The first school at Kakatahi opened in shearing quarters beside the Whakawhia Stream in 1913. Soon after a school was built at Rapiu Road, but, due to a very small student roll, it was closed in 1926 and the building was moved to Otoko Pa to be used for their school.
In 1934 the school reopened at the shearing quarters with 5 children. Every winter the school closed due to bad weather which brought floods and slips. By 1938 the school roll was 21 and the Education Board provided a portable building on the site of the present school. Later that year the roll reached 37 students and a second teacher was appointed. Heavy snow closed the school the next winter and later that year it was so wet the road could not be used, even on foot.
Electricity was installed at the school in 1956 and a telephone the following year. A school house was built for the teacher in 1959. In 1961 locals agreed to consolidation with Otoko Pa School on the condition that a new school was provided at Kakatahi by the Education Board. The new two-room school was completed in 1963. Local mothers ran a playcentre in the old building at the school for 20 years from 1967. This old classroom (still on site) was used for a time by Te Matariki Kohanga Reo until the Kohanga erected its own building at Otoko Pa.
In 1983 Prince Edward visited the school. Later that year the school went to Whanagnui to see Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Their son, Prince Harry, visited Whanganui over 30 years later in 2015, and the school went to town to watch the prince travel up the Whanganui River from Putiki in a waka.
The source of almost all of the above information was Ross Annabell with Marion Donald from their book The Heart of the Parapara and Field’s Track, published in 2002.