New Zealand was colonized by Britain in the 19th century. The school system was basically the English system transported to New Zealand. Most early teachers were English. With a small, scattered population, the initial approach was to open large numbers of small schools. The same dynamic was at play imn America on a larger scale with the opening of many one- and two-room schools. New Zealand schools from the onset of the country's educational system in the mid-19th century adopted English clothing styles. When uniforms were adopted, they followed English styles. As a result, New Zealand uniform trends are quite similar to English styles. This continued until after World War II (1939-45). Since the War, New Zealand schools have retained some classic English styles even after they had disappeard in England. Most New Zealand secondary schools continued to require short pants long after older English boys no longer wore them. Many schools still required them even in the 1990s.
New Zealand at first had a small, thinly-scattered population. The transport network between the population centers was poor. This impacted the school system. Children could not travel any distance from home. So the approach was to open large numbers of small schools. The same dynamic was at play in America on a larger scale with the opening of many one- and two-room schools. By the 1870s there were over 700 primary schools, most very small, but very few secondary schools. Few children received instruction beyond the primary level. Only with the turm-of-the 20th century were many secondaru schools opened. The schools from the onset of the country's educational system in the mid-19th century adopted English clothing styles. When uniforms were adopted, they followed English styles. As a result, New Zealand uniform trends are quite similar to English styles. We have not yet been able to find much informaion about the 19th century.
New Zealand school styles throughout the 20th century show English influences. While primary schools generally did not have uniforms, most secondary schools insisted on uniforms. The uniforms were rather formal like Brirish uniforms, but after World war II gradually became mote informl and more adapted to the New Zealand climate. New Zealand school portraits were done in black and white right up to the late 1970s and sometimes even the 80s. The ones for high schools and Intermediates are all quite boring in that they are all almost identical and don't change over the course of decades, especially after World War I (1914-18). The photographs from primary schools, since they didn't wear uniforms, show much more clearly changes decade to decade which tell a lot about New Zealand society and norms. Major changed occured in the 1980s whebn the Catholic scghools and many private schools were integrated into the stte system.
The New Zealand school uniforms regulations vary greatly among different schools. A New Zealand reader in 2001 reports that some New Zealand school boys continuw to wear short trousers to the end of High School (about 18 years old). This is especially prevalent in the summer months. In the winter term many boys, especially the oler boys wear longs. It is relatively common to see young lads in this type of outfit riding motor scooters to school. The
younger boys mostly cycle to school and thus wear "helmets" by law. New Zealand boys have different attitudes about thr uniforms. Some thought it was OK to wear shorts. Most wore shorts came to the top of their knees and the socks were puled right up. Others boys, especially chubby boys seem to hate wearing them. Perhaps they were less comfortable or it was the way they looked. Oten tall boys also isliked wearing shorts. Basically, as soon as boys get home, they take the uniform off and change into clothing that looks like that in the Unite States--Addidas, etc. Shorts were not overly in evidence on weekends either, they tended to wear cargo pants and blue jeans. At some schools now, especially in the country, the uniforms are gone...and in other schools, students are complaining about wearing shorts. The punishment for coming to school improperly dresse is they were refused entrance to class and had to sit in a room by themselves (detention). Parents are becoming involved, and it looked as thought the kids might win this one. However to go to a prestigious boys school, they have to agree to wear the uniform--which is still mostly short pants.
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