WCOBA Newsletter: May 2023

Page 1

Wellington College Old Boys’ Association



May, 2023

wellington college old boys

Greetings Old Boys,

Awarm welcome to our first 2023 eNewsletter. I hope, being five months into this year, you have managed some restful, relaxing and joyous holiday breaks.

I am surmising that 2023 will have fewer interruptions and more face-to-face interaction, hence I am excited to be able to celebrate with those marking a cohort reunion year! We have an exciting programme of events and engagements planned. I know the Headmaster is also very keen to get out around the country to meet Old Boys. We are working with him on dates and locations and hope to share these with you soon.

Your Executive, together with the Foundation’s and the College’s Board of Trustees have been meeting to discuss ways to enhance opportunities for Old Boys to strengthen their connection with each other and the College community which includes cementing our relationship with the School by supporting initiatives that enhance student and staff experiences, while ensuring that the OBA is sustainable financially and has good governance.

Since the December 2022 Lampstand, there has been much happening within the school and our community, references to these are recorded in detail in this eNewsletter issue. Sadly, we have lost a few of our community, and these have been acknowledged within this newsletter.

I’m pleased to report that the school has started its year on a positive note – it’s largest roll ever (and fully staffed), an eighth successive win at McEvedy, commendable academic results for 2022, and much interest in our forthcoming reunions. We have hosted the 2023 Prefect team for Morning Tea in the Archives as well as staff new to the College to expose both groups to our heritage. Likewise, we have also welcomed students from Y9 and Y10 who have visited as

part of their academic studies. It’s great to be able to share our memorabilia and stories with these young enquiring minds. My thanks to Mike Pallin and Steph Kane for coordinating these visits, and sharing their wealth of knowledge with these groups


I wish to thank those Old Boys who generously supported the boarders of Scinde House at Napier Boys’ High School affected by the cyclone. It was humbling to see around $8,500 donated within the week and I know every dollar will assist the boys as they reconnect with their families, replace possessions and get back to focussing on their studies. In this newsletter, we have included a message of thanks from the Head House Prefect. We have handed over the ‘cheque’ and I impressed on them to get on and use the funds for the benefit of those boys most impacted

The WCOBA is growing all the time. Lifelong friendships, the people we knew, the antics and some knowledge and skills acquired along the way, are all part of who we are now. We are always interested in new ways for you to engage with fellow classmates or to support the College. School days are a unique time in our personal histories and the strength of our ties to school never ceases to amaze us. These truly are ‘the ties that bind’.

You are always welcome to get involved with the running of the Association. The more the merrier! You can join the Committee or you can also get involved in your own way: work in the Archives, write articles for the Newsletters, share your ideas, do some research, assist in updating out database, or help organise an event. If you can, come along to our AGM in June to learn more.

I hope to see you at either the AGM and/or Quadrangular Tournament (including the Old Boys' and Supporters Function). Details for both are included in this newsletter.

Kind regards

Wednesday, 14 June

Details on Page 3

27 -29 June

Details on Page 3


Class of 1963

Friday, 4 November

Class of 1973

Friday, 27 October

Class of 1983

Friday, 20 October

Class of 2003

Friday, 20 October

Details on Page 3



2 Headmaster's Report







Lumen Accipe Et Imperti : Receive the light and pass it on.


Tena koutou katoa and hello to our Old Boys.

By the time you read this newsletter, we will be a couple of weeks into Term Two of this busy school year. Term One had a positive start with 405 new Y9s joining our community – our largest intake ever. These young men together with students from across all year levels have demonstrated excellent attitudes on the whole and enthusiasm for learning and getting involved with extracurricular activities. Our staff have worked tirelessly to provide them all with a supportive and engaging environment.

Our 2022 academic results were very pleasing. Wellington College students achieved 86 NZ Scholarships, including 14 Outstanding Scholarships. Scholarship is a very demanding set of examinations, and only a small number are awarded.

Of particular note were the five students who received Outstanding Scholar Awards: Sumner Hancock, Harry Hampton, Oscar Xu, Sartak Singh (all Y13) and Henry Isac (Y12). This is a prestigious award given just to the top 60 candidates nationwide. Oscar Xu was also the top scholar nationwide in Chinese. Just prior to the end of Term One, we celebrated those who achieved academic success last year. A special assembly was held for these boys and their parents to acknowledge their impressive results and it was an honour to share in their success.

I am experiencing several firsts as I complete my first year here as Wellington College’s fifteenth Headmaster. I was very excited to attend my first McEvedy Shield and the 100th in the history of this long-standing competition with our brother schools. What an atmosphere and what a day – and of course, what a celebration it was for the Wellington College team, winning for our eighth successive year. Last year, because of Covid, the event was held without spectators. Fortunately, this year 750 students from each of the four participating schools were able to watch the event. We took our Y13s and Y9s: the Y13s because they had never been to a McEvedy, and our Y9s because I think it is important for them to experience a strong feeling of school spirit. And how great to have three of our Old Boys as part of our coaching team in various disciplines –Head Coach, Mark Tinkle, Adrian Shaw and Chris Wells.

I also experienced another first with the 2023 40-Hour Runathon. I cannot believe this event has run every year since 1998 and each year, the money raised has exceeded all expectations. I was so proud of the boys as they pounded the pavement and challenged each other in an array of activities to generate donations.

Another first coming up towards the end of Term Two is Wellington College hosting Quadrangular Tournament. I can’t wait to stand on the sideline (and maybe squeeze into the half-time huddle) to wish our 1st XV a successful tournament. Please come up and say hello and introduce yourself or come along to our supporters function on the Wednesday.

This year, we have introduced a House System, and has been taken up with much enthusiasm and competitiveness by both students and staff. You can read about our House System on the following pages of this newsletter.

A number of staff and students attended the funeral of Old Boy, former Head Prefect in 1961, and past staff member Gil Roper. Gil was a hugely respected member of staff at Wellington College and he was known throughout New Zealand schools. He played a key role in NZQA as well as being an author, musician and rugby coach. Our previous Headmaster, Roger Moses delivered Gil's eulogy beautifully and it was fabulous to see my predecessor Gregor Fountain there at the funeral and that while Harvey Rees-Thomas was not able to be there, his presence was also felt.

