Smiles ga­lore at On­er­ahi re­u­nion

Whangarei Report - - NEWS -

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.

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