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Tēnā Koutou Katoa 
Nau Mai Whakatau Mai

Welcome to Central Normal School/Te Kura Tuatahi o Papaioea

I am immensely proud to be the Principal/Tumuaki of our culturally rich, unique and diverse school in the heart of Palmerston North. Central Normal School has a proud history of being the oldest school in Palmerston North and this is reflected in our Māori name - Te Kura Tuatahi o Papaioea - the first school of Palmerston North.

Our school is incredibly unique for a primary school, which adds to the rich diversity and culture we have here:

  • Normal School: We are a Normal School, which means we have a close relationship with Massey University to support the training of graduate trainee teachers. Graduate Trainees are in our school every term and we enjoy the reciprocal learning relationship we establish with them. 
  • Fund Holder School for the provision of Special Education: We are one of the very few primary schools in New Zealand to be a fund holder for the provision of special education for ORS verified students. We adhere to a very strong philosophy of inclusion and mainstreaming and all our ORS children are placed in their age appropriate classes, supported by a fantastic team of ORS teachers and teacher aides. 
  • Māori Immersion Learning: Central Normal School has operated Māori Immersion learning for a number of years in our team, Te Arawaru. Te Arawaru consists of six Rumaki classes (Years 0-6). All classes in Te Arawaru teach from the Māori Curriculum - Te Marautanga o Aotearoa.  

With such a rich diversity in our school, we value and treasure the uniqueness of every child. As such, our staff build highly effective and positive relationships with our tamariki, to create a fantastic learning and teaching environment. 

At Central Normal School we are increasingly focusing on a personalised curriculum, where our children have a voice with curriculum decision making.  Similarly, our learning and teaching programmes are becoming responsive to students interests and passions, to maximise their engagement and empowerment with their learning. 

Every day, our tamariki and staff adhere and work towards our vision of Whaia Kia Tutuki - Strive to Your Potential. This vision encompasses all aspects of school life - learning, teaching, behaviour, sporting and cultural. 

Central Normal School/Te Kura Tuatahi o Papaioea is a fantastic school with amazing people and tamariki and it is an absolute pleasure and privilege to be the principal of our school. We look forward to welcoming you to our school. 

Elly Warnock


Te Arawaru

learning in Māori since 1995.

Reo Rua and Rumaki learning at Central Normal School Te Kura Tuatahi o Papaioea


Ongoing Resource Scheme

A school culture of ‘inclusion’ the forefront in educating children with special.