School Timeline


  • Citizens petition Local Member for help in establishing a High School in Whangarei
  • November 2 Parliament passed the Whangarei High School Act.
  • Part of the Act provided an Endorsement in the form of 3891 acres of land (The Kioreroa Block) which was intended to provide income. The land was unsuitable and eventually in 1950 it was returned to the Crown. (Now of course it has become very valuable)


  • Board of Governors set up. First meeting was 11/08/79


  • At its third meeting the Board was urged by the Chairman George Alderton to begin classes


  • By April 1881 it was proposed the school be started and Mr W.H.O Smeaton was appointed Headmaster . The first classes were conducted in a room of Francis Wood’s house in Cameron Street. The date was 16 May 1881. Subjects; Latin, Mathematics and Arithmetic with options of French, Greek, Science, German.
  • School transferred to a building on Mr Keyte’s property somewhere near the present McDonald’s Restaurant and the extended grounds of the present Whangarei Primary School. (This building is now shifted and possibly exists as a shed in Aubrey St.)


  • Music and singing lessons were attempted but there weren’t enough students.


  • June saw Mr Smeaton forced to resign because of ill health.
  • November 24 Rev. J.H. Hawkes was appointed Headmaster. There was no school June – November


  • 28/01/84 with four pupils the school reopened. Mr Hawkes then added his own children to the roll and with others as well, got the numbers up to ten. The school inspector did not approve.
  • The school funding fell apart and the Board closed the school in November.
  • Mr Hawkes resigned.


  • Hawkes privately continued the school for a while.

1885 – 1891

  • There was no formal school. The Board continued to meet.


  • May. School re-opens with three pupils and Mr R. D. Duxfield as Headmaster. The roll reached 18 by the end of the year. Classes were held in Rev. L.L. Cubitts Hall in Bank St about opposite where the present Public Trust building is.


  • June – Duxfield and the Board in conflict because some pupils were not eligible to be at High School. Such disputes were common at the time.


  • Parents petition Board to provide a proper school building.
  • Duxfield offered two rooms of his house and the land in front of it. Before that came to pass he was again in dispute with the Board and resigned. By September that year he was re-instated and again offered the use of his property. The Board was not going to deepen its involvement with Duxfield and took up Rev. Cubitt’s suggestion that land be purchased and a building put up.


  • Two acres of land was bought from Mr McClintock in Manse St near the Gorries Rd corner about where the supermarket now is and the Regent Theatre was. Mr Keyte built a small school for £260. (This was later shifted to what became Lupton Ave, that building survived as part of the Whangarei High School, then the Girls High School, until the 1980s when it was destroyed by fire.)
  • William Carruth appointed to Board of Governors.


  • School starts in new building.
  • Duxfield off side with parents and Board.


  • Duxfield forced to resign. Mr Roger Lupton was appointed to take over on 01/05/96
  • Mr Lupton decides motto of school shall be Fideliter


  • Roll reaches 30 pupils


  • School has a Cadet Corps


  • First publication of Gazette, a hand written chronicle issued each term
  • Free place education offered to qualified students. Up until then students paid fees


  • Mr McClintock sells school 6.75 acres in what was to become Lupton Ave and on the North side of Manse St, present site of W.G.H.S.
  • A cottage in Manse St was included. Total price was £1000 (very reasonable). Old site was sold.
  • Two special buildings were erected on the grounds of Whangarei Primary School as a Manual Training school. (1925 it was removed to the Lupton Ave site and 1953 again shifted to the W.B.H.S site where it is currently the music Suite)


  • On July 4 1906 New school including the shifted original building was opened. Construction costs were £1000
  • Subjects expanded away from the classical curriculum to include cooking, woodwork and mechanical drawing and a science lab was in operation.
  • Average roll number was 76.


  • Mr H.E.G Smith appointed as first male assistant teacher. He was an old boy (see picture on page 9, he is 3rd boy from right in back row) of the school and served it in a variety of roles until 1947.
  • Formal setting up of Cadet Corps.


  • Past students petition the Board about establishing a boarding hostel, and that land be acquired adjacent to the school and this was done.


  • Roll 97 and 5 teachers.
  • Govt grant of £1000 and local subscription of £500 for founding of a Boys Hostel.


  • First prefects appointed.


  • Hostel in Lupton Ave opened. Rate was £35 – per annum


  • World War One – 30 Old Boys lost their lives in this conflict. Sobering number from a small school only 33 years old in what was then a small town.


