Rakaia Catholic school celebrates centenary

About 130 former pupils and family from around New Zealand, with a few from Australia, attended a St Ita’s School centenary reunion at Rakaia at the weekend.

The school opened in 1912 in a building which remains in the town today, and has become the St Ita’s Guest House.

The catholic school closed 25 years ago.

“It was very sad when we closed. I had two of my final day pupils here at the reunion as well as many others. That was lovely,” said Sylvia Mellish, the last Principal, who still lives at Rakaia. She was involved in organising the reunion and has compiled a book of the school’s history, St Ita’s Rakaia Chronicle, which covers the school’s history from 1912.

The book features memories from former pupils, photos and stories from over the years, running alongside local, national and international news items and photos. For example, for the year 1912 there is the roll of the first day pupils, a photo of the pupils, and also a photo and article on the Titanic.

The school’s oldest former pupil Mary Edwards, nee Toohey, cut the cake for the celebrations, having travelled from her home in Christchurch for the event. Celebrations were based in the Rakaia community centre on Saturday night, while on the Sunday there was a tree planning in the St Ita’s Church grounds, as well as mass at the church.


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News category: New Zealand.

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