I was so proud of our boys. The Choir sang beautifully and the performance of our school haka was very moving. They understood the importance of being there and how important Gil was to all those assembled. I know Gregor and Roger were equally as proud.

The service was very moving. I didn't know Gil but had heard so much about him from staff. I think out of all the accolades that Gil received in his life, being an incredible father, grandfather, husband and friend to all would be at the top of the list. Gil has five sons, David, Mark, Paul, Simon and Luke and they all spoke. Each son sharing something special about their Dad. They spoke about the greatest thing that a parent could give a child, which is time spent together. My eyes filled with tears listening. Gil's wife Helen spoke last, and I can only describe her speech as full of love, strength and faith. Meeting Helen after the service was something I will always treasure.

Late in March, I got to see our boys at National tournaments. I saw them row at the Maadi Cup, play Tennis, Cricket, Volleyball, Floorball and paddle at the Waka Ama Nationals. Our boys gave it everything; they were stars. The other stars were our teachers that were in support, and our parents. Our parent support was just magnificent. There was only love, no berating, yelling, demanding, or unwanted advice. They were just in the background, supporting, not only their sons but all the boys – I was very proud to be part of this extensive and supportive community.

I hope to meet many of you this year, whether here at the College at the WCOBA AGM and Quad, or later in the year at one of our cohort reunions or even when we can arrange regional events – there are so many of you to meet and hear your memories and to welcome back to your school and share our news with you. It has also been very beneficial to introduce our junior school, Prefects and new Staff to the Archives. The displays within the Museum and around the school tell us so much about our 156 years of history and will inspire the boys during their journey at Wellington College and beyond.

Receive the light and pass it on.




Old Boys are invited to join the 2023 Annual General Meeting.

Wednesday, 14 June Wellington College Pavilion


Hosted by President, Ted Thomas and with an update of the school given by Headmaster, Glen Denham. Thereafter, please stay on for a complimentary light lunch and enjoy the Traditional Fixture against St Patrick’s Silverstream.

RSVP: oldboys@wc.school.nz

Save the Date

97th QUADRANGULAR RUGBY TOURNAMENT Hosted by Wellington College

27-29 JUNE

‘Quad’ is one of those annual events that enriches our history. It provides a forum for Old Boys to gather and reminisce, a touchstone with which all former Wellington College students can identify and an opportunity for players and spectators alike to enjoy being part of that heritage which is the lifeblood of our school”.


Come celebrate the good ol’ days! Reconnect, Reminisce and Remember.

We have four reunions (potentially five) in place this year for those cohorts ending in 3.

�� Class of 1963: Friday, 4 November

�� Class of 1973: Friday, 27 October

�� Class of 1983: Friday, 20 October

�� Class of 2003: Friday, 20 October

Old Boys in these cohorts will shortly receive all the details about their programme with pre-registration details, together with a list of fellow classmates and a link to their cohort Wellingtonian magazine.

Remember, you will still fall into a designated cohort regardless of leaving school prior to starting Upper 6th/7th Form, or join Wellington College in the fourth or fifth forms. Your cohort year may not be the year you left school per se but captures all those fellow students who you were at school with, irrespective of how many years you were at the school, or the years you actually started or left. Some students qualify under two cohorts if they stayed for an extra year. MORE


Noon: Nelson College v Whanganui Collegiate 1.30pm: Wellington College v Christ’s College

WEDNESDAY, 28 JUNE @ 5.30pm

Combined Four Schools Function for Old Boys and Supporters. Wellington College Staffroom, L1 Alan Gibbs Centre Complimentary Bites/Card Bar

RSVP HERE or email: oldboys@wc.school.nz


Noon: Minor Final • 1.30pm Major Final


Old Boys who wish to enrol their son(s) for Y9 2024 (and live out-of-zone) must complete and submit the application form by Monday, 24 July 2023. https://wc.school.kiwi/index.php/enrolment


This is an opportunity for new students and their families to look around the Wellington College facilities and meet the Strategic Leadership Team. Dates are as follows:

Saturday, 10 June 2023 at 10.30am in the Alan Gibbs Centre.

Monday, 12 June 2023 at 9.30am in the Alan Gibbs Centre. All students and their families are welcome to attend.

The 1923 Triangular Tournament. Wellington College v Whanganui Collegiate. Photo colourised by Archivist, Mike Pallin.


Ahundred years ago, in 1923, the building that now houses the College’s Archives and Museum was in the process of being built as an on-site residence for the Headmaster. A ceremony on 25 June, laid the foundation stone of the new College Buildings. Several other buildings were under construction including Firth House, Firth Dining Hall, the Cricket Pavilion and the Gifford Observatory. All opened in 1924, the College’s 50th Jubilee year of opening on our current site in 1874.

In 2010, with the Headmaster’s house no longer required, the College Archives finally found a home. Paddianne Neely who was our Archivist from 1990 to 2017 had the daunting task of moving the College Archives eleven times over that period. Since 2010, the College Archives has continued to rapidly grow with donated items, displays and visits.

While the last few years has seen some restrictions for visits due to the building’s current earthquake rating, the last six months has seen a significant interest in short term visits.

Already this year we have hosted visits and morning tea for new staff and the Prefects. Some Y9 classes have begun their introduction to the College’s history as well as the new Y10 students.

In meantime, our few hours a week are filled recording and filing our collection, hosting visits by Old Boys and preparing a variety of displays. This includes a new display of some notable Old Boys near the College's Girvan Library (an ongoing project). Displays are also being prepared for hosting June’s Quadrangular Rugby Tournament and several Old Boy reunions in October and November.

Earlier this year, we found an old original page from a paper called the The Weekly News And New Zealand Referee dated September 6, 1923. This was a page of photographs from the 1923 Triangular Tournament between Wellington College, Whanganui Collegiate and Christ’s College. In 1925, it became the Quadrangular Tournament when Nelson College joined.

We have attempted to enhance and colourise one of the photos; difficult with newspaper photos but the result does bring out some of the detail.

We have been fortunate to receive a donation from Richard Boag (OBA Executive and Class of 1981) of his book scanner which allows us to rapidly scan books and magazines. This will allow us to complete our scanning of Wellingtonians over the coming months (perhaps a bit longer).

