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In the early 1980's, supporters of Rudolf Steiner education living in the Titirangi area formed a society to purchase a bus for transporting children to and from Ellerslie. Titirangi became one of the choices for Michael Park families to live and there was soon a large community of people committed to Rudolf Steiner education in the area. As waiting lists at Michael Park lengthened, some families were unable to access the education and along with those who felt the travel time was too long, met to discuss the prospect of starting a Titirangi School. Through an article in a newspaper, other parents and individuals enthusiastic to begin a school in West Auckland were invited to join the impulse. A hui/gathering was arranged to bring the people together and allow for a time and place for conversation and confirmation of commitment.
A task of the orginal supporters of the iniative, then known as Titirangi Waldorf School Initiative, was to approach various Waldorf teachers and those people with life experience of and a working knowledge of Anthroposophy and Waldorf schools. Many such individuals contributed their time and knowledge in those initial formative months. Carl Hoffmann, then a teacher and guardian of the original impulse of the Taruna Teacher Training College for Waldorf Teachers, became the school's sponsor. This role he held until the school joined the Federation of Waldorf Schools.
Approximately 100 acres of land was bought on Laings Hill. It was purchased from Ceramco, owners of the old Crown Lynn clay pit. The finance for the land was raised by the Trust and supporters. This land was managed by various working groups and over the years, areas were subdivided and sold as private properties. An initiative began to offer an area of the land which includes Muddy Creek and its mangrove area as an Educational Forest Park, this was managed and pioneered by a separate Forest Park Trust. The intent was to offer the land for sale or lease to educational and conservation organisations to be developed and made available as a sanctuary for wildlife and available for educational purposes. This did not come to fruition. Later, more land was subdivided and sold. Today the school owns 29 hectares of land and the possibility of offering the land for environmental educational purposes is being revisited.
The school itself began with a kindergarten initiative in Titirangi Beach Hall in 1986, the parents working with an experienced Waldorf kindergartener. In 1987, this kindergarten became the first class one in the St Francis Church Hall, Titirangi, and the school began. Later that year School and Kindergarten moved to rental premises owned by the Deaf Society in Armour Bay, Parau. It provided a beautiful and suitable site for the growing school.
Each year thereafter, the school grew with the addition of another class in Parau, until the end of 1993 when the kindergarten moved onto the present site. The school, then Class 1 to Class 6 following at the beginning of 1994.
There had been ongoing research through various working groups into the question of 'how to house the school on the land at Laings Hill?' This included feasibility studies, initially for an architecturally designed school on what is known as the clay pit site, the relocation of Whangarei Hospital to that site, and subsequently, in 1993, the current relocated structures on the present site. It was acknowledged that the relocatable buildings were not the ideal, but they could be made functional and were financially viable. Much time was given to how to place the buildings according to the needs of the children. A Building Fund initiative had previously produced a master plan for the school. The relocatable buildings were seen to fulfil an initial phase within the context of a long term plan. This move to the land has its own documented record through minutes of meetings, photographs, videos and personal memories. It required great commitment, focus, management skills, co-ordination, communication and labour. Words cannot adequately describe the experience. Suffice to say, the work was done and the school transferred from Parau to Laings Hill.
During 1993/4 following, the necessity to take out and secure a loan to purchase the buildings for Laings Hill, the management structure of the school was changed to include a school board whose purpose included communication between working groups within the school.
The existing trustees and some supporters joined together to guarantee the loan needed to fund the move and purchase of buildings, using their own homes as collateral. Supporters of the school have in the past, also guaranteed various amounts to secure loans for the school. After the move, the management structure was revisited and changed. The Trust underwent membership changes. A three trust system was trialed with the intent of being working trusts responsible for Property, Education and Endowment. In 2001, the school reverted to one trust as the legal owners, delegating all responsibility for the management of the paedagogy to the teachers.
New additions were built in 1998, to replace the school hall and a classroom which were burnt down by an arsonist, who lit a number of fires in the area that year. These were a relocated building brought from Parau used for eurythmy, a large part of the building designated for a hall, some storage rooms, the staff room and part of Class One. New buildings replaced those lost to become Classes 6, 7 and 8 and repairs made to class one with a new extension to include a staff room.
In 2001, a Eurythmy Hall/Community Hall was completed. A fourth kindergarten was built and opened in 2002 . By the end of 2002, the trees had grown, the grass had spread, the pond area became home to wildlife. Four kindergartens were operating and there were Classes 1 to 8.
At the beginning of 2006, a period of consolidation took place. The fourth kindergarten became a self funding nursery initiative. A decision was reached to combine three classes in the school and early in 2008, the playgroup which had been flourishing in and around the kindergartens, was given its own rented premises on the school land.
During 2007 and 2008, the younger children attending the Nursery, Playgroup and the Kindergartens began to grow in numbers. The lower and middle school pupils, whilst lower in numbers by comparison to some previous years, continue to receive a varied and broad and extremely comprehensive curriculum. Thus, 2008 saw a time of consolidation and a strengthening of the sense of community upon which this school initiative was founded 21 years previously.
Enrolments have steadily increased since 2009. There continues to be a focus on strengthening the foundations for the provision of a full Waldorf education and the results of enthusiastic parent input into maintenance, repair and beautifying the buildings and grounds are clearly evident.
Provisional registration was granted for an Upper School in June 2010 and six students became the pioneering students for this exciting development. 2013 was a significant milestone for the school with the very first Class 12 year and the granting of Full Registration for the Upper School. Visit the gallery for photos of the celebration. An large incoming Class 9 has dramatically increased the Upper School roll.
Currently, Nursery and Kindergarten have waiting lists and plans for a second nursery and fourth kindergarten are underway to accommodate this increased interest in Steiner education for this area.