School Cottage

The cottage is open plan living style including kitchen with fridge/freezer, oven and hob and microwave oven. Separate shower and toilet facilities. From the deck, you can look out to stunning views of the bay and a fresh water stream runs right beside the cottage. Guests have no trouble in unwinding quickly. You can relax while listening to the rumble of the waves from our safe, white, sandy beach only a short walk away from the cottage.

School Cottage History

There had been a school based in Te Awaiti Bay, but it was closed in 1922, and so all the children in Tory Channel had to be schooled through Correspondence. It was in 1950 that the Perano and Heberley families came together to convert an old ex-army hut (turned chicken coop) into a school house from which the children of whalers could continue their schooling in the winter season. In 1951 the Education Department sent a young, inexperienced teacher to teach classes at nineteen years old. He also was the school principal, learning on the job and helped by the parents to make the situation work. That first year there wasn’t much schooling, but the kids did enjoy nature study on the beach and playing on the playground Ian built.

Over the course of the next eleven years of the school running, nearly a dozen more inexperienced teachers came through, working in sub-standard conditions and having to struggle with petitioning the Department of Education for funding for basic school supplies. But the community of families living in the area was always hospitable to these young men, and made them feel welcome in this isolated part of the country. The students were also keen to learn and embrace whatever their teachers set upon them, learning about the world around them through some of the OE experiences of the teachers, listening to current affairs from the radio, and being taught about the natural world around them.

In 1961 the school was upgraded with a proper accommodation for the teacher to stay in and a purpose built school brought to Whekenui Bay on a barge. It was only as the school became quite functional that the Whaling industry collapsed and the school was soon closed as the families left the area. Today the School Cottage is still the same purpose built school that was brought to teach the school children, though that was short lived. It still is a landmark of the rich history of this area and memorialised for the children of the whalers who went to school here.

Great place to visit and stay and highly recommend to all, we have rebooked for a weeks holiday already and cant wait to come back.

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