Year Group reunions are encouraged to take place during Founders’ Day weekend in March.
If you are planning your Year Group reunion, please contact Cathy Blake (MacKenzie), phone 06 876 8274 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Class of 1961
The class that began at Iona as 3rd formers in 1961 had a reunion on founders day weekend 2011. We had a great time catching up on what we had done in the last 50 years. For most of us it was the first time we had been back to school for some years, so we found many significant changes. Our weekend began on the Saturday morning with tea and coffee in the old hall and an overview of the school and what it offers from the principal. We were shown around by very patient and obliging present students who had to listen to our loud exclamations about how lucky they are and how things weren’t like this in our day! We didn’t hesitate to fill them in on some of our memories, including what the dog boxes were like; the bathing ritual (only 10 baths for the whole school and no showers!!); the uniforms (lisle stockings, brown velvet dresses with lace collars, brown woollen togs etc); and that our only weekly outing was the walk down to church in the village. It is very obvious that the school is in good heart and that it has tremendous support from the school community – as demonstrated in the amazing facilities that are now available.
Our day continued with lunch at Clifton cafe, some time together in the afternoon and then a wonderful dinner at Sue Foote’s house, catered by many of the local old girls. The next day we attended the OGA meeting and Founders Day service, followed by lunch in the school dining room. Lunch also generated a lot of memories (some not so pleasant!) and gave us another opportunity to chat and find out about each other’s lives and families. We agreed we would meet again, and perhaps not wait 50 years for the next get together.
Class of 1969
The Class of ’69 had a very fun, carefree and memorable weekend.
A mystery bus trip was organised with a variety of venues for everyone to enjoy, from wineries to a visit to the Old Napier Prison for a bit of history – all the way enjoying games and the best of Hawke’s Bay.
Our husbands joined us for dinner at a lovely boutique winery where we were entertained for the rest of the night by Butt the Butler. All this accompanied by the non-stop chatter about past, present and future. School very much seemed like yesterday to many of us. It was great to find out what everyone ended up doing after school had finished and real life begun.
Most of us went to Founders’ Day on Sunday which was also very memorable as many of us had never been back to Iona. Having lunch in the dining room together with the Principal taking us on a guided tour and answering all our questions while we were comparing things to our day was, as one lady put it, “the icing on the cake.”
We all hope to meet up again in 2014 and, through emails, we have promised each other we are all going to stay in contact more often. A reunion is really worth the effort and Founders’ Day weekend is an excellent time to hold it.
Class of 1949
Ten years ago, a group of 1949’s third form spent a night at Iona during school holidays. We ran down corridors; we washed in the communal bathroom; we ate in the dining room.
At the beginning of April this year, for our 60th Anniversary, fourteen of us gathered again. Firstly for a dinner at Faye Scott’s home conveniently close to Iona where we had a hilarious evening – the conversation ranging from present day back to “how we met our husbands.”
Next morning, sharp at 8.15am, we assembled at Iona where we were warmly welcomed by the headmistress, Mrs Pauline Duthie. To walk into the Chapel through the rows of girls singing a hymn was an emotional moment for us all. One of our group, Margaret Clark (MacKenzie), had a passage from the Bible thrust upon her which she read unhesitatingly during the course of the service. The very thoughtful Easter message from the Chaplain to the pupils, the screen for the words of hymns and illustrations and the unaccompanied singing of the choir impressed us all.
Later, we were taken for a tour of some of the other new facilities by one of the prefects. The Art Block (complete with male art teacher), the Sports Centre, the transformation of the old hall into a first rate library and the lounges for the girls and ‘carpet everywhere’ left us stunned.
The catching up with friends, not seen in some cases for all of those sixty years, continued over lunch at Clifton Beach and then it was back to school where we had another chance to chat to Pauline Duthie over a glass of wine (who would have thought it possible?) in the Library, before being first in line to have tea with those of the girls who are boarders. Nowadays it is self service from trolleys just inside the dining room – choosing what you wanted from a very attractive meal of fish, baked potato wedges and a variety of salads. Pauline Duthie and the Head Girl joined us at our table and we were struck by the happy casual atmosphere. After tea, we had the chance to thank them both for making us so welcome, then it was back to Faye Gray’s for a cup of coffee and, for most, a final goodbye.
What a memorable two days we had. Roll on the Centenary, Iona is a different place. Oh why can’t we have our school days now!
Margaret Cullen (Comrie)