Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 23, June 1979

On Saturday, 10th March 1979, the Hikutaia School celebrated its Centennial with over 700 people attending the weekend's functions. The sound of bagpipes announced the arrival of the Centennial parade. Most of Hikutaia's history was represented in the parade and many of the old families in the district had members marching with it. In his speech of welcome, the Chairman of the School Committee, Mr. G. Bax, wished those present a happy and memorable weekend. This was followed by a roll call and photographs were taken of the groups of past pupils. The 15 oldest pupils who had started school between 1898 and 1909 were presented with buttonholes and shoulder sprays.

Many old photos on display created great interest and the present school children had done a lot of art work which was also on show. In the afternoon, the visitors were called back to the dias by the school bell, which was rung by the two youngest pupils, Wilfred De Jong and Katrina Robinson and by Mrs. Nell Climie. Mrs. Climie was a teacher at Hikutaia in 1916, when the famous Mr. E. Walters was Headmaster. Speeches were made by Mr. I.D. McIntyre from the South Auckland Education Board, Mr. L.C. Schultz MP and Mr. S. Te Iri. The Headmaster of Hikutaia School, Mr. Drew Young, then introduced the school items. The play "Hikutaia Inanahi" was presented by the children. It told the story of the settlement of Hikutaia, with the arrival of first the Maoris, then the bushman, the traders, the missionaries, the prospectors and then the settlers. The Headmaster especially thanked Mrs. Tui Murdock for her assistance in writing and producing this play. The McCaskills were the first to own land up the Maratoto Valley followed by the Alleys, who brought a large number of animals into the area. In 1878 the school was established.

Other highlights at the function were the cutting of the centennial cake (Made by Walter Vedder) by the four oldest pupils and planting of two centennial trees in the school grounds. In the evening a banquet was held in Thames followed by a ball and dancing went on well into the early hours of the morning. A special church service was held on the Sunday morning and the plaque at the school entrance dedicated. Later these visitors were entertained by the Thames High School Maori Cultural Group. This was followed by a hangi with ample food for all.

In closing the celebrations at the end of the day, Mr. Bob Morrison and Mr. G. Bax spoke giving their thanks for such a successful event and to those who had worked so hard in achieving this success.