  • Wooden building for agriculture laboratory and a classroom added. This at south end of grounds.


  • Conclusion of World War One.


  • Great Flu Epidemic – No school photographs for this year.
  • Board proposed school be separated in Girls and Boys sections with the existing property to become the Girls school and new land purchased for setting up a boys’ school and a technical school.


  • Old Pupils Assn formed 30/06/1920.
  • 150 attend School reunion on 02/07/1920.
  • First Fideliter published in June. This was a Roll of Honour for those lost or serving in W.W.1.
  • First Cadet barracks week in camp. Held yearly thereafter.
  • Hostel Rate is now £15 per term (possibly a 4-term year at that time).


  • First steeplechase – now called cross country.
  • First Fideliter as a formal school magazine.
  • Hostel verandah widened to take extra beds. Girls’ shelter shed shifted to hostel site and converted to accommodation


  • Mr J.C. Parr, Minister of Education and the Director of Education visit school. They inspect possible building sites including Weaver’s Farm.
  • Roll is 106 girls, 128 boys. School is overcrowded and new land is purchased from Mr E.O. Weaver, taking 42 acres of his “Valley Farm”, with a new Boys’ School and Hostel to be built there. Funding was provided through the Kioreroa Block being used as security on £2000 from the public trustee and £8000 from the government.


  • Demand shown for Girls Hostel, proposal to use “The Mount”, Mr Duxfield’s house in Kamo Rd.
  • Government makes £17500 available for new building on new site.
  • 52 boys in hostel and School roll is 288.


  • Mr Lupton resigns because of poor health. Roll when he took over was 5. When he resigned it was 308 and 13 teachers.
  • 7 April Mr A.B. Charters CMG, DSO, MA appointed Headmaster.
  • 29 April Director of Education selects W.H.S, as one of three suitable for establishing a Junior High School.


  • 8 May Foundation stone laid for new school on Weaver’s farm site. (Now W.B.H.S)
  • Manual Training School to be removed from Primary school ground to Lupton Ave 21 July where it becomes three classrooms.


  • Junior High School instituted. On the Lupton Ave site in a newly made corrugated iron building of three classrooms and the old school.
  • Senior school transferred to the new buildings at school lane.
  • Opening ceremony 30 March.
  • Extra wing approved for new school.
  • School takes over control of Evening Classes, which operated in the Manual Training School.
  • 91 Boys at hostel.
  • Authorisation for a “prep” room in new hostel and it was resolved that new hostel is to be called Carruth House.
  • Death of Mr Lupton 11 January.
  • New school comes into use – 412 senior students, 318 junior and 25 teachers.
  • Recreation room to be built at hostel for £850.
  • School claimed to be country’s 4th largest.


  • Carruth House opens. First Annual Carruth Banquet.
  • Old Hostel becomes Lupton House with 35 boarders.


  • R. Lupton Memorial Flag Pole set up.
  • First school orchestra formed.
  • 1920s Generally the lower fields and slopes of the School Lane site were in rough condition with scrub and gorse.


  • Roll 775 total with 475 senior and 300 junior. Carruth 82
  • School song proposed. (This was eventually written by Mike Gifford and Eric Parr, Senior Staff, in 1980s.)
  • Board approves segregating the sexes 26 March.
  • July 17 First formal school concert in town hall.
  • Board formally decides there should be two separate schools established and departmental approval is sought.
  • 26 November Religious instruction to be held daily before school.

1929 – 1935

  • Depression Years


  • What was to become the Memorial Drive was a rough 2 metre wide track. It was called Carruth’s Road. It was then widened to 6 metres and became Carruth’s Terrace.
  • Total Boarders 150.


  • Jubilee function in prep hall 200 present.
  • Mr Charters resigns – October.
  • School roll is 778.
  • Jubilee year, ceremonies held.
  • 1200 attend church service in Regent Theatre. Rev A.J.Grigg MA BD, Baptist College, is the celebrant


  • February Mr A.R. Ryder MA BSc becomes principal
  • Roll is 680, 314 Senior and 309 intermediate
  • Formal photo of Mr Lupton presented to school by old pupils and a similar picture of Mr Carruth presented by present pupils
  • Death of Rev. J.H.Hawkes, headmaster 1893/94


  • All Carruth Boarders became members of Carruth House
  • Junior High becomes Intermediate


  • Only 34 girls at Lupton
  • June 29 – Planting of the Memorial Drive Pohutukawas. 30 trees planted


