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School days time warp

In the middle of June I returned to my old neck of the woods, South Kaipara Head, the rural district north-west of Auckland where I grew up. Mum had timed my visit with an errand out to my old primary school and so on Saturday afternoon we bundled Gran in the car and took off on the 15 minute drive out there.

The errand was donating a book to the school library, a book written by my aunt. Taketakerau: The Millenium Tree has been received fantastically well since being published about 18 months ago, and was a finalist in a recent childrens’ book awards held in NZ.

Taketakerau, The Millenium Tree

She has loads of creative talent and one of my cousins inherited a supercharged dose of that too. Check this out.

But I digress… once at Waioneke School, Mum and I left Gran perusing a magazine in the car and we went to meet Merril, the school librarian.

We used to file off the school bus and up that footpath

We used to file off the school bus and up that footpath

This was the whole school in 1978, photo taken just off to the side of the footpath. 6yo Hayley is in the middle of the back row

This was the whole school in 1978, photo taken just off to the side of the footpath. 5-6yo Hayley is in the middle of the back row

When I first started there were two classrooms: the Junior Room and the Senior Room. Along the way we acquired a third, which was duly called (and I’m sure you will be shocked) the Middle Room.

The old Senior Room

The old Senior Room, now the library

With Merril and book

With Merril and book

Being here provided a great opportunity to look around the rest of school. I was last here in 2005 for the 75th jubilee. This time it was getting late in the day with light fading fast so it was a quick blat around.

The school has changed SO much since my day but a lot is still familiar.

One of the old cloak rooms where we used to hang our bags. It looked like they are used as storage these days

One of the old cloak rooms where we used to hang our bags. It looked like they are used as storage these days

The old Junior Room, where I first began my school life

The old Junior Room, where I first began my school life

Today the library is in the old Senior Room. The old library is gone, and the Junior Room has several of these new fangled electric boxes called Computers. The Middle Room, like the other classrooms, is full of colour and creative stimuli and a vast contrast to how I remember it three decades (sounds better than 30 years) ago. New classrooms have sprung up to cater for the 30-odd additional pupils – the roll now hovers around 90 – and there’s even a school hall.

I remember this door ripping back one of my toenails, and I remember trying to capture boys with another friend to take them into the girls' toilets (can't recall if we were successful)

I remember this door ripping back one of my toenails, and I remember trying to capture boys with another friend to take them into the girls’ toilets (can’t recall if we were successful but I’m pretty sure we got into trouble)

Arty things by a courtyard where the old library once stood

Arty things by a courtyard where the old library once stood

The Middle Room in 1981 - photo taken in the old library

The Middle Room in 1981 – photo taken in the old library

A modern 'safe' playground has replaced the old two-level wooden structure

A modern ‘safe’ playground has replaced the old two-level wooden structure

The pool opened in 1972 which makes it as old as me! Gawd

The pool opened in 1972 which makes it as old as me! Gawd

————————————————

We left Waioneke. As a spur of the moment thing, a few minutes away we swung up Wilson Road where we lived when my brother and I went to high school in Helensville. Up the metal road a ways, then left into a right-of-way.

Rural road, South Kaipara Head

Farm, South Kaipara Head

This was (maybe still is) a deer farm and a beautiful place to live.

The fences are for deer, not bionic cows

The fences are for deer, not bionic cows

Deer shed and yards

Deer shed and yards

Flashback from the mid 1980s

Flashback from the mid 1980s

Past our house and onto the airstrip where we turned around in front of a guy holding a gun. (He was target shooting.) (I don’t think at us.)

Ah yes... the corner where I may once have ridden round it on mum's farm bike and crashed into my father on his farm bike

Ah yes… the corner (no trees back then) where I may once have ridden round it on mum’s farm bike and crashed into my father on his farm bike

Flashback: My brother and I at the end of the right-of-way outside our old house. We would often grab one of the bikes and head across the farm or up the road

Flashback: My brother and I at the end of the right-of-way outside our old house. We would often grab one of the bikes and head across the farm or up the road

Time to end the nostalgia and get back – Dad was cooking a roast!

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13 Comments Post a comment
  1. Janice Strong #

    Hayley I learn so much from your blogs about so many different places and this one too. It is so nice to learn more about your young days and who would not know that the pretty little blonde girl in the middle of the back row was not you Hayley. Delightful. The deer farm looks a lovely spot and the bionic cow was definitely saying it was their spot now. You have creative talents Hayley and this must be a family trait. Your Aunt’s book looks so interesting and what a fantastic achievement. I will look for the book in the library. Your cousin too has amazing art. A very interesting blog Hayley.
    Janice xxx

    29 June 2013
    • Thank you Janice 🙂 … it’s fun dipping into the old albums, thanks to Mum’s fastidious record-keeping. It would be interesting to know if your library has that book – hopefully!

      29 June 2013
  2. Christine #

    Ummm……your mother learns a few things she did not know from your blogs!!!!

    29 June 2013
  3. Ali #

    What a trip down memory lane! Your old school looks about the same size as the one I went to….a good old country school!

    30 June 2013
    • I’m really glad for my country upbringing!

      30 June 2013
      • Ali #

        Me too! I’m very grateful that I got the opportunity to grow up in the country.

        30 June 2013
  4. Marnie #

    Many thanks for this unsolicited advertisement!

    2 July 2013
  5. Excellent dose of nostalgia. I’d be scared to go back to my old school…I’ll just pretend they still use the splintery wooden play structures that taught us what it feels like to have the wind knocked out of you, but which we all survived just fine.

    And congrats to your Aunt! The children’s book market is reportedly a ferociously difficult one to get into; my mother has been trying for a few years now, and she’s been a professional writer most of her adult life!

    6 July 2013
    • Thanks :). The top of the old adventure playground would’ve been handy to take a photo from – another disadvantage of making everything safer! My aunt toiled long and hard and got very little support from the publishing industry so the family is very proud of her accomplishment. Hope your mum can eventually crack it.

      6 July 2013
  6. What a cool post! And, dang, that drawing of Morgan Freeman is insanely good!

    12 July 2013
    • Ain’t it just!! Thanks Steph 🙂

      12 July 2013

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