Our school was opened in 1891 and it was originally called Hukanui, after the Maori name for the area. The school probably began in tents or sheds, but after a couple of years located in a hall a proper school building, mostly of Kauri, was erected at Hukanui. This is at the current site of the Gordonton Play Centre.
When the post office was opened the post master was told that he could not call it Hukanui. So the name Gordonton was chosen in honour of John Gordon who had been the manager of Woodlands. The school did not change to Gordonton until 1913.
After the Depression of the late 1920’s and early 30’s there was an increase of the number of children wishing to attend our school.
Pre-fabricated classes arrived to accommodate the growth. It became obvious that the original site was too small for the community’s growth and an alternative site up Woodlands Road was sought and found.
Much of the land development – the shifting of 2300 cubic yards of soil, the area to be leveled and graded top soil replaced, bus bay excavated, entrance and drive way formed, grass sown, and grounds fenced – was done by the local community. As a result, due to the local in-put, there was enough money for a swimming pool and sheds to be built.
The opening of our present school with six classroom occurred in March 1961. The school was blessed with the words: “God’s blessing on all who will learn in these classrooms and on all teachers who will influence the young lives...” by Canon Wi Te Tau Huata.
With the closing of Komakorau School and extended bus routes, our numbers continued to grow and by 1967 the roll was up to 280. Two relocatable, “pre-fabs” were added, along with a school office, enlarged staff room and sick bay.
With the change in farm sizes, the closure of dairy, cheese and the potato factory, inevitably our school roll declined and by 1980 there were less than 200 pupils, and the pre-fabricated classrooms removed.
By the beginning of the 1990 there were 91 children, however since then the roll has continued a steady growth and today sits around 220 children.
In 1997 the school hall finally arrived on site, having been moved by road from Komakorau. This has been a wonderful asset to our school as now we have regular assemblies, discos, gymnastics, class physical education and productions in it.
Today there are eleven classes, with a new administration block, and information centre including a library and computer suite, fifteen full or part time teachers, four teacher aides, a school secretary and caretaker.
Gordonton School… Our School!