  • Over 4 years 1000 loads of filling added to lower fields. This was levelled to begin the existing sports fields. Lawns planted on slopes beside Memorial Drive and 300 trees and shrubs planted over both schools grounds
  • 18/07 First Parents Assn Meeting in Boys School Hall
  • 62 pictures purchased and presented for decorating the school interiors
  • Steeplechase course is on Mr L.W. Nelson’s property


  • Avenue of flowering cherries planted by past prefects and old girls. Lupton Ave to Russell Rd. Commemorates old girls 1912 – 1936


  • Hon. Peter Faser Minister of Education (Later prime Minister) visits Lupton House and agrees conditions need improvement
  • 58 girls in Lupton
  • School starts March 1 because of Polio epidemic
  • Senior school 466, intermediate 296
  • Coronation Day, May 12. Cadets form Guard of Honour at Civic cemetery at Town Hall


  • School Lane gates erected
  • Plans draughted for new Lupton House. Also new block for Girls School. Both originally planned as wooden structures
  • Boys School Tennis courts improved.
  • Interior of school painted
  • Movie projector used in school
  • Visit from Walter Nash – Later Prime Minister
  • Fund raising for an Assembly Hall
  • Fete in November raises £200
  • Several acres in Rugby Park area subject to flooding is to be drained by council
  • Death of Mr Duxfield. Headmaster 01/05/1892 – 01/05/1895


  • 03/09/39 Britain declares war on Germany


  • Senior School 559. Intermediate 236
  • March 28, 29 – school closed as a mark of respect on the death of Rt Hon. M.J. Savage N.Z Prime Minister
  • Teachers leaving school to serve overseas in forces. This was to continue throughout the war and depleted the staff seriously
  • Approval by Ministry for new buildings at G.H.S. 6 classrooms and a new hostel to take 64 boarders


  • New G.H.S building underway
  • 150 parcels sent to old boys serving in the forces


  • Governor General visits. Cadets provide Guard of Honour
  • Much of school is Temporary services Hospital. Carruth is also a hospital and boys are boarded at private houses.
  • Girls have made 100 mittens, 50 pairs of socks and 18 caps for parcels to old boys. 260 parcels sent


  • Quad still houses hospital and occupation of Carruth continues.
  • Operating the school is difficult
  • New Lupton opens 26/06/43 and Carruth Boys take over old Lupton.
  • Intermediate is in Halls and rooms in the town
  • Roll – seniors 552, intermediate 344


  • Lupton at over capacity Two old wooden dorms from the old building had to be incorporated
  • Hospital evacuates from school and some sort of order returns


  • May V.E day
  • August V.J day
  • War is ended. Some staff have returned already
  • 64 seniors at Lupton in new hostel. 37 juniors in old one
  • Forty old boys and teachers were killed in W.W.2
  • Prefabs in quad to house overflowing school
  • New building work continues at girls’ school
  • 1946 Formal separation of the two schools
  • Miss C.S. Bell MA becomes first principal of W.G.H.S
  • Rolls of schools – Girls 525 including 140 intermediate, Boys 564 including 183 intermediate
  • Special Edition of Fideliter


  • First Fideliter dedicated to W.B.H.S
  • Request for photos of Old Boys who lost their lives in WW2. Honours Board proposed.
  • Mr H.E.G Smith retires. 40 years service to school and Old Boy of the very early days of the school


  • Mr Ryder retires
  • Mr H.A. Henderson M.A Dip Ed appointed as Headmaster
  • Money raising for swimming pool continues. £1214 by November. Original plan for pool to be near the stream at the bottom of the drive
  • Proposal that a Western Wing be added to the school, partly as a technical classroom block


  • Carruth has 100 boarders


  • School swimming baths opened on site near Carruth 06/11/50


  • Mr Henderson resigns
  • Day release for Motor apprentice classes begin


  • Mr Whitehead appointed principal
  • Carruth has 111 boarders
  • New hall is erected (It was second hand from Kaihu) but is immediately made Technical class space and machine shop with all equipment transferred from the old building at the G.H.S site


  • Old Manual Block shifts to site at bottom of Memorial Drive on B.H.S grounds. Becomes gymnasium.


