School History

Terrace End School 1939 Credit: Palmerston North City Library

Taken from an article in the Manawatu Standard 15th January 2005. (Tina White)


When Terrace End School opened in 1884 it was the only the second non – private school in Town. It was just a mean room with no desks (just sloping planks), long “ forms” for seats, and no place for books, slates, inks, pens or pencils. School Inspector WH Vereker-Bindon was appalled by the conditions when he visited, and his indignation fuelled a move to another location-Deard’s Hall in Main Street. Two new teachers arrived, and maps, desks and books were sent form Wanganui. On September 8th 1885, the school moved into its own new wooden building.

School was tough in those days with stiff discipline. The Standard One pupils were caught using their fingers in counting in March 1898. Students were often strapped or caned.


In 1923 the Terrace End Memorial Swimming Baths were opened by MP JA Nash and dedicated to the memory of ex pupils who served in World War 1. The structure was used for years until the older children were removed from the school to attend Palmerston North Intermediate School. A new smaller pool was built elsewhere on the school grounds in 1958. This pool is still used regularly over Term One with all classes having swimming and water safety lessons daily. The Memorial pool has been demolished as the cost of repair and running was way out of the schools means.


School entries contain a grim record of absences and shutdowns over the decades, because of disasters and epidemics. One of these was the Napier earthquake of February 3 1931. Within a few days, children from the earthquake area were admitted to the school.

Measles, mumps and influenza outbreaks affected teachers and pupils alike and closed the school several times in the 1930’s and 1940’s.

Terrace End and other schools throughout New Zealand closed early in December 1936 because of a polio outbreak. And fears of a polio epidemic closed schools all over the North Island for weeks in 1947 and 1948. Finally, an entry for September 26, 1956 reads: “120 children receive first poliomyelitis vaccination.”


Probably much to the children’s delight, thick snow fell late in July 1939- the heaviest snowfall recorded for 20 years. Again, in 2010 we had another heavy snowfall and very excited teachers and children.


Local Historian Garry O’Neill has painstakingly researched and completed a book about the Terrace End district including school information published in time to coincide with the Terrace End School’s 125th Jubilee.

Terrace End School started out surrounded by 19th century totara and bush. Today, “Learning on the Terrace - Ako ki te kura atea” is surrounded by, and totally embracing, all the technology of the 21stCentury, rebuilt, refitted and rejuvenated for whatever comes next.

Manawatū Heritage Website

To view historic photos of Terrace End School go to and search for Terrace End School.