Tokomairiro High School

Last updated
Tokomairiro High School
Union Street, Milton, New Zealand
Coordinates 46°06′48″S169°57′56″E / 46.1134°S 169.9656°E / -46.1134; 169.9656 Coordinates: 46°06′48″S169°57′56″E / 46.1134°S 169.9656°E / -46.1134; 169.9656
MottoDisciplina Moderatio Comitas
Ministry of Education Institution no. 392
PrincipalGlenis Sim
School roll244 [1] (August 2018)
Socio-economic decile4K [2]

Tokomairiro High School is a co-educational, state secondary school in Milton, New Zealand, often simply known as "Toko".

Milton, New Zealand town in New Zealand

Milton, formerly known as Tokomairiro or Tokomairaro, is a town of 2,000 people, located on State Highway 1, 50 kilometres to the south of Dunedin in Otago, New Zealand. It lies on the floodplain of the Tokomairaro River, one branch of which loops past the north and south ends of the town. This river gives its name to many local features, notably the town's main school, Tokomairiro High School.



Founded in 1856 as Tokomairiro School, it is one of New Zealand's oldest schools. It was originally established at Fairfax (now Tokoiti) in the southeast of Milton, with Alexander Ayson as the first teacher. As Milton grew in size due to the Central Otago goldrush in the early 1860s, a larger school was soon needed. This was erected close to the centre of Milton in Spenser Street in 1863. In 1868, the Otago Provincial Government named Toko as one of the province's four grammar schools.

Grammar school type of school in the United Kingdom and some other countries

A grammar school is one of several different types of school in the history of education in the United Kingdom and other English-speaking countries, originally a school teaching Latin, but more recently an academically-oriented secondary school, differentiated in recent years from less academic secondary modern schools.

Tokomairiro High School TokoHSMilton.jpg
Tokomairiro High School

By the late 1870s, the school had swollen in size from its original 24 pupils to over 300. A new building was needed, as the Spenser Street site had been made to accommodate only some 200 children. The new school, on the present site at the north end of Union Street, was opened in 1880. The current school buildings were added to this stone building during the mid 20th century, and "the old stone school" erected in 1880 was finally demolished in 1970.

During the 1880s, the school moved towards a more technical and scientific curriculum. The school's headmaster (its fourth) James Reid, was a keen student of chemistry, and technical subjects taught ranged from the "pure" sciences to agricultural studies and woodworking. Reid was headmaster for 26 years, from 1880 to 1906.

During the 1930s, the school officially became a District High School. This was finally split into the current Tokomairiro High School (with intermediate and secondary classes) and Milton Primary School in 1966. Most of the current school buildings date from around or after this.

Notable staff

Leonard Cockayne New Zealand botanist

Leonard Cockayne FRS is regarded as New Zealand's greatest botanist and a founder of modern science in New Zealand.

Forrestina Elizabeth Ross (1860–1936) was a notable New Zealand teacher, mountaineer, journalist and writer. She was born in Brixton, Surrey, England in 1860.

Notable alumni

Kenneth Charles Bloxham was a New Zealand rugby union footballer.

Guy Hardy Scholefield was a New Zealand journalist, historian, archivist, librarian and editor, known primarily as the compiler of the 1940 version of the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. He was born in Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand on 17 June 1877, and died in Wellington on 19 July 1963.

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  1. "Directory of Schools - as at 13 September 2018". New Zealand Ministry of Education. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  2. "Decile Change 2014 to 2015 for State & State Integrated Schools". Ministry of Education. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
  3. Thomson, A.D. "Cockayne, Leonard". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography . Ministry for Culture and Heritage . Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  4. McCallum, Janet. "Ross, Forrestina Elizabeth and Ross, Malcolm". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography . Ministry for Culture and Heritage . Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  5. Knight, Lindsay. "Ken Bloxham". New Zealand Rugby Union. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  6. "Twelve Questions: Samantha Hayes". The New Zealand Herald . 28 August 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  7. Porter, Frances. "Scholefield, Guy Hardy". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography . Ministry for Culture and Heritage . Retrieved 10 October 2015.