Centennial – 1921-2021

Centennial Celebrations for Kohimarama School

Kohimarama School has been able to celebrate with staff, students, their families and the local community several times in our 100 year history.

In 1971, 50 years were celebrated over the weekend of Friday 5th November to Sunday 7th November.  Events were as follows:

Friday – Open house at school including ringing of the school bell and assembly with official welcome from Mr Rogerson the Headmaster.  Special welcome was made to past staff.  Afternoon tea and coffee followed by wine, cheese and a buffet dinner.

Saturday Afternoon – Refreshments, a veteran car parade, hangi, march past followed by tea and coffee.  A champagne ball at Trillos was held in the event with an excellent floor show.

Sunday – A church service in the school grounds

75 years of Kohimarama School was celebrated on  Sunday 27th October 1996.

The main event was an assembly, presided over by past Principals, Teachers and pupils, with obvious prominence given to those who were at the School, at or about its inception in 1921.  That was followed by informal class gatherings, photograph sessions, live entertainment – all which was supported with plentiful food and beverage, souvenir stalls and the like.  The central theme was to celebrate camaraderie between Pupils and Teachers from days past.

An incentive to attend this event was a special prize by Qantas for Two free return tickets to Australia.

As the school approached its 100th year plans were put in place to celebrate this significant milestone.

Although the global COVID pandemic had sent NZ into full and partial lockdowns, planning still went ahead and a great schedule of celebrations scheduled for Friday 10th and Saturday 11th of September 2021 was put in place.

During the school year the history of the school was interwoven into the learning and the current students were excited for the upcoming celebrations.  A fundraising quiz with historical questions was held, artwork was completed in anticipation of an art gallery display, kapa haka, choir, and other groups were practicing ready to perform and a full school photo was taken which in itself was a huge feat getting 500+ students and staff in place in between rain showers.  

A 1920’s themed gala dinner was to be held.  This black and gold themed evening  included champagne, canapes and a jazz band on arrival, a meal, a fundraising auction and dancing the night away.

Unfortunately as it got closer to the September celebrations, COVID restrictions were making it challenging to host an event of this size and the decision was made to reschedule it to March 2022.

Further planning was completed to put together a smaller event that could be held around the restrictions that COVID was still placing on the country.

Unfortunately, again, as we approached this date the decision was made that due to the uncertainty and to maintain the safety of everyone, that the event would be canceled.  Of course this was a huge disappointment to the school, our students, alumni and our community.

Our centennial tree has been planted, an online auction was held in lieu of the Gala evening and while not quite the evening that had been planned, this was a great fundraising event for the PTA.

A highlight of the 100 year celebrations is the centennial Magazine which has been published in commemoration of the School’s centennial.  This magazine honors and celebrates 100 years of school and local community memories.  It is jam packed with historical information, pictures of school life and lots of memories from students past and present.  It also includes key events & Milestones, Principal, PTA and BOT reflections over the years, sports, arts, music, recipes and much more.

As we head into 2023, the school is looking forward to the Ministry of Education providing us with a long term solution to the property challenges we have had since that first day opening in 1921.  The School continues to be an important part of the Kohimarama community and the families who have children attend the school in the past, those current students and the students that are due to start with us.

At the time of putting together the Centennial Magazine, every effort was made to ensure the accuracy of the information from the extensive range of sources.

We would like to clarify the following:

Page 11 – School Field or Trenches in 1938

This was incorrectly attributed to Mr Arthur Brown but trenches in the field was a memory shared by a number of past students around the time when air raids were a possibility in New Zealand.

There are various different records relating to roading in Kohimarama.  If you are interested in further reading you can find it here:  https://www.missionbaykohi.co.nz/street-names.html

At the time of gathering information for the magazine we had the great opportunity to speak to a very large number of alumni about their time at Kohimarama School, while most alumni had positive experiences to share, early times at school were sometimes harsh and children were to be seen and not heard – we chose to take a positive focus in sharing student memories.