So much of this work would be impossible without the support of our volunteers, Abbey and Gary Girvan and of Steph Kane, Ted Thomas (WCOBA President) and the Property Staff, Kelwyn D’Sousa and Roy Smith.

▲ The caption identifies Geoffrey Renner (son of Fritz Renner, Wellington College staff and later Headmaster of Rongotai College) on the ground having his pass intercepted by a Whanganui player. ▲ New Y10 students visit to the Archives with staff Pete Maitland and Stephanie Glover. ▼ The Prefects also visited the Archives to become acquainted with the College's history. ▲ Richard Bourne, Whanganui Collegiate Archivist, visited our Archives in March. ▲ Our new portable scanner has made our work to digitalise the Wellingtonians much easier.


Many will be aware that the NZ Forest and Bird Society are celebrating their one hundredth year this year. We have reported previously, both in the Lampstand and the Wellingtonian, the founding of the society in 1923 by Old Boy, Ernest Valentine (Val) Sanderson who attended Wellington College from 1874 to 1884

Joseph Firth, Headmaster from 1892 to 1920, was instrumental in transforming the College’s playing fields from what were originally areas of scrub and swamp to respectable playing fields for Cricket and Rugby. Sanderson spent many hours assisting Firth in improving the fields and advising on their top dressing. When Sanderson returned from the Boer war, Firth hosted a welcome home function.

Both Mr and Mrs Firth were strong supporters

of the Forest and Bird Society, and Sanderson, with Firth attending the initial public meeting in 1923 and giving an address, How our mountains, lakes and birds represent New Zealand in all its scenic beauty and glory and how every New Zealander should cultivate a regard and respect for those things which made our native land what it was and is

Firth also took an active part in the saving of Kapiti Island sanctuary which had earlier fallen into a deplorable state due to mismanagement. Later, Firth edited the Society’s magazine with many congratulatory references to the high tone of matter in the publication. Firth died in 1931 and when Mrs Firth died in 1939 she left a bequest of £100 in her will to the Forest and Bird Society.

Val Sanderson remained President of the Society up until his death in 1945.


1853 Deed of Endowment of Wellington College given by Governor, Sir George Grey on 17 October [aka Foundation Day].

1873 The Seal of the College and the Motto; Lumen Accipe Et Imperti was adopted by the Board of Governors.

1883 ▶ First mention of Annual Swimming Sports at Te Aro Baths.

▶ First Rugby Match against Christ's College.

1903 The staff consisted of JP Firth and twelve assistant masters.

1913 Master, Charles Gifford was responsible for establishing Wellington College's observatory, which housed a fine 5½-inch equatorially mounted Zeiss refractor, used by many students over the years for serious astronomical observation.

1923 ▶ Foundation Stone of new school buildings laid by Governor General Lord Jellicoe. Additional buildings. Dormitory block, Kitchen block, Observatory and the Headmaster's House.

▶ School Choir formed.

1933 Inaugural Travel Club Meeting

1943 ▶ E N Hogben appointed as Headmaster.

▶ Visit by General Freyberg who duly awarded the school a full holiday

1953 Revival of the Debating Society.

1963 ▶ Construction of the Old Boys' Gymnasium begins.

▶ Ken Gray and Ralph Caulton (both Class of 1954), both prominent members of the 1963 All Blacks overseas tour visited the College prior to their departure.

▶ Death of Old Boy, Lord Freyberg


▶ Large fire above the swimming pool destroys hundreds of newly planted trees.

▶ First assembly in the new Hall and the official opening of the new buildings by Governor General and Old Boy, Sir Denis Blundell.

1983 ▶ Lake Taupo Swim and Cook Strait Relay completed by students.

▶ Concert Band inaugurated.

▶ Prime Minister, Rt Hon. Robert Muldoon turns the first sod to inaugurate the building project of Sports and Arts Centre.


▶ 7th Form Common Room has its official opening.

▶ College Mothers' Uniform Shop becomes a business.

2003 ▶ The opening of the Girvan Library, a great tribute to Gary Girvan, our much revered former Deputy Headmaster.

▶ Level 2 of NCEA is introduced.

▶ New ceiling to floor glass Atrium opens adjacent to the Hall.

2013 Opening of the Frank Crist Sports Centre

1853 1913 1923 1943 1963 1963 1973 1983 1983 2003 2013



Thirteen Old Boys flew operationally with the RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain, 10 July to 31 October 1940. Only five survived the end of WWII. Research: Mike Pallin, Archivist.


FORCE by Peter Taylor. Hurricanes of 257 Squadron attack a large force of Heinkel 111 and Dornier 17 bombers over London on 15 September 1940.

Richard Walter Brookman

WC: 1929 - 1930

Sergeant, Observer, 235 Squadron, a Blenheim Squadron which flew in support of fighter command during the Battle of Britain, escorting convoys, reconnaissance’s and airsea rescues. On 22 February 1941, after attacking a German aircraft, Brookman’s plane was seen to crash into the sea. All members of the crew were listed as missing and were later presumed killed on 22 February 1941, aged 28.

Charles Roy Bush

WC: 1932 - 1935

Pilot Officer, Pilot, 242 Squadron. During September 1940, flying hurricanes, Bush attacked, damaged or destroyed several German aircraft including an Me 109 that dived on him from behind. Going into a spin and dive Bush managed to come behind the German, firing till the aircraft broke up and crashed into the sea. Bush continued the war with several squadrons, receiving the DFC in 1941. Roy Bush was killed in 1948 when carrying out photographic reconnaissance in the Gisborne area and his Oxford aircraft crashed in the Ruahines.

Wilfred Greville Clouston

WC: 1929 - 1931

Flight Lieutenant, Pilot, 19 Squadron. Flying spitfires during the Battle of Britain, Clouston was involved in the destruction of around 14 German aircraft. He was awarded the DFC in June 1940. Clouston continued with the RAF, then in command of 488 (New Zealand) Squadron and posted to Singapore. He was captured when the Japanese occupied Singapore and spent the rest of the war as a prisoner. Released in 1945, Clouston continued with the RAF retiring in 1957. He returned to New Zealand, taking up farming. He died in 1980.

Alan Antill Gawith

WC: 1929 – 1931

Pilot Officer, Pilot, 23 Squadron.

