Topic: 1980 - 1989

Topic type:

1980 - 1989

Two Years Growing

Masterton Intermediate is not an ordinary school. The realisation that there was something special about the programmes being offered to students at M.I.S. and the belief that this was worth sharing with a wider audience, prompted the book "Two Years Growing" with the book being published in 1984. This book focused on the two years intermediate schooling and the opportunities available for students while attending Masterton Intermediate School. It was the story of growth and potential in modern education and the way in which a New Zealand school faces the challenge of the social and economic reality of the time.

Masterton Intermediate School was chosen for this study because of its fascinating range of activities which related directly to the lives pupils would encounter when they emerged from the shelter of the educational system. It consisted of three parts: a brief history of intermediate schooling in New Zealand; the special programmes which have developed at M.I.S; administration of the programmes at M.I.S. and how the programmes have evolved. The students were asked to write about the special features of their school and each topic had a preamble explanation. The book was amply illustrated by the studentsʼ own work in words and pictures as they were recognised as the best people to explain the programmes on offer.

Telescope Making at M.I.S


In 1985 with Halleyʼs Comet due to make an appearance over New Zealand, an old interest in astronomy was renewed at Masterton Intermediate School and a group of children decided to make their own telescope to view the comet.

Telescope making had begun at MIS in 1975 with a group of Form Two children grinding and polishing their own mirrors for Newtonian Telescopes as part of an elective programme as well as constructing optical tube assemblies and mountings in the metalwork room with Ray Lory. Unfortunately, due to time constraints and tragic accidents, the telescopes were unable to be used. The following year, in 1976, as part of a science elective programme, a radio telescope was constructed on land adjacent to the school and recordings were made of solar activity.

So, with renewed interest, incomplete mirrors and grinding and polishing materials from earlier classes were collected, and a telescope making club was set up to complete the task. Five girls and eight boys worked with Geoff Busch to create the optics and with Ray Lory in metalwork and Bob Kerr in woodwork to create the tubes and mountings. Under the programmes ʻIn Touch with Excellenceʼ which was inspired by John McDonald and ʻOperation Stimulusʼ, initiated by Frazer Mailman, experts such as astronomer Frank Andrews from the Carter Observatory and telescope maker Tony Dodson of Wellington Astronomical Society were brought in to share their knowledge and skills while working alongside the children to design and build their telescopes in time to view Halleyʼs Comet.

Thanks to the support of Tony Fisher, the local science advisor, the group were invited to join the BP Halleyʼs Comet School Tour at the International Halley Watch Site in Omarama in the South Island. One of the girls made drawings of the comet whilst observing it through her telescope and her sketches were sent to astronomers in Pasedena USA for evaluation. In their letter of appreciation they said she was the youngest IHW contributor in the world. 


Wilhelmina Cruickshank - Nomination for Queenʼs Birthday Honour

In 1986, Mrs. Wilhelmina (Billy) Cruickshank, a teacher aide at Masterton Intermediate School, was nominated for a Queenʼs Birthday Honour. At the time, Wilhelmina had been employed by Masterton Intermediate for twenty five years, first beginning in June 1961. Over this time the roll fluctuated from approximately 400 to 800 students and Mrs. Cruickshank's hours changed accordingly but never exceeded 20 hours per week.

However, regardless of this, Mrs. Cruickshank always reported for duty at 7.30 a.m promptly and generally never left before 3.30 pm. In addition to this, she spent two half days on most weekends in the library cataloguing and repairing books and enhancing the library and delivery of books to the students. As well as her teacher aide duties, Mrs. Cruickshank supervised student helpers in the school canteen, looked after ill students and transported students to home or hospital for observation or diagnosis. During her time at Masterton Intermediate Mrs. Cruickshank showed self-less dedication to the best interests of her students ad teachers at the school.

As well as her dedication to Masterton Intermediate School, Wilhelmina Cruickshank served the community in other long serving capacities. She was involved with the N.Z. Crippled Childrenʼs Society for twenty three years, the Masterton YMCA for eighteen years and the Wairarapa Netball Association for seven years.

Sue Don - School Secretary

Sue Don began at M.I.S in 1961 and gave twenty five years service as the school secretary. She was secretary to the first three principals and of her bosses she has the following memories.

The first principal, Mr. J B Mora was a ʻbad writerʼ; the second principal, Mr. R J Laybourne as ʻa well liked, well organised person and quietly efficient; and of Mr. McDonald she said ʻhe is always thinking of new things..., heʼs alive and very caring... and he gets involvedʼ. This delightful lady, who had a strong interest in netball, was extremely popular and well liked. It was often stated that if you wanted information or answers in a hurry you were advised to "Ask Mrs Don!". 


School Committee Makes Way For Board of Trustees


In 1989 the school committees were abolished and across the country Boards of Trustees were elected to take on the governance of the school. They had and still have the great responsibility of employment of staff, the financial security of schools and the maintenance and management of property. One of the very first tasks the Boards had, was to develop the schools charter, one which reflected not only National Goals but the community needs. To this extent Masterton Intermediate was a forerunner being one of the first in the country to sign their charter.

Havelock North Music and Cultural Exchange

In 1988 the school was looking to establish a relationship with another school who were strong in music. Approaches were made to Havelock North Intermediate as they were also looking to establish a music and cultural exchange. The parameters were set and in 1988 the school travelled to Havelock North. The school choir, orchestra and Kapa Haka groups performed individual and combined items. This tradition has continued and is one of the features of the school year. The talents of the students are show cased invariably to a packed out Town Hall whether it be in Masterton or Havelock North.