The school was located about 22kms above Pipiriki which is now to be known as the Parinui Landing. Before the gallery became what it is today, it was known as Parinui School which was also the only school classified as “native” and controlled by the Education Board instead of the Whanganui Education Board. On September 3rd 1928 the school officially opened with a roll of 10 pupils and because of conditions changing settlements along the river, the roll never reached higher than 16 pupils. By June 1940 only three students remained which resulted in school closure.

The big move

As time went on, people started moving to town to gain a better lifestyle for their families which impacted the communities along the river. It was then decided that the Paranui School building would be brought down to the Matahiwi community to continue as a school. After the decision had been finalised (1942) , it was then pulled apart and put on boat to travel to Pipiriki and from Pipiriki by truck to Matahiwi to the current spot today.

Early days for the school 


For the¬†beginning of the buildings journey, it started off as a Primary School, with people coming from as far as Jerusalem and Koroniti. Unfortunately due to declining numbers, the Primary school closed once again in the early 1980’s. After the closure the community were concerned about what to do with the building and by 1983 Wainui a Rua Kohanga Reo was born.

As years went by the building was slowly showing it’s age. It was then when Marlene decided to switch up her lifestyle and start a cafe/gallery in 2010. It has been a slow process but a rewarding one.


The building itself has had a lot of TLC and a few additions including the boat prop from the movie “River Queen” and the additions of accommodation in the paddock over. It has brought the community together and is a perfect stop for cyclists, walkers and people touring all over New Zealand as it’s round about the mid point of the river road.




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