Our History & Community

The school was founded in 1848. It is one of the ten oldest schools in New Zealand.

The land was once a swamp and named Tureauraki. The meaning of the name of the township Riwaka comes from the māori riu = interior or bilge; waka = canoe, which can be translated as the hull of the waka.

The Riwaka River valley is home to many orchards and a great deal of New Zealand’s hops are grown in this area. There is still evidence of original hop kilns from times gone by.

The local river stems from the Riwaka Resurgence, or in māori, te Puna o Riuwaka. The source of this river stems from a network of caves beneath Takaka Hill where the water makes its way through the rocks and emerges at the source. It is a unique and beautiful place which holds spiritual significance for māori.

Community facilities include a hall, tennis courts, scout den, hotel, churches, a croquet club and a bowling club. There are cafes and a number of local businesses based in the township.

In the surrounding area, there are many natural recreation areas including rivers, beaches, mountains and the Abel Tasman National Park.

Over the years, the school has received a number of upgrades to cater for both roll growth and also to modernise learning spaces.

We have a purpose built Performing Arts Centre which is used for music, drama, PMP (Perceptual Motor Skills Programme), gymnastics and also for hosting school assemblies and other events.