It’s an old school event Timeline

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Carly Tawhiao –

RICH­MOND Road School is cel­e­brat­ing its 125th an­niver­sary by go­ing back in his­tory.

The Pon­sonby school is com­mem­o­rat­ing the oc­ca­sion with guest vis­its from for­mer pupils like for­mer All Black Bryan Wil­liams.

For Mr Wil­liams, who at­tended the school be­tween 1955 and 1962, the visit to the school and the trip down mem­ory lane wasn’t too nos­tal­gic be­cause he’s lived in the area most of his life.

“My two boys and el­dest daugh­ter went there and I still drive past the school nearly ev­ery day,” he says.

Grow­ing up, the Cox’s Bay res­i­dent lived in an O’Neill St villa that was once the home of New Zealand’s first Labour prime min­is­ter, Sir Michael Joseph Sav­age.

To­day it is the home of artist and au­thor Al­bert Wendt.

“When the real es­tate agent was show­ing Al­bert around she told him that Michael Sav­age and some old All Black had lived there. Well I am that old All Black,” he chuck­les.

As a 10-year-old Mr Wil­liams rep­re­sented Rich­mond Road’s un­der13 team at Roller Mills, a pres­ti­gious in­ter-school rugby tour­na­ment.

“That set me on my path,” he says.

That path led him through 113 All Black matches be­tween 1970 and 1978.

Af­ter his All Black ca­reer, the qual­i­fied lawyer co-coached Auck­land be­tween 1987 to 1991, Manu Samoa in 1996 and the Welling­ton Hur­ri­canes in 2000 and 2001.

He is also a life mem­ber, coach and cur­rent pres­i­dent of the Pon­sonby Rugby Foot­ball Club and be­came the New Zealand Rugby Union’s vice-pres­i­dent in April.

At Rich­mond Road School ear­lier this month Mr Wil­liams shared mem­o­ries that in­cluded daily mar­ble col­lec­tions in the shel­ter sheds.

“I loved my time here, it was a fam­ily ori­en­tated school and they were very in­for­ma­tive years.”

Ju­bilee cel­e­bra­tions be­gin to­mor­row at 6pm with the school pro­duc­tion The His­tory of Rich­mond Road School.

It will be held at the Dorothy Win­stone Cen­tre at Auck­land Girls Gram­mar on Howe St, fol­lowed by a re­union gath­er­ing at the venue.

Tick­ets for the show are $25 for adults and $10 for se­nior cit­i­zens, stu­dents and chil­dren over five, as well as $35 for the re­union or $45 per per­son for both events.

On Fri­day from 9.30am to 2pm, school am­bas­sadors will lead school tours with morn­ing

1884 Rich­mond Road School opens and prin­ci­pal Emma Fletcher is Auck­land Ed­u­ca­tion Board area’s first woman prin­ci­pal

1903 – A man­ual train­ing cen­tre opens at the school

1934 – Michael Sav­age and then Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Peter Fraser open the main part of the cur­rent school

1960s – The school gains in­ter­na­tional recog­ni­tion for its in­no­va­tive work in lit­er­acy ed­u­ca­tion

1970s – The school be­gins ini­tia­tives to es­tab­lish bilin­gual units for Maori, Samoan and Cook Is­land Maori along with con­tribut­ing preschools on site

1976 – Form one and two classes go with the open­ing of Pon­sonby In­ter­me­di­ate School 1984 – Cen­te­nary 1996 – A French bilin­gual unit is es­tab­lished

2009 – Rich­mond Rd School cel­e­brates its 125th ju­bilee tea and lunch for $35, or $70 for all three events. There’s 10 per­cent dis­count when more than two tick­ets or spe­cials are pur­chased.

For more in­for­ma­tion phone 376-1091 or email of­fice@rich­mon­droad. school.nz.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Ju­bilee time: For­mer All Black and Rich­mond Road School pupil Bryan Wil­liams with, from left: Miles Er­win-At­more, Jonty Ruha, Cato Re­fiti, Ji­avra Co­hen and Dawn Han­gart­ner.

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