Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 34, September 1990


The Celebrations commenced on Friday 20 October 1989 with a Wine and Cheese Evening at the Karangahake Hall. Over 200 former pupils and present and past residents met, some for the first time in 30 years.

The Celebrations at the School were held under difficult conditions due to deteriorating weather. Saturday morning was fine but about mid-day the rain really started, making all hope of holding the function outdoors impossible. With over 300 people crowded into the School, makeshift arrangements had to be made to continue the proceedings. The function commenced with the oldest present pupil, Joshua Chalmers, and the youngest present pupil, Christopher Preece, ringing the bell together. The special guest, the Hon Merv Wellington, MP for Papakura and former Minister of Education, then raised the New Zealand flag. The welcome and introduction was made by the Centennial Chairman,MrsGillian Munro and the celebrations were then formally opened by Mr Basil Morrison, Ohinemuri County Council Chairman and Mayor - Elect for the Hauraki District. School Principal, Ron van de Molen followed with the calling of the roll of past pupils and staff who had registered for the Reunion, together with the roll of present pupils. Mr Charlie Littlejohn, an ex-pupil (1928 -30) and former Clerk of the House of Representatives, then addressed the gathering. He was followed by Board of Trustees Chairman, Lyall (Sandy) McLeod. In his closing comments, Mr van de Molen said that a reunion was a time for reuniting with old friends and acquaintances, for sharing thoughts and memories and a time of personal reflection when each would relive special moments of their life.

Following the speeches, a group of the oldest ex-pupils assembled to perform the cutting of the cake, which was magnificently decorated. Photographs of pupils and residents, in decades, were then accomplished in the squeeze.

Lack of parking space near the school made it necessary for people to park on the Karangahake Picnic Reserve and a shuttle service was provided to take people up to the school. After the celebrations the same shuttle service then transported people back down the hill and all moved to the Karangahake Hall for afternoon tea anda chance to mingle and reminisce.

On Saturday night a formal dinner at the Racecourse Lounge was attended by 180 people, the programme for the evening being as follows:

WELCOME: Mrs Gillian Munro Chairman Centenary Committee

GRACE: Graeme Lee, MP


LOYAL TOAST: Murray Wills


ADDRESS: Hon M L Wellington, M P

REPLY: Brian Sayer


REPLY: PAST SCHOOL Grant Nelson (Principal 1981-86)

REPLY: PRESENT SCHOOL Ron van de Molen (Present Principal)

TOAST: THE RESIDENTS PAST AND PRESENT Basil Morrison (County Chairman)

REPLY: John Cotter(Resident since 1922)

TOAST: ABSENT FRIENDS Fred Dare (Pupil 1918-23)

* * *

MASTER OF CEREMONIES: Murray Wills (Principal 1972-79)

* * *

OFFICIAL GUESTS: The Hon M L Wellington, MP, Member for Papakura and Former Minister of Education and Mrs H Wellington.

Mr Graeme Lee, MP, Member for Coromandel and Mrs Lauris Lee.

Mr Basil J Morrison, Chairman, Ohinemuri County Council and Mrs Kaye Morrison.

* * *

Guests afterwards moved to the upstairs lounge, to the Dance.

The Sunday Church Service at the School, attended by about 70 people, was conducted by Daniel O'Reilly, an old pupil of the school. During the Service, members of the congregation were invited to speak about the former churches of Karangahake. Several gave interesting short reminiscences.

The final event of the weekend was an informal gathering on Sunday evening at the Karangahake Hall attended by about 180 people. A video about the Karangahake Walkway, made by Mr Phil Jones was shown, together with a video made by Mr G Baker of Hamilton of the weekends earlier events. During supper a video of Pony Club events was shown and Mr Alan Bott demonstrated some small steam engines, made in the Thames School of Mines.

Throughout the weekend two raffles wererun, the prizes being sketches of local scenes done by Eileen Eichler of Hamilton, and these were drawn on Sunday evening.

The League of Frontiersmen provided marshalling and security service at the various venues. They did a marvellous job.

Total registrations for the Centennial were 390, although not all were able to attend.

The Centennial Book produced for the occasion was edited by Mr Gary Staples of Karangahake.

[See also: Karangahake School in this Journal]