In 1939, 23 was equipped with Blenheim 1fs and became increasingly used in its night-fighter role. On the night of 11 October, Gawith damaged a Ju 88 but its destruction was never confirmed. In 1941, with an all New Zealand crew, they had several successful sorties over German airfields and infrastructure in France. He was awarded the DFC in May, 1941. After the war, Gawith returned to New Zealand joining the family firm of solicitors. He died in 2013.

Patrick Wilmot Horton

WC: 1934 - 1935

Pilot Officer, Pilot, 234 Squadron. 234 was re-equipped with Spitfires in March 1940 and shot down several German aircraft through to September. He then volunteered for service in the Middle East. He was one of twelve Hurricane pilots, on 17 September 1941, to take off from the aircraft carrier HMS Argus to reinforce Malta, led by two Skuas. Only one Skua and four Hurricanes arrived, all practically out of fuel. Pat Horton was one of those lost. Died 17 November 1940, aged 20.

John Richard Kemp

WC: 1930 - 1932

Pilot Officer, Pilot, 141 Squadron. 141 was re-equipped with Defiant two-seater aircraft in June,1940. On 19 July nine aircraft took off to carry out an offensive patrol. They were surprised by a superior force of Me 109s and in less than a minute, four Defiants were shot down into the sea, including Kemp. Only two Defiants made it back to their base. Kemp’s body was never found. Died 19 July 1940, aged 26.

Donald Carr MacKenzie

WC: 1936 - 1937

Pilot Officer, Pilot, 56 Squadron. MacKenzie joined 56 in September 1940. In 1941, he had taken part in 23 interception patrol with 56 and was credited with the destruction of an Me 109. In 1942, he was a test pilot for Rolls Royce, flying many types of aircraft including jet propulsion tests. In 1943, he was appointed Flight Commander flying Lancasters. On 11 June 1943, his flight failed to return from an attack on Düsseldorf. It was subsequently learned they had been buried at Rheinberg Military Cemetery. In July 1943, Donald MacKenzie was awarded the DFC. Died 12 June 1943, aged 22.

Harold Leslie North

WC: 1935 - 1936

Pilot Officer, Pilot, 43 Squadron. Flying Hurricanes, during July 1940, 43 fought over the Channel by day and patrols by night. On August 18, twelve Hurricanes intercepted 28 Ju 87s. North claimed one destroyed and one probable. North saw action eight days later acting several aircraft but was hit by a cannon shell and bailed out, wounded. North continued successfully with in 1941

and 42 with 457 Squadron Spitfires. On 1 May, he was last seen diving on enemy aircraft but was not seen again. An award of the DFC was made to him in June 1942. Died 1 May 1942, aged 23.

John Sinclair Priestley

WC: 1927 – 1930

Pilot Officer, Pilot, 235 Squadron. Priestley joined 235 on 18 August 1940, flying his first sorties on minesweeper escort. On 30 August, he took off in on a training flight. The aircraft went into a sustained spin and crashed at Barwick farm. Priestley and his passenger were killed. Died 30 August 1940, aged 27.

Colin Campbell Pyne

WC: 1936 – 1938

Sergeant, Air Gunner, 219 Squadron. Pyne joined 219 on 5 July 1940 flying in Blenheims on night patrols and convoy escorts. In September 1940, 219 received Beaufighters. On 17 February, Squadron Leader Little with Pyne as air gunner shot down a Do 17 over London. Later Pyne joined 157 Squadron flying the first fully operational Mosquitos. He was promoted to Warrant Officer 1 April 1942. In September, he was badly injured when he was knocked off his bicycle. He was repatriated to New Zealand. He died in 1975.

Charles Stewart

WC: 1930 – 1934

Pilot Officer, Pilot, 54 and 22 Squadrons. Two days after joining 54 Squadron on 22 August 1940, he was shot down by a Me 109 and baled out. He was eventually rescued from the English Channel. He was then posted to 222 Squadron flying Spitfires over the Thames Estuary in the closing stages of the Battle of Britain. In 1941, Stewart joined 485 (NZ) Squadron again flying Spitfires. On 11 July 1941, he was last seen after being attacked by Me 109s. He was lost on his fortieth operational sortie with 485 Squadron. Died 11 July 1941, aged 24.

Kenneth William Tait

WC: 1933 – 1936

Flying Officer, Pilot, 87 Squadron. Tait was flying with 87 at the outbreak of war as part of the British Expeditionary Force destroying several German aircraft. When 87 Squadron was moved to Exeter in July 1940, Tait destroyed several German aircraft. He was awarded the DFC in February 1941, being credited with at least six enemy aircraft destroyed. Tait was lost without trace during an operational flight over the North Sea on 4 August 1941, aged 22.

Douglas Mitchell Whitney

WC: 1927 – 1930

Pilot Officer, Pilot, 245 Squadron. Whitney joined 245 Squadron on 28 September 1940 flying Hurricanes. They flew convoy patrols for the defence of Belfast. He then volunteered for overseas. He had numerous attachments from Egypt, Malta, and West Africa. Whitney eventually made his way back to New Zealand in 1943. Attachments to Woodbourne, Ohakea, Rongotai and Wigram followed until he was demobilised in 1945. He died in 1981.

NB: Alan left a bequest to the WCOBA to provide an annual scholarship for a current Wellington College student to attend Outward Bound. Principal Source: A Clasp For ‘The Few’ New Zealanders with the Battle of Britain Clasp. By Kenneth G Wynn



Since the 2022 Lampstand was issued, we are sad to report that the following Old Boys and Staff Members have passed away. The 2023 Lampstand will include an obituary for those for whom family and friends have provided one. Two Old Boys though have been singled out for this eNewsletter ��. If you wish to contribute an obituary, please get in touch with us at oldboys@wc.school.nz The WCOBA Community extends their condolences to family and friends of those listed below

Class of 1940

�� MUDGWAY, Douglas James

1923 - 2022 Late of California

Wellington College 1936 - 1940

Class of 1944

COAD, Thomas Wilfred (Tom)

