Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 30, September 1986

By Fred Pratt

The Waimata School was opened in 1916 following requests from residents on the Waihi Plains for a school for the growing number of school-age children living in the area. Mr. Fred Pratt was a first-day pupil at the school together with his sister, Eunice.

There were, said Mr. Pratt, a number of places on the plains that people wanted the school. There was the corner of Ford Road where the Tamaki Timber Company's mill was; they then tried to get it where the Waimata Station was. It was Mr. Pratt's father who finally settled it by giving the land in Tauranga Road where the school now stands. A meeting was then called, a committee formed and the results sent to the Education Board.

Mr. Pratt said that he was only a small lad at the time but he remembers the timber being delivered to the school. He claims that he helped to build it as he used to pass up the little bits of timber to the builder.

The first teacher was Peter Lynch who used to ride a push-bike out from Waihi each day and then home again at night.

Mr. Pratt's mother used to clean the school and his father looked after the grounds.

Concluding his reminiscences of the area, Mr. Pratt reeled off the names of all the farmers in the area with the various roads they lived in. Many of the same family were still living on the farms but now with greatly improved farms and with good tarsealed roads instead of the mud tracks that made travelling so difficult in those early days.