Wairakei village, one of the few hydro towns that still exist in New Zealand

Work began in 1960 on the Wairakei Geothermal power station, only the second geothermal power station to be built in the world. Concurrently work also began on the building of the Aratiatia hydro power station. Workers came from not only throughout New Zealand to work on these projects, but from all over the world. Thus the Wairakei community life began, and part of this life was the establishment of Wairakei Primary School.

 1959  September  

Wairakei School opened on Monday 7 September 1959 with 100 pupils and a staff of four. Mr Peter Davies was the Head Teacher and Mrs H.M. Davies the infant Mistress, the other two staff members were Mrs Tacon and Mr Anderson.

The School Committee which was made up of 7 members and was chaired by Mr Tiller allocated £5 to Mr Davies to purchase incidentals and £50 for books.

Mr Hally, the Traffic Officer made hist first visit to the School. The first shrubs and trees to be planted on the grounds were placed at the front of the school by pupils.


1960 February  

The first round in the School Committee's battle over bus timetables commenced with the Education Board and the Bus Companies. As all Committee members past and present will be aware this continues to be a matter for discussion quite regularly at meetings.

1961 December  

The first Head Teacher Mr Davies leaves to take up a post in TePuke.

 1962  February  

MR H D Aitchison replaces Mr Davies as Head Teacher.




The School Committee began its efforts to acquire an electric clock.




Selwyn Toogood presented his quiz show "Its in the Bag" at the Log Cabin, this raised £125 for the school and was held annually for the next two years.

1963 February  
  The rolls has risen to 324 pupils and there were eight teachers.  
  The afore mentioned clock is positioned in place after six months of correspondence etc. to the Education Board!  
  The "Murder House' opened for business, no doubt to the delight of parents who were saved a trip to Taupo and the dismay of the children who found the Dental Nurse right on the doorstep.  
1964 February  
  After much consideration by the Committee and a lot of correspondence with the Education Board (yet again), tree planting began on the Southern Boundary.  The School Committee had favoured a paling fence which would have been an immediately effective wind break.  However, even though they had at one point been prepared to provide the materials themselves the Board would not agree.  Today we have a beautiful mature shelter belt of trees but the wind must have whistled across the playing fields while they were growing.  
  Mr Aitchison resigned to take up a post in Hastings.  
1965 February  
  Mr K Clarke (Nobby) took up his post as Head Teacher.  
  School Baths Committee formed.  
1966 February  
  Roll at the beginning of the beginning of the year was 421.  
  First levies were introduced:  30/- a year or 10/- a term.  
  The construction of the swimming baths commenced  
  Native tree planting by pupils at the Aratiatia Lake an  
1968 February  
  Vice-Regal visit to Taupo.  Form 1 and 2 children attended.  Eleven children from Wairakei received medical attention because of the extreme heat.  
  Swimming Baths officially opened, due to inclement weather this took place in the Village Hall.  What a let down after such a lot of effort.  
  Mr Clarke leaves to take up appointment in Mt Maunganui.  
1969 February  
  Mr M D McClleland took over as Head Teacher.  There were 199 pupils on the roll.  
1970 July  
  School closed for two days because of "flu" epidemic.  
1972 July   
  Silver birch tree moved from bus shelter site by School Committee members, to a position in front of Dental Clinic.  Building of shelter started.  
  First Pet Show was held on the Ministry of Agriculture farm.  this is now a very popular annual event held in November.  
1976 June  
  The new library opened.  
1980 May  
  Mr M McClelland retires as Principal, 250 people cram into the Village Hall to give Mac and Pete a tremendous send off.  Ian Burt takes over as Principal.  
  The Home and School Associations Adventure Tower Project got under way with the first of many working bees.  
1981 April  
  The pupils had what could almost be termed a private visit with Prince Charles.  His Royal Highness came to visit the Wairakei Borefield and Wairakei children and their parents made up half of the crowd who were at the Information Centre to greet him.  He spoke to quite a large number of children, an occasion they will never forget.  
  The school had a fire!  All those fire drills were of no use as it took place before school started with only Mr Burt there to save everything.  As the fire was caused by a connector in the heating system everyone froze for six days until it was fixed.  
1982 November  
  The Adventure Tower was finally completed with a safety wall surround and sawdust in the centre to give a softer landing!  
  The Lions Club erected wind breaks around the netball courts to make lunchtimes a little more pleasant on windy days.  
1983 June  
  Mr Merv Wellington (Minister of Education) and Mr Roger McClay (MP) made a whistle stop tour of the School.  
  Home and School Association - On 16 August Craig Bell requested that smokers limit their intake and output at meetings.  Deidre Beard resigned.  Ros Swainson took the minutes.  
  Other News  
  Photocopier purchased - estimated 1500 copies per month.  
  School laminator purchased (replaced 2008).  
1984 August  
  School Jubilee to be held on 14 August.  Committee starters were Linda Williams, Robyn Watson and Pauline Dean.  
  Other News  

