Whakarewarewa Native School as it was known then, was opened on 18 March 1902 with a roll of 41 students.
The original school was built on Crown land on what is now part of Arikikapakapa Golf Course
Due to an increased roll in 1937, St Chad's Church was rented as an extra classroom until the new school could be built on the present site, backing onto the Forest Research Institute, now known as SCION.
The new school was opened on 22 April 1941 by then Prime Minister, the Rt Hon. Peter Fraser.
With the move to the new school came a new motto, epitomising the ideals of educators and parents. Rather than impose a motto it was decided to hold a competition among pupils to find a new one.
The winner was Peggy Scott and her inspiration - 'Kia u ki te pai' - 'Hold fast to that which is good' - has place of honor above the Hall - Hatu Patu.
Though known as a Māori school with students coming from the Whakarewarewa area and as far away as Koutu, Ohinemutu, Horohoro and Waipa, the school also had many European students who lived for the most part in the area from Grey St to Whakarewarewa.
First Day pupils when the school opened on 18 March 1902 were:
Hopia Manuera, Tepara Taurere, Mita Makiha, Te Hemopo, Te Whetu Werohia, Wi Warena Tamatu, Timoti Paora, Te Atatu Mika, Henare Eparaima, Hira Hohepe, Pere Tumatahi, Tati Te Hatu, Te Wharekariwha Mika, Ngatapiri Tonihi, Te Purauia Poata, Hone Tatarana Raponi, Attii Keepa, Hekemaru Kaiawha, Hori Taranaki, Te Wiremu Waaka, Hone Taipua Tamati, Wharerahi Hamiora, Rihari Tonihi, Rotohiko Heretaunga, Ruihi Rikiti, Hera Mika, Maria Tame, Hara Te Poata, Arimina Wikiriwhi, Merita Rehe, Emire Te Mutu, Mere Te Awetoroa Tamati, Rangimawhiti Te Waaka, Kuiri Wikiriwhi, Pipi Haira, Kiri Waitingi, Te Whakarato Haira, Ruiha Te Hatu, Tiaria Wikiriwhi, Riiki Makiha, Mere Wiari.
The headteacher was Rev. H. W. Burgoyne.
Outwardly the school has changed little over the years. The current renovation (2013-14) to remove the Administration block which was added in 1964, will return the main block to its original state.
Our thanks go to all former students, teachers, principals, school committees, whānau, friends and supporters who have given us the wonderful school that we have today.