From an orchard and vineyard to a school

Do you have any ideas of what Waitakere College used to be before it was built? Well it has an odd background. Waitakere College used to be an orchard and a vineyard owned by the Platts. The grounds of the school grew grapes for wine and fruits such as apples for the orchard. It was said that once the school was built students would jump over the fence to grab as many apples as they could before they got caught.

The school was opened in 1975. The Principal Mr Jackson made Mr Borich the very first Chairman of the school. Mr Borich lived next door to the school. The school was needed due to rising population in West Auckland. Back then only a few vineyards were around in West Auckland and the majority was orchards. Auckland started to grow out from the centre and needed more room and schools for everyone.

The oldest place in the school that has been there for years is the C Block courtyard. The courtyard is a replica of a chess board. In the very first year book, Mr Jackson (Principal) said 'we were informed, apologetically that permanent buildings will not be ready for at least a year.' The old wine cellar and wine vats were still existing in October 1974. The school still opened on the 3 February as they used 'nine relocatable buildings connected by covered ways. The wine cellar was converted into a gymnasium and an assembly area, the wine shop became the canteen and the old house on the land was made into the staffroom.' In 1977 the school had grown and was enduring many modifications to improve the school and give more variety for the students and teachers. The courtyard is where the school used to meet for their assemblies during the week, after the wine cellar was demolished for further building. Since C Block courtyard is the oldest place in the school, it is a monument of the school in previous years leading back to 1975.

My school today seems to be completely different to the pictures I have seen. It amazes me how much Waitakere College has grown over the years as the astro turf, a new library, hall and many other buildings have been built to benefit the students of the college. On the school site today there are no fruit trees or grape vines to represent the historical version of the school that many of us are oblivious to.

I am proud to say that I am a part of Waitakere College because the teachers have your learning at heart and will do anything and everything to help keep the students succeed to the best of their abilities. The school is also a safe environment for everyone to learn in and talking to the teachers is just like talking to your friends, they make it that easy. Waitakere College is like a second home and family for everyone. We are one big tight knit community. 'We can look forward to the future with confidence' said Mr Jackson in the very first year book. I think Mr Jackson was right.


Waitakere College site before building 1973

Aerial shot of Waitakere College taken recently