  • Carruth has 120 boarders


  • Construction of Tech Block at South end of quad and overlooking Memorial Drive is begun


  • 75th jubilee year
  • Roll 872. Seniors 636, Inter 236
  • Tech block opens 16/11/56
  • G.H.S Admin block built onto the end of the 1942 classrooms
  • Intermediate is housed in 7 prefabs in the quad and in one converted cloakroom
  • Fideliter has a list of all staff to date


  • Tech classes moved into new building and hall is at last available for first assembly on 06/06/57


  • Mr Whitehead retires. Mr H.L Clarke B.A., MSc becomes principal
  • Honours Board dedicated. Mounted on back wall of the assembly hall


  • G.H.S. Assembly Hall built
  • Kamo High School opens 27/03/5
  • Western Block beside the slope at the edge of the quad is opened. Called Academic Wing
  • Roll is 614 Day boys and 119 boarders
  • Library shifts to Academic Wing


  • Carruth Roll 119
  • 1961 G.H.S Gym built
  • Carruth Roll 120


  • Tour Parties, Geography and Rugby to Australia
  • Carruth Roll 120


  • Carruth Roll 120


  • Carruth Roll 120
  • Basil Kingan retires after 25 years teaching at WBHS


  • Death of Mr Whitehead in June
  • School roll 870


  • School roll 888
  • End of school milk issue
  • Cadet Corps disbanded
  • Carruth roll 126
  • Mair House instituted


  • Roll 931
  • Carruth 126
  • Plans for new school hall and admin block and staffroom
  • Existing hall to become classrooms


  • New assembly hall and Admin block opened 08/05/71
  • Taj Mahal (Toilet block in the quad at B.H.S) demolished


  • West Wing of G.H.S opened
  • The School had visits from James K Baxter, Sir Edmund Hillary, Alf Garnett and HART
  • Work Experience classes are introduced to the School


  • School visited by poet Sam Hunt


  • The School records the deaths of two long servingteachers Eric ‘Sticky’ Blow and Gordon Harnett


  • The Raumanga Technical Institute (now Northland Polytech) under the auspices of WBHS is opened. Technical classes were led by Gordon Rattray. Previously these classes on WBHS grounds down Memorial Drive.


  • Raumanga Tertiary Unit (Technical Institute) becomes the Northland Community College no longer under the control of WBHS


  • Evening classes at W.B.H.S come to an end with the establishment of the Northland Community College


  • Carruth Prep hall demolished


  • Centennial Year
  • Fourteen boys ran a relay Whangarei to Wellington to commemorate the original journey to petition Parliament. The run raised $28,000 towards a new gymnasium
  • Major reunion ceremonies including roll call, dinner, sports, church service
  • Forty-seven staff members
  • School roll 831


  • School roll 876
  • New gymnasium opened by Prime Minister the Honourable Rob Muldoon. It was built as a centennial commemorative 17/9/82. Ceremony was held on the tennis courts.


  • Roll is 957
  • School has 7 Apple computers, 2 printers. $25,888 spent on computers, software, books of instruction over the past 2 years


  • Executive Officer appointed
  • Roll of 1025
  • Old hall and class rooms converted into staff room and library
  • Maori studies unit takes over prefabs on western side of Memorial Drive
  • $20,000 fund-raised in past 2 years to buy computer equipment. Still only 7 computers total
  • Last remaining original buildings of the old school on Lupton Ave site are destroyed by fire
  • Relay run to Cape Reinga. Three teams from Old Boys, Pupils and staff.


  • Roll 1031
  • Administration area rebuilt
  • Computer room opened
  • $50,000 worth of BBC computers installed, all provided by fundraising
  • Relay boys, Old Boys, Staff to Hokianga, South Head and back to Tangiteroria


  • Roll 1020


  • Roll 1020
  • Tech block verandahs built in to form study space
  • Old laboratories up-graded


  • The School records the deaths of two prominent former pupils in Sir John Marshall and Sir Donald McKay


  • School administration changes with first Board of Trustees
  • First students rep on the Board
  • Whanau system introduced to incorporate with vertical streaming of form classes
  • School proclaimed smoke free


  • New toilets built and art room extended


  • W.B.H.S. Foundation established
  • W.B.H.S. Becomes smoke free
  • Staff 55
  • School Rugby Team tour to Canada
  • New computer room with 30 IBM compatible computers


  • Mr Dean retires as Principal
  • Authority granted for major reconstruction of the school to begin. Planned to begin with demolition of C Block over the 1992/1993 holidays
  • Staff 51
  • New Floor in Gym
  • The 1981 Anchor sculpture is broken and has to be removed
  • School open day held
  • School work day fund raiser held, proceeds went to the foundation
  • School Marae Complex opened


