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Having the whanau home from school for extended periods is nothing new in the King Country; flooding, war and sickness have all impacted schools along the Stratford-Okahukura line. 

By Lisa McLean

In the 1930’s school rolls declined as Works Department families packed up and moved along the line. Schools could at any time be closed for an outbreak of diphtheria, measles, chickenpox, infantile paralysis or meningitis.  Whooping cough and the flu were also common and could keep children home for weeks at a time.

In 1948 at the height of the infantile paralysis epidemic local schools did not commence their school year until March and although correspondence work was sent out in most cases little was done.

Historical Infantile Paralysis Pamphlet

A historical Infantile Paralysis Pamphlet.

On Friday 24 Feb 1940 heavy rain overnight caused serious flooding at the Tokirima school grounds, by Saturday, at the height of the flood, at about 9pm, the grounds were completely covered and there was a strong current running under and around the buildings.

By the next day the rain had ceased and the school residence and gardens were free of floodwater but the Ohura river was still rising and the local stream was backing up. By 2.00pm water was entering the grounds, again rising by about 6 inches per hour. At 8.00pm water had entered the school rooms and by 8.45pm three inches of water covered the floor. 

At the teachers residence the water was one foot deep at the back door four inches below floor level, in the school the depth was four and a half inches over the floors. It was several days before school resumed, all roads having been blocked by flooding and slips.

The King Country breeds them tough and when times get tough the King Country gets tougher. Upgrade your hankies to tissues, wash your hands, don't stress about the mess and keep connecting, virtually! We'll see you back on the rails soon!

We got this! 

Kia kaha

Source: Roll Back The Years Vol II by Ron Cooke