This edition of the long-running National Film Unit series documents the curriculum at Manutahi Native District School in Ruatōria in 1947. The roll of 300 primarily Māori students, travel to the rural school on bus, foot and horse to learn everything from the alphabet to preparing preserves. Set in the post-war baby boom period, the male students learn to build a cottage while the girls learn ‘home economics’ (cooking and running a household). The first principle of the schooling is “learning by doing” and for the rural kids “the whole land is a classroom.”
At Manutahi the school is the centre of a progressive farming community, and the whole land is a classroom. From their first spelling lessons, [to] writing and learning numbers ... the Māori school broadens out to teach its children the use of the land that is their home.– From the narration
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Hine E Hine – Orchestral