The Havelock North Village Press, Wednesday, 20th March, 1996
Knowing what I know now! (The Reunion of ’96)
A whole lot of reminiscing went on last weekend when 32 classmates from Havelock North Primary School gathered together for a reunion nearly 50 years after they last met as [a] group.
Looking a lot less fresh-faced than the photograph taken in 1945 portrays, the group remembered the days of the old schoolyard and made a pilgrimage back to the Havelock North Pavilion for a photo call. The Pavilion was used as a classroom at HNPS when as pupils, they were in Standard 1 or 2.
Good morning Mr Black!
Five of the classmates organised the reunion and were staggered to ﬁnd that of the surviving group, 32 attended. They even got their teacher Arthur Black to come along too and he had some ﬁne tales to tell!
The passage of time hadn‘t dulled the memory too much and many of the “boys” still talk about Mr Black’s marvellous Bentley motor car that they used to drool over (it now resides at Southward’s Museum.)
Delcie Norwell (nee Westerrnan) recalls that in the 1940’s, assembly was always held outside as there was no school hall and on Friday afternoons, they would use St Columba’s Hall for watching an educational or documentary style ﬁlm shown on a screen consisting often of a crumpled white sheet.
“I remember the trafﬁc men seemed to show us lots of ﬁlms of kids playing with balls on the road and the awful things that could happen when cars got in the way.”
Friday mornings in Mr Blacks class were enough to make any student suddenly get a “pretend” headache before school and not turn up! This is when the class would be given a “mental test” followed by a session called “problems”.
“You know the sort of thing” says Delcie, “If it takes a man two hours and 43 minutes to climb a hill on his own, how long will it take his wife and six children to do the same thing? Or something equally stupid and impossible to work out.”
Arthur Black won’t be drawn on the academic ability of the class (!), but he does say they were a super bunch of kids.
“They were the first class I got alongside after the war and the parents were exceptionally supportive. The late ’40’s signified a shift away from the old authoritarian way of education to a more liberal, modern style. The children, not the subject being taught, became the focus,” says Arthur, adding that he feels the education system today has gone too far in this direction!
The group at the reunion no doubt discussed that dreadful warm “school milk” and the tissue wrapped apple they were given each day, along with some of the funnier incidents that occurred in Havelock North’s original school.
“Overall, school was great,” says Delcie, “and for those of us who started school together in Primer One and finished in Standard Six in 1950, it was a marvellous chance to renew aquaintances and catch up after all those years.”
Photo caption – THEN.. the Class of Standard One, Havelock North Primary School, 1945. NOW.. most of the same svelte figures outside the Pavilion.