1926 - 2023 Late of Bay of Plenty

Wellington College: 1940 - 1942

Class of 1947

BREWERTON, Hugh Victor

1929 - 2023 Late of Kapiti

Wellington College: 1943 - 1946

PURDIE, Bruce Laidlaw

1929 - 2023 Late of Wellington

Wellington College: 1943 - 1947

Class of 1948

ADAMS, Moxhay Gower

1931 - 2022 Late of Bay of Plenty

Wellington College: 1944 - 1948

GRAHAM, Jack Wilson

1930 - 2022 Late of Canterbury

Wellington College: 1944 - 1947

KLUGER, Rolf Rafael

1931 - 2023 Late of Wellington

Wellington College: 1944 - 1946

STEWART, Henry Blair

1930 - 2023 Late of Hawke’s Bay

Wellington College: 1944 - 1947

Class of 1949

HOLYOAKE, Noel Victor

1931 - 2023 Late of Auckland

Wellington College: 1946 - 1948

STOCKMAN, John David Hosking

1931 - 2023 Late of Wellington

Wellington College: 1945 - 1946

Class of 1952

HILL, Bernard York

1934 - 2023 Late of Wellington

Wellington College: 1948 - 1952

Class of 1953

FRANCIS, Donald Leroy

1936 - 2023 Late of Auckland

Wellington College: 1949 - 1953

GEORGE, Stanley Anthony

1936 - 2023 Late of Wellington

Wellington College: 1949 - 1953

Prefect, 1st XI Cricket 1953, 1st XI Football 1949-1950

Class of 1956

BURGESS, Jeffery Charles

1938 - 2023 Late of Taranaki

Wellington College: 1953 - 1955

TOON, William David (Bill)

1937 - 2023 Late of Horowhenua

Wellington College: 1952 - 1952

Class of 1958

LAHMAN, Brian Frederick

1940 - 2022 Late of Horowhenua

Wellington College: 1954 - 1956


1940 - 2023 Late of Wellington

Wellington College: 1954 - 1957

Class of 1959

EDWARDS, John Garth

1941 - 2023 Late of Nelson

Wellington College: 1955 - 1959 1st XV 1959

Class of 1961

MITCHELL, Robert Alan Stewart (Rob)

1944 - 2023 Late of Victoria

Wellington College: 1957 - 1961 Firth House

RIMMER, Richard Lloyd (Rick)

1943 - 2023 Late of Bay of Plenty

Wellington College: 1959 - 1961

�� ROPER, Gilbert Howard

1943 - 2023 Late of Wellington

Wellington College: 1959 - 1961

Prefect 1960, Head Prefect 1961, 1st XV 1959-1961, Staff Member

Class of 1962

PAINE, Niven Charles

1944 - 2023 Late of Nelson

Wellington College: 1958 - 1962

Prefect, 1st XI Football 1961-1962

Class of 1963

McLAUCHLAN, Ian McKenzie

1946 - 2023 Late of Hawke's Bay

Wellington College: 1959 - 1963 (Ian sadly died after being caught in floodwater during Cyclone Gabrielle).

SWEET, Geoffrey Wallace

1944 - 2022 Late of Wellington

Wellington College: 1959 - 1961

Class of 1964

LEVY, Adrian Louis

1946 - 2023 Late of Wellington

Wellington College: 1964 - 1964

SMITH, Graeme John

1947 - 2023 Late of Auckland

Wellington College: 1960 - 1961

Class of 1965


1947 - 2022 Late of Northland

Wellington College: 1961 - 1964

Class of 1968

FROST, Joseph Thomas (Joe)

1951 - 2023 Late of Manawatu

Wellington College 1964 - 1968

1st XI Football

Class of 1969

ZOHRAB, John Douglas

1953 - 2022 Late of Wellington

Wellington College: 1965 - 1969

Firth House, Prefect, Senior A Basketball

Class of 1971


1953 - 2022 Late of Northland

Wellington College: 1968 - 1972

1st XV 1971

Class of 1973

HOBBS, Peter Murray

1956 - 2023 Late of Hawke's Bay

Wellington College: 1969 - 1974

Firth House, 1st XV 1973

Class of 1982

RITCHIE, Michael Duthie (Mike)

1965 - 2023 Late of New South Wales

Wellington College: 1978 - 1982

Class of 2006

MINNEE, Thomas Christiaan

1989 - 2023 Late of Auckland

Wellington College: 2002 - 2005


BIRD, Patricia

Late of Wellington

Wellington College: 1986 - 2003

Taught Science and Biology. Convenor of Wellington College Waterpolo

FARLAND, Bruce Hill

1934 - 2023 Late of Wellington

Wellington College: 1966 - 1999

HOD History


WCOBSERVER Eulogy: gil roper


It is my very real privilege this morning to speak about Gil’s significant association with Wellington College, both as a student in the 1960s and more recently, as a deeply respected and much loved member of staff.

Gil was my friend and colleague from his appointment in 2007 until my retirement. Both my predecessor, Harvey Rees-Thomas and my successor, Gregor Fountain have paid tribute to Gil who was equally their friend and colleague.

Gil was humility personified but many here today will be unaware of his stellar record as a student. He had the distinct honour of being chosen as a Prefect in Y12, and subsequently being selected the following year as the College’s Head Prefect in 1961. He was a fine sportsman and was in the 1st XV for three years. Gil was equally passionate about music. Had a fine baritone voice and gave a solo performance at his final assembly.

As many of his friends here today will attest, this talent foreshadowed a lifetime love of and involvement in music. Those sporting and cultural interests, complemented by his academic ability and deep concern for others, made him a great role model for the other young men of the College. The qualities Gil exhibited so demonstrably at school, underpinned by his deep Christian faith, laid the firm foundation for his subsequent success in his professional life as a teacher.

Now it’s not within my strict brief to speak beyond the Wellington College years, but I am going to bend the rules just a bit. You see, Gil’s first teaching position was at Tawa College. The Principal was Eric Flaws, former legendary teacher of Wellington

College and Gil’s Head of Science was none other than my esteemed predecessor, Harvey Rees-Thomas, who greatly regrets he could not come down from Taupo today to honour Gil. Not only did they become great mates –Harvey organised Gil’s stag party in the basement of the Rees-Thomas family home and was then groomsman at Gil and Helen’s wedding.

Fast forward about 45 years to 2007. Gil had just retired from a very successful career at NZQA. I knew him by reputation and had met him through the Wellington College Old Boys’ Association. He made an appointment to see me and, in his self-effacing manner said Roger, now that I’m retired, I’d love to give back to my old school. Is there any way in which I could be of help? Truly, it was like manna from Heaven!

