GBHS 150th Reunion “a real quality event”
Takaka District High School/Golden Bay High School 150th reunion took place over Waitangi Weekend 3/4/5 February 2012.
As reported by the Golden Bay Weekly:
Kevin Miles (1955-1967), a Taranaki farmer happily married for 39 years, was looking for an old girlfriend.
He admitted he probably needed the discipline he received at school from former teacher Pat Timings (1963-1985).
“Pat and I had a lot of conflict.”
However, his admiration and respect for Pat are undiminished.
“In those days we used to call teachers Sir and Miss,” says Kevin. “Now many are on a first-name basis.”
Added Pat, “They had respect for people and property then.” The two men discussed the evolution of discipline in the classroom and their connections in the Bay.
The fallibility of memoirs was apparent on Friday night at the first get-together of the Golden Bay High School Reunion.
Suzanne Harris (1947-52) of Christchurch was certain she killed Libby Bibby’s (1950-55) pony with kindness. “I baked biscuits and fed them to her pony. The next morning she was dead in the paddock”.
However, Libby assured her, although there was a dead horse in the paddock, it wasn’t hers.
The women’s parents were friends: Libby’s dad was the chemist and Suzanne’s dad worked for the BNZ. The families often went on outings together and Libby remembers how Sue’s dad’s car always ran out of water, steamed up and had to be filled, although Sue can’t remember that. Both grew up to be registered nurses.
Suzanne’s family moved to Christchurch following her father’s transfer and she has lived there ever since. Although retired from registered nursing, Suzanne still works as a staffing nurse for the Christchurch Staffing Bureau. Libby, on the other hand, married and moved overseas to Canada, settling in Kitchener, Ontario. She lived there for 20 years, raising three children and “never learning how to ice skate properly”. Now she lives in Upper Moutere.
“Once you’ve lived in the Bay a little bit stays inside you,” says Libby.
Members of the Balck-Wells family had an opportunity to mix school and family memories. John Wells (1936 – 1946) was born in 1931 and remembered attending Motupipi School for two years before the family moved to Waitapu. “Then came WWII, then we moved to Central, and now we live in Pohara.” John has never lived anywhere else but in Golden Bay. James Balck (1951 – 1959) was born in Nelson, as were all his siblings, but grew up at Pupu Springs, where members of the Balck family still reside. James and his wife Peggy now live in Brightwater.
For Linda Langford (1969-72), getting together with the girls has special meaning. Seven years ago, Linda took it upon herself to find out where all the girls from her class were and got them together. “I had just lost my dad and then my mum died. I wanted to bring a connection back into my life. It’s marvellous to see the girls recognise each other.” She sat with her sister’s friend, Helen Robertson (1969-72), who came from Brisbane for the reunion, and met up with her old friends Barbara Peterson Sutton (1963-1966) and Veronica Kerr Baker (1963-1966). “We played netball together,” says Barbara. Veronica and Barbara have remained close friends even though Veronica lives in Christchurch now and Barbara in Auckland.
“Every now and again [student X] got the cane so he made something out of carpet underfill and kept it in his locker. Whenever one of us knew we were going
to get it we’d go borrow it and stick it down our pants. But one teacher caught on and started caning on the legs!”
Ah, the good ol’ days.
That tale was told by Bruce Schwartfeger (1965 – 71), who was in one of the first classes to go through the new high school building in Golden Bay, back in 1971.
But there was no need for sneaking padding down your backside at the gathering of students and teachers present for this year’s Golden Bay High School 150th Reunion.
“We haven’t had a hitch at all”, said reunion committee member Barry Cashman. “It’s been a real quality event. We get a different crowd every time and still have the regulars. The group of people really make the event; we just provide the atmosphere.”
Taking place predominantly out of the Pohara Hall and Golden Bay High School, the reunion drew 302 participants from as far away as Ireland and Fort Worth, Texas, said Mary Ann Tait, one of the committee volunteers. Although this was fewer than hoped for, the committee was still pleased. The lower number of attendees may be attributable to the economic climate or the number of disastrous geological events this year, said Barry, but added that the event had “been wonderful” nevertheless.
“These caterers (Elizabeth Catering from Nelson) have been absolute magic. They’ve even employed three high school students each night.”
The music for Saturday night’s dance was provided by Booby Trap, a mother-daughter team whose senior member used to live here and attended the school. “People wouldn’t sit down,” said Barry. Having Mary Ann Tait on board this year had been a real boon for the committee, Barry reported. “She’s so accomplished,” says Barry. “She had all these wonderful ideas and gave far and above what you’d expect someone to do, so the reunion committee presented her with a bouquet of flowers.”
Stay tuned for the next reunion in five years.