Celebrating a rich and inspiring history


The areas to the South East of the city were growing rapidly and up to 1960 were served by the Howick District High School which was under the control of the Auckland Education Board. Following the abnormal growth of the secondary roll at this time, the Government of June 1955 approved the establishment of a post primary school using plans prepared by the Auckland Education Board.

A site of approximately 20 acres was acquired three quarters of a mile from the District High School and in November 1957 a tender from T J Farmer Ltd in the sum of 125,515 pounds 1 shilling and 9 pence was accepted for the erection of 17 teaching units, which included an assembly hall and ancillary facilities including an administration area.


Officially the new post primary school was established as from 1 February, 1960 but because the buildings were not ready for occupation the new school commenced in the old high school buildings. Transfer to the new site was made at the beginning of Term 2 in May 1961, when control was handed to the Pakuranga College Board and then to the Eastern Secondary Schools Board.

The official opening was held on Saturday, 7 October 1961 by the then Minister of Education, The Hon. R M Algie. The foundation Principal was Mr K W Rae MA, a brother of the then Minister of Housing, The Hon. J Rae, and he had a staff of 18 members with one probationary. The roll was 428 at 1 March 1961, housed in 16 permanent and three prefabricated classrooms.


JUNE, 1961

On 29 June, 1961 a tender of 48,561 pounds 10 shillings and 5 pence was accepted from D Scandrett Ltd for the erection of a modified Nelson Block of eight teaching units, and was complete for occupation at the beginning of Term 2 1962. Additional administration facilities estimated at 12,500 pounds were to follow later, also to be built by D Scandrett Ltd. They included two staff rooms, kitchen facilities, restrooms and a casualty room.


In September 1973 a tender of $65,585.56 was accepted from Agnus Construction Ltd for a gymnasium, and the Department contributed $22,500.00 towards the total cost of $69,840.00 for this project. A tender of $48,683.00 was accepted in December 1970 for a new Library.


In subsequent years items such as improvement of telephone facilities, electrical reticulation improvements, sealing of various areas, provision of a swimming pool and various other items of upgrading were undertaken.

In 1975 a Music/Drama block, Library conversion, and additions and alterations to the Administration Block were completed at a cost of $120,444.82 and in 1976 a private architect was employed to prepare drawing for a non standard two storey eight classroom blocks estimated to cost $345,021.00 which was completed in 1978. Improvements to the water supply and drainage systems have been progressively undertaken over a period of several years. An A10 pre-built was converted into an Art/Craft room in 1979 as were further Administration alterations. Technical resource areas, Drama, Music and Clothing room improvements were commenced in 1981, and Home Economics facilities were upgraded in the same year.


Ms Heather McRae (2006 - 2009)

Heather was raised on a farm in north Wairarapa, attending the local schools. She graduated from Massey University with a Bachelor of Science with a double major in chemistry and biology, earned a Diploma in Teaching (with distinction) and later gained a Masters in Educational Administration (with first class honours). Heather has run five marathons, was awarded a “blue” in netball at university, and has three adult children. She continues to love sport, in particular netball, athletics and multi sports, and has a strong affinity with the arts.

Heather began her career teaching science, chemistry and maths, then became a Dean and Head of Department for Science, at Awatapu College in Palmerston North. Heather then worked at the Palmerston North College of Education, followed by the NZ Ministry of Education in Wellington where she advised on the development of the curriculum and professional development of teachers, ranging from years 1-13.

From 1996-2002 Heather consulted internationally with the Multi Serve Education Trust, which is New Zealand’s leading exporter of education, providing educational services to public and private education providers, mainly in Asia and the Middle East. Her roles with Multi Serve included Director of International Educational Operations and Manager of National and International Curriculum Projects. Heather’s work internationally culminated in assisting with the establishment of an International Baccalaureate accredited school, Western Academy, in Beijing, China. In 2002, Heather was appointed Principal of Western Academy’s High School and Curriculum Director for kindergarten through to year 12. In 2004 Heather returned to New Zealand and took up her position at Pakuranga College as Associate Principal, becoming Principal in 2006. Heather received a Sir Woolf Fisher Trust Scholarship, which enabled her to undertake the Hillary Leadership Programme run by the NZ Leadership Institute at the University of Auckland.

Mr Bali Haque (2003 - 2006)

Bali Haque was three years old when his family left Pakistan as political exiles.

Bali received his education in the UK, attending Holloway Comprehensive School in London and Hull University where he gained an honours degree in Economics. He then went on to attend Garnett College of Education in London, to complete his teacher training. In 1995 he gained a Masters in Educational Administration through Massey University.

Bali’s first full time employer was Oxfam, the major overseas aid agency in the UK. As a Youth organiser he was responsible for both fund raising and education.

