Past pupils, families, friends and teachers are gathering for a weekend of fun and nostalgia to celebrate 50 years since the opening of McKillop College.

The Rotorua girls' college was founded in 1966 and amalgamated with Edmund Rice College in 1987 to form Rotorua's first co-ed Catholic high school, John Paul College.

The celebrations start today with a welcoming ceremony, registration and presentations from guest speaker Ann Somerville. The rest of the weekend is packed with entertainment, games and photos before wrapping up on Sunday.

Reunion organiser and foundation pupil Beryl Harris said the jubilee celebration had been in the pipeline since the committee held its 40th reunion.

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"It has always been part of the plan, ever since we decided at our 40th reunion that we wanted a jubilee celebration.

"It's going to be a fantastic few days where old friends and families who may have lost touch will be able to reconnect and share memories."

Ms Harris said she was proud to be a founding pupil of the school.

"It was such a beautiful college in so many ways but particularly for its nuns who I highly admired and had beautiful auras."

She said the reunion would also be a chance to discuss the pilgrimage alumni were invited to take part in which followed the journey of Mary MacKillop from North Sydney to Rotorua.

"The pilgrimage will be a wonderful chance to follow the steps of Mary MacKillop and will signal the end of our jubilee celebrations."

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- It's not too late to take part in the weekend's celebrations. For details contact Beryl Harris on (021) 729 283 or Bridget Anderson (027) 3053172.