Seventy or more years ago, Alan Manning, got into a spot of bother at Komakorau School. He told the tale to Home Range magazine.
Along with two other boys, Alan decided to brighten up the girls’ drinking fountain.
“We filled the bowl with dirt and planted some daisies. Our teacher, Mr Broadbent, was very angry about this and lined the three of us up on the school steps in front of the assembly and gave us all the strap.
“The two smaller boys started to cry. I thought the whole charade was so funny and started to laugh. Then the whole school also started to giggle and Mr Broadbent dismissed the assembly to go inside. Those steps are still there.”
Those school steps…
The steps are almost all that remain of the school, in the middle of a paddock, opposite the Hukanui Golf Course.
Now living in Ngaruawahia with his wife Ruth, Alan says he enjoyed being at the small, two-roomed school very much.
When his parents bought an undeveloped bush block in Maihihi in 1952, he went with sister Janet to live with grandparents Jim and Margaret Graham, in what is now Lake Rd.
“Janet stayed on longer than I and then went to school in Horsham Downs. The Otorohanga school bus took two hours for the trip, making a 10-hour day.”
Looking through old photos, he found one from 1952. “There are 23 pupils, probably the standards room with Mr Broadbent.” He thinks he is the boy with the dirty knees on the right in the front row.
“I still remember the muddy legs. Everybody played football and the dirtier you got the better the game. The worst part was washing off the dried-on mud, and Grandma had only limited tank water, which was cold.”
The best school ever
Alan remembers several children rode ponies to school, and the horses were kept in the paddock. “These were sometimes very difficult to catch.”
He got to school in a workers’ bus soon after 8am. “We played hopscotch and games until everybody else turned up.”
One day, playing football, he managed to get the ball and took off for the touchline.
“I was tackled by Eric, who was in my team. When I asked him why, he pointed out I was running the wrong way. We had changed ends at half time. I was never any good at any ball sport.”
After a few months, he joined his parents in Otorohanga, and went to Otorohanga District High School. “With 1200 pupils it was the exact opposite to Komakorau.
“I consider Komakorau to be the best school I ever attended. It was friendly, local and not too large.”
• With dwindling roles, Komakorau School was closed in the mid-1960s and the few remaining pupils transferred to neighbouring schools such as Gordonton.
- For more history stories in our area, click the history tab on the top of this site. Click here for a photo from 1912 of our footie champs!
Look for Alan and his Oldsmobile at Woodlands Pioneer Fundays this October.