Konini History

School History


Konini Primary School opened in May 1976.
The school opened with less than half of the estimated opening roll because:
  • the housing estate was behind schedule
  • mid year opening
  • apprehension about "open plan schools".
Founding staff members were:
Mr West, Mr Buffett, Mrs Neill, Mrs Noakes, Mr Stacey, Mrs Greenway, Mrs Smith and Mrs Daley.

  • The first school gala held.
  • Children were divided into houses - Kowhai, Kauri and Pohutakawa.
  • The first Librarian was appointed in August.
  • November 13-17 first school camp.
  • December.  A folk dance display with a barbecue was held at the end of the year.


  • Barry Hambelton was appointed Principal of Konini School.
  • The first Book Week was held.
  • The school got a new school flag.
  • The last school picnic at Long Bay was held.
  • A Carol evening was held at the end of the year.
  • The hall was extended for the third time. After 10 years of fundraising it was opened on 27 August.
  • November. Konini shared first place with Kaurilands in the zone athletic competition.
  • A giant chess set was purchased with the help of a Portage Trust grant.
  • March. Konini won the Chess championship for the second year in a row.
  • July. A celebrity Art Auction was held to raise funds for the school. Ex School Committee members Bob Harvey and Tim Shadbolt donated 'art works'.
  • The school production "Cirque Jolie" was held at the Glen Eden Intermediate.
  • The new Library was opened with a Powhiri on 2 August.
  • Caretaker Melissa Walen won a prize in the Eco-Wise community awards.
  • Room 14 was completed at the back of the school.
  • Room 15 was completed.
  • The school production "Cosmos Conundrum" was held in the school hall.
  • Michael Malins was appointed principal of Konini School.

Area History

A Personal History of the Konini Area by Grant Howard

Konini Primary School stands on part of what was a nine hectare (22.5 acre) farmlet called Pinehurst, owned by my grandfather, Walter Jowitt, from 1919 until his death in July 1953.
When he bought the property, it was mainly a mixed orchard, concentrating on apples, pears and plums but has in addition several paddocks for a small herd of dairy cows. Massive pine trees that formed shelter belts for the orchard gave the place its name.
While the orchard concentrated upon the more popular apples, like Delicious, Cox’s oranges and Granny Smith, it also contained trees with names no longer familiar - Golden Russet, Northern Spy and Wooley’s Special.
Most of the pears and plums had names widely known today but one, Damson, is remembered as delightful when cooked with lots of sugar but unpleasantly sour if eaten raw.
Central to the property was a three-bedroom house, where Walter, his wife Mary, and the three youngest of their seven children lived.
The house was without electricity, somewhat unheard of today. Cooking was done on a coal range which had a wet back to heat water for washing and baths. Lighting was initially either by kerosene lamp or candles, but later it was provided first by Coleman pressure lamps and finally by a petrol fuelled generator.
Contact with the outside world was slim. Withers Road (then Valley Road) was little better than a rutted, muddy track, sparsely covered with metal. there was a telephone, one of several on a party line, connected to the Henderson manual exchange. The number was 53-W. there was no mail delivery. Letters and parcels were picked up from the Glen Eden post Office during the weekly shopping run, usually made on a Friday.
My first contact with Pinehurst came during the Great Depression which followed the Wall Street Crash of 1929. My mother, the eldest child, had to return to the work force and I boarded with my grandparents. I was five when I went to the farm and, looking back, it was something of a culture shock to move from a block of flats near Khyber Road to what was then “the Back blocks”. My mother used to come to the farm on weekends, travelling by train fromNewmarket and walking the 3.2 kilometres (2 miles) from the station to the property. Depression or no, she usually has some small treat for me, a delight to look forward to.
Thanks to the depression, children did not begin school then until they were six, and I was enrolled at the Glen Eden Primary School in 1933. It was along drag over the old Valley Road and I was lucky enough to have for company my youngest uncle, King, then in Standard VI (Form 2).
The winter term was the worst. The clay of Valley Road stuck like glue to my shoes. No cause for complaint really, for I was of the few pupils lucky enough to have shoes.
At that time of year the farm was almost as depressing as the road. The drive from the front gate to the house was almost always deep in mud and Walter’s Model T Ford had to be fitted with chains to get to the shed behind the house. That shed was just in front of the huge macrocarpa tree still standing on the property. ( Our present day ‘Story Tree’)
Beside the shed was the hen house and beneath the tree a saw bench, powered by a single-cylinder engine from a 1905 Cadillac car.
On the hill behind the shed stood a water tank, the storage point for the household water supply. A hydraulic ram pumped water from a pool above the waterfall to the tank. The pool itself has a history. Dug out almost in the shape of a domestic bath, it had been part of an illicit whiskey still that made ‘moonshine’ in the 1880’s, the time of another depression. How long the still operated for is not known, but it was raided by the police while in full production and closed down.
Downstream from the waterfall was an ‘eel hole’ and between the two my uncles dammed the creek and made a swimming pool. It was there i learned to swim. The pool was just one example of how we had to make our own fun. Fishing in the creek, toboggan rides down the various slopes around on the farm, tree climbing and bush walks on fine Sunday afternoons were others.
Indoor past times included reading, various card games, ping pong (table tennis) on the living room table and that wonder of the time, the wireless. Powered by a 12 volt car battery, the first radio was equipped with headphones, giving a maximum listening audience of two. Later came a speaker model to which all could listen. there were two stations to begin with, !YA and !ZM, Manurewa. !ZB and commercial radio came later.
But life was no means all pleasure. There was work to do and even the youngest member of the household had all his allotted chores.
Among my tasks were to chop the kindling for the coal range and to collect the eggs from the hen house. Two of my uncles drove trucks for the cream carting contract my grandfather held with the New Zealand Co-Operative Dairy Co. Ltd, at Mt Eden. My grandfather looked after the orchard and farm, assisted as required by my uncles.
The jobs were never ending: haymaking in summer, fencing in good weather, milking, running the hand operated cream separator, fruit picking in season, sawing wood for the range, maintaining the old Ford and two trucks and working the cream run that services Oratia, the Henderson Valley and what is now Glendene.
My grandmother’s death in early 1939 and the outbreak of the Second World War later that year saw Pinehurst as I knew it begin a slow decline. By that time I had returned to my mother’s care but remained a frequent visitor.
With the death of my grandfather 14 years later, the property was sold and not long after that the old house was destroyed by fire.
But the giant macrocarpa remains, along with the waterfall and the bush.
Remaining too, are childhood memories.
Grant Howard