Evergreen Autumn - 2024

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autumn 2024

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Contents 2 Ko wai au? Who are you? 3 St Margaret’s College Old Girls’ Association 4 Infusing global experience into the IB 5 Leading an army of volunteers 6 Academic excellence in a place of world-class teaching and learning 7 Kapa Haka – A place to stand 8 Bridging generations 9 Empowering girls to learn, live and lead in the Junior School 10 Aspirational growth opportunities flourish 11 Serving others through Sony Camp 12 Expanding horizons 13 Building boarding connections 14 Co-Curricular Arts 15 Take the floor 2024 17 SMC Foundation 18 A sense of purpose 19 Parents and Friends Association 20 Out & about 22 Upcoming events 22 Our sad farewells 23 A renewable future 24 Serving for a greater purpose 25 A life force 26 Remembering Naomi Corder 27 Remembering Robyn Gosset (nee Jenkin) 28 In Closing
11 7 15 20 23 26 1-3 November 2024 1 For Old Girls in Year 9 / Third Form 2004, 1994, 1984, 1974, 1964, 1959 and 1954.

Ko wai au? Who are you?

There is a glorious flush of energy that heralds a new school year, and I relish the opportunity to harness that for the benefit of our girls, our school and our community.

The Prefects’ theme for the year, ‘Take the Floor 2024’ and its accompanying challenge, ‘Ko wai au?*’, combined with our whole school strategic focus areas, provide a fabulous road map for the year ahead, ensuring our collective energy realises a common goal. They reinforce our aspirations to support each girl to realise her potential, to develop her confidence, to maintain and improve our position as a high performing school and to strengthen our positive social influence locally, nationally and internationally.

The benefits of choosing an independent education have been reinforced this year in regular media reports. New Zealand primary and intermediate educators are incredibly frustrated with the Government for falling standards in maths and science but their hands are tied. The mandated national curriculum and crowded ‘modern learning’ environments make it very difficult for them to address the obvious challenges of their students in realising their potential.

Independent schools, however, are inherently flexible. We can choose our own curriculum and tailor this to better meet the needs of our students. Our small class sizes and additional teacher resources allow us to offer an appropriate and challenging programme for each girl, stretching them to achieve their potential. We have recognised the benefits of structured literacy and numeracy programmes and are now a lighthouse school in New Zealand for schools wanting to emulate our teaching and learning.

Four years ago St Margaret’s College realised that the evolution of Level 1 NCEA was no longer fit for purpose in preparing our girls for their senior studies and their post-school aspirations. We are now enjoying the rich rewards of our custom Foundation Diploma at Year 11, with the girls attending to their studies for an extended period of time over the year and realising the benefits of great academic rigour in this important preparatory year for their choice of senior programme – International Baccalaureate Diploma or NCEA Levels 2 and 3.

As an independent school, St Margaret’s College is proud of our exemplary record in providing tailored education services an innovative curriculum, enabling our students to pursue their post-school aspirations with confidence. More importantly, our girls are empowered to learn, live and lead, with the support and encouragement to move from strength to strength.

St Margaret’s College is a learning institution that holds innovation and excellence as educational imperatives for our girls. So, a willingness to embrace continuous improvement is vital alongside the resilience to accept failure as a necessary means to realising a solution to new challenges. I look forward to supporting the staff and students in these endeavours such that St Margaret’s College and our girls continue to take the floor, with confidence.

*Who are you?


St Margaret’s College Old Girls’ Association

It is with great privilege that I write to you for this autumn edition of Evergreen as the President of the Old Girls’ Association.

Reflecting on the rich tapestry of experiences that define our shared journey at St Margaret’s College, I am filled with gratitude for the strong foundation laid by our ancestors. It is within the geographical boundaries of Winchester Street to Papanui Road that we learned the value of friendship, the importance of perseverance, and the power of knowledge.

As custodians of the SMC legacy, it is our turn to nurture the connections that bind us together, transcending time and distance. Through the Old Girls’ Association, we have the opportunity to reignite old friendships, forge new alliances, and foster a sense of belonging that extends far beyond your final day.

In the spirit of collaboration, I am delighted to see a full calendar of networking events and connections that

will give us all countless opportunities to contribute to the legacy of St Margaret’s College.

Furthermore, I encourage each and every one of you to share your stories, experiences, and achievements with our community. Whether it be through the pages of Evergreen, SMC Connect or alumni gatherings, your voice, and presence, is vital to a strong alumni community.

I extend my heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of you for your unwavering dedication and support to our Old Girls’ Association. Together, we will continue to uphold the values of excellence, integrity, resilience, equality and higher purpose that define our College.

May our connections continue to flourish, our bonds grow stronger, and our legacy endure for generations to come.


Infusing global experience into the International Baccalaureate


Fresh from a few days in Hanmer Springs with our 2024 Year 12 International Baccalaureate students, IB coordinator Valerie Eves is passionate about the opportunities this programme offers St Margaret’s College girls.

“I was brought up in New York State and have worked in Europe and Asia teaching the International Baccalaureate programme – it really has my heart. I’m drawn to its inclusive ethos, fostering critical thinking and inquiry, nurturing highly thoughtful and globally-minded individuals,” she says.

Valerie has taught in both IB and national curricula, most recently as Head of Social Sciences at St Andrew’s College. She says she eagerly embraced the opportunity to spearhead the IB programme at SMC, which is the only girls’ school in the South Island to offer the dual pathway of IB and NCEA.

“The girls here have blown me away. They all have the great disposition that makes for excellent IB learners, they are open minded and eager to learn, and they’re also ready to have some fun with it, as we enjoyed during our Hanmer immersion week.”

Valerie, who started with SMC at the beginning of Term 1, met her Kiwi husband when both were teaching IB in Austria, and in 2019 the couple moved back to Christchurch to be closer to family after their daughter Zaria was born.