There were all sorts of administrative tasks which Headmaster, Senior Management, Heads of Department, support staff and teachers were neither particularly keen to do or not adept at completing – irksome, bureaucratic returns for the Ministry of Education, ERO, NZQA and the Teacher’s Council. The writing, or at least proof reading

▲ Gil, on one of his visits to the Archives.

◀ With 2021 Head Prefect, Will Chandler and

▶ With 2022 Head Prefect, Harry Zangouropoulos

of annual reports for Heads of Department, the writing of testimonials for an ever increasing number of school leavers, the editing of the Wellingtonian, The Lampstand and The Collegian. Thus the unique position of 'Systems Advisor' was born, a position which Gil fulfilled with complete professional aplomb.

The title may bear some resemblance to the Minister of Administrative Affairs, a position occupied so memorably by the bumbling, Honourable James Hacker in the timeless satirical comedy, Yes Minister. However, while Hacker was often shambolic and easily duped by the wonderfully Machiavellian Sir Humphrey, Gil was the epitome of wisdom and common-sense. The advice he gave was always sincere, intelligent, affirming and gracious. In short, Gil’s appointment was one of the smartest I have ever made.

He was loved and respected universally by teaching staff, support staff and students alike. Many are here today to celebrate his life and to mourn his loss. Numerous Head Prefects, successors to the Head Prefect of 1961, were deeply grateful to Gil, for helping them prepare their valedictory speeches at Prizegiving. Others simply valued a wise word of personal advice. There are many glowing comments made about Gil on the Old Boys’ Facebook Page, but one stands out for me from a former student: I’d like to honour this man. Without him, I would not have made it through NCEA during a difficult time in my life, and he was one of the first men I trusted for some time and it breaks my heart to hear he has passed on. What an accolade!

Gil tackled every task he was given with enthusiasm and grace, and always went beyond the call of duty.

It was he who instigated the planting of the foliage around the Alan Gibbs Centre and in Steph Kane’s words,

Continues on the next page.

The Eulogy given at Gil's Funeral Service by former Headmaster, Roger Moses.

coordinated the delivery and layout of each and every plant that now flourish so verdantly around the building. It was also Gil who filled in so efficiently as Gregor Fountain’s temporary EA and continued to write references and other documents after he had officially finished in 2020.

But friends, it was not so much Gil’s ability to complete so many tasks that was impressive but rather his character, who he was. Gil walked the talk. His Christian faith and love for others was demonstrated not just in what he said, but rather in what he did. The Wellington College motto says Lumen Accipe et imperti, receive the light and pass it on. His great school friend and subsequent colleague at both Tawa College and Wellington College, Ernie Rosenthal said this: A wonderful


colleague, a lifelong friend and someone who has made a very big contribution to education, the wider community and to a variety of causes. One of the world’s great gentlemen. He most certainly accepted the light and passed it on.

Gil’s lifelong faith was in the risen Saviour. I can think of no more appropriate way to commend Gil than quote the words of St Paul to Timothy, written near the end of his life. I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth, there is laid up for me, the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge will award to me on that day

Well done Gil. You have truly been a good and faithful servant.

Editor's Note: Aside from meeting up at WCOBA Events, I didn't really get to know Gil until we began working together in 2007, right up to late last year with the 2022 Lampstand. Gil was my Saviour when it came to him proof-reading the school's and OBA publications, as well as other communications. It is thanks to him that each publication was issued with minimal errors (which were mine). Each time a project was required to be proofed, I would visit his and Helen's home and first walk around their most extensive garden and take in the flower and fauna flourishing among winding paths and levels, and leave, not only with the corrected work but cuttings from various plants for my own garden

Gil was such a proud Old Boy and would be the first to RSVP to an event or meeting, and more recently coordinating his Class of 1961 reunion.

Rest in peace, Gil. You are sorely missed.

▲ The students who performed the school Haka at Gil's funeral stand surround the plaque (above right) acknowledging Gil's work in establishing the garden surrounding the Alan Gibbs Centre. ▲ Wellington College, 1923 with the full school standing to attention in their Cadet Uniforms in preparation for Barrack's Week. The construction of Firth House (where the Renouf Sports Centre is now located) is just beginning, but the Headmaster's House and the Cricket Pavilion have yet to begin.



Douglas Mudgway (Class of 1940) passed away on 20 December, 2022 at the age of 99 in Sonoma, California, USA. He was born in Auckland, in 1923. At an early age, his family moved to Kaitaia where he received his primary school education. In 1933, his family moved to Upper Hutt to take advantage of higher- level education opportunities.

In 1936, Douglas enrolled at Wellington College where, for the four years he evinced an outstanding aptitude for Science and Mathematics. In 1940, he began a Bachelor of Science degree in those subjects at Victoria University.

This course which emphasised Radio Physics was intended to prepare students for technical military service after graduation. By the time of his graduation, WWII was drawing to a close and shortly thereafter, Douglas joined the NZ Department of Scientific and Industrial Research at the Dominion Physical Laboratory (DPL) in Lower Hutt as a physicist engaged on radar development for peacetime applications.

In 1948, he was transferred to the Australian Department of Supply to work as a scientific officer on radar instrumentation for the Woomera rocket test range in central Australia, dividing his time between laboratories there and in England at the Royal Aircraft Establishment.

Prior to departing for Australia, Douglas married Dudleigh Victoria Houston, from Wellington. Together they started a family in Australia, all of whom later became US citizens.

In 1962, he accepted a job offer as a development engineer at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory center

of (NASA/JPL) in Pasadena, California and moved to United States with his family in 1962 to join the NASA/JPL program for Exploration of the Solar System.

On arriving at JPL, he was astonished to be greeted by the Director who, like himself, turned out to be a former student of Wellington College. His name was Dr William Pickering. At NASA/JPL, Douglas was the Manager for Deep Space Tracking and Data Acquisition of the Surveyor Moon landing spacecraft (1966), the Viking Mars Landers (1976), and for the Galileo Mission to Jupiter from its inception in 1978, until his retirement in 1991.

He was awarded the NASA Exceptional Service Medal for his work on Viking in 1978, and in 1991, he received a second award, the Exceptional Achievement Medal for his contribution to the Galileo mission.

