Levin's youngest primary school, which is due to celebrate a special anniversary with a reunion next month, has had just three school principals in 50 years.

Taitoko Primary School was officially opened by Rt Rev Manu Bennett, Bishop of Aotearoa, on Tuesday, February 4, 1969, and was the fifth primary school in Levin.

During that time the school had just three principals - John Goodwin (1969–1988), the late Peter Garland (1989–2008), and current principal Rachel King, while Robert May was deputy principal between 1970 and 1992.

Now aged 93, Mr Goodwin is unable to attend the reunion due to ill-health. His daughter Karen Prouse said her father wanted to convey the pride he felt in the school and its pupils and their achievements.


"I spoke to my dad last night. He has recently celebrated his 93rd birthday, but regretfully will not be able to attend the 50th jubilee because of his health," she said.

"But he would like to convey his very best wishes to everyone and to acknowledge the efforts of all who contributed to the welfare of the school and its pupils throughout the years."

Symbolic of those efforts were huge trees at the school that were originally planted by the committee 50 years ago.

"He is very proud and always says how proud he is of the school and the students," she said.

"And he remembers Carlos Spencer as student and was proud of what he went on to achieve as an All Black."

There was also a unique group of foundation pupils, who then become foundation pupils of the newly built Levin intermediate School, and then foundation pupils of Waiopehu College.

Ex-teacher and reunion chairperson Wendy Morgan said already there were already a host of registrations from ex students and members of staff.

"It's going to be a great weekend full of lots of memories," she said


Former teachers who were coming to the reunion were David Lewis, Anne Garvey, Gloy Deadman, Anne Goodwin, Catherine Campbell, Francelle Aiken, Paula Marsters-Sasa, Donna Kjestrup and Peter Goodyer.

All Black Carlos Spencer was a former pupil, as was current captain of Horowhenua-Kāpiti Willie Paia'aua, Superhero reader Tapahia Heke, Horowhenua District Councillor Pirihira Tukapua and Māori astrologer Rangi Mataamua.

Taitoko School was built on the Bowen sub-division in the rapidly expanding housing area in the south eastern section of Levin to help alleviate the large rolls at Levin East and Levin School.

The school was originally to be called Highlands School with neighbouring streets having Scottish names - Balmoral, Stirling, Skye, Perth, Kinross, Arran, Cargill, Braemar and Heather.

The school's 25th reunion book said the name Taitoko, which was originally to have been the name of the town of Levin, was chosen by the Commissioners.

Under the earliest condition of the sale of the Levin block to the government of the day, one of the special conditions was that the new settlement should be known as Taitoko.

The government failed to honour this part of the agreement with the Muaupoko tribe who sold the Horowhenua block of land to them.

The purpose of adopting this name was to recall a part of the town's history and to enable the name suggested by the Muaupoko tribe to be perpetuated, the booklet said.

There is still time to register for the reunion and anyone wanting to attend can email: taitokoschool50@gmail.com or look up the Facebook Group: Taitoko School 50th Reunion, 6 and 7 December, or drop a form into the school by November 15.