Hamilton West School acknowledges and celebrates the ancient past that ties us to our locality. Māori heritage can be traced back hundreds of years. Part of Pembroke Street is an ancient walk track used by Māori over 700 years ago. The ancient Māori name for the area surrounding the school was Te Rapa and there was a large fortified Pa, called Te Rapa which Cobham Drive now runs over. The transposition of the name Te Rapa from this area to its present position in the north of Hamilton City was a mistake made by the early European surveyors in the 1870s. The Lake Rotoroa foreshore and surrounding hinterland were used by Māori for food, flax, and recreation.
Hamilton West School lies between Lake Rotoroa and the other major geographic feature of the area, that being the Waikato River. Today Hamilton West School identifies with our history and these landmarks, it gives a great sense of belonging. The school loves to explore and enjoy our unique local environment on our doorstep.
Our historic school was established in 1864 and is one of the oldest schools in New Zealand. In 2014 Hamilton West School celebrated its 150th jubilee. Hamilton West School has its origins in the Redoubt that was built in the early days of European Settlement. The Redoubt was situated in Victoria Street where St Peter’s Anglican Cathedral now stands. Sometime in the 1870s, the school shifted to a site where WINTEC is now located. The school moved to its current site around 1940. On several occasions, the school was used as a military hospital during the second world war.
Interestingly our current school was built on a gully that was filled in with material from the Anglesea cut. The students at school in the late 1930s would have looked at the window (at the site where WINTEC is now) and seen the cut being excavated.
The large wooden classroom block on our current site is believed to be the longest wooden structure in the Southern Hemisphere.
OUR SCHOOL TODAY
Today Hamilton West is a multicultural school in the heart of Hamilton City. We have students from across the globe coming from many nations and speaking many languages. We enjoy the vibrant environment that this creates in our school.
Students at Hamilton West School are given lots of opportunities to have input into their school, including their learning. This occurs within the classroom where inquiry learning provides the opportunity for students to have control of their learning. Other activities beyond the classroom also provide the chance for students to have input into how their school looks and feels.
At Hamilton West School we provide students with many leadership opportunities to enable them to develop their interpersonal and interpersonal skills. We want our students to grow and become leaders of the future in our community, nationally and internationally.
Examples of leadership opportunities provided for students at Hamilton West School include: