Smiles galore at Onerahi reunion
There were plenty of smiles as past and present students and staff came together to celebrate Onerahi Primary School’s 125th anniversary.
The students led an assembly at the school on Friday, which was attended by around 150 past students and staff from as far back as the 1950s.
It followed celebrations on Wednesday which included a picnic where people dressed up in clothes from the 1960s, 70s and 80s and played old-fashioned games like knucklebones, tug o’ war and elastics.
Onerahi resident and former student Wendy Giffin was the guest speaker. She stood alongside her friend Valerie Green-moss as she recounted tales of her time at the school.
Giffin is two days older than Green-moss and the pair started school on the same day in 1961.
Giffin remembered being told to “sit up like a cabbage” on the mat, and getting the strap.
“I got six of the best on my hand for playing tiggy in the classroom at lunchtime.”
Giffin was later enlisted alongside current student Starskea Mncube to cut the celebration cake.
A time capsule which was buried at the final assembly in 1999 was dug up by former students Ashley Mccarthy, Sarah Littlewood and Adrienne Chubb, who were there when it was buried.
It was then the students revealed plans to bury another capsule for future generations to dig up.
The old school flag was then attached to the flagpole and raised. Then came the presentation of a quilt made by a group of students — with help from staff — to principal Gerald Koberstein.
Koberstein said it was a special day and talked about how important school is in a person’s life.
He said he could get any of the past students and teachers sitting around the outside of the school’s 570 students up and they could “talk about something that happened to them at school that they’ve never forgotten, that they enjoyed”.
The kapa haka group rounded out the assembly with a sterling performance.
Koberstein said the time capsule’s contents had been weathered with time but the artefacts will be displayed in the library this week.
After the formalities, a group of former students reminisced over an old junior merit award book in the library with their former teacher Alan Curry. He was described fondly as “firm, fair and fun” by his former students, some of whom have their own children at the school now.
The students recalled school camps, school productions and singing.
Curry, who taught at the school from 1985 to 2011, joked it was “awful” to catch up with his former students, before deciding: “It was very nice.”
Wendy Giffin and Starskea Mncube cut the cake, while the rest of the school and visitors watch on.
A whole school assembly celebrated the anniversary.