Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 41, September 1997


By Gordon Mathieson

(Part 1 of this article appeared in Journal 40 - Page 26) [see Journal 40: Paeroa Manual Training School - E]

The Manual Training School was completed in March 1925 and classes commenced there immediately. There does not appear to have been an official opening but the records show that the first staff were Mr Mitchell for woodwork and Miss Millington for the cooking class.

The building remained on the Miller Avenue site for 20 years and it was then moved to the new Secondary Department on Te Aroha Road, in 1944. The vacant site at Miller Avenue was retained by the Education Department, and in July 1956 it was announced that a new primary school was to be built there. Construction was carried out during 1957 and the school, known as 'Miller Avenue School' opened at the start of the 1958.

As the Secondary Department, at Te Aroha Road, continued to grow its facilities were upgraded and expanded. By the 1950s, the 30-year-old Manual School was becoming inadequate for its original purpose. About this time the dividing wall between the woodwork and cookery rooms was removed, and the whole building was used for woodwork. The cooking classes were moved to the 1940 District High School block.

Soon after the official opening of Paeroa College (June 1959) the Technical courses were extended to include metalwork (also known as Engineering Shopwork) and Technical Drawing. A much larger block comprising of Homecraft and Clothing rooms, and a new room for Metalwork, was opened in 1960, and a separate room for Technical Drawing in 1969.

The original Woodwork room was replaced in 1984 with a larger one on the same site, and the old one was relocated adjacent to the Gymnasium, where it still stands as an extra-mural studies room.