Wednesday, 22 May 2013

International Day for Monuments & Sites and the Matakana Island school

International Day for Monuments & Sites is a World Heritage Day that highlights and celebrates the different aspects of heritage. It is organised by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).

The day was celebrated on 18 April and the theme this year was 'The Heritage of Education'. This was something which the New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT) felt that the Matakana Island community in the Bay of Plenty had a lot to celebrate. Te Kotukutuku School House on the island is one of the few surviving pre 1900 Native school houses in NZ. The building has been recently registered as a Historic Place Category 1 and was built on land donated by local iwi.

Ref: 4-448, Military Cemetery in Tauranga with Matakana Island (on left) and the Mount (right) in the background, 1860s, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Previously there was no form of organised education on the island. The school opened in 1897 and operated for over 50 years as the main school for Māori children on the island and was part of the Native School System (1867-1969).

The building is no longer a school but the community hope to turn it into a store for archives and historical information relating to the school, local area and people.
 
Ref: 36-P68, Bowentown Bay and Pa Hill, with Matakana Island in background (on right), 1944, Sir George Grey Special Collections
Auckland Libraries has a number of heritage resources relating to Matakana Island, which can be browsed through by theme.

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