Waikino school shooting

The first and only school shooting in New Zealand history, the Waikino school shooting took place on 19 October 1923 at Waikino School in Waikino, near Waihi, in the Waikato district of New Zealand's North Island. It claimed the lives of two students, Kelvin McLean, aged 13, and Charles Stewart, aged 9. Six others were wounded. The gunman, John Christopher Higgins, was later convicted of murder and sentenced to death. The death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. Higgins later had his conviction quashed, on the grounds of insanity.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]


Shortly after the shooting, the two-room school house was burnt to the ground, to be rebuilt in 1925.[8]

The head of the school, Robert Theodore Reid, was wounded in the shooting and resigned, subsequently being involved in correspondence education.[9] Higgins' wife, a Canadian, returned to Canada.[10][11]


  1. ^ Cagney, Jake McKee (28 December 2018). "Revisiting a dark day: A mass school shooting – in New Zealand". Stuff. Retrieved 5 March 2020.
  2. ^ "Murder in a small Kiwi school". Stuff. 22 December 2012.
  3. ^ https://twitter.com/scott_yeoman, Scott Yeoman Multimedia journalist scott yeoman@bayofplentytimes co nz (19 October 2018). "Waikino School: The story of New Zealand's first and only mass school shooting – and a family secret laid bare" – via www.nzherald.co.nz. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help); External link in |last= (help)
  4. ^ https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NZTR19231027.2.29
  5. ^ "Waikino School". 16 October 2015 – via Flickr.
  6. ^ "Police Report , Police Report". Waikato Times. 15 August 1924. p. 2.
  7. ^ "Murder and Insanity , Murder and Insanity". Patea Mail. 7 March 1924. p. 3.
  8. ^ "Waikino's new schoolhouse". Waihi Daily Telegraph. 5 March 1925. p. 2.
  9. ^ https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NA19300723.2.52
  10. ^ https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/NZTR19240913.2.48
  11. ^ https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/PBH19240627.2.69.6

Coordinates: 37°24′33″S 175°46′15″E / 37.40916°S 175.77087°E / -37.40916; 175.77087