Former pupils go back to high school

South Taranaki Star - - PROPERTY - MIKE WAT­SON

It be­gan as a 70th birth­day party re­union be­tween two old school friends and grew to in­clude all their class­mates from 56 years ago.

Rose­marie Knap­man-Smith and Lyn Humphreys were born within days of each other. Later they be­came class­mates at Opunake High School 3A third form class. When their re­spec­tive 70th birth­days ap­peared on the hori­zon they de­cided to or­gan­ise a cel­e­bra­tion.

But soon they were in­volv­ing as many of their 3A class­mates as they could con­tact, as well as oth­ers from third form com­merce and agri­cul­tural classes who at­tended the high school in 1961.

Up to 52 former 3A pupils and part­ners were tracked down and in­vited to a re­union din­ner on Satur­day night at The Ply­mouth Ho­tel, fol­lowed up by lunch at Opunake High School on Sun­day.

There was also time for a visit back to the school, a meet­ing with cur­rent prin­ci­pal Si­mon Fuller, a walk down the Coastal Walk­way, and a visit to Ev­ery­body’s The­atre.

Mem­o­ries of school days were fired back and forth among the old class­room friends through­out the week­end.

Many came from out­side the re­gion - from Welling­ton, Auck­land, Mel­bourne, Christchurch, Tau­ranga and Hawke’s Bay. Some, like Robyn and Den­nis Chard, were class­mates who later mar­ried and lived in Opunake.

Oth­ers, in­clud­ing Oakura artist Mar­garet Scott, former Taranaki

‘‘We were a hard case lot who lived on the beach in sum­mer.’’

Rose­marie Knap­man-Smith

News­pa­pers gen­eral man­ager Kevin Nielsen, and Dairy Board USA rep­re­sen­ta­tive Michael Bing­ham, pur­sued ca­reers fur­ther afield.

‘‘We’re all ei­ther 69 or 70 years old and we all lived on the coast from Pun­garehu to Ra­hotu and Opunake and Oaonui,’’ Knap­manSmith said.

‘‘We were a hard case lot who lived on the beach in sum­mer. We just seemed to have a such a free life, we grew up in an amaz­ing vil­lage at­mos­phere and could wan­der any­where around the town and our par­ents wouldn’t worry.’’

En­ter­tain­ment was Satur­day morn­ing movies at Ev­ery­body’s The­atre for nine pence a ticket, throw­ing jaf­fas down the aisles, or down at Opunake Beach in sum­mer, she said.

Opunake High School will cel­e­brate it cen­te­nary in 2025 but the 3A class of 1961 hoped to meet again be­fore that, she said.


Former Opunake High School third form class­mates from 1961 went back to school for a re­union at the week­end.

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