Our School History

Ruru Specialist School has been operating on its present site as a State School for more than 50 years catering for Students with Learning Support Needs from the Southland and South Otago area.

School opened with a roll of 42 on October 18, 1967. During that year its name changed from ‘Kindhaven Occupational Centre' to 'Kindhaven School’.

In 1974 there is a note in the minutes. "Opening of School Baths funded by donation of funds from N.Z. Aluminium Smelter Staff Social Fund and Fundraising Efforts." The School Pool still operates today

In 1981 we purchased our first vehicle - a V.W. Mini Bus. there was a conversion of Swimming Pool heating from oil to coal – both projects funded from fundraising

In 1983 the name was changed to Ruru School

In 1984 in consultation with the Southland Education Board students with Very High Learning Needs were enrolled at this school as part of the new Government Policy regarding the right of every child over 5 years of age to be educated in the school system. This added a new dimension to Special Schools.

During the 1980s we initiated and worked with the Education Board and Ministry in establishing Satellite Classes at Waikiwi School in 1984 - Waikiwi Satellite, Collingwood Intermediate in 1986 - Collingwood Satelitte and Salford School in 1988 - Salford Satellite. This further enhanced parent choice and provided more social learning opportunities for Students with Special Needs.

In 1989 School Trustees took over from School Committee.

In March 2000 Ruru School purchased a Flat at 35 Kereru Street- Waikiwi, to be used by the Senior Students for Life Skills.

The Property at 9 Ruru Street was purchased in the latter part of 2001 and Waikiwi High students were able to commence the 2002 year in these premises.

In 2005 Ruru School was included in the Invercargill School Review, which resulted in Collingwood Intermediate and Waikiwi School being closed and Donovan Primary being opened on the Collingwood site, including Ruru Satellite class.

In 2010 we opened 2 Satellite Classes at Verdon College for our Year 7 + students - Verdon Satellite and the following year opened another 2 Satellite Classes at Southern Institute of Technology for our student 16 years + - SIT TEC (Tertiary Education Centre)

Our therapy hub premises at 20 Renfrew Steet was purchased in 2016, and backs onto our Base School site. This is used by our Therapy team as their workspace.

In 2017 we converted our Swimming Pool and School heating from Coal to Woodchip.

In 2018 we established a new Satellite class at the Base School Campus to support the learning of our younger students with complex needs. The class expanded to two classes in 2019, they are named Te Matatini Junior Satellite 1 & 2.

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Postal Address

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19 Ruru Street
Invercargill 9810

Salford School
110 Lamond Street, Hargest, Invercargill

Donovan Primary School
200 Drury Lane, Grasmere, Invercargill

Verdon College
210 Rockdale Road, Invercargill

Southern Institute of Technology
160 Forth Street, Invercargill

(03) 21 59379