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– History of Whangamarino School

Ngati Pikiao have always valued education and sought a more formal system towards the end of the New Zealand wars in 1863. Whangamarino School opened for the first time on 13th September 1926 with 47 students under teacher Mr W. England. By 1937 the roll had risen to over 100. The school remained crowded with a roll of 171 by the 1950’s and finally new rooms began to be built. 1952 saw the creation of the School’s first Dental Clinic and later a new block of classrooms and a library. The roll was at 100 students at the last school reunion on 28-30th November 2008.

Later 5 acres were added to the school grounds allowing the football field to be developed. Whangamarino was the first school to set up a Playcentre and then a Kohanga Reo in the Rotorua District.

Some of you may recall the school motto on the old School Hall. (Kia Pono Ki te Mahi Kia Whai Hua Ai) The photograph below is our only record of it.

Tawhiri Morehu and Aunty Bea Yates recall it well and provided the following translations:

“Be faithful to your pursuits and you will prosper. Perservere in your mahi, and the fruits or benefits may follow”.

Today, the motto survives as “Kia Pono” on the school crest.

The school crest was designed by David (Ginger) Kingi more than 60 + years ago, when he was 17. It was the winning entry in a school competition. Ginger sadly passed away in 1987, but his legacy lives on today and into the future.

Whangamarino - The Name

Aunty Bea shared a korero at the school reunion in 2008 about the name of our kura. It was told to her by her mother, Wahanga Yates.

Whanga means bay and marino means calm

In the old days when Ngati Pikiao traversed the lake by waka, the people would row from bay to bay on Lake Rotoiti.

The small bay just below the school grounds was named Whangamarino referring to the calm nature of its waters. The bay proved a useful anchor point for local tamariki rowing to kura.

Our Flagpole

Our beautiful pou has long been a significant feature here at Whangamarino School and continues to be a place of remembrance.

ANZAC day commemorations have traditionally been held here. Our dedicated veterans and whānau from throughout the community continue to gather here to remember the sacrifices made.

Our Waka

“I remember some of us would waka from Taheke, leaving early to get to school but getting there late because we would always be wet from falling into the lake”

NGAPINI, gracious old canoe of the lake. Now it lies at the entrance at the front of our kura. Deed to the school by Mr Rota Taiatini, it was hauled and skidded on to a grassy hump and then transported to the kura without mishap. The canoe bears witness to the skill, good eye and sure hand of some master carver. Memories flooded back to the neighbour, Mrs C Williams: “That was the first canoe I rode in which I came here.”

Story from the Whangamarino Māori School Bulletin, Vol 4, Num 5, Jun ‘67.

Whangamarino School’s Most Prestigious Award – Major Kingi Memorial Trophy for Citizenship

The Major Kingi Memorial Trophy for Citizenship was presented by the late Mrs Florence Kingi in December 1964. The Trophy was presented to students who displayed outstanding service and regard to both their School and their community.

Major Kingi was born in England in 1915 and came to Aotearoa- New Zealand with his parents during World War One. He attended Whangamarino School in 1927 and later went to Rotorua Boys High where he excelled in Athletics.

The criteria for this award is that the student or students’ must show regard to service to the school and community. Below is the criteria:

  • Honesty and Integrity
  • Diligence and Perseverance
  • Cooperation and willingness
  • Good reputation
  • Pleasantness
  • Sociability and helpfulness
  • Dress and deportment.

The award is intended to be annual; but if there is no student/s offering the above criteria, the award lapses for that year. (No award was made in 1966 and 1970).

In 2020 it was the first time this prestigious award was awarded to 4 amazing Year 8 students, our Manukura (Head Prefects – Ronamaimarama Gillespie Robson, Matiu Mear. Deputy Prefects, Manawa Gates and Wild Wiseman) for their incredible aroha and support shown to their peers, kaiako and community throughout the unprecedented Covid 19 year and especially during the Lockdown. Ka mau te wehi tamariki ma!

The Major Kingi Award was won by Ane Roach in 2022. Congratulations Ane!

Our School Waiata

Anei Ra Te Kura, Whangamarino E.
Gliding through the Meadow, Dancing Green.
Tenei Matou
Tenei Matou, E Tu atu nei….
Hapaitia, Hapaitia, Nga Mahi O Te Iwi E…
Hoea Te Waka…
Aue, Aue, Te Mamai Te Aroha..
Marangamai Pikiao…
Little Brown School on the hill

There’s a school on the hill by the roadside
Oh come to the school on the hill
No site is so dear to my childhood
As the little brown school on the hill.

How sweet on a bright Monday morning
To Listen to the clear ringing bell
No site is so dear to my childhood
As the little brown school on the hil..

Oh come come come come come to the School
By the Roadside
Oh come to the School on the hill.
No site is so dear to my childhood
As the little brown school on the hill.

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