The 60th anniversary reunion of Ōtaki College drew well in excess of 300 former students and staff on the two days of April 26-27.
Falling a week after Easter and only a day after Anzac Day, many former associates of the college from out of town and overseas took the opportunity to visit for several days. They met up with family and friends – and even fellow military personnel at the dawn service and RSA on Anzac Day – but it was the reunion that was the highlight for many.
For some, such as Sandy Smith, it was the first time back to Ōtaki for decades. Much has changed in and around the town, but what has been a constant has been the friendships and mateships forged when all of us went to school together.
Smiles led to hugs as recognition was confirmed, sometimes only after a glance at a name tag. Memories came back, and anecdotes of what we all got up to were compared, occasionally embellished for effect. Teachers’ names were to the fore – those liked and those loathed (no doubt in reverse for the staff who also attended).
It’s clear that much has changed at the college. It’s hard to believe that up until the mid 1970s, for example, the cane was still in liberal use by some teachers.
Although most of us still feel proud of our old school, pride was not a key part of what it was about then. Students tended to be manufactured through the system, considered good academically or with their hands, fit for home-making, or just “good for nothing”. We were more of a commodity than an individual.
That has certainly changed.
It will be interesting to hear what students of today say about the school in another 60 years.
Students in the first classes at college in 1959 and 1960 lead a parade from The Domain along the college driveway.
The calm voice of a man well into his 90s, but with wartime memories as vivid as yesterday, urged a mainly young audience not to allow war to happen again. Chris King was speaking on Monday (March 9) during the annual commemoration at Ōtaki College of the sinking of SS Otaki in 1917. This year also acknowledged the contribution of the Arctic... Keep Reading
All past Ōtaki College students are invited to get together at the RSA on Friday, February 7. Foundation pupil Ron Gibbard, who has been on the organising committee for the college’s 50th and 60th reunions, says students of his age are “getting on a bit”. “At the most recent reunion last year, a few of us there thought we couldn’t wait... Keep Reading
Ōtaki area state schools and kura are to get just over a million dollars in government funding to spend on infrastructure. The money in a nationwide hand-out totalling $400 million will help schools with things such as upgrading and fixing classrooms, replacing roofing and guttering, and resurfacing paved areas. Schools will not be the only... Keep Reading
Receiving financial awards at the Ōtaki College prize-giving on October 31 were:mHunter Austin: Kāpiti Skills Trust Year 11 Award for Outdoor Education. Paikea Bai-Te Kira: Kāpiti Skills Trust Year 11 Award for Outdoor Education; MI Turnbull Award for Top Year 11 Boy. Lauren Blakeley: Sander Scholar Award, Sander Ties; Concrete Doctors... Keep Reading
Damien Doyle is Ōtaki College’s 2019 sportsperson of the year. At the college’s sports prize-giving ceremony on October 24, Damien received the accolade and a financial award from local company Marlan Trading. Damien is a top performer in swimming and surf lifesaving, winning a gold and four silver medals at national level in swimming and... Keep Reading
Young Ōtaki College actor Parekawa Finlay is off to the Globe Theatre in London thanks to the generosity of the XŌtaki College Alumni Trust. The trust came up with the $9000 required after hearing of Pare’s selection to attend the theatre made famous by bard William Shakespeare. “We knew it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so the... Keep Reading
Brian Van was rewarded for his academic efforts by being announced as dux in the 2019 Ōtaki College senior prize-giving awards on October 31. Brian will be studying for a bachelor of engineering with honours at Wellington’s Victoria University next year. His list of first-in-class in 2019 included calculus, chemistry, physics and statistics.... Keep Reading
Ōtaki College’s junior netball team finished the season unbeaten in pool games, comfortably winning the Kāpiti colleges competition. In the competition final on September 28, the girls played Kapanui Magic and won 28-9 at Te Ati Awa Park, completing the eight-game regular season unbeaten. Kapanui, however, had delivered Ōtaki its only loss... Keep Reading
The launch of the Lifting the Lid youth suicide project has raised $10,000. A lunch at Southwards Car Museum on Friday, October 4, raised the cash after a garden shed donated by Ōtaki College, artwork, a Hurricanes rugby shirt, an own-label gin prize and other items were auctioned. The Nikau Foundation also announced that it would provide $5000.... Keep Reading
Two Ōtaki College students who sailed on the Spirit of Adventure would recommend the experience to any young person. Kyla Tawhara-Royal and Jesse Green had 10 days on the sailing ship in May. The voyage is described by the Spirit of Adventure Trust as a life-changing experience – something that’s clearly been the case with Kyla and Jesse. Keep Reading
If you want to feel a sense of place – who you are and where you’ve come from – what better way than to perform a rousing haka. That’s exactly what Ōtaki College was doing this week as it demonstrated OC pride with a haka specially written and choreographed for the college. It’s the first time the college has had a haka to call its... Keep Reading
The 76th Ōtaki Scholar arrived in Ōtaki on Monday (July 15) and was welcomed with a pōwhiri at Raukawa Marae. It was a special occasion for Rohan Mudkavi, who sees the links between Ōtaki College and his own Robert Gordon’s College as particularly special. “Although our schools are so far apart geographically, there is... Keep Reading
An initiative that aims to provide shoes for all students has caught on at Ōtaki College, Thanks to young students Meleane Nelson-Latu and Alyssa Te Wiata, the Share a Pair scheme has already had more than 100 pairs gifted. The students say many more are needed to ensure that local families – not just college pupils – can have good shoes.... Keep Reading
Martin Ferretti came to Ōtaki from Lower Hutt with his family in 1960. He was not yet 5 years old, but the move to Bennetts Road and then Domain Road was to cement a lifetime connection to the town. The Ferrettis were market gardeners, as were most Italian families who moved to Ōtaki in the post-war period. His grandfather, also a gardener, came... Keep Reading
To those who knew her in Ōtaki, she was always Sandra Dorne, and remembered for her prodigious talents as a gymnast. Travelling back to Ōtaki for the first time in 31 years for the college reunion, she’s now Sandy Smith, gymnastics days behind her but still diminutive and living a happy life as a truckie in Brisbane. It’s a lifestyle that... Keep Reading