In 1910 there were about 100 Catholic children living in Runanga, but there was no Catholic school. The Sisters of Mercy agreed to provide teachers for a new school. In 1912, a new school, with two classrooms and a music room was built.

The new St Joseph’s School was opened 1913. Sisters had to travel by miners train every day from their convent in Greymouth to Runanga everyday.

The Sisters also gave music lessons. The Sisters soon had so many children attending St Joseph’s School, they had to have another classroom built.

However, in the 1970 it become hard for people to find jobs in the area, and so families started moving away. This meant that there were less children attending St Joseph’s School. The school was closed in 1972.