Organisers thrilled by turnout for 150th reunion



Saturday’s intermittent showers did little to dampen the festive spirit at the Waiwera South primary school and district’s 150th reunion over the weekend.

Held at the school, many reunion attendees simply wrapped up and took it as usual weather for South Otago at this time of year.

Reunion committee member John Whiteside said they were overjoyed by the number who had attended.

“We had over 200 registrants who came along and the feedback was great.

“Many came from outside the district, some from as far away as Canada, Australia and the North Island.

“It was pretty good to catch up with old faces and reminisce,” he said.

Attendees had a reunion get-together on the Friday evening when the launch of Helen Telford’s updated history book Our Kids, Waiwera South School, The Heart of the Community 1989-2019 was held.

On Saturday morning, most went on the optional bus or 4WD district tour to see old familiar haunts.

Mr Whiteside said many were impressed by the district bus tour and the journey by 4WD up to the top of the nearby hills despite the wind and intermittent rain showers passing through.

Former board of trustees member and past pupil Tony Anderson, of Lake Hawera, said it was great to see how the school had developed over the years.

“I was lucky to see programmes develop during my time on the board here and it was amazing to catch up with everyone again,” he said.

Mr Anderson, who went to the school in 1962, said it was a special moment because his granddaughter Florence Anderson (5) had just started at the school this year.

Mr Whiteside said it was a great event as he got to see many old friends.

“I went here in the 1960s and today I got to meet people I haven’t seen since 1966.

“It was a great drive around the district and really a lot of laughs meeting everyone,” he said.

Gwen Shaw, who first went to school there in 1934, said it was lovely coming back to the district for the reunion.

“I was the dux in 1941 and I was happy to see my granddaughter Kelsey Shaw was the dux in 2009,” Mrs Shaw said.

After the official photos, the reunion finished off on Saturday evening with a buffet dinner held at the Clinton Community Centre.