Cow offered to school by parent with sale funds going towards Jubilee.

Calf Rearing Proposal.  
Gerald Moscrip to buy 6 calves at $45.00 each.  $40.00 each cow for milk powder.  
  Purchased school t-shirts in school 'House' colours.  
  Discussions were held on changing school hours from 8:30am-2:30pm to work in with Taupo Colleges  
  Talk of gully to be developed into a 'Park' with native trees and a flying fox.  
1985 The Home and School Association met to discuss "should children now being to be introduced to computer, keyboard and programming skills?"  "This would be a chance to extend some children and that these skills are an avoidable thing of the future".  Every primary school in Britain has a computer.  Committee were in favour of raising money for a computer instead of a swimming pool cover.  Everyone felt a computer was most important.  
  181 students on the roll.  
  Donation Received towards computer for school.  No name given.  Approximate cost of a new computer was $2,000.00.  
  Other News  
  Wairakei Under 8 Soccer team won shield.  
  Xerox Copier - approximately 1000 copies per month.  Copy, paper and service charges - $70.00 per month.  
  Discussion on putting up a front fence.  
  Pet Day - Gas BBQ was loaned from the THC.  
 1986 February  
  Repairs done to tower of senior playground.  
  Mr Burt purchased an Amstrad computer for the staff to see.  He is very pleased with this one.  
  Other News  
  'Surragate' mothers for Reading Scheme.  
  Polaroid camera purchased.  Second computer purchased.  
  School objected to sludge plant for sewage on Poihipi Road.  
  3 day horse trial - $100.00 raised for school.  
  It was proposed  the school hours would be from 8:40am - 2:30pm for 1987.  
 1987 Nov   

Green Datsun intimidating school students.

  Compulsory lunchtime sport instigated every Tuesday.  
  18 people picked approximately 450 bags of apples.  Total sold was $568.00.  Donation received from Huka Village.  
  Working Bee organised for 19 June.  
  17 cyclists bike to camp at Iwitahi.  Started at 10.30am.  Others transported by parents.  
  Other News  
  Joe McCreadie to mow lawns.   
  School Gymnastic Team has 16 members. Good numbers!  
 1988 July  
  Twelve native trees to be planted in gully on 12 July.  
  On 27/28 September the schools 'Mini Olympics' were held.  
  Other News  
  Senior Camp held at Raglan Beach.  
  Home and School Committee constitution considered.  
1989 March  
  Home and School Association meeting held on 15 March.  Present 22 (17 parents and 5 teachers) with 9 apologies.  "Tomorrows Schools" introduced.  
  Mrs Val Mansfield, Office Administrator wrote her first Home and School Association minutes!  
  Joe McCreadie to put up new fencing.  
  Education Board notified they will build another bay onto the Library a new resource room for the school.  Scheduled to start on 12 September.  
  School Caretakers on strike 3 August.  
  Discussion held on introducing school uniform as an option.  
  Other News  
  PTA Fundraiser - Golf Tournament  
  Class Visit/Study on Power Station Well Drilling  
  Robyn McPherson set up sewing day to make new rugby jerseys for the school.  
  Roll now 126 students.  
  Discussion on Home and School Association and BOT to join as School Council.  
  School House rents now $90.00 reduced from $120.00.  
  Jump Rope for Heart event held.  
  Iwatahi Camp held.  
1990 February  
  School Roll 139.  
  Mapara Road Bus reinstated.  
  School commenced Buddy Reading classes.  
  3 new computers purchased.  
  $2,500.00 spent on new books for the library.  
  29 June a second hand building donated by Electricorp arrived at school.  This building is the Culture Room.  
  The government proposed bulk funding to schools.  
  Library Extension - Present contractor terminated.  
  Andy Tunnicliffe made schools BBQ.    
  New contractor brought in to complete the library extension - Ken Edwards.  
  Home and School Association painted the exterior and interior of the library extension.  
1991 April  
  Cultural Room nearly completed - carpet and cutains ordered.  
  Robyn McPherson made netball bibs for school teams.  
  Considering purchasing Administration computer.  
  Playcentre opened.  
  Pool cover and roller purchased.  
  Official opening of Cultural Room 6 November which was Pets Day.  
  Other News  

Home and School Association purchased 150 blue/yellow/pink sunhats were given to students on Pet Day.

