Topic: 1970 - 1979

Topic type:

1970 - 1979

Two Characters of the 60ʼs and 70ʼs Retire

In 1978 two characters of the 60ʼs and 70ʼs retired after eighteen years of service to the school. Both foundation teachers, Clarrie Carew and Bill Taylor were very much involved in school activity. Clarrie, a passionate sports person was coach of the boysʼ cricket and rugby teams. A woodwork teacher, he made a number of items to assist in various skills sessions.

Bill became the schoolʼs science teacher and involved himself in a number of school wide activities. Both were renown for their great sense of humour and fun, clearly evident at any staff function. Bill would bring out the piano accordion and song and merriment would follow into the night.

The Annual Harrier Run

Theyʼre off and racing in the Form 1 girls cross country harriers run. This annual feature sees students selected to represent the school in the Wairarapa Schoolsʼ Harriers Championship that is held down at the Sports Bowl. For the record, the school has won the senior boys event twenty times and the girls event eighteen times.

INSTEP Programme

In addition to the core programme and a wide range of spelling, cultural and social activities, the school developed an independent study of extension programmes called INSTEP which was designed to broaden the students experience. INSTEP provided a wide range of learning encounters beyond the basics. It was also used to teach the basics.

Each INSTEP covered a ten day period with each student having the opportunity for 6 INSTEPs each year. As it was a devoted study it meant that instead of the student choosing a subject the teacher chose it for you. The programme was taken by all the specialist teachers and the seven form class teachers making an average for each class of about sixteen students to each group.

Through the programme, all children experienced working in some way with the land. Exploring biotic communities, working on the school farm, determining the varied role of the trout, working in the nursery and working in various art medium such as the clay tile in the foyer or the concrete figures that are placed under the cherry tree.

Today, thirty years later, the INSTEP programme can be seen in the form of an OPTIONS programme

Lachlan Trophy


The Lachlan Trophy provided a unique historical link between the school and the navy. In the early sixties Mrs Olive Graham organised a Junior Navy League at the school and along with the late Mr. Peter Nilson, deputy principal, established a relationship with the HMNZS Lachlan, a survey ship. As part of the tradition, the school would bake a Christmas cake and each year would send it to the shipʼs crew in a wooden case made in the woodwork room. As thanks for the cake, the ship sent representatives to the school on significant occasions and presented the school with a photo, a shipʼs crest and the ship chronometer (clock). The later became known as the Lachlan Trophy which was presented to the top house in sporting achievement each year.

When the Lachlan was decommissioned it was replaced by the HMNZS Monowai but the tradition of the Christmas cake made by Di Martin and her students continued until the mid 90ʼs. However, on Wednesday 20th February, 1980 the school was invited to send a class to Wellington to look over the ship and be taken out to sea for a demonstration trip around Wellington Harbour. The evident delight of the children was great satisfaction to the crew of the ship.


School Music

Music Programmes


The 70ʼs lay foundation for music through the decades. It is hard to pinpoint exactly the reason for the success of the school music programme but it must in part be due to the enthusiasm and passion of teachers, music tutors and principal to see it as important. Perhaps it could be best summed up by the principal in the 70ʼs, John McDonald, who was quoted as saying, "Music is every bit as important as sport" and he was not afraid to say so!

It was in 1975, when the school song was written and was an integral part of assemblies and school performance.


M.I.S. girded by trees

Red jerseys red as the leaves

Lifted voices high in song

Striving for wisdom all day long

Challenge the future to fulfill our needs

Cherish our values, Try to succeed

With our ever growing students

Working in harmony.

Like today all students were involved in a ʻcoreʼ music programme which gave them the chance to learn the basics but after that, involvement depends on individual interest, enthusiasm and ability. And what interest there was.

In the seventies up to sixty percent of the students at M.I.S. strived to become members of the choir. In those days John McDonald and Barbara Anderson took four choirs - Form 1 girls, Form 2 girls, a combined Form 1 and Form 2 boys choir and from these choirs, the ʻRedʼ choir was selected. As one student said "M.I.S. has always had a choir of some sort ever since it started. Only since 1972 had it had a big choir like today with 120 - 160 pupils in it"

It was about this time when students could learn to play orchestral instruments. Students were able to hire instruments - flute, clarinet, violin, trumpet or trombone - and they would receive tuition from teachers as well as tutors from various musical groups. Mr Thomson also provided tuition with the bag pipes, hiring out chanters for $5 a term.

When the students were proficient enough they would join the orchestra. The highlight for them was the annual music camp held at Riversdale Beach. The week long camp provided the opportunity for students to practise their instruments without interruption. It also provided an opportunity for the orchestra to practise together in readiness for the music exchange with Tawa and Raroa Intermediates. This exchange was for two days so the members of the orchestra and choir would get billeted overnight.

The foresight shown in the 70ʼs, to develop the musical talent of students has allowed hundreds of students to perform in a wide range of contexts. The satisfaction that they have gained would be immense.


Music Festivals

In the Early Years of M.I.S, the combined Masterton Primary Schools staged Music Festivals. These were held in the Town Hall and had participants from all of the schools as well as some college students and professionals. Some may remember ʻNoyes Fluddeʼ in 1964, a spectacular show conducted by Peter Zchwarts.

Following this, the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council commissioned ʻEarth and Skyʼ to be presented by the Wairarapa Primary Schools at their Music Festival in 1968. This was the world premiere of Jenny McLeodʼs first major work. It was an outstanding success with M.I.S students represented in all areas, including direction and music.

The Music Festivals wound down following this, with schools now nurturing the theatrical and musical seed that had been planted and began to stage their own shows.

Intermediate Singers

In early 1976 the music talents of Masterton Intermediate were brought together with a Monster Talent Quest. The Principal at the time, Mr John McDonald, was a key supporter and motivator to encourage all the music talent in the school.

Under the direction of Mr. Rick Francis, a group of six girls were formed from the various winners and were organised to sing in the 1976 Golden Shears - Adrienne Gray, Morgan Campbell, Melinda  Rix, Josephine Neves, Kim Condon and Jillian Beresford became known as the ʻIntermediate Singersʼ. They were an instant success and among the highlights was a version of ʻPut Another Log on the Fireʼ with a Fred Dagg mime, performed by Brent Murphy.

The group entered the TV1 ʻEntertainersʼ and proceeded to wow the television voting audience and move through the heats, semi finals and finals. The girls also started entertaining at various big functions in the Wairarapa and all of Masterton got in behind them with their support in the voting. The final was full of drama with the recorded backing music missing the girlsʼ opening words.

However, they recovered in the live performance and came third in the final. They were originally selected from over 2000 entries and set the school and town alight with their performances.

The group went on in 1976 to perform for many service and sporting organisations and were a huge credit to themselves and their school, Masterton Intermediate.