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Martinborough School celebrates 150th anniversary

Hundreds of present and former staff and pupils of Martinborough School gather in the hall for the meet-and-greet event, part of the school’s 150-year anniversary. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED

Martinborough School Hall was packed for an extraordinary occasion at the weekend.

Hundreds gathered to celebrate 150 years since the school first opened its doors to pupils.

The weekend had a full schedule of events to mark the occasion.

On Friday night, over 200 ex-pupils and staff gathered in the hall for a meet-and-greet.

Present-day pupils served as waiters, running trays of snacks made by Medici Cafe.

Every pupil in the school participated in a production charting historical events of the past 150 years.

With contributions from many others, past teacher alumni Carol Hawkins led a project which turned the school library into a museum filled with photos arranged in a comprehensive decade-by-decade timeline of the school.

School principal Craig Nelson said: “Organising and researching this, finding these stories, it almost became a fulltime job for some people; it’s pretty amazing.”

Cake made and decorated by Karen Roper for the anniversary.

On Saturday, there was a market at the school with produce and food trucks, an Ambrose golf tournament, wine tours, decade-by-decade photo shows, a screening of a historical Martinborough documentary at Circus Cinema, and an afternoon tea with the cutting of the cake in the afternoon.

Nelson said the events were organised by a “motivated and unified” committee.

The school opened in 1872, then called The Scottish Church Sunday School in the first Waihinga Church.

It has remained a constant feature of the town’s community.

Martinborough School has gone through several names and rebuilds. It has partially or fully burnt down no less than three times. First, the schoolmaster’s house in 1894, then the entire school was destroyed except for one building in 1919, and the open-plan block went up in smoke in 1984.

Many happy memories were shared and revisited by alums over the weekend.

The Times-Age spoke to some ex-pupils at Friday’s meet-and-greet who looked back fondly on their time at Martinborough School.

One alumni said the hall and some classrooms were “exactly the same” since at least the 1970s.

The weekend’s events had a large turnout and a festive atmosphere.

Hundreds of present and former staff, students, and members of the wider Martinborough community came together to make the weekend a special celebration.

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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