Our History

1960’s – 1970’s


  • Tararua College opens on 2nd February.
  • First open day for the public on 2nd April.
  • First Parents Association meeting on 4th May.


  • B Block completed.
  • Grand piano, mahogany lectern and table purchased for the Hall with a gift of 600 pounds from the Pahiatua DHS Memorial fund.
  • The silver birches were planted on the main drive
  • Tararua College officially opened by the Governor General, Viscount Cobham, in the presence of the local MP, the Prime Minister elect Keith Holyoake on 11th October.
  • College choir’s first broadcast 9 Lessons and Carols service 11.25am on Christmas Day on 2ZA Palmerston North.


  • Tararua College Educational Trust founded in February. Within a year it has 351 members and has raised over 1120 pounds.
  • Peter Snell and Murray Halberg visit in April.
  • Head Boy, Peter Lines, wins the 1962 Upham Scholarship.


  • 17th September NZBC Orchestra performed in the Hall.
  • Mr. McLean’s magazine editorial, emphasizing the dangers of letting science dominate the curriculum education was the subject of an editorial in the Wellington Evening Post.


  • Tararua College Rowing Team obtains canoes and oars from Auckland Rowing Club and takes part in Secondary Schools regattas in Wanganui and Wellington.
  • Work starts on the gym. Parents Association gives 4200 pounds.


  • North Island Secondary schools rowing regatta on the Tiraumea River: 15 schools take part.
  • Gymnasium opened by W.H.Brown MP for Palmerston North (although the plaque said Mr A Kinsella who was Minister of Education and was ill) on 12th June. It had cost 13,000 pounds of which the college raised about a third.
  • Tararua College Choir wins a national competition for recorded music run by the NZ Esperanto Society.
  • Tim Bell wins Tararua College’s first Scholarship.


  • There is much discussion about the need for examinations for the junior school.
  • Work begins on the School Cafeteria.


  • A site is purchased for a boarding hostel due for completion in 1968 and arrangements made to use a wing of the Pahiatua hospital in the meantime.
  • The College’s only recorded Debutante Ball in front of Mr and Mrs. Holyoake.
  • Fifth and Sixth form Australian tour.


  • Mr M K Denholm becomes Principal of Tararua College.
  • Social Studies department trip to the South Island.


  • 10th Jubilee Reunion at Easter, 4th-6th April.
  • Visit of Governor General Sir Arthur Porrit in July.


  • Mr S.W. Gaudin becomes Principal of Tararua College.
  • Uniform abolished for Seventh Form/ Year 13 and for Sixth Form (Year 12) in mid-year.
  • Hair regulations relaxed.
  • Year 9 and 10 examinations abolished and replaced by a system of testing.
  • Gala day raised $4000.
  • South Island Tour for Senior students. Cost $8 each


  • Prefects elected and committee system introduced.
  • Streaming scaled back.


  • Rock gardens put around the school.
  • School Canteen completed.
  • First Mufti week.


  • Death of Mr W. A. Carthew, MBE JP, first elected chairperson of the Board of Management.
  • Study groups introduced; prefects abolished and replaced by school council.
  • Streaming of classes abolished.


  • Internal Television system first set up in the college.
  • Form deans first appointed.


  • Senior Science Block built.
  • Maori introduced to the curriculum.
  • Shower and changing facilities added to the Gymnasium.
  • Electives begin on Wednesday afternoons.


  • First Guidance Counsellor and Careers Advisers appointed.
  • Queen Carnival raises over $25,000 for the District Sports Complex.
  • Trip to New Caledonia.
  • Miss I. E Checkley dies, leaving her property to the Tararua College Educational Trust.
  • Ian and Peter Herkes set a World Crawling Record on the track.


  • Scrap metal collection raised $3000.


  • Tu Tangata formed.
  • Tararua College takes part in World Vision for the first time.


  • South Island Trip.
  • Swimming pool opened – not the building – on 10th November.



  • Tu Tangata Rotorua and Murupara Trip.
  • Canoe Trip to Lake Tarawera and again in 1982.


