Our Name

Our school was named after the Somerville Family who owned the land on which the school was built.

Somerville Family

The Somerville Family were originally from Howick in Ireland. The Somerville Family bought a farm in the Somerville area (then called Paparoa) in 1863. The Somervilles' neighbours were the Nicholas family. They farmed the land on which our school stands from 1851.

 

Archie (Archibald Montgomery) Somerville married Dorendia Jane Nicholas and so the land passed into the ownership of the Somerville family. The last local Somerville was also called Archie. He sold the farm in 1988 and arranged for the land on which our school is located, to be earmarked for a school after he died. He died in 1992.

 

With the large number of houses being built in the area, a new intermediate school was needed and so the building of our school started in 1996. The school opened to students on 28 January 1997.

 

The Somervilles bought their farm from Thomas Brady, the publican at Howick Arms Hotel. The land was scrub and native grasses and they grew wheat and oats as their main source of income. They harvested their last crop in 1930 and their reaper and binder is now in the Howick Historical Village.

 

After 1930, a disease called 'rust' and low prices for New Zealand wheat compared to wheat from Canada and Australia made it uneconomic to grow wheat. The Somervilles then changed to dairying and sheep and beef cattle. Their cow shed has been reerected in the Howick Historical Village.

 

Archie Somerville died in 1992 when he was 60 years old. His mother, Dorendia, and Archie used horses for pulling carts and farm equipment until the 1970s. Archie used to dip the sheep by damming the creek behind the house, pouring the drench, and driving the sheep through. This was disastrous for fish life, but it was in the days when few thought about the effects on the environment.

 

The Nicholas family bought the farm on Somerville Road in 1851. John Nicholas was called 'Nozie' as he lost part of his nose from frostbite while serving for the Bristish Army in Canada. Old residents remember him using a knife instead of a fork and spoon, as was the old custom in country areas of Britain in the 1840s.

 

Locals said John Nicholas always sat with a leg over the arm of the chair - which in Victorian times of strict social behaviour showed bad breeding. Mrs Ann Nicholas was a local midwife during the 1850s and 1860s. The Nicholas family demolished their two storey house in Somerville Road and moved to Nicholas Road in 1920 to be closer to the electricity in Whitford Road.