training in New Zealand became Nursing Superintendent in Fiji 1945-1950.

Became Nursing Advisor with World Health Organisation —South East Asia Region with Headquarters in India 1950-1956. Following public health, teaching and administrative positions retired as Deputy Director of Nursing in 1967. Lives in retirement in Napier.

101 years of Ormondville Makotoku

Ref Pages 85 to 89

Part 4


REUBEN SCHAARE born in New Zealand in 1897 and a local historian farms on Garfield Road on a section originally taken up by his father August Schaare. His grandfather Jacob Schaare born near Hanover in Germany about 1840 emigrated to New Zealand in 1884 in one of the earliest labour groups and was one of the original settlers in this country. August SCHAARE who married Metha Katrine HOLM born in Schleswig, Denmark and his brother Henry worked with their father Jacob on several of the railway cuttings including the big cut south of Ormondville which took the railway through to Makotuku. This was the last cut to be completed by pick, shovel and wheelbarrow as the next cut further south at Rakaiatai was completed with horses and scoops. One outstanding Suffolk Punch mare named “Old Poll” on the Rakaiatai Cutting was able to tow the skips to the edge of the fill and then step aside before it was too late. When the cut was finished August SCHAARE purchased the horse from its owner Sam DIVERS and amongst other chores it was used to convey the younger SCHAARE children to school.

After the railway reached Makotuku in 1880 the town became the southern terminal for the Napier south line until the railway reached Dannevirke as it was then known on the 15th December 1884. The rail terminus included the engine sheds and a turntable used to reverse the steam engines for the return trip to Napier.

The first stationmaster was P. LUND and he was later followed by WHITSON, UNSWORTH, COOMBER and ROSE. Water being difficult to obtain at Ormondville and an adequate supply being available at Makotuku the siting of the rail terminal was determined by the water supply.

Page 86 Photo Opening second Makotuku Viaduct 1900

ALLARDICE’S coach service operated between Makotuku and Dannevirke conveying passengers and freight off the morning and afternoon trains. The coaches travelled via Garfield Road to the main Norsewood-Dannevirke Road, as the present route near the railway was not opened until 1906. The first hotel in the district owned by David SMITH was a two-storied building on a section now part of Eddie Veales’ farm on the site of the present woolshed. Two hotels catered for overnight guests one being the BEACONSFIELD (formerly of Kopua) near the railway station. There were two stores and later one owned by J. SUGDEN was burnt down at the same time as the hotel next door in 1912. The first storekeeper was a MR WEBER and later on Andrew STEFFERSEN took over the store. Andrew STEFFERSEN operated a sly grog shop and eventually served six months in prison for selling one bottle of beer to an undercover constable. A cottage built by Andrew STEFFERSEN was moved to the Blairgowerie Block where it is still in use today.

After the flat land was cleared of bush dairy farming followed. A creamery built in 1897 near the MAKOTUKU Stream supplied the NORSEWOOD Dairy Factory until the creamery closed in 1915 and was moved by the purchaser W. Pike to his farm at MAHARAHARA to be used as a barn. The concrete foundations can still be seen on the west side of the railway viaduct over THE MAKOTUKU Stream.

Eric FRIBERG a native of Denmark was retained by the Hawke’s Bay Provincial Government to select suitable immigrants for the Seventy Mile Bush settlements. He made three trips to Denmark and Norway in 1872, 1874 and 1875. No mean effort when most people were satisfied with a one way trip around the world by sailing ship and being at sea for up to 3 ½ months at a time. The “Hovding” which sailed to New Zealand on the 30th May 1872 arrived on 15th September a voyage of 108 days. A condemned ship she was replaced on the following voyage by “Hovding II” which eventually was sunk by Japanese bombers in Darwin Harbour in 1942. The extensive trips around the world apparently affected Eric FRIBERG’S health and he died at an early age in 1878.

Eric Friberg’s home was after his death the first schoolhouse in the Makotuku district and the building stands today on the north side of Garfield Road on a farm now owned by Alan Anderson.

The first teacher was Mrs THOMPSON of Norsewood and the school opened in the spring of 1878 with 20 pupils on the roll as a branch of the Norsewood School before the Makotuku School Committee was formed and took over the school in 1881. The first school built by the Hawke’s Bay Education Board in 1881 was on part of a section owned by Mr CANTWELL and remained there until it was moved to the present site in Makotuku being destroyed by fire in the late 1920s.

A fund raising campaign by Rev. A. S. WEBB of Ormondville resulted in St. Saviour’s Anglican Church being opened in 1890. Unfortunately a bush fire in 1898 destroyed the church but a new building was erected and consecrated in February 1899.

In 1972 St. Saviour’s was offered to the NEW ZEALAND ARMY by the TAKAPAU Parish and was moved to LINTON MILITARY CAMP as an Army Chapel.

Rededicated on 20th July 1974 the church was renamed ST. MARTIN’S (the Saint of soldiers 335 AD) and is available to every faith. The Great World War Memorial Windows have been preserved in the sanctuary and the 1914-1918 Roll of Honour is near the main door. A new tower holding a bronze bell, cast in Seregilo, Italy in 1920 and presented to the NZ Army Engineers by a small village in North Thailand has replaced the original bell tower.

Completely relined and carpeted the original St. Saviour’s stands as a tribute to the strength and faith of the pioneers who built the second St. Saviour’s at Makotoku following the destruction by fire of the first church in 1898.

(Page 88 Photo St Saviour’s of Makotuku now St Martin’s at Linton Camp)

The first couple to be married in St. Saviour’s in 1890 were William Jacob SCHAARE and Helga NEILSEN who were presented with the church Bible as was the custom in those days and the bible is still held by the family.

A Methodist Church was built in 1903 and replaced with a new church in the 1960s on the same site. The church now serves the entire district including Ormondville.

The BAI family who arrived in New Zealand in 1874 owned the first brickworks. MILDON’S brickworks which operated after the Bai works closed was about half a mile south of Makotuku on the present road to Matamau. The great fire in Dannevirke in 1917, which destroyed 30 business premises, resulted in a large demand for bricks and a considerable quantity left the district for the rebuilding programme. It is known that Mildon works could not cope with the orders received by them at that time the three MILDON sons being overseas on active service. Most of the chimneys in the SEVENTY MILE BUSH were constructed of bricks from either the BAI or MILDON works and the soundness of the bricks in use today speaks well for the craftsmanship that went into their manufacture up to 90 years ago.

Driving through Makotuku today there is little evidence of the hive of activity and industry it must have been in the days when it was the southern rail terminal. The water tower used up to the days of the big KA locomotives in the early 1960s still stands but the engine sheds and yards have long disappeared.

Today there is a hall, the Makotuku Hotel, a garage-cum-store, the Methodist Church, a closed school and a few homes servicing the surrounding farming area.

2002-2005 Barbara Andrew