A 14 year career as a principal has taken Bali from Napier’s Tamatea High School to Rosehill College in Papakura then onto Pakuranga College in 2003. He has had long involvement with the Ministry of Education and NZQA, and has a very strong understanding of the secondary education system and has held a leadership role in the Secondary Principals’ Association of New Zealand.

Bali said he loved being a principal in a school, he’s loved all the chaos, complexity and fun of it. In 2006 he took his next step, Bali took up the position in Wellington as Deputy Chief Executive at the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.

Married to Cara, also a career teacher, since 1973, they have two children – Daniel and Toby.

Miss Pamela Stone (1987 - 2003)

Miss P A Stone – 1987 – 2003 In the past 15 years Pakuranga College has changed markedly in every respect. The roll has increased very steadily moving from 1373 on the 1st March 1987, to 1799 on 1st March 2001 with increases taking place in large numbers year by year.

There has been considerable increase in the ethnic and cultural mix of the school. In 1987 approximately 100 students were not born in New Zealand, these coming from only a small number of other nationalities. Currently there are 49 nationalities at our school, with over 1000 students not born in this country. Clearly all of this has made for a very different kind of school. In addition, we have added foreign fee paying students to our number.

The school has broadened its educational focus to cover the widest possible range of learners. While in 1987 we traditionally offered learning for students from 13 to 19 years old along with providing a Day Care Centre and Community Education we have now added to the breadth of educational opportunity by providing learning for Special Education students, with one class of intellectually handicapped children being enrolled in June 1987 with a second class to follow within two years and an Experience Unit opening in 1989 being extended to a two teacher unit in 1996. Special Education has become carefully woven into the school structure, with main streaming for students where possible with the emphasis continuing to be on specific learning programmes within designated units as appropriate.

A Learning centre has been established to give extra assistance to mainstream students needing such help or to assist students with behavioural problems. A strong Pastoral care network has been developed beginning in 1988 with additional responsibilities for Deans for whom office accommodation was provided working within a structure which gave delegated pastoral care and disciplinary responsibility to additional staff beyond the Senior Management Team in order to establish networks which we consider to be an important feature of the management of a large school. Over time the Deans structure has been linked very closely with the three Guidance Counsellors. It is currently linked to the Senior Management structure through the Senior Dean and through the Guidance portfolio of one of the Senior Managers. In 1995 after almost a year of discussion, research and debate the school moved from a horizontal Dean structure to a vertical structure initially with five Houses and in the following year with a sixth House added as there was clearly to be a further increase in the roll. This has proved to be the most successful move this school has made in recent years. The management structure has been developed considerably over this time. In 1987 the school had one Principal, one Deputy Principal and a Senior Master and a Senior Mistress. When the school reached 1400 in 1989 these positions were redesignated to Associate Principal and Deputy Principal. However, it was not until 1995 that it was possible to add further to the Senior Management team, this time with the appointment of two Assistant Principals. Gradually a flatter management structure has evolved, the school currently now having a Principal, an Associate Principal, four Deputy Principals, Senior Dean and Curriculum Co-ordinator all of whom have specific responsibilities with specific portfolios, grants of authorities and considerable autonomy working together collaboratively within policy. In 1992 the Principal took the school through a review process, setting goals in a five year plan and producing with the Senior Management team a blueprint both describing the school and establishing goals for its future. The strategic plan in the year 2000 brought together again many of these elements, confirmed the community’s confidence in the direction of the school and involved a wider range of staff again in future planning. The development of the school in these years has been based on a series of position papers furnished by the Principal to the Senior Management Team and carried through as projects either by a group as was the vertical forming initiative or by members of the Senior Management staff given that responsibility. The curriculum has also developed and widened partly in response to Government initiative but particularly in response to the school’s desire to offer very widely for all its students. In addition a very well developed Transition Department provides excellent advice for students’ future pathways. The physical structure of the school has changed considerably also. Since 1987 the following building has taken place:- Activities room completed 1987 Deans offices 1988 From 1996:- 10 room English Block, Library, old Library converted to Student Centre and Deans Suite, new two room Experience Unit, 9 room Science Block, new Health Centre, second Gymnasium, additions to previous Gymnasium, new Administration Block, addition to the Staff Room, upgrades to Music, Art and Technology Our grounds have also been very much improved, the major step being taken in 1995 when we had to close the school before Easter so that the concrete could be ripped up, paving laid and gardens established. The academic achievements and sporting and cultural achievement and involvement of our students has continued to strengthen over time with many of our students being at the top of the country and two students, one in Geography and one in German, having been first in the country in the Scholarship examinations.

We were both humbled and privileged in 1999 to be runner-up in the Goodman Fielder Secondary School of the Year Award.

