** New Zealand school uniform--individual schools

School Uniform: New Zealand--Individual Schools

Figure 1.--Many New Zealand schools continued to require short pants uniforms in the 1990s. Some even required the older boys to wear them.

Information on the individual schools over time offer some useful information on educational trends in New Zealand. We have acquired information on a number of individual New Zeland schools. We have information on many different types of schools, inclusing state and private schools, single gender and coed schools, and day and boarding schools. We see schools that do and do not require uniforms. While many New Zealand schools require traditional uniforms, there have been many significant changes over time. There are also differences between different types of schools.Until recent years, uniforms were worn mostly by state secondary and private schools. State primary schools generally did not require uniforms. Catholic schools were an exception. In recent years, some state primaries have adopted uniforms.

Individual Schools

The following details are avilable on individual New Zealand schools. The changing fashions over time are a good indicator of trends in New Zealand school fashions.

Ahipara Primary School

Ahipara Primary School is a rural school in Northland, situated within the Ahipara township. Ahipara is a small coastal settlement of approximately 2000 people. It was founded in 1872 as a Mission school with 47 pupils. The school roll has a predominate Maori base. The picture shows a class in 1972. Two children wear traditional Maori costume.

Auckland Grammar

Auckland Grammar School is one of the best known secondary schools in New Zealand. It is a state secondary school for boys and offers an academic priogram for Form 3 to Form 7 (Years 9-13). That means boys from about 13-18 years of age. It is primarily a day school, but there is a boarding hostel for boys who do not live in Auckland. The school has a strong academic and sporting reputation. Auckland Grammar is one of New Zealand's early secondary schools. It was founded on the basis of an English grammar school. The original charter was granted by Governor Sir George Grey's Trust Deed (1850.). It was subsequently authorized by Auckland Grammar Appropriation Act (1868). The school's main block was built in the destinctive Spanish Mission style, the only school like it in New Zealand (1916). Besides the main site in down town Auckland, the school also has a VentureLodge facility near Ohakune.

Brown Owl School

Brown Owl School is a state primary school in Upper Hut, a town about 30 km from Wellington (New Zealand). We have here a photo of the soccer team in 1973. The main sport in New Zealand is rugby, but also soccer has its supporters. The New Zealand national team is now the Champion of Oceania. The boys in the photo are wearing white soccer shorts. Someone wear jerseys with white collars, someone without collars. They are not wearing uniform socks and shoes. Someone wear knee-socks, others ankle-socks. Also the colors seem different. The second boy from left in the front row probably is wearing soccer shoes with plastic studs (professional shoes had metal studs). The second boy from right wears sneakers, the first one is barefoot. The others boys seem wearing their everyday shoes. I don't know how they played. In New Zealand rugby is often played in bare feet by young boys, but I don't know if the same happened with soccer. (In 1950 the India National team asked for playing barefoot during the FIFA World Cup, but they were not allowed. India gave up participating to the competition). The boys have a leather ball. The present-day white (or black and white) ball was used the first time in 1970 during the FIFA World Cup of Mexico. Here the boys have the traditional brown ball.

Dunedin North Intermediate School

A press report describes how a school on New Zealand's South Island has introduced a gender neutral uniform policy. It allows girls to wear pants and boys to wear kilts. The purpose is an attempt to eradicate gender stereotypes. The report reads, "Dunedin North Intermediate School, which has a strong Scottish and Maori heritage, has welcomed five uniform options, featuring shorts, long pants, culottes and a kilt, the Otago Daily Times reports. Since taking over the school's top job 18 months ago, Principal Heidi Hayward said she had received a number of request from female students asking if they could wear pants rather than a kilt. 'Last year I had a couple of kids who challenged me. They said: `Why do we have to wear kilts? You can wear pants. Why can't we'?' she said. 'That seemed pretty logical to me. It was 2016 and I thought it was odd that we still have these stereotypes. What we were hoping to avoid is making it hard.' Ms. Hayward explained that in the winter months, girls can wear pants and boys can wear the traditional Scottish kilt if they please. She said the students are rapt with the ideas, but parents were in need of much more convincing. 'The kids weren't really fussed about it. It's adults that have taken a while to get their heads around it - they've asked lots of questions,' Ms Hayward said."

