Behind the Bricks and Mortar- 100 Years of Memories

The first school in Motueka opened in 1847 and was operated from a church. Ten years later a proper school was built on the corner of High and Greenwood Streets but soon became too small for the burgeoning pupil population. Land was offered by the Superintendent of Native Reserves and a new school was built on the present site of the museum in 1866, catering for primary students only. Over the years further buildings were added.

In 1902 the Motueka District High School was opened with one teacher and a roll of 21 pupils, a second wooden building, with a bell tower was built alongside the 1865 structure to accommodate the ever increasing number of pupils.

By 1910 both buildings were too small and in 1913 the new school, built in brick, was erected.

By 1970, due to worries over the building’s structural earthquake strength it was closed and became surplus to the Dept. of Education’s need. It was gifted to the Motueka Borough Council on the premise it be used as a museum.

The museum finally opened its doors to the public on 4 November 1987 and is still going.

This exhibition traces the history of the school and the museum, with all its trials and tribulations. Featuring lots of historic photographs of the buildings and pupils over the years,the story also follows through to the emergence of the museum and all the changes that have been made both externally and internally.

Do come along and see how things changed; see if you know anyone in the photographs; share memories (there will be a book for you to write in) and for the younger set there will be chance to try your hand at the old style of printing.

A bit about our current exhibition - Behind the Bricks and Mortar, 100 Years of Memories.

How teachers were in the early days

Photographs of the early school on this site.