Mr S Seagar (1978 - 1986)

Throughout the past eight years pupil activities and involvement, both extra-curricular and in local clubs, has continued to flourish. Many pupils have revealed outstanding talent. In fact one must question whether there has ever been a time when there has not been an Auckland or New Zealand champion or representative in the school.

Pupils have gained success in swimming, judo, yachting, tennis, badminton, soccer, board-sailing, gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, table-tennis, squash, roller-sking and cricket.

A tradition has developed in drama in which a seventh former produces a children’s play at the end of Form One. Over 1500 local primary school pupils attend. The annual “local music tour” has been extended to South Auckland schools and the Eastern Zone Music Festival has been re-established.

The appointment of two sixth or seventh form pupils as liaison officers to each third and forth form has created a unifying bond between seniors and juniors. A consequence of this “pastoral care” concept has seen considerable effort by seniors to encourage participation in school activities, with “special events” being organised by seniors.

The committee system has continued to develop, though enthusiasm waxes and wanes. A new “Music Committee” was formed 1984.

Academically the College has reached new heights, gaining five University Scholarships in 1980 and four in 1983.

Special mention must be made of Darryl Biggar (1979 – 83) who gained a University Scholarship, B P Scholarship, and Girdler’s Scholarship in 1983. This latter scholarship gained him entry to Cambridge University.

New Honours Boards supplementing the Scholarship Board in the Hall now record the names of Dux, Head Boy and Head Girl and Deputies, Head Librarian, Head Laboratory Assistant and Leader of the Orchestra.

Some new facilities include a canteen, school bus and garage, grand piano and a computer room with a network of 22 BBC microcomputers.

A pleasing input from the Education Department has seen considerable upgrading of laboratories and buildings. Upgrading of lockers (all now lockable) with murals painted by teams of pupils in latter years has transformed these areas into environmentally attractive parts of the school.

Mr Ernest Rive (1967 - 1977)

I‟m not going to write an account of those eleven years at the College. Those of you who were there will know much that I don‟t, and those who weren‟t wouldn‟t know anyway. So I‟ll just comment on what comes most clearly to mind, and naturally on what I particularly valued.

First there was the tremendous involvement of large numbers of people in the corporate activities of the school. Hordes of people turned up to working bees to dig gardens and plant trees. Worthwhile it was, too, for despite the unsympathetic nature of the soil and the “ticky tacky” buildings (Library and, later, Music Block, honourable exceptions) we wanted pleasant surroundings, and we got them.

And not only did you show a sense of community, but there was also a real and practical concern for the environment. It was fun, too. Who will ever forget the formal opening of “ Rhubarb Square ”? (Query: Is the Rhubarb still there?)

You worked together and accepted responsibility. Do you who were here in 1972 remember the weekend seminar in our library under the chairmanship of our Head Prefects on the subject of student leadership? A real exercise in leadership and practical democracy, involving over twenty schools.

Then, when we were ready, the response to the formation of the Student Committees, and the efficient and effective work of various groups in their chosen fields still makes me catch my breath. And I feel just a little extra satisfaction because other schools have caught on to the idea as well.

The tragedy of Pakistan caught the imagination of all, with a heart-warming response to the Blanket Appeal, as well as sparking off a New Zealand wide schools involvement.

We had our unhappiness and troubles too, and I can well remember on one occasion rather cynically defining „liberals‟ as “people who are totally intolerant of all ideas, other than their own”. (You may recall some of them) Yet in retrospect I find virtue even in them, for they were all idealists of one sort or another.

But the pleasure in effort and achievement far outweighed the problems.

What about “Good Soldier Schweyk”, “Mikado”, “Zigger Zagger”! Not only performances of a high standard, but, whether large or small numbers were involved, all had an immense and lasting sense of corporate effort and something worthwhile achieved. Musical memories of course inevitably mean Madrigal Choir, at its peak times quite the best school choral group I have known, and the orchestra, whose growth and developing expertise were always a cause for pleasure and pride.

You may not appreciate that the “Boss‟s Office” was at times a „stress situation‟. How often did I find relief in a quick visit to one of my havens? The library, the music or art departments, the „old house‟? It seems funny now to think what controversy, and at times feelings even, were stirred up by the old building. But there‟s no doubt we were right to want it. And on my now infrequent journeys along the highway I always take a quick look at it, and thank those devoted souls who prodded and encouraged me when the project seemed like a lost cause.

The only other controversy of comparable dimensions, but with different disputing parties, was that concerning the library. But I won‟t go into that now. Merely say that the College and all associated with it have an asset of immense value in what is acknowledged by all as the best of its kind.

Notions of self-help bring me to “Wang” and “Computer”. Fancy selling cookbooks to raise money to finance such a basic item of equipment. But it was worth it.