Valerie is not alone in joining the school this year –five year old Zaria has also begun her SMC journey alongside her mum.

“Having Zaria here with me is wonderful, and it’s been so good to see how easily she has settled into the Junior School. My husband and I often talk about her future, and we’re sure that the independent education she will get here at SMC will be the best foundation for her if she decides to study IB in the Senior School.”

A surge in IB interest

2024 has the biggest cohort of Year 12 IB students to date. Valerie attributes this in part to four fantastic new courses that have piqued the girls’ interest – Language and Culture, Psychology, Sports, Exercise and Health Sciences, and Film Studies.

“IB fosters a profound engagement with subjects, cultivating critical thinkers with a nuanced understanding of the world. IB alumni will not only excel academically but also demonstrate remarkable resilience and adaptability in the face of real-world challenges,” she says.

“Internationally, IB is well recognised and widely regarded as providing an education in the full sense of the word, well beyond a qualification. I’ve always had a wide range of learning abilities in my classes, and the IB really is for everyone. I believe it provides the best possible preparation for university and beyond,” says Valerie.


Leading an army of volunteers


Born from the 2010 Christchurch earthquake when 11,000 students mobilised to help with the clean up, the Student Volunteer Army (SVA) is now a global volunteer movement, teaching, celebrating and empowering volunteers to improve the world they live in.

One such person is Year 13 student Kyra Mayers. Kyra is St Margaret’s College Head of SVA. Her mission for 2024 is to guide as many SMC girls as she can towards a life of service. In 2023 SMC students clocked up 4925 service hours. That seems like a huge number, however Kyra is not stopping at that – her goal for 2024 is for students to contribute 16,000 hours.

Kyra explains that with SMC’s long heritage of serving others, there are so many avenues for students to use their time to volunteer – Christchurch City Mission, World Vision, Full Bellies, YMCA, Sony Camp and SPCA. There are also a lot of College based activities

which can be counted towards hours – coaching, supporting the school production, joining the Educating Girls Globally (EGG) committee and even jobs for your neighbours like mowing lawns and babysitting. Kyra also has a special project lined up for the year called the Aquata Project which she will be presenting in assembly to the whole school.

Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.’ With over 800 of her own service hours already on the books, Kyra is more than happy to help others on their service journey. Girls can sign up to the SVA and start working towards badges at any year level. As little as five hours service gets them underway, with a Gold Award earned for 500 hours.

With a 16,000 hours goal that’s 32 SMC golden girls –a goal that will be well worth the effort.

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Academic excellence in a place of world-class teaching and learning

‘Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think’, Albert Einstein

St Margaret’s College students consistently achieve exceptional academic results, and our 2023 results for both NCEA and International Baccalaureate were no exception.

With a remarkable 98% University Entrance, 97% pass rate for NCEA Level 3, 92% for IB, and seven scholarship awardees, SMC students have continued to achieve amongst the highest academic results in New Zealand and internationally.

Diana Patchett, Executive Principal, now in her sixth year leading the College, says:

“These results are testament to the laudable culture at SMC of aspiring to excellence, of doing your best. This is an invaluable element of our school fabric, for it is their attitude, as much as their achievements, that sets our girls up for ongoing success, whatever that looks like for them.”

“Reflecting the strong work ethic of our students, and the commitment of our teaching staff to giving them the very best foundation for the future, this year’s results affirm our decision to create our own

Year 11 curriculum, the St Margaret’s College Foundation Diploma. Launched in 2022 to meet the specific needs of our girls, and followed by our dual pathway of NCEA and IB, this bespoke curriculum gives our girls the strongest possible grounding for further study.”

In NCEA Level 2, SMC students achieved a 96% pass rate. Over the past six years SMC students have achieved an average pass rate of 96% for both Level 2 and Level 3 NCEA, with over 70% of students having achieved Excellence / Merit endorsement. Our International Baccalaureate students have also achieved an average pass rate of 96% over the same period, and place amongst the very top scholars globally.

In addition, the achievement rate of SMC students for literacy and numeracy has far surpassed the national results. With a pass rate of 87% and above across numeracy, reading and writing for our Year 11 students, and of 100% for our Year 12 students in 2023, this represents further proof of the strength of the College’s teaching and learning programme.

*NCEA results published by NZQA may differ, as the NZQA and Ministry of Education report NCEA achievement based on total student enrolment rather than the number of students who undertook the NCEA in a school. This excludes the achievements of students who pursue the IB in place of NCEA.


Sonny holds a taiaha wrapped in his tīpare, which he wove himself to represent his grading through Te Whare Tū Taua, while Tui is more than proud to be who she is, who she comes from and to share her mātauranga with the students of SMC.

Kapa Haka – A place to stand

A conversation with St Margaret’s College kapa haka tutors Sonny and Tui begins with pepeha – an introduction to their whānau and to their sense of place. Both were raised in Ōtautahi Christchurch; Sonny has whakapapa to Hauraki and Ngā Puhi in the far North Island, while Tui is from the iwi of Ngāti Porou and Te Whakatōhea – where the sun rises first.

The gentle tone of the kōrero (conversation) between these two belies the power and the passion behind their craft.

Tamehana Sonny Tehuia Wiparata, known as Sonny, has been teaching kapa haka at SMC for 15 years. Sonny was joined nine years ago by Chantelle Tikitiki, who was given the Māori name of Tui by her father when she went to Kōhanga Reo (Māori immersion pre-school) as a child. Together, Sonny and Tui teach Kapa Haka and Te Ao Māori (Māori culture) at many schools across Christchurch.

Although all girls at SMC learn kapa haka up to Year 8, our renewed focus on biculturalism in recent years has led to increasing uptake and interest amongst the older girls, with many Middle and Senior School students now taking part.

