Story: Private education

Dilworth School (3rd of 3)

Dilworth School

The entrance to Dilworth School for boys in Remuera, Auckland, includes a waharoa (carved gateway). Dilworth is funded by an endowment from its founder, James Dilworth, and was set up in 1906, 12 years after his death. Isabella Dilworth, James's widow, strongly supported the initiative, and moved out of the Dilworths' spacious family home so the school could open there. All boys attended on full scholarships, and would continue to do so. The school’s purpose (as set out in James Dilworth's will) is to provide education for 'boys of any race being the sons of persons of good character in straitened circumstances'. The Dilworths had no children of their own, and the first students at the school recalled Isabella Dilworth saying, 'They're not charity cases, they're my children!'

Te Waharoa te Taumata o Dilworth (the gateway to the knowledge of Dilworth) was gifted to the school by the Old Boys' Association and dedicated in 2006. The tekoteko (central figure) represents James Dilworth, symbolising his mana, generosity and vision. The koruru (at the base of the tekoteko) is the school coat of arms, with the cross at its apex acknowledging Christian faith. The maihi (boards of the arch) symbolise all the nationalities and iwi of New Zealand. The amo tonga (right-hand post) acknowledges Isabella Dilworth and female influences, while the amo raki (left-hand post) acknowledges school staff. The raparapa (extensions of the maihi) represent the Dilworth Old Boys' Association.

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How to cite this page:

Megan Cook, 'Private education - Private schools in New Zealand', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 22 June 2021)

Story by Megan Cook, published 20 Jun 2012