'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.

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Tuesday, 12 May 2015

My School Jubilee

Around two and a half years ago, I spent a lovely 6 days in my home town Havelock North.

It was six days of nostalgia and re-living old memories.
It was the occasion of my old primary school Jubilee - the 150 year Jubilee!  This event rather suddenly seemed to appear on the horizon, and it was with a shock, me being still so young, that I remembered I danced in my special white turn-of-the-century pinny (that Mum sewed) on the grass of the playground, at the centenary.  Eeek.  Fifty years before.

And although we have caught up regularly in the intervening years, and since, it was also the longest time for about forty years that I had spent in the company of one of my particular school friends - Wendy.

The pupils form the number for the Havelock North Primary School  150th Jubilee.
Photo by Tim Whittaker Photography.

Saturday: at the ceremony watching the children's performances

Cutting of the Jubilee cake by the oldest and newest pupils.
The Jubilee cake.
Photo by Tim Whittaker Photography.

The children perform a Maori chant

The school these days.
The staffroom is on the left and to the right my first two classrooms.  Miss Mills was my first teacher.  I sat next to Richard H.  One day at the end of the year I spotted a whole lot of scarlet crayons IN HIS DESK (We were expected to return them to the bucket when we had used them).  Crimson is nice, but scarlet was my absolute favourite and I had always wondered where they were...
We all mix and  mingle waiting for our decade photo call.  

At the Service on Sunday morning:
The Havelock North Primary School Children's Choir

The Jubilee Choir.  Conductor: Roger Stevenson.
When we were eleven, Roger Stevenson was our choirmaster too.  We were his first choir.  We made beautiful music together.
Well, we thought it was, but he went on to make even more beautiful music in his (ongoing) career, which has included musical director of the New Zealand Secondary Students Choir.

Roger Stevenson.

Wendy with the jubilee plaque.
Swimming honours board.  Many familier names here.
Our school banner used to read 'He Carries His Cross Bravely' which is probably not so relevant these days.  The school logo is a stylised hot air balloon now.
The old school banner "He Carries His Cross Bravely". 

Me by the jubilee plaque.

Wendy rings the old school bell. 

If you can guess which is me in the photo below, you are very clever.  If you can guess Wendy as well, you're even cleverer. If you can identify Jeannie and Anne too, go to the top of the class!

Our last year in Sam Watson's class -
I can name every pupil. 
A birthday photo at home, from about this time.  Me, sister  and my girlfriends.
From left:  sister Jane, Anne, Jeannie, me, Wendy.


  1. Congratulations. we don't have a school in the west that is 150 years old.

    1. Mine was founded in 970.

    2. Red, 150 years is pretty unusual for New Zealand too.
      Cro … good gracious! You, um, take the cake.

    3. 970 is the official date (Edward the Confessor is a fellow alumni), but I believe it's actually much older. One of the oldest schools in the world.

    4. Has this affected your world view do you think Cro? Rather a special beginning.

  2. Kate is in the front row third from the right? Wendy is in the second row from the front third from the right? But I may well be completely incorrect and I do need new glasses.

    1. Good try Alden. I am actually the worried-looking girl third from the left in the front. Ann is on my right. Jeannie is front row, fourth from the right, and you got Wendy.

  3. What fun, I'd love to go to my old school reunions, but it's just too far to travel.

    1. Weeeell, too far? Aren't you juste across ze Channel Cro? Wendy and I were kind of sad that the people who have stayed locally weren't there. Perhaps we who have moved have more motivation through nostalgia...

  4. I like this post. There is something universal about the nature of our schooling in New Zealand - those school buildings, grounds, photographs, reunion gathering etc look much like the context of my own primary school that is about 800 miles from yours. I think this commonality of experience is one of a number of things that binds all us Kiwis together and makes us who we are as a people (bit deep for a school reunion comment LOL, but there you are).

    1. You could well be right Alden. That and Christmas summer holiday ( often camping) activities, food and sweets we ate, the local A & P shows, slow pace of life, swimming and boating etc etc.

  5. This made me a bit sad. I was writing today to Catriona at school in Havelock North. I miss it. Then I though about my prep school. I don't know how old it was but I was sent there because my mother had been to its successor school. She also went to the sister school of my Grammar School. I've never been to a school reunion of any sort.

    1. Sorry to make you sad Geeb. Yes, my parents owned a house 30 secs walk from Catriona's school.


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