Sonny says that he and Tui live and breathe kapa haka, and talks about the benefits it brings for rangatahi (young people).

“This is our passion. We know that performing kapa haka increases the girls’ confidence, and it grows their understanding of who they are as a person and where they

stand in Aotearoa New Zealand, as a New Zealander,” he says.

Both hold a Bachelor of Māori Performing Arts. Outside of teaching, they perform in senior groups and train in mau rākau (Māori martial arts). Teaching as a pair enables Sonny and Tui to demonstrate the different roles of men and women, which the students embrace.

“The girls love the performance aspect of kapa haka, and the pride it instils in their school. We regularly take them out to perform at events, where we are just the guitarists and leave it to their student leaders to lead,” says Tui.

One such leader is Bicultural Prefect Kylana Peauafi Symonds, who leads the kura (school) and provides performance instructions to the students. Sonny says that learning kapa haka from an early age has helped prepare students like Kylana for leadership positions.

“Kapa haka helps remind the girls that they stand together, with their peers, and this helps grow their confidence. I come to work because I enjoy seeing the grace that they gain, and seeing their smiles when they share in the stories and songs of the Māori culture.

It’s really cool to see this blooming so well here at SMC, and having such a positive effect, through this sharing of Te Ao Māori.”


Bridging generations

The ties our community has to St Margaret’s College have been woven tighter by ten Old Girls, now parents entrusting their offspring to the nurturing environment of the St Margaret’s College Preschool. The preschool teachers enjoy watching these sometimes third and fourth-generation SMC children experience first-hand the enriching atmosphere of their mothers’ former school.

Old Girls’ (L-R)

A Prue Johnstone 1997 – 2003

B Philippa Holloway (French) 1996 – 2002

C Ellie Hegarty 1996 – 2008

D Sophie Shaw 2001 – 2006

E Alicia Davis (Forbes) 1996 – 2000

F QianYi Chuah (Chuah) 1997 – 2003

G Kirstyn Hay 2008 – 2012

H Lucy Mackie (Faull) 2001 – 2005

SMC Old Girls’ Preschool Children (L-R)

Hazel Thomas-Graham

Ruby Lown

Walter Cowdy

Jimmy Holloway

Kanu Nicole

Mabel Bright

Sophie Richards

Sophia Waddington

Poppie Mackie

The SMC Preschool was established in 2014 and has been the choice of early childhood education for numerous Old Girls, just never so many as ten simultaneously. Connections such as these across the generations reflect a commitment to passing on the legacy of an SMC education to many more little girls and boys.

Preschool children (L-R)

A Walter Cowdy

B Jimmy Holloway

C Kanu Nicole

D Mabel Bright

E Joel Davis (insert)

F Sophie Richards

G Sophia Waddington

H Poppie Mackie


Empowering girls to learn, live and lead in the Junior School

At St Margaret’s College, we believe in the potential of every single girl. That’s why here in the Junior School, we’re committed to ensuring that all Year 6 students have the opportunity to develop and put their leadership abilities into practice. Our leadership programme isn’t just for those who show signs of leadership early; it’s for all of our ākonga as they embark on their final year in the Junior School.

Led by our dedicated Year 6 teacher, Betsy Ryan, and myself, the Head of Junior School, our leadership programme is designed to equip our girls with the practical skills and confidence they need to thrive in leadership roles, both now and in the future.

Our girls are involved in hands-on training that prepares them for real-world leadership; they learn to create event run sheets, write respectful emails and

confidently speak to and manage a large group. But it’s not just about acquiring practical skills; it’s about instilling a deeper understanding of what it means to be a leader.

Our ākonga explore the qualities that make a good leader, reflecting on their own unique strengths and areas for growth. We recognise that there are many ways to be a leader and great leaders bring their own unique qualities to the job.

We firmly believe that leadership isn’t reserved for a select few – it’s a journey that every girl can embark on, regardless of where they start. By ensuring access for everyone to our leadership training, we’re building a community of empowered young leaders who are ready to make a positive difference in their school and the world.


Aspirational growth opportunities flourish

Will it be easy? Nope. Will it be worth it? Absolutely.

In the last four years, a very special programme has been developing at St Margaret’s College, designed to provide our girls with an experience unlike anything else they will undertake.

Our Aspirational Programme delivers truly lifechanging opportunities outside the classroom, in a way that is student-led and leadership-focused.

Four unique courses are offered to our Middle School girls, complementing the more traditional languagebased overseas experiences available in the later years.

Opportunities include an intensive 24-hour filmmaking course, city-based cultural experiences in Auckland or Wellington, a leadership camp out of Akaroa, and 10-day excursions into New Zealand’s back country – and next year, to the Borneo jungle.

Head of Middle School Kathryn Gray says the Aspirational Programme provides opportunities for girls to participate in exhilarating development activities that really stretch their abilities.

“The trips are student led. Right from the start, they are tasked with their packing, finding their way to their accommodation, and to the places we visit. They work as a team, and learn from the intensity of living with a

close group for a sustained period of time. Sure, they make mistakes, and they learn and grow as we reflect on them together.”

The Aspirational Programme builds on the selfmanagement and life skills learning of The Rite Journey, which supports all Year 10 students in their journey to become self aware, responsible, respectful, resilient and resourceful adults.

Kathryn says the programme flips the sort of ‘holidays’ the girls might be used to.

“Family trips tend to be organised by the adults, and so this is a total change for many of the girls. We empower them, with guidance, to make their own decisions, and to work with the group. We’re fortunate to have so many wonderful staff eager to support these programmes in the school holidays, and the girls also really invest in the experience and the challenge, pushing themselves out of their comfort zone.

“These are trips that change lives. The girls learn so much about themselves, and gain a sense of being a part of something much bigger. They learn the value of giving back and making a difference in people’s lives, and often come back with the mindset of wanting to have an impact in the world,” she says.