  • Mr Murray Lints becomes Principal
  • Staff 55
  • Old ‘C’ Block has been felled and the new science/maths building occupies the space
  • ‘D’ Block (The western side of the quad) was gutted, corridors removed and a verandah and access doors to the rooms built along the quad façade
  • ‘A’ Block was also stripped and a full revision commenced
  • Over the 1993/1994 holidays ‘B’ Block was demolished


  • Staff 52
  • Rebuilt D block opens as new technology and computer building
  • A Block converted into Student Concourse and Board Room with offices for senior staff and administration
  • New Languages building replaces old B Block. The quad is landscaped and much of the surfaces paved.
  • Drama Room rebuilt and small amphitheatre built outside


  • Staff 51
  • Formal opening of Language block


  • Staff 54


  • Staff 57
  • Work Experience Unit Team of students cycle from Cape Reinga to Wellington
  • Work Experience Building reconstructed
  • Fideliter House established
  • Health Promoting Schools programme introduced


  • Staff 63


  • Final year Mr Lints Principal
  • Staff 56


  • Mr Kirk Headmaster
  • Library rebuilt with a complete revision and computer bay added
  • School Flag introduced
  • Fideliter Anchor and World War I memorial installed
  • Roll 850 with 65 boarders between Carruth, Fideliter House and Kamo Lodge
  • Plans to set up an Old Boys data base as part of preparations for 125th Jubilee
  • Gordon Eddie presented with a National Education Award for his work as Property Manager
  • 58 teachers


  • School Roll 844
  • Carruth House 54
  • New Uniform
  • New colours system introduced
  • Photographs of Prefects and First 15 Rugby and First 11 Cricket Teams from 1909 on permanent display in the hall
  • Prime Minister visits school to view the Technical Block which is overdue for refurbishment
  • Revision of gymnasium changing rooms
  • Teachers train for introduction of N.C.E.A.
  • Gateways work experience programme introduced
  • 58 teachers


  • Roll 870
  • Carruth 71
  • First year of N.C.E.A.
  • Carruth Dorm 3 repositioned as a classroom beside the Memorial Drive
  • The other small dorm was lifted right across the Hostel to beside the Carruth Wall to become a TV and lounge room
  • Carruth 75th Jubilee and reunion
  • New gymnasium offices constructed
  • Instrument practice rooms built into Music suite
  • Database for 2006 Jubilee formally in operation
  • 2003 Roll 1055
  • Hostel Roll 80
  • Boys now allowed to wear regulation school caps
  • Jubilee campaign launch
  • Work begins on Tech Block reconstruction and strengthening
  • Staff 70


  • Roll 1050
  • Apprentice work programme between school and industry via Gateways scheme
  • Part of Tech Block revision completed
  • Mrs Hill and Mr Borek awarded scholarships by The Royal Society for Research Studies


  • Roll 1178 The highest ever
  • Carruth 81
  • Ministry provides three further rooms
  • Social Sciences faculty area completed
  • Staff 80


  • Bus bay facility on Manse Street and School Lane completed
  • New Art Facility opened, also gymnasium extensions, and Te Aka Matua which is a dedicated space for Maori education
  • School celebrates 125th Jubilee, with over 1,400 past pupils in attendance
  • Roll stays at 1178 with 81 in Carruth House
  • School honours Lloyd Trigg VC. DFC.
  • Students earn 4 Scholarships
  • Adam Heke wins inaugural Barry Willett art prize


  • School roll 1112, 81 in Carruth and 21 International Students
  • Formal opening of new areas (art, social sciences, gym, Te Aka Matua) carried out with departing architect Peter Harrison
  • New Student Support Centre (Te Awatea) opened
  • School dedicates gymnasiums to Cliff Brunker and Dave Scratton, two long serving PE Teachers
  • Staff, including support staff, reaches 114
  • Total of 8 Scholarships earned by 4 students


  • School Roll 1035
  • Carruth House full
  • Coal fired boiler at Carruth replaced by gas
  • Introduction of the Fideliter Fellowship – first inductees Lloyd Trigg VC. DFC. And Derek Ward DFC & Bar
  • 8 Scholarships earned
  • 3 further inductees into Fideliter Fellowship at Old Boys annual dinner


  • School roll 1022, Carruth full
  • School farewells two long serving and much loved teachers Roger Meyer and Rosemary Lumley who passed away during the year
  • 4 new inductees into Fideliter Fellowship
  • David Budge wins inaugural Hutley prize

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