The beginnings of the school extend far back into the past, long before the beginning of the Education Board, and consequently, without records, the early history has been hard to locate and reliance has been placed on the memory of early settlers and their descendants.
The first school in Papakura was started in the early eighteen fifties, in a small building situated on the site of the present Methodist Church, built by Mr Cole for use as a Wesleyan Chapel. The first teacher was Mr McQueen and later Mr Fallwell, who afterwards taught in the Presbyterian Church in 1859, which was used as a school until about 1876 when the old Central School was built.
The old Central School was built by a Mr Hassard in 1876 for 305 pounds. It was 55 x 25 feet with a 14 foot stud. This building is still in use today for a variety of purposes. With a gradually improved railway service, roads and other transport, more settlers arrived and additions were made from time to time to cope with the increase in numbers.
A separate Infant Department was built in 1924 and as the numbers continued to grow, use was made of railway land adjoining the Infant School. The oak trees on it gave welcome shade in summer. The building was used as the Papakura Resource Centre until it too moved to new premises. In keeping with the growing district and school, a Dental Clinic was built and opened on December 8th, 1926.
When Ardmore Teachers’ College started in 1948, the Central School became the Normal School attached to the Teachers’ College, and was also responsible for the model schools at Ardmore and Alfriston. However, with the building of a new school at Papakura North, which eventually became Normal School, this school reverted back to the Papakura Central School, as other schools had been built and no longer could this be termed the “Papakura” School.
It is interesting to note that moves were afoot as far back as 1937 for replacement of the original buildings, which were considered outmoded and to have served their purpose.
The present school in Ray Small Drive, built to a new design of paired classrooms, was opened in 1973 with the transfer of pupils and staff.
The current buildings have changed considerably since the school moved to this site.
2002: Modernisation of the Resource/Staffroom and a new Administration area
2005: New 4 room classroom block
2007: School Auditorium and School Entrance
2009: School Library and senior Toilet upgrade
2013: Caretaker’s Shed, Heating upgrade, New Junior toilets, Refurbished Dental Clinic interior to develop a Learning Studio
2017: Solar Panels
2018: Introduction of 'Hubs' with one two class and one three class hub
2019: Rebranding of school - logo and signs; Bikes In Schools Bike Track
2021: New Middle School Playground
Middle School Playground