Serving others through Sony Camp

In early December last year, St Margaret’s College and Christ’s College once again teamed up to run New Zealand’s only Sony Foundation Camp. This three-day camp offers a fun weekend for campers with disabilities from our local community. Over the weekend, senior students from both schools act as carers for the young people and help to run activities to ensure these 9-12 year olds have a wonderful experience.

Serving others always brings its rewards and Sony Camp is no exception. The camp not only provides a much-needed break for the children and their families, but it also offers incredible opportunities for our students to flourish. Over 60 students volunteered for the weekend and it was inspiring to watch how they faced difficult situations, learnt, reflected, and evolved over the course of three days. Caring for a child with special needs is never easy. Our girls rose to the task and exceeded expectations. This is an experience that the pupils will remember for the rest of their lives.

It is also a ‘cup-filling’ experience for all involved. Alongside the students, a number of staff were involved and the pride and joy on their faces to see our students flourish in tough situations was magical.

The 2023 camp also saw the return of alumni from both schools who were eager to participate again, to give back, to assist the next batch of students, and to share in the joy that the camp offers to everyone involved.

Our girls have a unique experience. The learning is experiential, the growth immeasurable and the delight it offers to everyone involved cannot be duplicated.

James Evans, Deputy Head of Senior School, Student Care and Experience


Expanding horizons

Lucy Butterfield and Tessa Treadgold, Year 11, have had the great opportunity to take part in a five week exchange to St Mary’s in Perth.

The exchange is reciprocal so at the end of last year they hosted two students Cleo Young and Sara Kerr from Perth. Cleo and Sara joined Lucy and Tessa in each of their classes to experience learning in New Zealand as well as keeping up with schoolwork from home. After school and during the weekend the girls took their buddies to some of their favourite places so they could experience some of the amazing things to do in New Zealand. After saying goodbye and enjoying the

summer holidays the girls then prepared for their time in Western Australia.

“It was a challenge going on such a long flight without any family to help you but it was an amazing experience. We had the opportunity to go on school camp with our buddies and it was very cool to see what camp is like in another country and helped make us more friends along the way.”

Lucy was lucky enough to experience a quick holiday up north with her host family, where they went snorkelling at some of the best beaches in Australia and got to swim with wildlife she had never seen before.

Tessa’s buddy was picked for a service trip which she was able to attend too, spending a week in Tambellup learning about the indigenous culture, visiting the local primary school, helping out in the classroom and getting to know the students.

Lucy summed up the whole experience by saying, “We both became immensely more independent, formed lifelong connections and made many lifechanging memories.” The benefits received by stepping out of their comfort zone has led both Lucy and Tessa to recommend the St Mary’s exchange to anyone willing to make new connections.

03 377 2090

Building boarding connections

As she finishes her first term, journeying alongside the girls and getting to know them and their lives is what Director of Boarding Rachel Clemenger has enjoyed most about her short time at St Margaret’s College.

Joining SMC from a boarding school in Australia, Rachel is focusing firstly on building connections between the boarding houses and year groups, “Looking at boarding as a whole, the girls live in three different houses but we want to make sure the connections go across the year groups. Some of the ways we are doing that are theme dinners where we mix the tables around, and we’ve changed the weekend programme so middle schoolers can spend time with the seniors if they wish to.”

As the only independent girls’ school in the South Island to offer boarding from Year 7, means Rachel

“There are friends, there is family and then there are friends that become family.”
Rachel Clemenger Director of Boarding

and our boarding team are focussed on helping each girl to feel individually connected, “We work on the one trusted adult system and have a range of staff who can connect with different boarders. We also have staff that have been with us for a long time which means that the girls who are now seniors can go back to those staff who they’ve built relationships with as middle schoolers and continue to connect with them.”

Judging by the way Term 1 ended with an inaugural Puppy Playdate, our boarder’s wellbeing is top priority at SMC. Rachel regularly communicates with parents and caregivers through the boarding newsletter and Facebook page but always enjoys talking to parents, “I am more than happy to pick up the phone and have a conversation, we are a team here to support your daughter.”


Welcome to our new Director of Co-Curricular Arts

We would love to introduce our new Director of Co-Curricular Arts, Anna Turner (nee. Richardson).

Anna is stepping into this newly established role with a wealth of experience and energy and a background in drama and dance. She joins us from the Ministry of Education, where she was an NCEA Implementation Facilitator for the Arts, holding nationwide responsibility for dance and drama. Before that, she was a drama and dance teacher, as well as holding roles of responsibility in Arts and Culture and Directing at Epsom Girls Grammar School and Rotorua Girls’ High School.

Anna’s role will support teachers and ākonga who contribute to the vast and vibrant co-curricular arts offerings and calendar at St Margaret’s College.

As part of her role, Anna will be the Producer for SMC productions, but this year she is also taking on the mantle of Show Director, for our whole school production of ‘Mary Poppins’. She will be supported by teachers and staff in our Performing Arts faculty, including Megan Herd (Senior Drama Curriculum Leader) as Co-Director, Amanda Woods (Head of Performing Arts Faculty) as Musical Director, Stacey May Goldsworthy and Rachel Wilford supporting the Junior School and Year 7 & 8 Ensemble, Rylie MacGibbon (Dance tutor at Theatre Dance Academy)

as Choreographer, and Laura Hewetson (Arts Facilitator) as Production Assistant.

As our students Take The Floor for this monumental yet incredibly fun and heartwarming show, we are consistently blown away by the mahi, passion, talent and encouragement they bring to the stage. We are already seeing evidence of our Big Sister/Little Sister culture (quite literally with some roles being played by real-life sisters!) as well as exercising courage, stepping out of their comfort zones, trying new things (like tap dancing!) and working as a very large team, all of which are building strong foundations of professional level performing arts experience and a love for creativity and self-expression.