 1992 March  

Wairakei Hall became responsibility of the Taupo District Council with the running entrusted to Wairakei Lions on a 12 month contract.  Charge out rate of $2.50 per hour to community groups, weddings etc.  $50.00 1/2 a day - $250 bond.

  School buses provided by Reporoa Company.  


  Ronald McDonald Road Safety Show visited the school.  
  ENZA Apple Crunch Day for school students.  

Ski Fest School Banner awarded 2nd prize in Primary School section.

  Teachers reject bulk funding proposal.  
  Other News  
  Susan Lamberton weds. (Mrs Maclean)  
1993 April  
  New long jump pit in use.  
  Playcentre considered relocating to town.  
  Alarm system looked at and monitored.  
  Other News  
  Mid Year Social - Theme to be 'Occupations".  
  School ANZ Banking commences.  
 1994 June  
  Look at NZPTA.  
  My Roger McCLay visited school.  
  NZEI strikes on 13 July.  
  School farewells Ian Burt (Principal).  
  Hole in field opened up and refilled.  
  Other News  
  Val Mansfield commenced employment as Office Administrator  
  Ian Burt (Principal) retires.  Trevor Hegley becomes Acting Principal.  
  New filtration system for pool purchased.  
1995 March  
  'Homebooks' introduced.  
  ERO Visit.  
  Classrooms get large whiteboards for teaching.  
  School closed due to heavy snowfall.  
  Basketball backboards put up.  
  New Sony television purchased.  
  Classroom heating upgrade.  
  Looked at revamping school uniform.  
  School grounds dug up, refilled and levelled.  
  Megaphone to be purchased - $175.00 plus GST.  
  Brian Grindrod, new Principal meets staff.  
  Other News  
  There have been lots of graffiti problems this year.  
  Mt Ruapehu erupts.  
  Disabled ramps put in.  
  Approximately $12,000.00 spent on new desks and chairs for pupils.  
1996 July  
  Ash Fall-out - school waterblasted from top to bottom.  
  Comalco Can Competition - Wairakei Primary School were 'Runners Up' and overall winners fro the "Best Improved School".  
  Junior Adventure playground erected during the weekend of 16/17 September.  
  Mrs Penny Fischbach employed as Teacher Aide for special needs student in Rm 1 for 1 hour.  
  Gary Papanui begins employment as the schools groundsman.  
  Other News  
  Village Tavern gets Licence.  
  Home Sample Folders replace 'Homebooks'.  
1997 January  
  School exterior painted during the January school holidays.  
  School Roll 183.  
  School takes responsibility of Community Hall and hiring of community events.  
  Addition of new classrooms - Rooms 7 and 8.  
  Fair Play Charter awarded to the school by Waikato Chiefs on 15 May.  
1998 May  
  School roll 214.  
  School house to be put on market.   
  Decision was 'no' for Administration upgrade.  
1999 March  
  Opening of Library extension.  
  New BBQ purchased from Energy Centrepoint for fundraising at  the Saleyards and school.  
  Other News  
  Fully funded school option accepted.  
  Donna Northcroft to lead the Tu Kaha Programme.  
  Fiona Wasiolek commenced employment as the ICT/Librarian.  
  New Information Technology Centre built.  
  Further shade areas developed.  
  School frontage and carpark developed.  
  Cultural Room refurbished.  
  Bus Shelter dismantled and roof used for shade area in front of Library.  
  Eulalie Bryan teaches music to the students.  
2000 June  
  School farwelled Mrs Sue Maclean - Deputy Principal.  
  Other News  
  Mrs Sue Maclean - Deputy Principal has twins.  
  School 'Homefiles' system started.  
  Joan Kirk retires after 26 years.  
2001 June  
  Tuwharetoa Festival held on 22 June.  
  The 'Circus' setup in school grounds.  
  Comedian Mike King visited the school.  
  Other News  
  Brian Grindrod resigned after 7 years.  
  School hosted North Island AP/DP Conference.  
  School hosted Vincci Lau - Hong Kong Student Teacher for one week.  
  Garage completed with inside wall lining and concrete path.  One half allocated to the Playcentre and the other to the school.  
2002 March  
