original stoke school building 1845


The history of Stoke School since 1845 has been published by the Stoke School Committees and Board of Trustees for each Anniversary Celebration.

The first two chapters of history below outline "What was happening in education" from the early days of Nelson and surrounding districts until 1995, the year of the 150th celebrations, the year in which this history was compiled. The last chapter outlines what has been happening since 1995. Stoke is, after Wakefield, the second oldest continuous public school both in Nelson and the whole of New Zealand. We are very proud of this.


The Beginning 28th December 1845

When Stoke School celebrated its sesquicentennial at Labour Weekend, 1995, it wasn't quite 150 years old. The date on which it opened for pupils in 1845 was 28 December, a time of the year now unlikely to entice anyone to school, not even an old pupil to attend an anniversary celebration as important as 150 years. That this public school began so long ago, and at Christmas time, says something of the uncommon value that ordinary people of the new settlement of Nelson (1842) placed on education.

To be sure, Christmas was less celebrated by holidays then and even as late as the 1880,s schools closed on Christmas Eve and opened again just after New Year's Day. However, for Stoke School there was a longer holiday each March when everyone including children helped with the hop harvest. Stoke is now, after Wakefield, the second oldest continuous public school both in Nelson and the whole country.


 The Last 25 Years

Major Milestones and Events Major Milesones: 

  • Education of the Deaf
  • Broadgreen Intermediate Opening
  • Museum Education Office
  • Assessment Class
  • Teacher In-Service Training Centre
  • School Caretaking / Cleaning
  • School House
  • School Library
  • Parent Involvement
  • Introduction of Teacher Aides
  • Reading Recovery
  • Maori Language Instruction
  • Kohanga Reo


 From 1995 till now

The MOE In Service Centre was modernised and named the Woodstock Centre was upgraded in 2004. Several public groups utilise this area for community activities. The Board named this block after the Stoke Woodstock Farm owned by the Stephens Family as members of the family had long association with the management of the school. This has proved to be an ongoing asset to the school.

The new classroom behind B Block is furbished in modern decor and utilised for Junior Programmes.

The HPP co-ordinator has her own office and a classroom is set aside specifically for this ongoing programme, pupils that require sensory and perceptual development have a classroom specific for this equipment. The Dental Therapist has a new clinic that was relocated to the school.

A large sealed and landscaped area is now available for cars and taxis. A large mural reflecting the school was placed on the road facing building during the centennial year and another mural on the playground wall reflects the culture of the school. The pupils art is displayed on the outside of the buildings for the public to enjoy.

The Administration and Office Block has been rebuilt and furnished in modern decor, along with this the outside colour scheme of the school has been changed dramatically. A new Library was opened in June furnished for Year 2000 and beyond. By 2001 the refurbishment of older classrooms was underway further enhancing the pupils environment.

Coal fired boilers have been replaced by a modern diesel heating unit which supplies all areas of the school, with linkages in the covered walkways. This unit has proved most efficient and provides quality heating of the total complex.

Modern air conditioning in the Computer Suite has been invaluable both in winter and summer.

Two modern Adventure Playgrounds have been erected.

Computers and associated technical equipment have been purchased for all areas of the school and information and technology skills have been rapidly developed. This has been upgraded as technology develops. The school is internet and intranet connected to go forward in the 21st century.

Four senior staff have furthered their careers going to Principalships in 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2004. The strength of the Board of Trustees has been maintained with David Stephens as the Chairman from 1990 to 2001 and Mark Nihotte 2001-2006. Information Technology strengths have been developed with Vice Chairperson Terry Kemp, this has enhanced business management and technology development of the school. New Board members skills have further enhanced the quality of the school.

The introduction of HPP Oral Language programme in 2002-2008 involved senior community volunteers assisting in the classroom enhancing our Stoke School Community and developed a closer relationship with our Kindergarten & Preschool families. June 2006 The remodelled Woodstock Centre (School Hall) was opened by the Hon. Nick Smith National MP for Nelson and Liz Richards regional representative of The Community Trust.

February 2007 The 1930's swimming pool is taken out and a new modern pool installed.