We have again welcomed male students from our wider school community to step into some key roles. This is a wonderful way to build upon our relationships with our neighbouring schools and give our students the chance to form new friendships and broaden their experience in a diverse ensemble cast.

We are looking forward to sharing more in the coming weeks as we prepare to Take the Floor, and encourage you to book your tickets as soon as they are available –this is sure to be a sellout show!


Take the floor 2024…

Take the court, take the water, take the field, take the track

Ko Wai Au? – We are Archery, Athletics, Canoe Polo, Cricket, Equestrian (Dressage), Gymnastics, Indoor Football, Indoor Netball, Korfball, Life Saving, Rowing, Sailing, Swimming, Tennis, Touch, Triathlon, Ultimate Frisbee, Volleyball, Water Polo – we see you all.

Our girls have chosen no less than 19 codes to participate in during Term 1 and we are proud to say our players and teams are aligned to and living our St Margaret’s College core values throughout these codes.

Integrity – we are respectful, honest and open –we respect our opposition, our coaches and managers, our referees, our team mates, we demonstrate fair play, we are humble.

Excellence – we aim high, we innovate and we improve – we are always seeking ways to play well, to develop and to achieve.

Resilience – we act to sustain the wellbeing of people and the planet – we aim to have the capacity to withstand or to recover quickly from difficulties.

Equality – we work collaboratively, embrace diversity and support our nation’s bicultural identity –

we are humble, we are inclusive and respectful of all we encounter on and off the floor, court, water, field and track.

Higher purpose – we serve others with grace and gratitude – we respectfully care about others, our team mates, the opposition, and our attitude

It is timely that I am writing this on International Women’s Day, a day when we celebrate women across the globe while celebrating the opportunities that SMC provide for our tamaraki and rangitahi. While more work is required to ensure that all women and girls are provided equal opportunities in sport, as kaitiaki of our students, we can proudly boast a 92% participation rate across all year levels here at the College.

Sport New Zealand Women and Girls Action Plan identifies leadership, participation and value and visibility outcomes, outcomes that are all linked to our SMC sporting priorities and core values.

He whānau kotahi tātou (we are one family)

Helen Belcher, Director of Sport



Ilex Cafe, Botanical Gardens $85 per person Sunday 8 September
St Margaret’s College Foundation Spring Ladies’ Lunch. Kindly supported by Limited number of tickets available. Please book at:

SMC Foundation

As the Foundation Manager I am privileged to witness first-hand the transformative impact of our efforts at St Margaret’s College. From providing scholarships to funding innovative programmes, the St Margaret’s College Foundation plays a crucial role in fostering success and empowering the next generation of leaders.

One of the most rewarding aspects of my role is seeing the tangible results of our investments in education. Whether it’s a student achieving academic excellence, overcoming obstacles, or pursuing their passion, each story reaffirms the purpose and power of creating opportunities for all.

At the heart of our Foundation’s vision is a commitment to ensuring a sustainable future for St Margaret’s College. The Foundation seeks to generate and steward funds that support scholarships, wellbeing and student experiences, teaching and leadership, and building, technology and campus enhancement. Collaboration is key to our success as a Foundation. We work closely with our College, Board of Trustees, Old Girls’ Association and Parents and Friends Association to identify and respond to areas of need. Our priorities for 2024 have been thoughtfully defined to ensure that the focused generation and allocation of

funds beyond the College’s operating expenses remain central to our purpose. By leveraging the collective expertise and resources of our stakeholders, we optimise our impact and contribute to lasting change.

Looking ahead, we remain committed to our vision of creating a legacy for the future. We will continue to engage with our community, prudently steward funds, and seek new ways to support the current and future students of the College.

With dedication, determination, and the support of our amazing community, I am confident that we will continue to make a difference, fostering a culture of generosity, and ensuring St Margaret’s College continues to inspire balanced foundations and bright futures for all.

Thank you for your support.


A sense of purpose

Alumni profile: Gina Satterthwaite

At St Margaret’s College, our girls are passionate advocates for contributing to the greater good and championing causes that uplift our community and positively impact the world around us. Collaborating with organisations like The Fife Foundation is one example of how our small contributions can help in a big way.

Fife Foundation is a part of Vingoe Investments family office, named after founder and SMC Old Girl Gina Satterthwaites’s grandmother (Margaret Fife Gough) and grandfather (Jack Vingoe Glasson). Gina’s mother, Lesley Johnston (Glasson) and aunts Janie, Sarah and Wendy Glasson, all SMC Old Girls, are strong influences in Gina’s life, all grounded in compassion, commitment to family, with a lot of fun and creativity along the way. Employees at Fife Foundation also include many SMC Old Girls. People at Fife and Vingoe are there not just for what they do but for how they do it with heart, compassion and commitment.

Devoted to instilling a culture of philanthropy in future generations, we sat down with Gina to find out how Fife assesses organisations that make a profound and lasting impact and how SMC can help and benefit from this partnership.

Your focus areas are childhood education, health and sustainability – tell us about the entities you are currently partnered with.

Some of the projects and organisations we support now include Full Bellies, Melanoma NZ, Starship Foundation and Uniting Canterbury Women. In Tanzania, we sponsor the ongoing development of school and farming facilities for children in the local community to ensure education remains a priority in developing countries. Organisations we have previously supported or remain a partner with include Braintree Wellness Centre, Wiser Mental Health Podcast, and Travalyst, a sustainable travel initiative ignited by Harry, Duke of Sussex. We have around six–seven active partners and projects, all of which we’ll continue to focus on into 2025, raising awareness of their excellent work.

When you decide who to partner with, what kind of support does the Fife Foundation offer those entities?

