Kuramaiki Whana hoped she would attend Turakina Maori Girls' College (TMGC) this year but instead she is helping to pack up school resources to be sent to other schools or put into storage.

The 13-year-old student is heading to Hukarere Girls' College in Napier, where she will be a boarder, along with 18 former TMGC students.

"My mum, Janelle Gray, was a student here and a board member, and I've been helping her and my koro this week.

"Mum had to go to work today - I know she really wanted me to come here and this is a sad job for us."

Advertisement

Kuramaiki's grandfather, Keith Gray, said several generations of the family attended TMGC and they are disappointed by Education Minister Hekia Parata's decision to close the school, which officially ended its 110 years of education on Wednesday.

Board of trustees member Piri-Hira Tukapua said the college has sold many of its resources to local schools and held a garage sale last weekend to sell off surplus equipment.

Ms Tukapua said some TMGC teachers had found positions at other schools, with Whaia Dionne Ross taking up a role at Waiopehu College in Levin, while Pa Mare Ponga will be teaching at Palmerston North Girls' High School.

"We have managed to raise the money to pay off most of the school debts, but the real problem is the bill for the leased IT equipment.

"The school is locked into a three-year contract and we are being billed for $40,000."

The school hired the desktop computers and servers from leasing company FlexiGroup, and the contract was signed last year.

Marton Junction School principal Vanessa Te Ua purchased a number of items for her school but said the budget would not stretch to taking over the lease for the IT equipment.

"We are using laptops and tablets a lot more now and, after discussion with board members, we could not justify the cost of leasing desktop computers," she said.

The school grounds and buildings remain the property of the Presbyterian Church which founded the school in 1905 and board of proprietors chairman Reverend Wayne Te Kaawa said an administrator and grounds keeper will still be employed to take care of the property.

"We have a few conferences booked and we will be looking at ways to make good use of the site.

"Ultimately we want to find a way to reopen the school in future."

The board of proprietors, along with the board of trustees, will be disestablished and replaced by a trust board, which Rangitikei mayor Andy Watson has been invited to join.

Mr Watson has supported the school through the consultation process with the Ministry of Education and was a board of trustees member last year.

"I am very sad about the school closure," he said. "It is a place that has been an important part of the culture of our area for a very long time.

"As recently as 2012, the roll at the school was quite healthy."

Mr Watson mentioned the 110 years of photos that previously lined the walls in the school administration building and said it is sad to think there will not be more.

Before TMGC moved to Hendersons Line in Marton in 1927, it was located next to the Presbyterian church in Turakina, now the site of an an empty paddock.

Reverend Te Kaawa said a school group visited the original site a few years ago and found some reminders from the earliest inhabitants at the school.

"They found old irons and other mementoes that were turned into trophies for prizegivings," he said.

The trophies, along with other school taonga, have been placed in safe storage and there will be a ceremony to welcome them to their new home at a later date.