Our History: Early Days



Above: Edendale Primary c 1940

Edendale Primary School was established in 1909, being officially opened on May 29, 1909. A grant of £2,300 was made by the Education Department to build a school to accommodate 250 students. The roll opened with 146 students on the first day. By March 1913, the roll had grown to 642, at which point the Presbyterian Sunday School Hall was rented to accommodate growing numbers. An Infant School was opened on 29 April 1918; by June of the same year the roll had reached 800.


Above: Edendale Primary today.

Above: Infant class 1909


When Kowhai Junior High opened on October 1 1922, 188 Edendale students transferred. However, Edendale’s roll continued to rise, and at the end of 1925, the roll reached 929, being the third largest primary school in New Zealand. In 1926 Brixton Rd School was developed as well as Richardson Rd School in 1930, to cater for some of Edendale’s huge numbers of students. By 1950, Edendale had once again grown to 950; Wesley Primary was built in 1951 to cater for 250 of these students. After this, Edendale’s roll remained around 600 – 700 until the early 1960’s. Between 1965 and 1993, the roll steadily decreased from 572 – 340. It is noted that non-European students numbered 7% of the roll in 1966, and by 1984 this had risen to 53%. In the early 1990’s approximately 95% of the school was non-European. No ethnicities are specified. In the early 1990’s, approximately 20% of the students were Maori and 75% of Pacific background. In 1993 the roll began growing once again. At the end of 2007, the roll was 592.


In 1972, the original school building with its masonry walls was condemned, and the process for restoration declined due to the cost involved. The new plans for the school involved totally rebuilding, with 16 permanent, 3 portable and 2 semi-portable rooms. The new school was opened in late 1978 at a cost of $670,000 being designed to provide for both formal and open plan teaching and at the time, was the largest built in New Zealand of this style.


The school hall, built by the local community was opened in 1956. The Board of Trustees completed a project to extend and renovate this hall mid-2004. It is now a wonderful multi-purpose facility for the school, however this year, (2014) was remediated (roofing and exterior cladding) as it was a ‘leaky building’.