It varies depending on their own goals, needs and timings. Some of the projects we work with our partners on may be to help fundraise for them and raise awareness of their endeavours. Our creative team and strong event planning skills have helped create highly attended and memorable events for our partners. For others, we might provide short-term project-based support, anything that elevates their own personal goals, as long as it aligns with our own values and overall mission.

Tell me the best part about bringing young people together to work for you.

I have a strong support network around me, full of smart and capable people, and for those whose values align with the Foundation, there’s always a place for them to help. Seeing friends and daughters of friends roll up their sleeves and help me muck in, especially on event days, makes it all worth it. We’re incredibly grateful to all the St Margaret’s girls who have recently joined us to support our partners; their enthusiasm for supporting the community is infectious. As with my children, Georgia and Jack’s input into the Foundation, I love learning from the next generation, what inspires them and how they would do things. Every view and opinion, no matter how different, is really valuable.

How can anyone who wants to get involved with the Fife Foundation or support its partners do that?

There are many ways that people can get involved and support. While our Fife team are talented event organisers, it often takes a village to make one come to life, be it from help, waitressing, making table settings or handing out flyers. If any St Margaret’s girls or community members want to help, please contact us at fifefoundation.org.nz and follow our Instagram @fifefoundation to keep up with our projects. In addition, we’re always looking for sponsors whose products and donations go towards everything that helps make the events what they are – without their incredible support; we couldn’t do what we do.


Parents and Friends Association

The Parents and Friends Association (PFA) began the school year by welcoming new and returning families into the College with the Annual Family Picnic. It was a delight to host faces old and new, and to help families form positive connections and receive a warm welcome into our SMC whānau.

Our mission is to promote and nurture an active and inclusive parent community. All parents and caregivers are automatically members of our PFA, and we invite you to join our regular meetings. Our first meeting of the year began with a glimpse of boarding life at SMC with a tour of Julius and Kilburn, and the chance to chat with the girls and boarding staff about the boarding community, the relationships formed, and the girls’ daily routines.

The aim of our meetings is to provide an opportunity for families to connect with each other and with College staff, helping us to remain engaged in our daughters’ journey through the College in a supportive environment. It’s also a chance to hear in-depth about the opportunities available to our girls, whether through the careers programme, faculties, or co-curricular activities.

Parents are also invited to join us for a coffee in Maggie’s, for a casual drink, or to attend or assist with the PFA’s father-daughter breakfasts, where students are invited to bring a special male figure in their lives to enjoy breakfast and hear from insightful guest speakers.

We look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming events and meetings.

Learn more about the PFA

Details of the PFA’s events can be found on SMC Connect and in the College newsletter. If you would like to learn more about the PFA, please contact pfa@stmargarets.school.nz

& about New entrants morning tea Mihimihi
Family picnic

SMCOGA upcoming events

May Wednesday 8

May Thursday 9

May Thursday 30

June Thursday 6

June Friday 7

June Friday 7

July Thursday 18

November Friday 1 – Sunday 3

December Thursday 5

Our sad farewells

1209 Anne

Auckland Margaritas combines with CCOBA

Auckland Community Event

Combined Schools’ Bridge Tournament

Wellington Community Event

Wellington Long Lunch

Descendants’ High Tea

Dunedin Margaritas combined with CCOBA

Reunion Weekend

Year 13 Leavers’ Ball

Bennett 99 years
93 years
93 years
94 years
88 years 1974
91 years
1390 Robyn Gosset (Jenkin)
1603 Jewel
1750 Frances Cooke (Buckley)
1782 Barbara Taggart (Flesher)
Audrey Elms
2022 Elise Elder (Thomas) 93 years
2045 Heather Templeton (Wills) 84 years 2134 Elizabeth Aitken (Matson) 92 years
2142 Ann Webley (Ballantyne) 85
2208 Nola Aubrey (Moore) 91
89 years 2394
86 years
89 years 2442
88 years 2674 Prudence Gardiner 86 years 2675 Judith Malone (Elphich) 85 years 2810 Barbara O’Brien (Boon) 79 years 2919 Rosemary Allen (MacKenzie) 82 years 2950 Lynley Alexander (Owen) 83 years 3047 Virginia Dunlop (Matson) 76 years 3049 Beverley Simon (Nicholls) 82 years 3411 Alison Mary Hazlett (Todd) 83 years 3494 Anne Thompson (Penrose) 73 years 3636 Helen Condon (Berry) 75 years 4577 Anna Dunbar 68 years 6120 Shelley McNab 55 years 30031 Lynette Paul 78 years Boarding house manager Naomi Corder 98 years
2260 Elizabeth (Joan) Imrie (MacFarlan) 89 years 2387 Beverley
Gaye Sansom (Redpath)
2397 Pamela Morrow (Reece-Smith)
Pamela McFadden (Littlejohn)
English & Latin teacher Deputy Principal

A renewable future

Alumni profile: Holly Wild

Holly Wild’s (2014-2018) journey has been a winding path from architecture to renewable energy development, driven by her passion for environmental sustainability and urban planning, St Margaret’s College laid the foundation for Holly’s academic pursuits. Moving on to Victoria University of Wellington, she embarked on a Bachelor of Architecture, which initially seemed like the perfect fit. However, it was during her final year she stumbled upon a paper in urban design and planning, igniting a newfound passion for the broader scope of environmental and urban spaces.

This newfound passion led her to Auckland University, in pursuit of a Master of Urban Design and Architecture degree. Seizeing an opportunity to work with Buro Happold in Dubai her journey took an unexpected turn. Describing her time there as transformative, Holly was exposed to the intricate world of strategic planning and sustainability. Working on significant projects, including sustainability analysis for The Line in Saudi Arabia, and major urban planning projects solidified her commitment to environmental awareness.

Returning home to Christchurch, Holly enrolled in a Master’s program at Lincoln University.

