By Alastair Brickell.
The often-forgotten Kaimarama School was much discussed last week at the Lost Spring.
The occasion was a fascinating talk given to members of the Mercury Bay Historical Society at one of their frequent coffee mornings, by local resident Cynthia Lingard. Cynthia’s late husband, Reece Harris, was the Principal at the school from 1960-65 and she gave very interesting insights into life at Kaimarama and the area at the time. Others at the meeting recalled their parents being at the school and Daphne Rea (nee McLeod) remembered being at the school herself which had also been attended by her father and grandfather.
The school was sited on the left side of SH25 past the 309 turnoff, just as you head up the hill towards the new cemetery. The school grounds and schoolmaster’s house were somewhat lower down and all of us know only too well of the frequent floods along McLeod’s flat nearby. Particularly severe flooding in 1967 and better communication with Mercury Bay led to the decision to close the school in March, 60 years after it had opened. The school building was relocated to the Mercury Bay School grounds on School Road near Eyre Street to join other school buildings including the school hall which had been relocated from the old Kuaotunu School some years earlier.
One of the school buildings was eventually relocated by Alan Hopping to become part of The Lost Spring so Cynthia gave her talk in a rather appropriate venue. It was very well received and a great example of what the MB Historical Society is all about…broadening our often forgotten knowledge of the past life of our interesting community.
Caption: Local resident, Cynthia Lingard, speaks at the Historical Society; removal of historic Kaimarama School to Mercury Bay.