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Events In History

1 July 1978

Tinsley became the first woman to be appointed as Professor of Astronomy at Yale University in the United States

10 February 1967

New Zealand schoolchildren received free milk between 1937 and 1967. The first Labour government introduced the scheme – a world first – to improve the health of young New Zealanders (and make use of surplus milk).

18 July 1924
The governor-general, Viscount Jellicoe, officially opened Flock House station, near Bulls. This training farm was established using surplus profits from wool sales during the First World War.
29 February 1924

Following a US study tour by Frank Milner, the rector of Waitaki Boys’ High School in Ōamaru, the Education Department began applying the Terman Group Test of Mental Ability to all first-year post-primary school students

1 February 1922

Janet Mackenzie became the first teacher in what was to become the Correspondence School for Back-block Children

9 May 1907

New Zealand pupils were for the first time able to read a schoolbook published in their own country.

27 August 1904

Victoria College (now Victoria University of Wellington) was founded in 1897 to mark Queen Victoria's 60th jubilee. Until the opening of the Kelburn building in 1906, classes were taught in rented rooms.

10 June 1889

The first New Zealand kindergarten to educate children, in Dunedin, was based on the ideas of the German educationalist Friedrich Froebel.

15 August 1881

Helen Connon was the first woman in the British Empire to gain her Master of Arts degree. Her academic career started with edcuation in Dunedin, New Zealand.

29 November 1877

The Education Act 1877 established free, compulsory and secular education for all Pākehā New Zealand children. Māori children could attend these schools if their parents wanted them to.

11 July 1877

Kate Edger became the first woman in New Zealand to gain a university degree and the first woman in the British Empire to earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA).

6 February 1871

The first public girls’ secondary school in the southern hemisphere was Otago Girls’ High School, which opened eight years after the local public boys’ high school.

7 April 1856

The first state secondary school in New Zealand, Nelson College, opened in temporary premises in Trafalgar St with a roll of just eight boys. It eventually attracted boys from around the country as well as the local area. It now has a roll of over 1000 and continues to take both boarders and day pupils.

12 August 1816

The simple building measured about 10m x 6m and included an area for Māori students to sleep and a cordoned-off platform for teachers and Pākehā students


Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori - Māori Language Week

Every year since 1975 New Zealand has marked Māori Language Week - Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori. This is a time to celebrate te reo Māori (the Māori language) and to use more Māori phrases in everyday life. In 2018 Māori Language Week runs from 10-16 September. Read the full article

Page 2 - History of the Māori language

The story of the decline and revival of the Māori language is one of the major issues in modern New Zealand

Children and adolescents, 1930-1960

The need for the New Zealand government to promote national interests during the Depression and the Second World War created a renewed appreciation of the role of the family within society. Read the full article

Page 3 - Education

By 1940 childhood was internationally recognised as a distinct stage in human development. A child's value to the family was no longer seen as primarily economic. Instead,

The Treaty in practice

Amalgamating Māori into colonial settler society was a key part of British policy in New Zealand after 1840. Economic and social change, along with land-purchase programmes, were central to this process. Read the full article

Page 4 - Shared issues and approaches

Prospects for Māori looked bleak at the beginning of the 20th century. A shared sense of grievance emerged, and new leaders paved the way for new approaches to the


The Christian missionaries of the pre-1840s have been described as the 'agents of virtue in a world of vice', although they were not immune to moral blemish themselves. Read the full article

Page 3 - Men of vice or virtue?

Thomas Kendall established the first mission school, but he was later suspended after admitting an adulterous affair with a Maori

Armistice Day

After four terrible years, fighting in the First World War finally ended with the signing of an armistice between Germany and the Allies on 11 November 1918. New Zealanders celebrated enthusiastically, despite having recently celebrated the surrenders of the three other Central Powers and the premature news of an armistice with Germany. Read the full article

Page 7 - New Zealand in 1918

Some facts and stats about New Zealand in the year the First World War

Schools and the First World War

Schools and children were quickly called into action at the outset of the First World War in 1914. Developing patriotic, fit and healthy citizens was seen as important to the survival of the country and the Empire. Hundreds of teachers joined the NZEF, including many from sole-teacher schools. Almost 200 never returned. Read the full article

Page 1 - Children, schools and the First World War

Schools and children were quickly called into action at the outset of the First World War in 1914. Developing patriotic, fit and healthy citizens was seen as important to the

Page 2 - Schools in 1914

The head of the Department of Education believed that ‘moral purpose should dominate the spirit of the whole school life.’ Schools and teachers were to shape children into

Page 3 - Displaying patriotism

In late 1917 district education boards ordered that children salute the New Zealand flag at the start of each school day. Some teachers opposed this as too

Page 4 - The School Journal

During the First World War the New Zealand School Journal played an important role in encouraging patriotism, self-sacrifice, obedience and support for the war effort among

Page 5 - Turning boys into soldiers

The Defence Amendment Act 1900 introduced military cadet training into schools. The Defence Act 1909 made military training for nearly all boys compulsory from the age of 12.

Page 6 - Supporting the war effort

During the war children were encouraged to be ‘cheerful’ and ‘helpful’, to ease the worry and sorrow of the mothers and wives of soldiers. There were also many practical ways in

Page 7 - Teachers who served

Whether as school cadet officers or supporters of saluting the flag, teachers did much to set the moral tone of New Zealand schools before and during the war. Many hundreds were

Page 8 - Further information

Links and books relating to schooling during the First World

Rolls of honour and obituaries

Government rolls of honour and obituaries published at the end of the First World War. Read the full article

Page 8 - Education service Roll of Honour

Roll of honour for education service employees killed in the First World