Waitekohe School, opened in 1880, was the third school to be built after European settlers arrived in Katikati in 1875. It still stands, renovated as a private residence, on the corner of State Highway 2 and Walker Road East, south of the Katikati.
This mural was painted from a photograph taken in 1914. Three of the pupils were still living when the mural was completed in April 1991. One, Mary Ann Johnston, was delighted to immediately recognise herself when she first saw the mural. The teacher, Josh Leech, was the son of original settlers and attended the No. 2 School at Katikati. Four of his surviving school reports for 1892, 1893 and 1894 show his behaviour was ‘good’, his marks good to excellent, but his attendance ‘very irregular’, attending little more than half the time. No wonder, when he lived up Lindemann Road, several miles from the school along rough and muddy tracks.