• Napier Boys’ High School to mark 150 years

Napier Boys’ High School to mark 150 years

Napier Boys’ High School is preparing to mark its 150th Jubilee next month with current and former students, staff and whānau set to come together in celebration.

It is the oldest State Secondary School in Hawke’s Bay, having opened in 1872. Since its inception, the school has had 14 headmasters, moved locations from Bluff Hill to its current site in Te Awa, and educated thousands of boys who have had success nationally and internationally.

The Jubilee will be held from June 3-5, with a number of special events including a mix and mingle, a Ladies High Tea, the Napier Boys’ High School & Hawke’s Bay Construction Jubilee Dinner, and a Boarders Breakfast at Scinde House.

It will conclude on the morning of Sunday, June 5, with tours exploring the school’s facilities, along with musical and cultural performances by students.

Of note will be the 118 Polson Banner rugby game to be played between NBHS and Palmerston North Boys' High School’s 1st XV Rugby teams.

An old photo of Napier Boys’ High School’s Original School Room in the late 1870’s. Photo/Supplied.

Headmaster Jarred Williams says it is important to recognise the influence that NBHS has had on the education of boys in Hawke’s Bay.

“The evidence is shown in the wonderful boys to men who have passed through Napier Boys’ and are now giving back and part of the community.

“This is ratified by sons of old boys coming to the school and continuing to do that and supported by a large proportion of teachers who are old boys.”

In the eight months Mr Williams has been headmaster, he says the Māori whakataukī; ‘He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata’ (What is the most important thing in the world? It is people) has rung true.

“My standout has been the quality of people and the shared investment that they have for the place. That’s the teachers and staff and boys and old boys who are protective and passionate in wanting to continue to push success forward for the school.”

Archivist Phillip Rankin has lived and breathed Napier Boys’ High School for the past 50 years, 37 of which were in a teaching role.

Speaking in the Axford Room, named after former Dux, Sir William Ian Axford (1946-1950), Mr Rankin says the school boasts a rich history.

For him, there isn’t just one thing that stands out, from tales of resilience in the face of natural disasters to the boys who served in World War One, and the many boys to men who have gone on to have successful careers in a plethora of industries.

Mr Rankin says they have had a number of families who have had multiple generations attend.

“As far as I can tell the Parson’s family have had five generations attend, dating back to at least the 1880s, and they are the most continuous.”

Names line the corridors and artefacts remind the current students of the sacrifices made, and the possibilities that lie ahead, like old boy Edward Herman Weber’s bugle and diary.

“Weber was an old boy who fought in WWI and was injured in battle at Chunuk Bair, Gallipoli. He survived by strapping his bugle to his leg and managing to crawl to the beach to safety.”

“That’s probably our greatest acquisition.”

Limited tickets are available and for a short time only. For more information and to register for the 150 Jubilee visit: https://www.nbhs.school.nz/nbhs-150th-jubliee/