He retired to live in the Sonoma Valley, California wine country Douglas continued to be involved with the NASA Space Program as an independent consultant in the field of planetary data communications, and to write extensively on his lifelong association with the United States space program of planetary exploration.

published by NASA in April, 2002, and, Big Dish; Building America’s Deep Space Connection to the Planets, was published in March 2005 by University Press of Florida.

Douglas' book on Deep Space, a biography of deep space pioneer, William H. Pickering, former director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California was published by the NASA History Office in December 2007.

In 2008, Pickering was selected by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics for its annual award for the best history manuscript dealing with the impact of space technology or science on society. Through the generosity of the NZ Institute of Professional Engineers, copies of this book were purchased and distributed to all the high school libraries in New Zealand in recognition of New Zealand's most distinguished space pioneer.

▲ Douglas visited Wellington College in 2009 to launch his book 'William H Pickering - America's Deep Space Pioneer'. He and Roger Moses stand in front of the Scholarship Boards to highlight Dr Pickering as a recipient.

Douglas is the author of two recent books on the history of deep space technology: Uplink-Downlink; A History of the NASA Deep Space Network from 1957 to 1997, was

He also wrote, Where Are You From, Originally?, a book describing Douglas' personal journey from the far North of New Zealand to the high-tech field of space exploration at NASA, which was published in the US in 2010.

Douglas passed away peacefully in Sonoma, California, USA on 20 December, 2022. He is survived by his three adult children and their spouses, seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren.


Old boys' news and feedback


With the recent Coronation of King Charles III, it seems timely reproduce an article from the 2020 Lampstand on Wellington College's Coronation Oak.

In 1937, oak tree seedlings grown from acorns from Windsor Great Park, England were distributed to New Zealand Schools to commemorate the Coronation of George VI.


The last Reunion for 2022 took place in December (after the 2022 Lampstand had gone to print), with the Class of 1992 assembling for their 30 Years On Reunion. A great effort from Serge van Dam and Sam Buckle in tracking classmates down and encouraging them to return, saw around 80 of the cohort back together again.

Members from the Cohort met at the College for a tour of the school, escorted by Archivist, Mike Pallin and Steph Kane, after being welcomed by Headmaster, Glen Denham.

The 1992ers then gathered in town for a long night of reminiscing. Thanks, Serge and Sam, and the 1992 cohort for coming back and reconnecting.

That was the end of the 2022 Reunion Programmeseven in total. We are now planning the Reunions for 1963, 73, 83, 93, 03... Please get in touch if you can help track down classmates.


Holiday in New Zealand from England, retired Orthopaedic Surgeon, Bob Pringle (1954 DUX) called into Wellington College and enjoyed a tour of the school and a visit to the Archives. Bob has recently written a book on his late Uncle, Alexander 'Nugget' Pringle called The Unluckiest All Black. Bob also donated an original copy of a class magazine, J Force compiled by members of 4A, 1951.

The Wellingtonian of 1937 reported: May 31... a Coronation Oak was planted to commemorate the accession to the throne of George VI. The ‘oldest boy’, Mr Brodie officiating.

There is currently only one oak tree on the College site, on the lawn in front of what was the Headmaster’s house. Study of aerial photos from the 1940s show a young tree growing on that site through to a large tree in recent photographs. While other oak trees had been planted in subsequent years these were all removed to make way for buildings.

The Oak still stands in the front lawn of the Archives, but will we see another Coronation Tree planted to acknowledge King Charles III? It remains to be seen, but we envisage in this day and age, it would be a native tree.


The mid-February day dawned fine but overcast for the Wellington College 1st XIs match against the Wellington Wanderers. Thanks to Jeremy Dean (Class of 2003) who coordinated the match.

The two teams play annually for the Roger Moses Cup, and the former highly esteemed Headmaster of the school was on hand to watch the match and present the cup to the winners at the end.

The Wanderers won the crucial toss and elected to bat. Old Boy Sam French (CO 2003) set the scene for the Wanderers and batted superbly to end up on 90 in their score of 218 from their 40 overs.

This normally would have been a target for the 1st XI batting line up but not one player in the top five lasted more than ten balls. It was a tough 65 run loss for the College. Congratulations to Wellington Wanderers for retaining the Roger Moses Cup – we look forward to another tight contest next year.



Old boys' news and feedback


Ninety-two years ago, in 1931, Wellington College provided a temporary home for a group of boys from Napier Boys’ High School Boarding Hostel following the earthquake on 3 February.

As we all know, in February, Hawke's Bay was devastated by Cyclone Gabrielle. Napier Boys’ High School suffered badly and thus, Wellington College Students held a Mufti Day with $8,000 raised and donated to NBHS to assist the school as they re-establish themselves, Our wider community also held a ‘Fill the Bus’ Day, assembling donated goods that were delivered to the Hawke's Bay Rescue Operations.

WCOBA President, Ted Thomas received a call from Old Boy, Grant Bundle (Class of 2003). Grant is a teacher and Housemaster at NBHS and they discussed the issues that displaced NBHS students are now facing, particularly in the Boarding House. Grant asked if the Wellington College Old Boy Community might be able to assist by making a donation to support the boys in Scinde House [NBHS Boarding Hostel].

Scinde House has been operating since 1926 and serves a diverse community that covers much of the East Coast from Pōrangahau in the south, to Matawai and Tolaga Bay in the north. The boys who attend the hostel from this wide region are primarily from families


The College's International Director, Mike Ellett was in Bangkok to showcase Wellington College to prospective new International Students. While he was there, he had the pleasure of catching up with Yuttachat Boonyarat (Class of 1969) at the Education Fair in Bangkok.

Affectionately known as Chat, he talked

from agricultural or horticultural backgrounds. Several students have not yet seen their families since the cyclone. The damage to roads has meant that students who would normally travel to and from school by bus most weeks, have either been isolated at home and have not returned to the hostel.

Likewise, there are students who have not been able to return home [if it’s still standing] or who have lost everything when the floods swept through their homes. Grant said that there is a clear need for help for the students who have been displaced because of Cyclone Gabrielle.

The WCOBA Executive reached out to our Old Boy Community, to ask for support by donating to the NBHS Scinde House students.

