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Ohariu Valley Oral History : Dale Golder

Dale Golder interviewed by Gábor Tóth, Thursday 18th February 2010, Ngaio.


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Time marker: Summary:
0'0" Born in Wanganui. Educated at Wanganui Girls' College, Christchurch Teachers College and Canterbury University.
0'46" Begins teaching career at the first school she attended as a child. Continues career in Feilding and Masterton, where she marries.
1'50" With her husband moves to a small country school in Makuri, near Pahiatua. Discusses some of their experiences there, including the construction of a house and swimming pool.
3'02" Moves to Hamilton where her husband has acquired a deputy principal position. After two years there, they apply for the Ohariu position because it is a model school.
3'17" Her husband teaches at Ohariu School, and two of their children attend. They begin construction on a new school house. They are able to move in during 1968 and they stay until 1974.
4'16" Her career after Ohariu involves a year in Massachusetts, followed by Assistant Principal roles at Bellevue, Khandallah, and Karori, the latter being a position she held until her retirement.
6'29" Returns to the discussion of her early education and the changes in teaching conditions and the education system.
7'42" Dale contrasts working at an urban school in Hamilton with working in the country, particularly the role schools played in the social structure of rural areas at the time.
8'57" The roll at Ohariu School was small when they arrived. This quickly rose to 31 pupils, and both she and her husband taught in the one room. As the roll continued to increase, her husband taught in hall until the new classroom was built. They later had a third 'prefab' classroom.
10'01" Dale discusses the reasons for the increase in students. Around this time, local landowners begun dividing their lots up into lifestyle blocks, which in turn attracted many young families.
11'01" Another factor contributing to the roll increase was that they accepted enrolments from children with physical disabilities - some of whom had previously been denied schooling. They took their first disabled student, Sarah, after they were told that the choice to take these students lay with the principal and the parents.
12'17" Dale discusses some of the challenges and rewards involved with a special needs pupil.
14'59" The school lacked a swimming pool so they fundraised to build one. She attempted recently to visit the school, but as the gates were padlocked she was unable to see if the pool still existed.
15'38" Recreational activities at the school included jumping in puddles on rainy days, which they would then write about back in the classroom and flying kites. Singing was a big part of life at the school, as was dress up and folk dancing. They held Christmas concerts, operetta and a PTA cabaret -which raised money for the swimming pool.
16'48" Dale remarks that Ohariu Valley was a very close community and that a number of the students she taught live there still. She describes Ohariu as 'a very nice extension of Johnsonville' and still countrified. On her recent visit she was surprised at how far out it actually is.
18'06" They became a two teacher school when the roll broke 31 and employed another teacher when student numbers reached the sixties. Dale felt that it was good for the students to have more children of their own age to work with and challenge them.
18'52" After Dale and her husband left the school, children were encouraged to enrol at Johnsonville Intermediate, so the school roll decreased once more. She is unsure of the exact date, but eventually Ohariu Valley School closed.
19'33" They may have had some rural activities, but this doesn't appear to have been a focus.
20'04" There wasn't a school bus run. A taxi was used to take the secondary school students into Johnsonville and bring student teachers back to the valley. Parents tended to carpool to their children to the school.
20'43" After completing their primary educations, the pupils would then often go on to Onslow College for their secondary education. Some went to Newlands, some to boarding school - especially the girls.
21'31" Dale feels that one of the special things about Ohariu Valley School was the local environment, which they took full advantage of. Before they had a swimming pool, a corner of the stream was bulldozed for the children to swim in. They were also able to mushroom in the area.
22'24" The school was able to fully encompass a wide range of curriculum subjects. She reiterates that music was a particular focus, as was physical education. It was a total educational experience and operated like a big family.
23'14" When she left to work in an urban environment, she noticed there wasn't the same closeness with the families. She acknowledges that this may be due to the necessity of having both parents working now.
24'16" Returns to discussion of school activities. They had picnics on the Kapiti Coast. There were a huge variety of things they were able to do at Ohariu.
24'46" Many former students are very successful. She still sees some of them occasionally, as well as the parents. Former student Vivien Harris is a Johnsonville vet who makes regular television appearances. Dale enjoys seeing her with her dog.
25'44" She concludes by stating 'It was a wonderful time in our lives'.

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