Today's gathering of about 100 people at the Putorino School on the Waikare Coast Rd north of Napier would be a colourful get-together of several generations, principal Vivienne Wallace said.

The school, which started rural educational life as a simple tin shed, is celebrating its centenary.

"We have 88 registrations (of past pupils) and along with sponsors and guests we'll have around 100 here - which is wonderful. It's all ages," Mrs Wallace said.

"We have children here today whose parents went to Putorino School and their parents before them - there will be some marvellous stories told." The school is classed as "sole charge" as it has just 14 pupils aged between 5 and 12, although there is a support teacher and support staff.


But Mrs Wallace said it had a strong and solid community spirit driving it.

The planning and toil of parents had seen a new park-like playground set up, and the school's pool serves as a community pool, she said.

"It is a mission to keep it going but we do it because it's important for the children to learn to swim."

Mrs Wallace had sourced some colourful extracts from past teachers' logs including stories about pupils being thrown from their horses while on the way to school, a bridge being washed out which cut access to several areas and a severe snow storm which closed the school one winter.

She has been involved with rural schools for the past 14 years and has been at Putorino for the last two, and said the community spirit was great.

Today's events were to begin with the children raising the flag, followed by speeches and a morning tea.

"Then the children will do some old fashioned games, which will be fun."

A ceremonial tree planting and unveiling of a commemorative plaque, along with a barbecue, will round out the day.

"Oh yes, there will be some great stories told," Mrs Wallace said.