Reunion History

1942 Class Reunion – Havelock North Primary School
March 1996

It was Richard Small who started it all. Twice – over quite a long period he was in Hawke’s Bay and mentioned to anyone living in the vicinity that we should have a classroom reunion. It took some time to get the wheels moving, but what a worthwhile venture it turned out to be! So 5 old classmates who lived locally got together to work out how to get in touch with everybody. It seemed an enormous task but with the shared enthusiasm of Graeme Robson, Colin Wake, Frank Cooper, Garethe Liley [nee Jones] and Delcie Norwell [nee Westerman] a start was made. All thought it was fun.

Between the five old pupils, contact was made with all those who started in Mrs. Gunn’s 5yr olds’ class in 1942. Only two contacts could not be made out of over 40 pupils. A few more pupils were added who came to Havelock North Primary school during the following few years and joined this class.

This particular class spent two years in the Havelock Domain Pavilion as their classroom in Std. 1 and 2. The school was very short of classrooms at the time until the prefab classrooms were erected at the back of the old school. Miss Eileen Crombie was the Std. 1 teacher [7yr old pupils]. Mostly the class felt very special because: [1] The swimming pool was just out the door and

[2] We actually had our own cloakroom and toilet facilities while the rest of the school had to share the all-weather toilets miles from the rest of the classrooms, and

[3] We had our own open fireplace in the room.

Other teachers for this class were Miss Chapman, Miss Renner, Mr. Arthur Black, and Mr. Gordon White.

Std. 4 and 5 [10 and 11 year olds] had Mr. Arthur Black for their teacher. We were so lucky to have him attend our reunion. Most of us found it quite hard coming to terms with calling him Arthur after knowing him for so long as Mr. Black.

A whole lot of reminiscing went on when 32 classmates from Havelock North Primary School gathered together for a reunion nearly 50 years after they last met as a class.

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 old H.N Pavilion for a photo call. Five of the classmates who organised the reunion were staggered to find that of the surviving group, 32 attended and so did their favourite teacher Arthur Black.

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.]

Morning assembly was always held outside as there was no school hall and on Friday afternoons the St. Columba’s hall over the road was used for watching an educational or documentary style film shown on a rather crumpled white sheet.

Mental Tests: Friday mornings in Mr. Black’s class were enough to make any student suddenly get a “pretend’ headache brfore [before] school and not turn up! This is when the class would be given a mental test [speed] followed by a session called “Problems”. Example: If it takes a man 2 hrs and 43 minutes to climb a hill on his own, – how long will it take his wife and 6 children to do the same thing? …… ..or something equally stupid and impossible to work out.

Arthur Black wouldn’t be drawn on the academic ability of the class (!) but he did say they were a super bunch of kids.

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.

For those who started school together in primer one and finished in Standard six in 1950 the reunion was a wonderful chance to renew aquaintances and catch up again after all those years.

A List of those who participated.

Arthur Black
Fred Chesterman
Percy Clapperton
Keith Coombe
Frank Cooper
Geoffrey Eyles
Peter Flanders
Peter Gebbie
Ken Greenfield
Philip Gurran
David McKinlay
Mark McMillan
Graeme Robson
Murray Sivewright
Richard Small
Bernard Stanton
Graeme Steel
Colin Wake
Don Norman

Sybil Hague [Hickey]
Molly Keenan [Milne]
Garethe Liley [Jones]
Nancy McAulay [Nightengale]
Barbara Mayne [Druzianic]
Carol Miller [Cunningham]
Margaret Moeran [Oliver]
Delcie Norwell [Westerman]
Dorothy Rodgers [Pearson]
Annette Wimsett [Wake]
Janet Wynn Williams [Fox Rogers]
Margaret Barriball

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Havelock North Primary School

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