The idea of a Rudolf Steiner/Waldorf School in the Wellington area was conceived in the 1970s by a small group of young state-trained teachers who shared a common interest in the works of Rudolf Steiner and who wished to make a difference in education.  They studied together and in 1978 began a campaign to ascertain public interest in a school by holding lectures and exhibitions.  The resulting interest helped to establish Raphael House in a renovated residential property in High Street, Avalon, Lower Hutt.

Raphael House opened as a private school to 12 children on June 11th 1979.

Earlier in December 1978 the Rudolf Steiner School Trust had been registered and in 1979 they bought the existing site (then 3.2 hectares) of mostly gorse with rejuvenating bush.

The school in Avalon grew rapidly, expanding to two kindergarten groups and three classes by 1981. In 1982 the first building (the present kindergarten) was completed and occupied by three primary classes.  Subsequently the school added a new class each year, these children were accommodated in a mix of prefabs and new classrooms.

Some Key Dates

The physical growth at Raphael House has been a huge and exciting task. Much of it achieved by parent volunteers, and except for some minor works, all paid by parent donations and fundraising. This has been driven by the enthusiasm of teachers and parents observing their children’s journey through the school and recognizing the value of Waldorf Education.
Some of their stories have been written down. We warmly recommend:
“Raphael House – the beginnings” by Sarah Gaitanos
“Raphael House – celebrating 25 years” Chronicles 1-12 by Jill Hemming.
A pictorial record available on two compact discs was compiled by Godfrey Therkleson for the School’s 25th Anniversary. One gives a fascinating and comprehensive overview of the building and site development, the other portrays the children’s activities, and social and cultural events through the years.
For those interested in more detail, the school’s earliest newsletters were compiled in two volumes by Gert Christeller and are available in the Library.

The Birthday Chronicles

The full history of Raphael House was captured for its 25th Birthday in a series of articles for the Bush Telegraph.  These are available for viewing below