Hinerua School (originally called Blackburn-Ruahine School) was a sole charge school situated at the base of the Ruahine Ranges about 20 kms from Onga Onga, Hawke’s Bay.
It opened on 12 February 1909 with a roll of 26 pupils and was closed in May 1924 by the Hawke’s Bay Education Board because pupil numbers had fallen to three.
There were four teachers during the fifteen year life of the school:
Miss Ethel Woodham (February – June 1909)
Miss Ada Eggleton (June – December 1909)
Miss Winifred Hall (February – April 1910)
Miss Elizabeth Moore (April 1910 – May 1924)
The Logbook/diary was kept by the teacher. The first entry is 12 February 1909 and the logbook continues with almost daily entries until closure of the school in 1924. It is not a personal account, but is a record of facts and figures covering attendance figures and roll numbers, maintenance issues, weather problems, variation of school hours and closures because of special events and pupil illness. While attendance registers and other correspondence would have constituted the official records of the school, this logbook appears to have had a semi-official status, as it was always signed by the School Inspector during his annual visit to Hinerua School.
Although not a personal record, the logbook does reflect the frustrations and difficulties of teaching in such a remote, isolated area. Miss Moore spent many years battling both the cold, miserable weather and the bureaucracy of the Education Board in her efforts to secure a warm environment for her pupils. She appreciated the needs of the local farming community, understanding that the sometimes recurring absence of pupils from school was because they were required to help with farming duties. Her predecessor, Miss Eggleton, on the other hand, felt no such compassion and reported pupil absences to the truant officer.
Although essentially an information register, the logbook does offer insights into rural life in early twentieth century New Zealand: the consequences of illness on the children, the effect of World War One on a small, united community and the resilience of people coping with life in a harsh environment.
Miss Moore transferred to Makaretu North School (near Onga Onga) on 1 June 1924. On retirement, she settled in Ada Street, Palmerston North. She died on 22 June 1942 at the age of 67 and is buried in Kelvin Grove Cemetery, Palmerston North.
Official records of Hinerua School including Inspectors’ reports, annual returns and examination reports are held as part the Hawke’s Bay Education Board records at Archives New Zealand, Wellington.