Upokongaro School north of Whanganui will celebrate 150 years of learning on March 14.
Pupils and staff have been preparing for the anniversary by studying the events and people who have shaped their school and community since the school opened in 1870.
Heeni Pakia, 9, said her class learned how past pupils of Upokongaro School travelled to Hipango Park by riverboat for school picnics.
"They would have a picnic, play games and do fun activities at the park on summer days," she said.
"We went there to try it for ourselves and it was fun."
Heeni's year 6 class has been studying the school's history with their teacher Kirsten Norgate.
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"The school chartered the riverboat Wairua to take us to Hipango Park and we have been studying books that mention Upokongaro's history," Norgate said.
Her class has been reading excerpts from Whanganui writer Murray Crawford's novel Mystery on the Whanganui and Waverley historian Laraine Sole's Upokongaro: The Community Up-River.
Although Crawford's book is a novel, it is written against a background of true historical events that occurred in Whanganui and Sole's book provides a vivid picture of what the community was like when the school opened.
Norgate said the children found both books fascinating and were interested to learn more about their local history.
Crystal Goff, 10, said she enjoyed looking at early photos of the school.
"Some of the first teachers were young boys and were only about 16," she said.
"In the first school photos, the girls wore aprons and the boys didn't smile."
Naomi Martin, 9, was interested to discover how Upokongaro children learned to swim in the days before her school had a pool.
"They used to learn in the stream behind the school and then when they were strong swimmers they were allowed in the river."
Manaia Martin-Tahau, 9, said a lot of things about the school are "the same but different".
The headmaster's house which was built in the 1940s has been through a few changes, she said.
"It was a house, then it was a library and now it is a classroom."
Haeata Pauro, 9, said he has enjoyed learning about the different games played by past Upokongaro pupils.
"It was fun having a picnic and playing some of the games at Hipango Park," he said.
"Some of the kids used to come to school on a riverboat every day."
Upokongaro School's 150th celebrations will begin at 11am on Saturday, March 14, and will include displays, speeches, group photographs, the resurrection of the time capsule and a light lunch.
The Wairua riverboat is chartering a cruise to take attendees to the lunch, returning to town at 3pm. The cost of the cruise is $39 and bookings can be made through the school.
The day's proceedings will be followed by a dinner dance with a live band at McNab Domain.
Events will close with morning tea on Sunday, March 15, following a church service at the historic St Mary's Church next to the school.
Registrations are required for catering purposes and are available by contacting the school on (06) 345 6424, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or downloading the form from the 150th Celebrations Facebook page.