School reunion to 'just get together'

The oldest former pupils of Enfield School (from left), 93-year-old May Lavender (nee Hellewell), of Oamaru, 92-year-old Audrey Anderson (nee Craig), of Christchurch, and 97-year-old Bina Mulligan (nee Fallon), of Oamaru, pose for their 1916-25 decade photo outside the school at a reunion on Saturday. Photo by David Bruce.
The oldest former pupils of Enfield School (from left), 93-year-old May Lavender (nee Hellewell), of Oamaru, 92-year-old Audrey Anderson (nee Craig), of Christchurch, and 97-year-old Bina Mulligan (nee Fallon), of Oamaru, pose for their 1916-25 decade photo outside the school at a reunion on Saturday. Photo by David Bruce.
"We are here for a fun weekend, to renew friendships and tell some stories," former Enfield School pupil and chairman of its reunion committee Bill Kingan told past pupils and staff on Saturday.

About 220 registered for the event, which was held not for a major anniversary but for the community to "just get together again".

The school, which opened in 1876 and closed in 2003, is still owned by the Ministry of Education but leased to the Exclusive Brethren, who operate a year 7 to 13 private school.

People came from all over New Zealand, the oldest aged 97, and gathered at the school on Saturday afternoon. The celebrations started with the ringing of the old school bell, which had been loaned and shifted to the Totara Estate but brought back for the weekend to be rung for events.

"With the familiar sound of the bell", Mr Kingan welcomed everybody back at the opening of the reunion, which was followed by the cutting of the anniversary cake by the oldest former pupil, 97-year-old Bina Mulligan (nee Fallon), assisted by the youngest pupil when the school closed, Zane Gard (now 14), of Enfield.

One of the attractions on display in the Enfield Hall was the top tier of a cake from the reunion in 1929, which was starting to show its age.

The school's main block was opened on Saturday afternoon for people to visit while waiting for photographs to be taken in Wellington St with the school in the background.

After that was afternoon tea at the Enfield Hall, followed by the reunion dinner on Saturday night at the Oamaru Club.

Yesterday, a service at the Enfield Church, starting at 10.30am, was followed by a barbecue at the domain to end the weekend.

Originally known as Teaneraki School, the school's name was changed to Enfield in about 1960.

After it closed, the Ministry of Education retained ownership in case it was needed in the future because of population growth through changes in farming and the possible construction of a cement plant in the Waiareka Valley.

-david.bruce@odt.co.nz