Concurrently, Holly landed a role with Bison Energy, a global renewable energy developer. As a Project Development Executive, she is involved in various aspects of solar farm development, from land sourcing to pre-feasibility, to negotiation. Heading the company’s entrance into New Zealand, she is the sole representative overseeing operations, “What excites me most about my current role is the opportunity to contribute to New Zealand’s transition towards net zero carbon goals. Being at the forefront of renewable energy development in a country with immense potential fills me with a sense of purpose.”

Reflecting on her journey, Holly says, “I’m amazed at how my career trajectory has evolved. If you had asked me during my final years of school, I would never have imagined myself in the renewable energy sector. To be completely honest, I probably didn’t know that this type of role existed.”

Yet here she is, passionate about educating others and driving progress towards a sustainable future. Holly is excited to see where her journey leads and the impact she can make along the way.


Serving for a greater purpose

Alumni profile: Kaitlyn White

If service is the purpose of life and the rent we pay for living on the planet, SMC Old Girl International Baccalaureate graduate of 2013 Kaitlyn White has enough in credit and is paying it forward. Fulfilling her dream of qualifying and working as a criminal lawyer for the Public Defence Service Kaitlyn dedicates herself to helping her clients – some of who are dealing with issues such as addiction, neglect, deprivation and abuse.

Although her choice of career is often demonised Kaitlyn is determined to highlight the benefits her service has created, “It’s the 18 year old who narrowly avoids going to prison to serve a community based sentence, steering them away from the possibility of joining a gang in prison that would’ve only led them to continue a life of crime.”

The clients she doesn’t see again are the best ones for Kaitlyn, knowing she has served the community by helping that person and their family. It’s not only through her work that Kaitlyn serves her community. She helps to run her local community centre, is a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters, is on the board of a political

party and sits on the National New Lawyers Group with the Law Society.

All of this from a girl who professes she just wanted to have fun when she left school – but here’s the thing Kaitlyn is so passionate and enthusiastic that it is fun. ten years out of school she is a smiling, bubbly, fun, ball of energy enjoying her life balance walking her dogs through the quarry, running halloween parties and repair nights at her local community centre and enjoying her work of the past four years at the Public Defence Service.

Crediting her drive for service to the CAS (creativity, activity and service) component of the IB programme is a proud moment for the dedicated IB professionals at SMC. Nurturing students to keep their learning open and well-rounded through the development of selfmanagement and academic discipline of which Kaitlyn is a shining example.

Kaitlyn leaves our class of 2023 with these words, “No matter what you do in life keep giving and serving others, we don’t need to be working for the UN to make a difference, we can start in our own backyard.”


A life force

Alumni profile: Sally Arnold

There is something warm and inspiring about meeting St Margaret’s College Old Girl Sally Arnold. She has the ability to make you feel like you’re catching up with your stylish, jet setting friend filling you in on her adventures since you last met. That’s Sally’s life now but it wasn’t always as big, as a Performing Arts student at SMC in the 1960s it was quite the opposite, Sally describes herself as a quiet girl, “There were two of us studying music for UE. There was a school orchestra but I think we were seen as strange creatures.”

Touring the current SMC campus Sally is struck by the facilities available to arts students and admits to feeling jealous of what is available. Leaving school in 1967 determined to be a professional flautist she auditioned for the NZSO training orchestra. Working hard, Sally was advised after a year to leave New Zealand for better opportunities in Australia and was accepted to study under David Cubbin in Adelaide, a turning point in her musical career. From here her jet set lifestyle took off, a lengthy stint in Sydney with international smash hit of the 70s, Jesus Christ Superstar as the orchestra flautist, performing live and recording soundtracks was a way to save hard and head to London.

A combination of the confidence of youth and ambition led Sally to Northern Ireland during the troubles, to work for the BBC orchestra. Realising the enormity of the move now, Sally reflects on her experience, “I was in a war zone recording in an underground studio and going through checkpoint Charlies where all the soldiers were in their tanks.

“At the briefing before our London-Belfast flight we were warned not to leave our instruments in a pub least they be blown up as suspicious objects!”

The desire for a more stable lifestyle and a niggling medical issue, Sally’s life took another turn. Returning initially to Sydney to the Elizabethan Orchestra performing at the famous Sydney Opera House she was transferred to Melbourne and forced to confront a hearing issue which would end her orchestra career. Not one to be undone, Sally turned her passion for cooking into a retail career in the posh South Yarra suburb of Melbourne opening Sally’s Cookshop specialising in European cookware. As well as being a huge success, Sally tells how her shop changed her life once again, “I had been open for a month and there had been an article in the paper about me when this guy turns up and stands at the door. He knew I played

in the orchestra as he used to go and watch the ballet. He said he was in love with me and I fell in love with him and three years later we were married at a church called Christ Church.”

Seventeen years of marriage before life took an unexpected turn when Tony died of prostate cancer. Dealing with grief Sally grabbed another opportunity for growth and started studying psychotherapy and her business, Creating Encores was born. Explaining the concept of her innovative way of life coaching, Sally sums it up in her straight forward pragmatic way, “I came up with a methodology to help people change their brain patterns and thinking, using the power of music. The programme helps people to stop rehashing a problem the same old way, using music to get them to get out of their head and find new solutions.’

This methodology is working wonders for some of Australia’s top business people and so strongly influenced Sally’s ability to reinvent and embrace change.

The day we met Sally, and her patent leather cargo boots from Paris, left a lasting impression. This stylish, bright, confident, unapologetically ambitious and, hardworking woman is living her best life to the fullest – a shining example of the best of SMC.

If you would like to connect with Sally in regard to your career or life, path, she is offering a 30 minute complimentary chat. Just email her sally@ creatingencores.co to set up a time on Zoom. You can also visit her website www.creatingencores.co.


