Time to reflect on the years
Kuranui centenary 100 years is a solid achievement for a rural school such as Kuranui, writes Petrice Tarrant.
Warm lumpy milk and travelling to school in trolleys are things of the past for Kuranui Primary School students.
But that doesn’t mean stories like this won’t be dragged up at this year’s centenary celebrations.
Youngsters have been pushing pencils inside the rural classrooms for the past 100 years and it’s time to celebrate.
Come October past and present students will converge on the four-acred property and reminisce during the Okoroire School and District Centenary.
Among those participating will be Doris Adlington, eldest daughter of a first day pupil.
The 61-year-old said her father Llewellyn and his two sisters were joined by 17 other students the day the doors of Kuranui, then known as Okoroire School, opened in 1914.
‘‘ They went on horseback through the scrub covered paddocks until the Kuranui school opened.
It wasn’t until about 10 years ago that the school, which merged with Te Papa, was given the name Kuranui. Yet ironically Adlington said the farm her father grew up on was called Kuranui.
She herself fondly remembers the days of malted milk, often lumpy, made by senior girls ‘‘ out in the shelter shed in the winter.
‘‘And bottled milk, which was often warm with no fridges to keep it in the summer.’’
It is a far cry from the deliciously packed lunches most of today’s students boast.
And the look of the lunchbox is not the only thing that has changed, she said.
‘‘The swimming pool was in the Waiomou river. Those who could swim were separated from learners by a fallen log across the river and the toilets were down over the playing fields which seemed miles away when you were in a hurry.’’
Current principal Paula Hast- ings said despite its changed appearance, the school still boasts its famous community spirit.
Just 39 students are enrolled at the moment, more than half the size of the roll when numbers peaked during the mid 2000s, she said.
‘‘It’s the dynamics of the farms today. They’re not bringing the families like they used to, they’re single guys.’’
And the narrowing of the bus transport entitlement did not help the dwindling roll either, she said.
But it was a common pattern in rural areas such as Okoroire, she said.
‘‘My [rural] school that I went to closed down and in its peak it had six to seven classrooms,’’ Hastings said.
Numbers are no measure of success though.
The 2-classroomed school is seeing 91 per cent of students at or above the national standards for reading, 83 per cent for maths and 74 per cent for writing.
Those figures are all well above the national averages.
Hastings said there will be so many things to celebrate during the labour weekend event.
The three-day centenary will include a tour of the school, chatters and platters, a cake cutting ceremony, buffet dinner and a mystery cruise.
Register before September 26.
Celebration time: Kuranui Primary School principal Paula Hastings said her students are pumped for the school’s centenary.
Old school: Originally known as Okoroire School, there have been many changes since it first opened its doors in 1914.