The first school in the area was Henderson Point School opened in 1907. Matipo opened in February 1964, with pupils and staff transferred or “loaned” from Te Atatu School which changed to become Te Atatu Intermediate. The foundation principal was Doug Strothers (1964-1976). The school was officially opened by Dr Martyn Finlay M.P. on 14 November 1964.
Peter Sharples formed his concert party and used a room in the school for practices. Early school events and concerts were held in the hall of the Catholic Church (our own hall didn’t open until 1991).
Early teachers remember the smell of the adjoining dump and seagulls dropping pickings onto the classroom roofs. One memory is of Miss Cumming and Miss Going being on the staff at the same time.
Jack Wharfe was principal from 1976-1980 followed by Bruce Barton 1981-84. Heather Bell was principal from 1985-87 followed by Maurie Coates from 1988-89 and Wayne Bainbridge from 1990.
The school roll peaked in the late 1970’s at about 900 and dropped to a low of 160 in 1990. In the early years of 2000 on it sits at about 400.
Long time staff members became legendary: Anne Swindells, Lorna Lyons, Thelma Butterworth, Jenni Murray, Malcolm Flack, John Rennie, and Margery McMillian.
Many staff moved on to become principals: Tom Green, Judy Bock, Jenni Murray, Brett Skeen, Cherie Taylor-Patel, Thelma Butterworth and a couple on to teachers college.
The first nine pupils to be registered at the school were: Geoffrey Sedan, Julie Mitchell, Antanius Lemmens, Mary Hetherington, Kevin Gillespie, Maxine Lyons, David King, Laurence Fraser and Lorraine Ngaumu. By the end of 1964, 653 children had enrolled.
In 1984 a fire destroyed 3 classrooms where the hall now stands. The last room in this block was also destroyed by fire in 1989. In the late sixties there were 22 classrooms reduced to eight in 1989. In 2006 there were 18 rooms, an extended hall, an Arts Suite, library, computer room and art room.
Some well know ex pupils include Dean Orr and Peter Brown (Kiwis) George and Andrew Stankovich (boxers) Debbie Hughes (jockey) Oscar Kightley and Dave Fane (actor and writers) and Darren Lidell (weight lifter).
Some of the “old” families still have an association with Matipo particularly the Triffilo family. So many ex Matipo pupils live in the area and their children now attend the school.
There have been many highlights over the years:
– the galas
– the assemblies and concerts in the old “double door” rooms
– the trip to Wellington
– the visit of the Governor General Dame Cath Tizard
– the Gold Coast trip in 2006
– the role model visitor programme