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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This was (maybe still is) a deer farm and a beautiful place to live.
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.)
Time to end the nostalgia and get back – Dad was cooking a roast!