You will notice that I have named no names. I could not do so without giving inadvertent offence to someone. But it was people who made those eleven years pleasurable and rewarding. A committee or one of those staff curriculum meetings. A team winning a championship or losing with defiant cheerfulness. A confused junior or a confident young adult. A new teacher swapping ignorance‟s or an oldie with some good advice.

And finally I come to the “basics”, or are they the things I’ve been talking about all along? Anyway, what I‟ve sometimes called “the school‟s unique and specialised task” = providing instruction in specialised areas, for all sorts of purposes, whether academic or vocational or even recreational. And I‟m happy that we neglected none of those.

I well remember my first impression of the Honours Board. A school only seven years old with two scholarships already! Then to discover what excellent all rounders those fellows had been. My subsequent experience was of an atmosphere in which students of ability were expected to excel, and I must say I was very gratified that in the next eleven years there are only two gaps on that board.

But for me, of even greater importance was the innovative and imaginative attitude to the curriculum shown by the teaching staff over the years. With a “free options” choice we broke down, at least locally, the false hierarchy of subjects that prevails still in the external exam marking and scaling scheme. I still remember with much satisfaction a sixth former coming up to receive prizes for Latin and Typing while her two teachers sitting side by side smilingly congratulated each other. And of course the significance of a Sixth Form girl winning the Technical Drawing prize is now almost commonplace.

But back to the Honours Board. My most recent visit shows what I can only call “going from strength to strength”. And that occasion, the senior prize giving, gave a magnificent insight into the variety, the talent, the quality, the dedication that makes Pakuranga better than most and second to none.

I’m sorry though, that Latin has gone as I amplify the motto: “Caelum certe patet. Nulli secundus”.

Mr Kenneth Rae ... Founding Principal (1960 - 1967)

Plans had been drawn up by the Education Board in 1958 for the translation of Howick District High School into a College by 1960. The site chosen was Robin’s Corner to Moonie’s Bridge, an historic site on the old highway but unfortunately prone to fogs and flooding. There too, was the tiny Pakuranga Post Office with its venerable “V.R.” plate and its almost equally venerable Post-Mistress, Miss Pearce. The William Green Domain reminded all of an early teacher and the Pakuranga School and school building and teacher’s house were still on the site at the foot of Hutchinsons Road.

The new school is now at the Historic Vi llage and the school-house, now renamed Waiora House, which is now on the fields of the College was then occupied by the last headmaster of the District High School , Mr E G Smith.

The Pakuranga Old Pupils Association still held their annual picnic on Pigeon Mountain Domain and the annual reunion was still being held in the District Hall. A beautiful but mutilated rata tree planted by Pakuranga school pupils still flowers on the site near the present day Ambulance Station.

Mr Edwin Roberts asked that the new College also be named Pakuranga and the suggestion was unanimously supported by the nine parents representatives of the contributing schools who had been elected as a committee of management to assist the Education Board. The local representative of the Education Board was Mr J R Hallam who proved to be a good friend of the College and in 1964 became its second Board Chairman. The original nine were: Mr D G Wallace (Chairman), Mr E V Aldis (ViceChairman), Mrs J W Bailley, Mr R A Bassett, Mrs J Butterworth, Mr D E Good BA, Mr R W Harwood, Mrs K D McKay, Mr E F Roberts.

The new College, adjoined the old school site, just occupied on 14 June , its predecessor having been shifted to become Pakuranga Hall. Although the school was closed when the District High School was formed its bell was still in the tower in 1959. It is now in the library at the College. Five schools had been consolidated to form Howick District High School. The Chairman then was Mr Archie Trusdale. There was a secondary top to the Pakuranga School in 1936 which was lost when the District High School began under Mr Norman Day in September 1937. The first teachers of secondary pupils in the area were Mr Eric Halstead, later MP for Tamaki and Mr Norman Webb later Headmaster, SuvaBoys Grammar School. The High School had four headmasters: Messrs F C Day, R C Adlam, J E Maxwell and E G Smith, photographs of whom are in the office corridor.

The Education Board was to supervise the management of the College for the first two years and existing staff were to have their appointments safe-guarded for two years but could opt out if they did not like the new organisation.

Though the headmaster was appointed in mid 1959 he was not relieved of his duties as First Assistant, Penrose High School , and this made preliminary meetings and organisation very difficult. Though at first it seemed possible that the new school might open in February a small tornado which swept up Dr Mc Gregor Grant’s stream and unroofed two prefabs, one of which housed the High School Library, delayed the move. Thus the College was established with a roll of 312 and a staff of 17 with the revived old name Pakuranga but still in the Howick District High School building. It did not move down to the old/new site until 23 May of the second term, 1960.

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