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Te Ara wants your stories of country schools

This week thousands of children return to school, in towns and cities and in rural centres dotted throughout the countryside.

A century ago there were over 2,000 country schools; today there are about 750.  Yet the local school, with one or two teachers and all the kids from the farms around, is a unique part of New Zealand’s heritage. 

Te Ara, New Zealand’s online encyclopedia, is inviting country pupils, past and present, to send in their stories about their school experiences to add to a new entry on the website about country schooling.

“In the past country schools used to alter their years to fit in with the seasonal pattern of farm tasks; and many kids came to school riding bare back on a horse.  Today they are more likely to use the school bus.  But lamb and calf days are still common; and the country school remains a hugely important part of farm communities.”

“Send us your stories of lamb and calf days, and keeping your feet warm in cow paddies.  We’re always looking for New Zealanders’ stories to add to our entries in Te Ara, the Encyclopedia of New Zealand” says General Editor of Te Ara Jock Phillips.

The entry on country schools is available at:  Stories can be submitted online ( or sent to: Te Ara, Ministry for Culture and Heritage, P O Box 5364, Wellington.

Updated on 23rd July 2015