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About Us

Building Bright Futures

Mangawhai Beach School is a State Full Primary School established in 1885. Students begin at age 5, Year 1 and complete their schooling at age 13, Year 8. The school is situated on Northland's east coast, approximately 1 ½ hours drive north of Auckland's Harbour Bridge. 

The work and support of the Board of Trustees has been praised by the Education Review Office in a recent review resulting in a well-resourced and well-maintained learning environment for both children and adults.


The facilities consist of a swimming pool, two large Astroturf areas, a community gymnasium, spacious playing fields and comprehensive ICT equipment and infrastructure. 

The most recent ERO report reflects the school's high standards and policy of continuous improvement.

“Teaching is focused on student’s specific needs and learning programmes are varied and interesting and make good links to the local environment and community.

Students and staff benefit from the school’s strong values base and an educational vision that promotes students achieving their potential, enjoying and valuing learning and developing respect for self, others and environment.”

ERO Report 2023

Mangawhai is a community with great passion for quality education who strive to be supportive of their children and their learning journey both in and outside of the classroom.


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Board of Trustees

Aaron Kemp (Principal)
Luke Canton (Property)
Emma Grieve (Staff Trustee Curriculum)

Abby Meagher (Community Consultation)
Bruce Nelder (Chairman)

Carmen Phillips-Cato (BoT Secretary)

Scott Fickling (Policies & Procedures)

Shirley Schlooz-Allott (Board minute secretary)  contact here

Have been confirmed as the Board of Trustees for the next three years.


The Board of Trustees is responsible for the governance of school affairs. This means they oversee the strategic directions put in place through the school charter and respond when appropriate to school happenings.

The Board of Trustees are elected every three years by the school community and are guided by the National Administration Guidelines.


The Board represents the voice of the school community.

Strategic Plan 2020 - 2025 (2023)

Audited Annual Accounts 2023

Board of Trustees Minutes of last meeting

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Friends of MBS (FOMBS)

Chair:  Rebecca Verhulst
Secretary:  Kathie Alcorn
Treasurer: Arrum Stones

​This is a very proactive parent group within our school community.


They are extremely supportive in ensuring the best resources are provided for our students and teachers through the varied fundraising events they organise throughout the year.


The FOMBS also organise social activities that help bring together the wider school community.


As an active parent group, they have an important role to play in the well being of Mangawhai Beach School.

We welcome fresh faces and new ideas to our fundraising.   If you are interested in being part of the FOMBS team and wish to make a 'positive difference' for the students at our school please feel free to contact the office on  09 431 4385

We would be delighted to have you on deck!


School History

A brief history of schools in Mangawhai from 1857

The first known private school teacher Jane Skeen, nee Liston, was also the first recorded Crown Land Grantee at Mangawhai in 1858, having been remitted to New Zealand in 1856 to open a school.   On arrival at Auckland she married a man of politics Robert Skeen, widower and father to four children.

School Reserve -Lot #67-Molesworth Suburbs- consisted of 1 acre 2 roods, 12 perches. It is next to land once owned by Capt. William Moir and still in his descendant’s ownership. Orrin Brown, owner, later bought the school lot also.

School attendance cost parents 1/-(10 cents) per week paid in cash for each child. As many families were those of men with the 58th Regiment of Foot, living here, or in work at the shipbuilder’s yards or in one of the many industries established along the estuary they had money to pay for her services.

By 1864 another teacher, Mr E.F. Barnett came to Mangawai to take up land previously purchased in 1858. It seems likely that it was he who taught from within the Presbyterian Church that was on land opposite what became known as the ‘policeman’s house’ on Moir Street.

In the mean time two sister’s Tutin, daughters of John Tutin, an Anglican preacher opened a private school in the Parsonage at Hakaru in 1861. This was a Day and a Boarding school and continued until the 1880. Fee’s were £25 per annum for children under 10 years of age and £30 for those over 10. Music and singing were included in the curriculum. Hakaru was known as Mangawhai in the early years of settlement.

From 1861, lessons at Te Arai were taught from within a private home and classes taken by Mr. Charles Haselden. There were three Te Arai schools between the years 1861 – 1945, at Te Arai North (by the norfolk pine) Arai Point (by Slipper Lake) and one at Te Arai South (on Fishlock Road). All part time schools initially.

In the 1860’s –1886 teachers often taught ‘half days’ sharing between area schools.

The first Education Department school for the district was built on Lawrence Road, and named Mangawai School. This was built by McMillan and Stewart and opened 1872. Mr McKee was teacher for that year.

It may seem an unusual place to have built a school but at that time it was sited on the main road from the landing place on Mangawhai River namely Bentley Point which is the upper part of the river that touches the Mangawhai East and Hakaru hills.

It was central to a wide area.

As years passed this school was referred to as ‘The Upper School’ and also ‘The Bush School’. R.M.McPherson was the last teacher when school closed 1888.

In 1886, a similar sturdy styled school was built and opened in the area known as The Beach. (now known as Mangawhai Village). Hence Mangawhai Beach School. This building served many generations of children and families until 1957 when numbers out grew the old school and the first stage of today’s Mangawhai Beach School appeared on Insley Street.

Not until 1878 when compulsory education of children over 7 years and under 14 became law did fees for education discontinue in public schools.

Mrs Sarah’s hall at Hakaru was used as a school from 1880 until a school building was brought to the property of Mr Blackwell. It remained Hakaru school from 1916 until 1949.

Other schools which served the wider district of Mangawhai were:

TARA ROAD School (near Tara cemetery) This was previously the Mangawhai School which after lengthy negotiations with the Education Department by local residents was dragged by bullock teams from Lawrence Road and opened 1892 – 1926. Moved again to Browns Road, 1927 – 1943. Dismantled moved and reconstructed to its final site on Ken Brown’s property Tara Road where the building remains. School closed there in 1966.

BREAMTAIL School opened 1902, and closed 1920

MOLESWORTH School opened 1920, and closed 1930

KING ROAD School opened 1930, closed 1944

Contributed by Bev Ross

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