A small school on a Waikato hilltop, started in troubled times, celebrates 150 years this weekend.
Ohaupo School, which was first started in 1869, will host the reunion on the same site where the first school building in the Waikato was built all those years ago.
The event will have special significance, for very few schools in New Zealand have such a close association with the troubled early history of New Zealand as that of Ohaupo.
The Confiscation Act of 1863 banished Maori from their land to the south of the Puniu River and the Government brought foreign militia to camp on the now school hill site, then referred to as Garrison Hill.
It was the children of the militiamen and their wives, who were the first 14 pupils of the school.
The first lessons were held in the parlour of teacher Emily Kusabs' home at the foot of the hill opposite today's cemetery. They used slates to write on and their parents struggled to find the sixpence weekly needed to fund their lessons.
The first actual school building was built in 1870 a year later. It was a simple unlined one-roomed structure.
In 1886 when the roll number was 80, a new school building was provided.
In the same year, the first churning of factory butter was made in the district and dairying was pioneered. The old school however was destroyed in a huge fire in 1915 and with it the important Benge library of books that Ohaupo was proud to hold.
At least one family has a fifth generation of children at the school.
They are descended from the militia's Bohemian settlers.
The hill on which the school stands originally had a pa on the site as well as the later militia redoubt.
Stan Ranby, 96, is the oldest ex-pupil attending the reunion this weekend and will have the honour of cutting the cake.
His younger brother Ray, 94, says he'll stand behind him to make sure he doesn't eat it all.
The pair are the third of five generations of Ranbys to attend the school, after the family settled on a farm near the village in 1908. They'll have a few stories to tell as well, like how Ray howled all day when he started school and Ma Fletcher wouldn't let him sit with Stan. Stan agrees she was mean - but her husband and head teacher, Old Man Fletcher, was a good bugger.
The boys would walk to school, taking their shoes off on the way and hiding them in the blackberries until the walk home, or ride a horse from Ranby Rd along the main road, or cross country if they were running late. After school they would race the bus on their horses to the shops.
The weekend's programme starts tomorrow with registration at 12.30pm, mini whakatau at 1pm then a chance for visitors to visit the classrooms and see students of today in action.
From 6pm there is a meet and greet in the school hall.
Saturday features registration from 8.30am, powhiri and official opening followed by morning tea and cutting of the reunion cake starting at 10am, with entertainment from Te Awamutu Brass, decade photos, memorabilia displays and food trucks on site for meals. From 6pm the dinner and celebration takes place at Vilagrad Winery.
On Sunday morning there is a service at Christ Church.