Halfmoon Bay School

Here we see New Zealand Prime Minister John Key chating with the children at Halfmoon Bay School on Stewart Island (April 15, 2016). It is a primary school. Stewart does not have alarge enough population for a secondary school. Stewart Island or Rakiura Island is New Zealand's third-largest island, althouh only a fraction of the size of North and South Island. It is located 19 miles south of South Island. The island is generally hilly (rising to 980 metres [3,220 ft] at Mount Anglem) and densely forested. There are flightless birds, including penguins, thrive because there are few natutal predators. The economy is based on fishing and summer tourism. Only about 500 people love on the island. Therea are ferries connecung the islamd to South Island. The school has about 30 students and offers a 8 year program, described in New Zealand as full mprimary. The 8 year program is needed because there is no seondary school on the island. It is a small, rural primary school located in Oban. About a third of the children are Māori. The school sescribes itself, " ... our school experience a curriculum based around our unique natural environment and wider community which makes their learning engaging and relevant. A recent article in the NZ Education Gazette stated that ‘...with a pristine natural environment, Rakiura/Stewart Island’s tamariki are hardy and self-reliant. The environment is not only their playground but also their classroom.’ Our students benefit from a rich localised curriculum that provides authentic learning contexts beyond the classroom. Students play an active role in leading their own learning with multiple opportunities for student leadership and participation in a range of activities that develop confidence and resilience."

Lake Rerewhakaaitu School

The Lake Rerewhakaaitu School, is a small state primary school in Rotorua, New Zealand. Because it is so small, it had an 8 year program. Primary schools in more urban areas have 5 year programs, with the older children attending intermediate schools before beginning secondary school. Lake Rerewhakaaitu itself is a small, shallow lake in northern New Zealand, located 30 kilometres to the east of Rotorua. It is immediately south of the active volcano Mount Tarawera, and the geography was substantially altered by a major eruption in 1886. We note photograph taken in 1964 during the morning assembly. As was common at the time, state primary schools did not have a uniform, but many children wore various standard British school unifirm garments which were widely worn in British Empire/Commonwealth countries. We see many grey garment incliding shirts, short pants, and knee socks--- all part of the classic English gray school uniform. We can see a variety of colors although all the boys are wearing short pants and all the girls wear skirts. We can note also a range of footwear: brown and blak shoes, close toe sandals with socks, open toe sandals without socks, bare feet. Nobody wear sneakers, canvas shoes, or flip flops.

Ngatea Primary School

The Ngatea Primary School is a typical small town primary in New Zealand. Ngatea is a small town on the Hauraki Plains of the North Island, about 70 km southeast of Auckland. Like many New Zealand primaries, they have in recent years adopted a simple uniform. Through the early 1990s, fe New Zealand orimaries except the Catholic schools and private schools had uniforms. The uniform adopted is a navy blue shirt with red insert and school logo. This is purchased at the school. The shirt is worn with navy blue shorts/pants. Any navy blue pants are acceptable exceot jeans. Headwear and footwear or optional, although some kind of headwear is compulsory during the summer months. Footwearis not compulsory, but any kind is acceptable except high heels and long boots.

Puahue Primary School

Puahue School is a state primary school in a farming district of North Island in the Waiukato Region just south of Auckland. The photograph is undated, but was prbably taken in 2010. The school has 6 grades. The casual uniform is a light-blue polo shirt with the school logo worn with dark blue short pants or skirts. The girls were allowed to wear shorts or to wear legging-type garments under their skirts. Until the 2000s, it was not common to see primary schools requiring uniforms, with the exceotion of the Catholic schools and the private schools. It seems that all the pupils attend the school in bare feet. Going barefoot is common in New Zealand, especially in rural areas. I don't think that was a school rule, but it is strange to see such uniformity without a rule in place.

Whataki Boys High School

Whataki Boys High School is a traditional single gender state high school at Whataki on South Island. There is also a girls' school at Whtaki. As at most New Zealand secondary schools, especially the single gender schools, a uniform is required. The boys have blazers, but generally only the older boys wear them. The typical day to day uniform is a light blue shirt, jumper, short pants, and kneesocks. If the boys want to dress up and wear a tie and long pants, they are allowed to do so.

Personal Accounts

Some personal accounts are also available describing the uniforms worn as individual schoolboys at different schools over time.:

Historical accounts

Discussion of uniforms

Sixth formers


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Created: December 21, 2000
Last updated: 2:39 AM 12/23/2021