  Home and School Association have been struggling with a small body of people committing.  "Its been a dying horse" but with vast quantities of mouth to mouth, the bease has been revived and its showing signs of life!"  More social and fund and "Less of a cash cow'.  Andrew Signal, Chairman.  Extract from report.  
  Home and School Association becomes the PTA (Parent Teachers Association).  
  Joe McCready does not want to do can recycling anymore.  We need to find someone to replace him.  Need to acknowledge his contribution.  Robyn to buy and drop off a dozen cans to thank him.  
  Other News  
  Gaye Vartiainen appointed as new Principal.  
  Mark Burton visits school in regard to the Administration Building situation.  
  ERO Visit.  
  New school uniform introduced.  
  Gifted students to to attend 'One Day School' programme in Taupo.  
  School named as Pilot Enviro School within the Bay of Plenty and Waikato region.  
  Room 8 won the Youth Talent Quest.  
  Families surveyed for recapitation.  
2003 Other News  
  The first Possum and Rabbit Shoot fundraiser held organised by the PTA.  
  New sports uniforms received.  
  Enviro School - the school was videod and used as the base for a nationwide presentation.  
  Native garden extended.  
  Swimming Pool sandblasted and repainted.  
  Pet Day to be held on Saturday this year.  A first.  
  IMPACT Day held.
  Our school cat who was a stray arrived.  Gave him the name  'SMUDGE'.
  Enrichment Classes established and held in the Whanau Room.
2004 February
  Library Database completed which is the same database that the town library uses.
  Senior Playground tower demolished.
  Other News
  PTA contributed $55,000 to school mobile dental clinic.
  Junior playground upgraded.
2005 Other News
  New Senior Playground upgrade started.
  Swimming Pool upgrade included new changing rooms, gardens and fence.  Grant received from Bay Trust to fund this project.
  ERO Visit.
  New Administration Building now in use where old dental clinic was.  Old Administration building becomes support offices and special learning needs areas.
  Edible gardens planted.
  "The Brain" maze planted.
2006 January
  Worm Farm died.  Very sad.
  First school triathlon held.
  Other News
  Room 9 shifted and Room 10 classroom arrived and decks built.
  Solar heating panels installed on roof of swimming pool sheds.
  New Senior playground built.
  Outdoor area upgrade to Rooms 1-4 block included planters and cobbles.
2007 Other News
  175 students in Winter Sports Teams.  170 students played winter sports.
  First Interwrite Boards installed in Rooms 1 and 2 - Y5/6 students.
  Purchased 3 COW's (Computers on Wheels) along with laptops for each with grants received from charity groups.
  Open Plan NE Clasroom built and opened (Room 7).  Teachers Mrs Helen Dredge and Mrs Jenny Brown.
  Upgrade projects undertaken for Rms 1-4, toilets and new teacher release offices.
  Guitar Lessons commenced at school and taught by Steve Paull from Taupo School of Music.
2008 January
  School decile rating rises from 2 to 5.  Quite a jump!  Due to this rise school fees become $80.00 per year or $20.00 per term.
  School roll 252.
  Christian Cullen (All Black) and Danyon Loader (Olympic Swimming medalist) visited the school.
  New laminator replaces old one (approximately 25 years old which the Home and School Association purchased).
  Telecom Connection Points programme ends.  The school has purchased various ICT items over the past few years throught this programme i.e., digital cameras, digital video cameras, telephones, cd players, stereos for the school etc.  This programme will be missed.
  Lyn Cooper rung Helen Clark, Prime Minister and asked for Election date confirmation.
  Past student, Brian Mansfield is selected to play in the KC Rams Rugby Team.
  Schools 50th Reunion to be held in conjunction with Wairakei Power Station celebration on 14/15 November.
  Other News
  Orchestra started by Jo Paull  in Term 3 from Taupo School of Music.
  School lunches discontinued.
  Wairakei Hall to be shifted onto school property.
  Junior classrooms renumbered.

ERO Visit.

  Presently we have 98 computers in the school including PC's, laptops etc along with 6 Interwrite Boards.