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Alumni here to mark 100

Close to 1000 alumni are gathering in Masterton to celebrate 100 years of Wairarapa College.

Celebrations during the centenary weekend will include a golf tournament, breakfast at Solway Park, school tours, a cricket match, a 1920s gala, and a memorial service.

Principal Matt White said the school grounds look the best he has ever seen them and that the staff have found some great treasures and artefacts from the school’s history, which will be displayed over the weekend.

Wairarapa College principal Matt White. PHOTO/FLYNN NICHOLLS

Centenary organising committee chair Jason Kerehi said the events are all starting to come together.

He said students will be involved in the celebrations as hosts, entertainers, and event participants.

“Including the current students as much as possible is really important to us as a committee,” Kerehi said.

In today’s golf tournament at Masterton Golf Club, year ten student Luke Laing is playing in a team with 1963 British Open winner Sir Bob Charles in the tournament at Masterton Golf Course.

The legendary golfer attended Wairarapa College from 1949 to 1953, where he said he had fond memories of playing golf and cricket, bowling leg spin, and opening the batting for the first XI.

“I left Wairarapa College 70 years ago, so the centenary is going to bring back a lot of memories from long ago,” Charles said.

Former Masterton mayor and first-class rugby referee Bob Francis will interview Charles at the breakfast on Saturday, which 200 former students will attend.

Francis said he expects to see a few familiar faces from his time at the college.

“It seems like a long time ago, but I made a lot good friends, and I continued on with the school through rugby refereeing for many years.

Wairarapa College Building circa 1960.
PHOTO/Wairarapa Archives

“Wairarapa College has a tremendous history,” Francis said.

Another former student Don Shaw, aged 91, is travelling from Auckland to visit his old school.

He said he “thoroughly enjoyed” his time at Wairarapa College, which he attended from 1944 to 1949 while living in the Masterton Methodist Children’s Home on Herbert St.

“One thing that interests me is the tour of College House,” Shaw said.

“I’ve never been anywhere near it in the five years I was at Wairarapa College, and it always intrigued all of us who lived in the children’s home as to whether or not life in College House bore any similarity.”

A complete programme of events can be found at www.waicolcentenary.nz


  1. Loved my time at college 1953-54 many happy memories Katarina Ilicn née Baricevich

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Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls
Flynn Nicholls is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age who regularly writes about education. He is originally from Wellington and is interested in environmental issues and public transport.

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