Remembering old school days
There are only two weeks to go until registrations close for Otane School’s 150th jubilee, and only four weeks before the celebrations begin.
Past Otane School principal Forbes Newton has written a memoir of his time at the school and is encouraging past students, teachers and family members to register before the cut-off date of September 30.
People can register at sporty.co.nz/otane/150thJubilee-Registrations. Hard copy registration forms are available from the school by calling 06 85 68 009. Costs are $25 registration, $25 Friday night Chatter & Platter, and $50 Saturday night dinner and dance. Ex-pupils, teachers, and wha¯ nau are encouraged to register today. of the front door and the school office and sick bay were together.
The first school assembly was a bit daunting for me. The roll was 107 and I was only used to 32 children. I had come from a ‘role-charge’ position. As time went on I soon got to know the children, parents, and the Otane community at large. I often think of the children I have had the privilege of teaching, as I have a soft-spot for each and everyone of them as they were all unique in many ways.
Remember the pet days? We tried to give every pet a prize. There were some unusual pets that came to school. Then there were the sports days and interschool sports and swimming sports with everyone taking part. Athletics for some children was a challenge and for others it was a nightmare. At most of the inter-school sports, Otane held their own against competing schools.
Cross country practices around the surrounding paddocks and town streets kept one on their toes, especially a group of children who took a short-cut and ended up being chased by a pet ram and having to climb a tree and wait to be rescued. Rugby and netball and soccer had a good following. There was never a shortage of coaches as parents always gave up their time. Over the years the teams performed extremely well and we never really had a shortage of transport.
Who can forget school camps and the fundraising that went into these? The ‘Pig in a Barrow’ raffle, pushing a bath with two adults in it around Otane, sponsoring walkers around the five-mile block, and many others. The school camps to Wakarara and the numerous activities associated with that! The climb up to Sunrise Hut. The Wellington camps and across to Picton camp. Turangi and across to the Chateau, and Rotorua camp too!
Who can forget the fancy dress balls and the practices each class had? The ‘Paw Paw Patch’ and ‘Red River Valley’ and so on. Learning the ‘Grand March’ and going to the Town Hall for rehearsals. Over the years the school has been fortunate with the school committees, boards of trustees, and PTA. The parents and teachers gave up a considerable amount of their time ensuring the smooth running of the school.
All parents, staff and board of trustees were fully challenged with the official opening of the bi-lingual unit. There were over 1200 visitors from around Hawke’s Bay that attended the opening.
I remember staff who I worked with over the years as principal. I remember them with affection for their support and friendship that was extended by them. They were happy years.
To all those students, teachers, committee members, parents and friends of the school who have passed on, we remember them in our thoughts and conversations as we gather and “share the joys and smile at the tears of those of our yesteryears”. Finally, never forget a school is only a building — those who study, work and care bring it to life. He aha te mea nui o te ao, he tangata, he tangata, he tangata. (What is the most important thing of life? It is people, it is people, it is people).
Current Otane School principal Rachel Kingi and past principal Forbes Newton.