Remembering Naomi Corder

English and Latin teacher, Deputy Principal St Margaret’s College 1955-79

Exert of an obituary written and read by Jane Hole (SMC 1946-1958) Naomi was Jane’s English teacher at St Margaret’s, and then friend throughout the years after.

Naomi had a natural authority – when we heard her heels clicking, fast on the linoleum of the school corridor, and if we knew that those heels were headed in our direction, then we knew we had to get ourselves and our desk tops in some sort of order – and fast. As she moved smartly into the room, we’d drag ourselves to our feet, she’d look around the room, sharply – but genially – and that crisp voice with its clear English vowels would say ‘Sit down, girls.’ And we sat. It was this natural authority that held our attention. We knew she disliked inattention, and that inattention would bring consequences. Naomi could be steely, when she felt the need. But she was also a teacher who made her subject unusually interesting; and since giving attention is what learning is about, we learned, and she found ways to make learning as painless as possible. But I do remember that, in one of our senior classes, she once announced an essay topic for the weekend. Someone, unwisely, groaned. She looked at us pleasantly and said ‘You don’t like writing essays?’ Caught off guard, we agreed heartily. She said ‘Then I’ll set you an essay a week for the rest of the year, and you’ll get used to writing them.’ And she did, and we did get used to them.

She was orderly and efficient. Our work was always returned to us, on time, with a grade and perhaps a very concise comment in her neat, businesslike hand. She was neither effusive nor damning. She knew if you’d done your best, knew you could always do better, and encouraged you to do so.

She had a lively curiosity, and a very attractive sense of wonder. Two or three years ago, when talks with her had become limited to what we could see and hear at the time, I showed her some photos on my cell phone. She was enchanted, just couldn’t believe that this little gadget could somehow hold all those photos somewhere inside it. The final magic was when I took a photo of her, and showed it to her. She said, with some satisfaction: ‘I don’t look bad, do I’. On YouTube, we listened to the choirs of the great British Cathedrals singing well-known Anglican hymns, including the St Margaret’s College school hymn. She sang along happily.

Naomi, in spite of her own very high standards, seemed – both as teacher and friend – essentially an encourager rather than an assessor, someone who appreciated anyone who made a genuine effort. I seldom heard her directly commend or criticise anyone. She just seemed keenly interested in seeing what people could make of their lives. I believe her encouragement was one of the most positive influences in many lives, mine included. It was a privilege to have known her. How we will miss her.


Remembering Robyn Gosset (nee Jenkin)

Robyn Gosset (nee Jenkin) passed away on 28th November 2023 peacefully, surrounded by her family.

Robyn began at St Margaret’s College in 1936 as a six-year-old, but her involvement in the school and the strong friendships she made there lasted a lifetime. She enjoyed school and her recollections included the big snow of 1945, which resulted in the school tennis court being turned into an ice-skating rink for a few days, tramping in the “plodders club”, social dances with Christ’s College, and the open-air classrooms she maintained developed robustness and discipline.

Going to school in war time though, meant air raid practices. These were conducted in Hagley Park and temporary bridges were built to accommodate fast access from the Cranmer Square site.

Robyn and her friends attended these practices with both nonchalance and the high spirit of diversion from the classroom recalling, “We would go over the bailey bridge to the park, hop in the slit trenches. We had little cloth bags around our necks, that contained a cork, so that when the bombs started falling you would put the cork in your mouth to stop your eardrums from bursting – to level the pressure. It was all a bit of fun – we never thought we would ever have to do it”.

Despite growing up in the depression and through a world war Robyn thought she had lived through the “best times”, and felt sheltered from worry both at home and school.

A forward-thinking head mistress, Stephanie Young, was integral in encouraging the girls at St Margaret’s to go to university and get educated, instilling in them a sense of being able to achieve, regardless of gender. This assured confidence from the school, combined with her interest in the natural world, led her to Canterbury University, completing a masters of Zoology and Botany with honours in 1956 – at a time when few women were completing such things.

Work as a micro-biologist in the pathology lab at Christchurch Hospital followed, where she was paid the same wage as the men in the lab, also unusual for the times.

Following an OE, she returned to pathology work, before marrying and becoming mother to three children.

Being home based enabled her to follow her writing passion, publishing “New Zealand Mysteries” in 1971 and “The New Zealand Ghost Book” in 1978.

She went on to write “The History of Mrs. Pope Ltd, “Ex Cathedra – The History of Cathedral Grammar School”, and “From Boaters to Backpacks – The History and List of St Margaret’s College”.

The writing of the history and archiving was part of the lifelong involvement Robyn maintained with the school. She was also an active parent during her two daughters’ educations, a committed member of the Old Girls’ Association – taking various roles, a willing volunteer – giving talks and helping with events, and a keen participant in the many reunions and gatherings.

A firm believer in education, attributing her own to the choices she was able to make in life, St Margaret’s College was more than just “where she went to school” – it was a community that she both contributed to and gained from, that lasted a lifetime.


In Closing

I don’t know about you, but Autumn is one of my favourite times of the year when the leaves change colour – and there is so much colour here in North Canterbury. Autumn highlights for me the awe and wonder I find myself expressing when looking at God’s creation. The ability to look at the splendour of the mountains, of the coast, down to the amazing detail found on the tiniest leaf. As the seasons change, we also change with the passing of time, growing older, wiser, into the person God wants us to be. God has a purpose for all of us, and that continues on, it doesn’t stop with the passing of years, it doesn’t stop with retirement, we all have something to give. It doesn’t have to be a big thing like deciding to go overseas as a missionary or being involved in every activity, it can be a small thing like having a conversation with someone in New World, blessing the person in the bank, smiling at someone on the street, telling your children/ grandchildren that you are praying for them, telling them your story. God is all about the everyday simple things in our lives, remember the extraordinary is in the ordinary.

Blessings and aroha,

Rev. Steph Clay, Chaplain


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