1st-3rd March 1985
The Jubilee weekend got off to a terrific start when former pupils congregated at the school on the Friday evening for wine, cheese and talk. The evening lasted far beyond the advertised hour as old school friends had many years of talking to catch up on. The noise coming from the school rooms that evening sounded very much like bees swarming - the next day there were many hoarse voices to be heard.
The official part of the weekend on Saturday morning was transferred to the Matangi Hall because of the unsettled weather but the odd shower did nothing to dampen the high spirits that were evident among the jubilee-goers. As the crowds kept pouring in the door the hall filled to capacity, and many people had to sit in an adjoining marquee. The hall had been decorated for the occasion with pictures of modes of transport from years gone by drawn by the school children. The Jubilee Committee Chairman, Mr Stuart Macky, called the assembly to order, and after the ringing of the school bell by Mrs Ruby Robinson, the National Anthem was sung and the school flag was raised.
Mr Macky welcomed everyone to the Jubilee, and gave a brief history of the area. He commented on the way the district had changed from the days when there were 32 dairy farms between Matangi and Hillcrest - now there is only one. Where there were 2,000 cows being milked between Matangi and Tamahere there are now none. The land was largely been sub-divided to 10 acre blocks and its use now being mainly for agriculture. Mr Wisely, Hamilton Education Board Ward Member and Mr J. T. Hogan, District Senior Inspector then spoke, and congratulated Matangi School on reaching its 75th year. Both speakers stressed that any school is more than just four walls, the most important parts of a school are the teachers and pupils, and just as importantly the parents and community who support the school. Mr R. Storey, M.P. for Waikato and Mr C. Badger, Waikato County Council Riding Member spoke of the changes that have taken place in the area over the years. Other speakers included Mr K. Lee Martin, speaking on behalf of past pupils and Mr B. Puru, speaking on behalf of the Maori community. Mr Inglis, the principal from 1955 to 1966 gave an inspiring speech, which brought forth an admission of guilt for a prank which had been carried out many years before. He recalled an experiment carried out by one of the teachers of the day, where the top was cut off a potato and wheat planted into the vegetable, the wheat growing an eventually giving the potato doll a luxurious head of hair. Two young girls, who had been given the job of sweeping out the room, decided to give the "hair" a trim, and the potato ended up with a close crew cut. The culprits were never found, but as Mr Inglis finished his speech, a woman at the back of the hall stood up, and amidst much laughter owned up to the deed, and identified her partner in crime who also stood up rather sheepishly, much to the amusement of all present.
Between speeches, the present day school pupils gave several items, including a Maori song of welcome. With all the speeches completed, Mr Macky called on the oldest past pupil and the youngest present day pupil to cut the magnificent cake, to officially open the celebrations. John Brocket, aged five years, and Mrs Eileen Laura Ashton (nee Libeau) had the honour of representing the hundreds of pupils who have attended Matangi School, and proceeded to cut the cake, made by Mrs Dawn Brocket. John Brocket is one of the few third generation pupils at the school. His grandmother Dawn Brocket (nee White) and his father Trevor Brocket both being past pupils. This action marked the end of the Opening Ceremony, and the crowd dispersed to gather at the school for the taking of decade photos and lunch.
Lunch was another opportunity for visitors to catch up with old friends. A large marquee on the school tennis courts accommodated everyone and it was with reluctance that they moved out afterwards for decade photographs. A bus tour of the district was very popular, giving everyone an opportunity to see the vast changes that have taken place in the district.
The marquee was again filled that evening when the dinner was held. It was necessary to hold the dinner in two sittings, the first sitting at 6.00 p.m. for pupils from the first four decades, and the second sitting at 7.00 p.m. for the younger old pupils. Although it was not a formal dinner, everyone dressed for the occasion, which was followed by a dance in the Matangi Hall. Over 400 attended the dance, which lasted into the small hours of Sunday morning.
The final event of the weekend, was the Church Service which was held at the Hall on Sunday morning. Leading the Service was the Rev. Gill Telford, the daughter of Noel McLennan, a former student at the School. She was assisted by Miss Claire Wallis of Cambridge, a former assistant teacher, Mr Bill Anderson, the present principal, the Rev. Eric Enright, a former pupil, and Katherine Nathan, a present pupil. The Rev. Arthur Wilde, a past Minister at Matangi gave the Blessing. Soloist Mrs Beatrice Jones, who was accompanied by Mrs Mavis Harris, sang The Lord's Prayer, these two also being ex-pupils.
At a morning tea which followed the service there was a last opportunity for talk. Everyone was very reluctant to leave, having enjoyed themselves so much. The Jubilee was a culmination of two years of planning and it was very gratifying for the committee that it all ran so smoothly. In years to come thoughts will no doubt turn to the Centenary Celebrations, but for the the people of Matangi, are content to relax and enjoy the many memories of a tremendous weekend, pleasant memories which will stay with them for a long, long time.