To the Furtherance and Promotion of Science: Intersections of Research and the Primary School Classroom in Colonial New Zealand

Kay Morris Matthews
Vol 29, Number 2, p.11
In 1887, Henry Hill of Napier, New Zealand, was made a Fellow of the Geological Society, London. He spent years traversing the Kaingaroa Plateau and was a regular commentator on volcanic activity and earthquakes. Hill published at least 39 scientific papers on these and other subjects over fifty years. However, this was mainly work he did in his spare time as Henry Hill was the first senior inspector of schools for Hawke’s Bay (1878-1915). In that role, he was uniquely placed to incorporate his scientific knowledge into regional classrooms. This paper examines the ways in which Henry Hill BA, FRG combined his considerable expertise within the subject fields of science and education to promote and influence the teaching of natural science within the national primary school curriculum. At an occasion to celebrate his fifty years in Hawke’s Bay in 1928, Henry Hill concluded that: \"My life, as far as I have been able to interpret it, has been connected with the social life of the people, the industrial, the political and the educational life of the people, and my spare time has been given to the furtherance and the promotion of science. I love it as well as anything in this world\" (Hawke’s Bay Herald, 13 June 1928). This paper argues that as a reputable scientist, senior educationalist and author, Henry Hill influenced regional teacher training and the national primary school curriculum. It was through these combined roles that Henry Hill ensured that colonial school children were taught natural science that included for the first time, features from the New Zealand landscape.