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School History

Meadowbank School

Small Beginnings

Before the old Meadowbank School was built, children in the area went to St Heliers or Remuera Primary. Then, after the Leslie Home was built in 1911, schooling was set up in the dining room there for the children living in the home and also for those in the area. 

The population in Meadowbank was growing and plans were made to look for the flattest land available to build a new school. Most of the surrounds then were farmland and the flattest area was found in Waiatarua Road. It was bought in 1914 for 1066 pounds, thirteen shillings and four pence.

The building, seen above, was finished in 1916. It was ground floor all over except for the staffroom which was upstairs in the middle and had a balcony over the front door. It had grand, sweeping front steps which added to its elegance. 

Meadowbank School

Standard 6 – 1919

Meadowbank School

Girls Basketball – 1939

The old building was set back about 25 metres from the road. There had always been a big lawn in front of the school – there was also a War Memorial with a flagpole on top. 

The old building was draughty, with cold corridors and high ceilings. Mr Lynds says he got a cold every winter. But the gas fires made the rooms lovely and warm once they had been on for a while. There were big, high windows which were very hard to open and shut. You could not see out of them which made it good because you could not daydream or be distracted by things going on outside. 

We each had our own desks in rows. All of our folders and books fitted in them. We did not know how lucky we were. There were no taps or sinks in the rooms but here was one just outside. Although it was old, there was plenty of room in our school. 

Fire in the Old Building

We were just settling down after lunch when we saw smoke coming from somewhere in the old building. We couldn’t see where it was coming from so we thought it was just someone’s rubbish fire, until the caretaker opened the door of the basement. Then a whole lot of smoke came out and the caretaker started battering the flames with an old sack. Then we heard sirens and the firemen arrived. They went in with airtanks and hoses and the smoke died away but that was enough to make people aware of the fire hazards. 

Meadowbank School

Standard 2- 1963

Meadowbank School

Standard 4 – 1981

The End of an Era

Sad though it was, old Meadowbank School just had to be pulled down. By 1980, it was 65 years old, but age alone was not the reason for replacing it. There was the possibility that an earthquake would knock the building over. Also it was the building methods used in those days that did not help. Buildings like old Meadowbank School were built very high and instead of using cement in between the brickwork, a mixture of sand, lime and water was used. After the forty or so years, the lime in between the bricks was not as strong as it used to be when it was first put there. The situation was discussed by the Education Board but they decided that it had to be pulled down immediately and replaced by a lower and longer building. 

Meadowbank School Through the Decades

Meadowbank School

Primer 3 & 4 – 1937

Meadowbank School

Standard 1 – 1948

Meadowbank School

Primer 2 & 3 – 1950

Meadowbank School

Standard 3 – 1952

Meadowbank School

Standard 4 – 1963

Meadowbank School

Standard 4 – 1973

Meadowbank School

Junior 1 – 1978

Meadowbank School

Standard 3 – 1983

Meadowbank School

Year Six Graduation – 1997

Meadowbank School 2007

Year Four – 2007

Meadowbank School

Year One – 2011

Meadowbank School

Year Six – 2023

A permanent building, consisting of six classrooms, foyer, upstairs staffroom and two separate toilet blocks is complete. On April 18, the chairman of the Education Board officially opens the school. Mr J. Warn is the first Headmaster. 

Mr J. Dean is appointed Headmaster. 

Mr H.C. MacLaurin is appointed Headmaster. The football field is levelled and grassed at a cost of £260. 

The school roll increases to almost 400 after a public works camp is established to build the railway line across Orakei Basin. To carer for increased numbers, land is purchased on Kelvin Road for £1411. A temporary two classroom block is built to cater for infant classes. Access between the two sides is via a steep muddy track.  

Mr J. Roberts is appointed Headmaster. The current Maclaurin Block is opened. The first bridge (still visible today below the current one) was built over the Gully creek and, at the same time, free labour constructed the lower tennis courts.

Mr E. F. Snell appointed new Headmaster.

Mr W. F. Armstrong becomes the 6th Headmaster.  

A school dental clinic to service pupils and children from the surrounding area is built for £480. Meadowbank School Old Boys join the armed forces to fight overseas.

A War Memorial is planned to honour the 21 old boys who had been killed in action.

Mr T. F. Kerr becomes the next Headmaster of Meadowbank School.

The roll reaches 600 and there is very little room. Another school, in the St John’s area, is discussed as the Meadowbank site does not lend itself to expansion. Mr D. Minogue is appointed as Headmaster. 

The opening of Remuera Intermediate School means the transfer of all our Standard 5 & 6 (Years 7 & 8) pupils. This eases pressure on the roll and plans for the St John’s School are shelved.

Mr C.L. Metge is appointed as Headmaster.

The Remuera Road pedestrian crossing is manned by Standard 4 patrol monitors for the first time. This was our very first road patrol!

Mr A.L. Rich becomes the tenth Headmaster of Meadowbank School.

Mr Doug Stock is appointed as the new Headmaster.

The current Gully bridge built

Mr Theo Lynds is appointed Headmaster.

Funding is undertaken to provide a school hall. A house on Remuera Road which has been converted into a church hall is purchased and moved onto the school site.

A new swimming pool is designed and built on the senior side. $35,000 is raised for the pool itself with more needed for the changing sheds.

The original school building on Waiatarua Rd is demolished and a new single story block (the current Theo Lynds block) is built for $322,440. Bricks from the old school are used for landscaping. 

Tom White becomes the new Principal of Meadowbank School.

John Boyens is appointed Principal. 

Two computers are bought. The school becomes involved in the Waterwise programme teaching Year six students to kayak and to sail an Optimist yacht.

The old Hall is extended with help from money raised during the 75th Jubilee.

A new voluntary uniform is introduced.

The John Boyens two story block on the senior side is constructed.

Mr Peter Ayson is appointed Principal. Oak tree deck is built on the junior campus.

The first full school-wide computer network is installed. A fully equipped computer suite is established in the old Room 6.

Depends on the current Gully Environmental Trail commence with rubbish clearance and the planting of donated native trees. Eventually over 7000 trees would be planted at no cost to the school

The senior pool is heated for the first time. School uniform becomes compulsory!

Gully amphitheatre is constructed and opened by the Mayor of Auckland, Christine Fletcher. We are awarded the Enviroschools ‘Bronze Assessment’.

We are awarded the Enviroschools ‘Silver Assessment’.

The old school hall is demolished. Meadowbank becomes only the second New Zealand school to pass the stringent Enviroschools GreenGold qualification. This was presented by the Minister of Conservation. 

The Bruce McLaren hall is opened by Prime Minister Helen Clark.

A new library for the school is established under the hall. Roll numbers reach 700 for the first time.

The pizza oven is built. Ngāti Whātua carvers create five pou for Meadowbank School.

Mandarin is introduced initially at Years Two and Three. Meadowbank is a pilot school for introducing the Garden to Table programme.

On the Junior side, a new 5 classroom block is opened by the Prime Minister John Key. Also an artificial turf replaces grass for the junior field, the car park is extended and the Lorax garden is established.

A new eight classroom block and a music room are opened on the senior campus. This is the current Peter Ayson block. 

Pacific Eats and our Pacific Dance programs commence.

The school roll reaches 800 pupils for the first time and Meadowbank celebrates 100 years – an amazing achievement!

Phil Toomer appointed as Principal of Meadowbank School. 

Opening of the new administration and Year 6 classrooms and the Makerspace – also known as Launchpad.

The newly renovated John Boyens block is opened. 

A new and improved Meadowbank School website is launched!