Kuranui College opening day, February 1960. PHOTO/WAIRARAPA ARCHIVE
Nearly 60 years ago, on an overcast, slightly chilly mid-summer morning, more than 400 children squatted in a grassy Greytown paddock, brought to order on the command of a tall, black-haired man standing behind a wooden lectern.
Nearby sat 21 men and women who were his teaching staff along with members of a management committee headed by Greytown mayor Fred Yule.
This entire gathering was surrounded by dozens of mums and dads, parents of the foundation pupils of Kuranui College on the first day of the school’s existence.
Now, six decades on, those boys and girls who remain on terra firma are being asked to answer the call by attending a 60th anniversary reunion for foundation pupils.
Their ranks will have thinned, noticeably perhaps.
The man who had called them to order on February 2, 1960 – foundation college principal O.S. (Sam) Meads – has passed on, as have all but one of the foundation teachers with Clive Gibbs, the art teacher, the survivor.
But organisers of the milestone reunion Ngaire Flynn and Sue Harper are hopeful as many as possible of the first day 400 will make the effort to come along on January 28 and 29 next year to reconnect with old friends and classmates, and to reminisce.
They promise the old pupils who are all now over 70 will not have to squat down in a grassy paddock, instead being able to enjoy a leisurely lunch at the iconic Pukemanu Hotel, Martinborough, an evening meal (maybe a barbecue), a wander around the grounds of their old college, and other little highlights, culminating in a café brunch in Greytown on the second day.
Most important of all, Ngaire and Sue promise there will be no standing on ceremony.
It is to be a strictly informal get-together.
No glad rags, no registration fees, just a casual pay as you go catch-up.
But the organisers will need to get an accurate tally on just who will come along, mainly for catering purposes, so if you were one of those 400-odd who sat in the grassy paddock and listened to Sam greet you and set the rules for Kuranui all that time ago, please contact: [email protected] or [email protected].
Partners are welcome.