A community celebration

Bluff Kindergarten president Justine Bourke cuts the 50th birthday cake with her daughter Sasha Bourke (5). Photos: Supplied
Teachers Helen Jackson (left) and Jasmine Savage-Heads with pupils who created a time capsule when they were 4 years old in 2011.

THE Bluff Kindergarten celebrated its 50th anniversary last week with a big community celebration.

Head teacher Sarah-Lee Bragg was emotional as she attended the kindergarten when she was a pupil, 40 years ago.

She was able to reconnect with past and present members of the kindergarten on Friday.

“It was really amazing, a beautiful community event gathering students, teachers and whanau. It was a testament of our [community] strengths.”

Kindergarten staff and pupils celebrated the milestone with a cake and the unveiling of a time capsule.

Eleven pupils, now aged 14, opened the capsule, which was created 10 years ago when they were 4.

Drawings, notes, pictures from family and nail polish were among the items recovered from the garden.

“It was a quite emotional watching the children pull out what they’d put there when they were 4 years old. It was lovely to see their excitement,” she said.

The event also paid homage to Lex Perkins who died in December last year.

Mr Perkins, who was a Bluff borough councillor and deputy mayor before moving north and serving five years on the Queenstown Lakes District Council, died at Invercargill’s Southland Hospice after a long illness, aged 81.

Ms Bragg said he was a man who put his “heart and soul” into the kindergarten and was an important advocate for the facility when it opened in the 1970s.

“He just was a huge part of our kindy fought and fundraised really hard to make our kindy what it is.

“It was a celebration of our community and I feel very proud to be part of it.”