  • The Library built.
  • Irene Hislop wins three gold, one silver and a bronze at the World Childrens’ Disabled Games in London.
  • Visit by Hone Tuwhare.
  • Swimming Pool roofed in.


  • Introduction of Liberal Studies.
  • Ski Trip to Ruapehu and again in 1983.


  • Porangahau Marae trip.


  • Tararua College Silver Jubilee at Easter.
  • Parewahawaha Marae Trip.


  • Major Sports Tour (rugby, netball and basketball) to Australia in May.
  • End of Year: Science Courtyard built.


  • Site blessed and work begins on building of Whare Wananga on 11th April.
  • Tania Hepi comes 1st equal in the Lions National “Youth Speaks for New Zealand” competition.
  • Sally Richardson revives a College Singing Group.


  • Nick Gaudin retires as principal in June and is succeeded by Eric Smith.
  • Whare Wananga opened by Governor General, Sir Paul Reeves on 28th August in the presence of 1000 guests.
  • College repainted and cafeteria mural painted by Rachel Donald.
  • Visit by Sam Hunt.


  • Introduction of Transition as a subject.
  • Visit by Governor-General Sir Paul Reeves on 21st September to unveil a plaque on the Whare Wananga.
  • Introduction of Tomorrow’s Schools in October 1st: Board of Governors becomes Board of Trustees.


  • Redevelopment of the bottom of A and B Block
  • Path from Tama Tu Tama Ora put in.


  • Construction of new changing rooms linking the Gym and the Pool.
  • Introduction of the voucher system.
  • Introduction of Horticulture.
  • Opening of the Gymnasium refurbishment by Lois Muir in September.
  • Duncan Elliott represents NZ in the National Skeet Shooting Team.
  • Brendon Tootell is National Supercross Champion.


  • Opening of the Nick Gaudin Music Suite.


  • School leaving age raised to 16.
  • Tararua College repainted.
  • College visit to New Caledonia.


  • Cafeteria and Staff Area destroyed by fire on 12th May.
  • First visit of Seito High School from Japan.


  • Opening of the new staff room, staff workroom and Canteen in Term 2.
  • Drama group wins second place in National Shakespeare competition.
  • Peer Support introduced.
  • Introduction of teaching by computer linkup with other schools.
  • Reece Robinson captains the NZ Secondary Schools rugby team.


  • Introduction of Computer Technology and Rural
  • Studies/Horticulture as subjects.


  • Unit Standards introduced.
  • National Certificate of Employment Skills introduced.
  • Phil McCreery becomes principal of Tararua College (July).


  • Death of Sue Rowden, Chairperson of the Board.
  • Sue Rowden Support Centre opened.
  • Music tour of South Island.
  • Tu Tangata class support programme begins.
  • Introduction of extension classes.


  • Introduction of new senior uniform.
  • Refurbishment of Administration Block.
  • Kelly Beech Agriculture Unit set up.
  • Automotive classrooms built.
  • Educational Trust scholarships begin.



  • Jones Motors presents school car.


  • Tararua Roading presents school van.
  • Whare Storage Room built. 2002
  • Completion and Opening of the Technology Suite: March.
  • Completion of the Kelly Beech Rural Education unit.
  • Primary Technology begins at Tararua College.
  • National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) begins.
  • Refurbishment of the Science Block.


  • Opening of the Technology Suite.
  • Opening of the Whare Kai.
  • Refurbishment of the Science Block.


  • Opening of Drama Suite.


  • Introduction of Gateway Programme.
  • Term Two: Phil McCreery becomes Principal of Cambridge High School.
  • Term Four: Glynis De Castro becomes Principal.

2006 – 2009 

  • Performing Arts trip to Vanuatu.
  • Music department trip to Queensland.
  • Rugby Trip to Australia


  • Music Tour to Taupo
  • Italy Trip


  • Tararua College School Hall refurbished
  • Music Tour to New Plymouth

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  • S.T.R.I.V.E Values adopted
  • Technology Block re-roofed
  • Tararua College becomes a Google Apps school
  • Year 10 Samoa Trip


  • Change from Form Classes and Year Level Deans to Mentoring Groups and House Deans
  • Introduction of school-wide wireless network for staff and students.