It’s an old school event Timeline
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.
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.