"Ako tahi Tātou, Tipu tahi Tātou, Together we Learn, Together we Grow"
Do you remember Taita in the early 1940’s?
A peaceful rural area of Market Gardens with a railway that extended only to Waterloo: an old Anglican Church on the Eastern Hutt Road: the old Taita Hotel on High Street and the original Taita School south of the Hotel.
The war ended and 1945 saw the beginning of a rush to build State houses in the Taita area to accommodate returned servicemen and their wives and families, and other homeless couples. Jobs were plentiful and so were children who arrived in increasing numbers, including twins. In 1952 Taita Central had the highest incidence of twins in the country – 16 sets.
16 October 1948 was a significant day in the history of Taita Central School, it was the birth. However, 21 February 1979 was to be another very significant day in the school’s history. It was on this day that Taita Central School became the first school under the control of the New Zealand Education Board to be totally destroyed by fire.
The fire began about 10.45 p.m. on Wednesday 21 February 1979. It started in the administration block and travelled very quickly through to other parts of the school. An accelerant – probably petrol was used. Several fire appliances and personnel came up to the fire and by 11.15 p.m. the fire had gutted all but two classrooms completely. The shell of one of these classrooms was all that remained the next morning.
Accommodation was found at Rata Street School (infants and junior special classes), Kelson School (S1 & S2 and senior special classes), Belmont School (S3 & 4) At Taita Intermediate (now Avalon Intermediate) the clerical assistant and principal were housed in the visiting teachers office.
On Monday 2 July 1979, children returned to a newly built Taita Central School, as you see it today.
Model of Taita Central School before the fire totally destroyed it.
1979 School Fire