Rotokawa School is over 100 years old, its early history dating back to the schools established around the Lakes during the latter part of the 19th Century. This school was part of Ranana Native School, which was situated by Rangiteaorere junction in 1893 and donated by Hohepa Te Rake. In 1926, it was closed to make way for two new schools Whangamarino and Rotokawa School. The present site of the school has been used since 1926. There was a roll of 34 students which were transferred from Ranana. The main block was built in 1937. By 1938, the school had 3 classrooms, and a hot bathhouse was installed in 1940; this became the swimming pool in 1956. The main block was added to in 1945. A further two additions were built in 1953 and 1963. Until 1967 the school was part of the New Zealand Maori Schools Service.
The highest number of students at this school was 311 in 1965, but declined with the opening of Owhata School. In 1971, Rotokawa School celebrated their 100th birthday.
A school remodel completed in January 1994 and formally opened on March 4, 1994, refurbished the library, three classrooms and in 2013 the Administration area. The Junior classrooms were remodelled in 1999. The library was moved to its current position and refurbished in 2009 and 3 new classrooms were added at the beginning of 2010.
School Crest And Motto
The crest shows the warrior chief on the prow of a canoe. It represents an old motto "Kia Hiwa Ra" which means "Look Ahead” - the current school motto "Whakaaro Nui Ki Etahi" means "Great Thoughts for Others" or "Consider others". Teachers use these terms with the children in class to support their learning along with our school vision and values.