Former pupils, principals, teachers and invited guests
celebrated with St Joseph's School staff and pupils at the
weekend, during the sesquicentennial celebrations of the
inaugural Catholic Mass in Queenstown. Photo by Tracey
The hallways at St Joseph's School in Queenstown echoed
with tales of yesteryear on Saturday as former pupils,
teachers, principals and invited guests marked the 150th
anniversary of the first Catholic Mass in the resort.
Included in those celebrating the sesquicentennial - which
coincided with the 140th anniversary of Catholic education in
Queenstown and 130 years since the arrival of the Dominican
Sisters, from Ireland - were Bishop Colin Campbell, of
Dunedin, Catholic Education Office Otago-Southland director
Tony Hanning, former principal Sister Marie Eugene, of
Invercargill, and Dominican Sisters Mary Anna Baird, OP, of
Arrowtown, and Carmel Walsh, OP, of Auckland.
Principal Trisch Inder said along with families and
supporters of the school, about 50 people had travelled from
across New Zealand to attend the celebrations, which began
with the school's production, Something So Strong, on Friday
night, telling the story of the history of St Joseph's,
written and performed by all 145 pupils.
The celebrations ended yesterday with a Eucharist Mass.
Mr Hanning - who has a family association with the school,
dating back to its first years and was a pupil himself
between 1943 and 1950, when he moved to Invercargill - said
initially the school included a small boarding school, aimed
at children from the ''lake stations'', like Elfin Bay.
The Sisters also ran a small secondary school, which was
''quite important'' in Wakatipu, as it provided an
opportunity for young women to continue their education in
the resort, rather than travelling to Invercargill or
Further, to supplement their income, they taught children the
arts and music, in doing so providing a ''significant
contribution'' to the Wakatipu's culture.
Mr Hanning believed the Sisters would be impressed with what
had been achieved at the school today.
''They would have been supportive, I think. In their day they
were quite forward thinking and well-prepared professionally
''As women at that time it was quite forward - these schools
were invariably run by women at a time when the general
approach in the state schooling system ... was that it was
men who were principals and [teachers].
''As pupils, we took it for granted that it was a woman who
was in charge. They made it very clear [they were] in