The Waiokaraka School was officially opened on the 15 May 1879. (Sometimes written as Waio-Karaka) The first headmaster was Mr George Newell Phillips. Some other teachers mentioned in 1879 were: Charles Gribble, John L Scott, William Smith, Janet Williams, Anna Horgan, Mary J McIlhone, Jessie J White, Janet E J McNiece, Mary A McDonald, Jessie W Patterson & Rosabel Wolff.
The 1902 CYCLOPEDIA of New Zealand (Auckland Vol 2) has the following information on the school:
The Waiokaraka Public School contains five class rooms, with accommodation for 500 children. There are 430 on the roll, and the average attendance exceeds 400. There is a teaching staff of nine members.
From the middle of the ,1900s the school became known as CENTRAL SCHOOL and continued until 1971, when it closed as schooling in Thames underwent changes - with new schools having opened at Parawai and Moanataiari.
|Thames Central aka Waiokaraka School, Thames|
(part of photo taken 1947 by aerial photographers V C Browne & Son)
An earlier postcard showing the school on the right