Reunion a ripper
From the Ridge
by Steve Wyn-Harris
Anyone who has been involved in organising a large event will know that it is a surprisingly large amount of work and time but very satisfying when all the planning comes to fruition and the occasion comes off well.
I’ve been the chairman of a committee that over the last 2 1/2 years has been working towards the 50th anniversary of Central Hawke’s Bay College where tens of thousands of locals have been schooled and many others have worked over that time.
It was formed when the two district high schools in Waipukurau and Waipawa combined onto the one site. Being born 50 years ago myself I just sneaked in the baby boomer generation so that while I was at the college during the 1970s the roll was a handful below 1000 students but with current demographics is around 650.
Two of our sons are there at the moment and we couldn’t be more pleased with the teachers they’ve had and the standard of education on offer.
We had people travel from the United Kingdom, Canada and many from Australia but as is the way with reunions, many of the locals didn’t bother to join the 800 who did attend and now having heard what a good weekend and party we put on are telling me they wished they had.
For example the Saturday evening function was a sit down three course meal with top quality local wine from Lime Rock followed by a band that formed when I was at the college (now without Robert Taylor the bass guitarist of Dragon when that band began) and who played to a packed dance floor until 2pm.
The attendees might have been fairly middle aged but they were still able to rock. I didn’t get home until after 3am following the clean up.
If there was an unplanned and unofficial theme it was this. The Hon Doctor Pita Sharples, Minister of Maori Affairs is an old boy and was welcomed along with everyone else by a powhiri and then a very stirring and emotional haka from Pukekaihau, the college Maori club.
In his address he talked about how average he was at school and naive going out into the big wide world. Chris Seed, another past student from my era and who is one of this country’s senior diplomats, couldn’t learn languages at school and like his brothers constantly failed any maths exam put in front of him. One of these brothers is a vice president of a US bank and the other a leading financier in Europe. Now we know why the financial world is on its knees! Emma Jensen a current NZ rugby Black Fern also was not much chop at school. Then there was our mayor Trish Giddens who went to school to eat her lunch. And my name didn’t trouble the signwriters on the school’s honour boards or the engravers of the college’s cups.
Perhaps there’s a message there? “If you are not much chop at school, don’t despair because you will probably turn out pretty well in the end”!
Steve Wyn-Harris is a Central Hawke’s Bay sheep and beef farmer; [email protected]