"In 1876 when the School Board first discussed the proposed schools for this district it was estimated that the two main schools would serve between 80 - 90 children. At the beginning of 2004 the estimated roll of the College was 1020. We have indeed built well, and will continue to build, for the education of our children, and of the children of the future is a challenge no one can afford to take lightly."
Education in Katikati began not long after the Irish settlers first arrived, when in 1876 the Katikati Schools Board was formed, its main purpose being to raise enough funds to build three schools in the area.
No. 2 School was opened in 1879 in Waterford, which later changed its name to Uretara and then in 1884 was renamed Katikati. Thirteen students attended in the first year. In 1892 No. 2 School changed its name to Katikati Central School.
A new rail link allowed children from north of Katikati to travel by train to school. By 1931 the three schools were amalgamated and a school bus service was introduced.
1935 saw secondary education being formally established at Central School and the school's name was changed to Katikati District High School a total of 20 pupils were enrolled. The Headmaster was Mr S. M. Kemp.
In 1937 Russell J. Mountier became the first Head Prefect of the Katikati District High School. He was also the first successful university entrance candidate, the first sixth former and the first magazine editor. He was killed while serving in the Air Force in the Second World War
During the 1940's the school grew and progressed steadily. 1946 saw the purchase of a house by the Education Board for the Secondary Assistant Master. Katikati was the first place in New Zealand that such a purchase was made
By 1950 the Secondary roll was 70 pupils. Land was purchased to give a total of 16 acres of school grounds and the new High School was built across the road from the Primary school. In 1953 the Technical blocks were completed and the first school play was produced. By 1954 the secondary roll stood at 104. In May the school was reorganised into four Houses; - Stewart, MacMillan, Gledstanes and Mulgan. By May 1st 1957 the secondary school roll had risen to 131. The last two years of this decade saw a slight decline in numbers - at the end of 1959 the secondary roll was recorded as being 118. 1959 also saw the establishment of a Special Class for children who found it difficult to make progress in the normal school environment
In February 1960 the roll numbers were: Special Class 14, Secondary Department 158. There was an unusually large admission of Third Formers, this totalling 69. A newly established sixth form contained 10 pupils. The first half of this decade saw continued steady growth in the secondary roll and a record of success in School Certificate examinations and Thames Valley Inter-School Sports fixtures. The end of 1964 closed with a secondary roll of 173. Forty eight candidates sat for School Certificate. Twenty eight of those passed and there were 114 passes in Chamber of Commerce, ten of those being with Honours.
At the beginning of 1966 Katikati District High School was translated to a new type of school - a Form 1 to Form 6 College. This immediately resulted in an upgrading of facilities, increases in staff and an uplift in educational opportunities for the young people of the district. The new school started with a roll of 360. The new Headmaster was Mr R. Greaves. The school crest and the motto EVER TRYING, EVER ONWARDS were adopted. By 1969 the College roll stood at 422 and the Maths and Science departments became separate for the first time.
Throughout 1970 there was much discussion on plans for the new Assembly Hall and the Gymnasium. Use of the gymnasium began in 1971. In 1973 the Dave Hume pool was completed and direct access was provided to it from the College. School dramatic and musical productions continued to be an outstanding feature of each year. At the end of 1976 Mr Greaves retired and he was replaced by Mr Lind. The 1970's also saw the beginning of a number of exchange visits between students of Katikati College and students from Tahiti.
At the end of 1981 Mr Lind retired and Mr Brian Blackstock was appointed as the new Principal. During the 1980's the College roll continued to grow with senior students remaining at school for longer to improve their qualifications. In 1985 the College celebrated 50 years of secondary education in the Katikati district with a jubilee which was very well attended by past pupils and staff and by the community. October 1988 saw disaster strike in the form of a fire which gutted A Block. As well as the classrooms lost there was a huge loss of teaching resources but the staff were well supported by other schools who helped provide new resources as well as replacing those lost. The new A Block was opened in September 1990. A new administration block was built in the late 1990's necessitating the temporary relocation of the office and administration staff to the school Hall and a school house next to the College site. The new administration block was finally opened in July 1999. The end of 1999 also saw the resignation of Mr Blackstock.
The new millennium began with the arrival of Mr. Peter Leggat to take up the position as Principal, keen to consolidate on the achievements of the College and lead it through the next ten years overseeing a number of building projects including the design and completion of a Community Action Centre and the establishment of the Poutama as a home for the Maori studies department. In 2010 saw the arrival of Principal, Mr Neil Harray who as a past Head Boy of the college had long ties back to this area. Mrs Carolyn Pentecost was appointed as Principal of the College in 2017.
Our current Tumuaki/Principal is Mrs Louise Buckley who was appointed in 2021.