Skip to main content
Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.




In New Zealand the State system of education has a broad base: nearly 90 per cent of children between the ages of five and 13 are enrolled at the public primary schools. In the years since primary education on a national scale was instituted in 1877, the schools have reflected with growing strength certain characteristics of our community. It was natural enough in the early years of settlement that the schools should become colonial copies of the common day schools of England and the parish schools of Scotland; but on to them have been grafted a democratic outlook and egalitarian convictions. Thus they have become institutions in which the ideal that everyone is entitled to be educated to the fullest extent of his powers, is put into practice. One marked result is the evenness in the kind and quality of primary schooling available throughout the country.


John Lithgow Ewing, M.A., DIP.ED., Chief Inspector of Primary Schools, Department of Education, Wellington.