Running for just a week, donations totalled almost $9,000 and it was a pleasure a few weeks ago to present Grant with the 'cheque' to take home to assist those boarders in need.

Subsequently, the Head Prefect of Scinde House, Cameron Brans responded to your support be sending us a video of thanks on behalf of the boys and which you can view HERE.

We appreciate those who gave to help these young men out in a time of need.

about his experiences at Wellington College and the masters and students in the 1968 Firth House photo he also brought along.

Chat came along to the Fair knowing that Wellington College would be present. It was great he brought the photo along to show Mike. Chat asked us all to look after his old school and he encourages us all to visit him if you find yourself in Bangkok.

▲ The boys of Scinde House Ted Thomas (L) with Grant Bundle. ▲ Cameron Brans gives thanks.

WCOBSERVER Old boys' news and feedback


Robt Mann ( Class of 1958) shares his memories of a triumphant 1st XI Hockey team.

Many Old Boys, unfamiliar with the sport of Hockey will be unaware that Christchurch Boys' High School was the power in the land of that game. For many decades, the Wellington College XI played them in an annual match (alternating venue between the two cities), not often winning. In 1958, we won 3 - 2 owing partly to the dour defence by the scholarship sub-team, Duncan Morrison (Left-Back) and yours truly (Left-Half) and the excellent Bruce Wilson in goal.

Three decades ago, the speaker for the WCOB annual dinner in Auckland was the multiply-retired staff member, Robert Bradley who had been, among many achievements, for decades, the Coach of the 1st XI Hockey.

Spellbound Old Boys hung on his every word, in a long speech. Afterwards, a queue formed to speak with him. I went away for a couple more beers with the Blackburn brothers. When the queue had dissipated, I advanced across the floor toward the fabled Equine One. When he recognised me at a distance, a subtle but undeniable smile emerged on his features (an unprecedented event at which I felt very flattered). As I drew nigh, without any preliminaries, I said do you remember, in '58 we beat Christchurch Boys High?. He immediately responded yes – and it didn't happen again for thirty years.

I have recounted this exchange to many, but never imagined anyone else would. Now I learn that, in 1982, sons of the captains of that historic match were in Bradley's form, and he repeatedly recounted this exchange to them.


Two years ago, the inaugural reunion for WCOBs in Western Australia was held in Perth in February. Twenty Old Boys attended and it was deemed a great success. Because our oldest WCOB in WA , Olstan Whitehead (Class of 1947) was unable to attend this reunion, a few weeks later a small group of us met with him and his wife for lunch at Murphy’s Irish Pub in Mandurah, a seaside location one hour south of Perth.

An attempt to hold second events in 2022 were thwarted by shut-downs occasioned by Covid restrictions. With restrictions lifting by the end of 2022, plans were initiated for the holding of a second Reunion in early 2023.

After several changes in venues and a change of dates, which, no doubt, contributed to the low acceptance rate, the Reunion was finally held at the Seasonal Brewing Co., Maylands on 25 February. It was attended by five Old Boys; Max McKay (Class of 1953), Ken Houston and Hugh Cromie (both Class of 1965), Alan Jenkins (Class of 1968) and Rick (Mac) McAllister (Class of 1970). This small number had the side benefit that we could all have more in-depth discussions relating to our various experiences of living and working in WA and also the journeys in getting to live here. Unfortunately no photo was taken at this event, an omission to be rectified next time.

1st XI HOCKEY 1958

Standing: R. Cochrane, R. B. Jeffs, D. Morrison, L. R. B. Mann, B. R. Wilson, R. J. Mills, M. R. Fowler.

Sitting: R. J. T. Ellis, D. W. Thompson (Captain), Mr. R. Bradley (Coach), B. R. Melville (Vice-Captain), J. C. Langdale.

In Front: J. S. Hosie, L. G. Dyne.

A week later a group of us again met up with Olstan Whitehead and his wife, again at Murphy’s Irish Pub in Mandurah. This was attended by Olstan and Joy, Barry Green (Class of 1959), Julian Levy (Class of 1965) and his wife Susan, Hugh Cromie (Class of 1965) and his wife Eileen and Jeremy Hay (Class of 1978) and his wife Anne. Once again the lunch was very convivial with catching up from our first meeting very interesting.

Back: Hugh Cromie, Joy Whitehead, Eric Olstan Whitehead, Barry Green, Anne Hay, Jeremy Hay, Julian Levy. Front: Eileen Cromie, Susan Levy

Old boys' news and feedback


It starts with a chat to a mysterious stranger at a beach bar in Mexico - and leads to a big case of mistaken identity thanks to a fedora with a faded pink feather. Old Boy, Nick Davies (Class of 2009) has just released a new book, a piece of sunset noir, set in the dangerous world of Latin-American espionage. His lead character, Lou Galloway, is a failed actor who ends up having to nail the role of a lifetime - because his life depends on it.

Nick was recently interviewed by STUFF

You bought a ticket to Colombia to research this book. Tell us about that.

I had never been before, but at the time I had a great interest in Colombia, in the mountainous, jungle-clad landscapes, the coffee, the history of resilience, the magical realism. I think that ultimately served as the genesis for the story as I thought it would be the perfect setting for a lost, disillusioned dreamer who is thrown into a world unlike anything he'd ever experienced.

How did that experience serve your writing?

There were many layers to the whole ride. Colombia and Mexico are characters themselves that speak profoundly to the senses, to the emotions. There is so much that uplifts, yet much that breaks your heart. All the incredible things these nations gift to the world - the music, the dances, the food, the storytelling - are found in abundance, while constantly hovering over their lives is corruption, violence, crime, and poverty that the people are forced to weave around, while still making the best out of every day on earth.

It served my writing by allowing me to have a base inspiration for every scene in which [character] Lou Galloway encounters. Every cobblestone street, back-alley coffee shop, jungle-hidden salsa bar, and Mexican-hacienda wedding, was based on something I witnessed first-hand, and it made the writing process an unforgettable journey that will forever have been a privilege.

These places told a greater story to me than I could ever tell to the world. But nonetheless, I made an attempt, and El Flamingo is the result.

What is sunset noir'?

Sunset-noir refers to the sub-genre that El Flamingo falls into. Maybe it’s the first of its kind. It is set against a backdrop that contains elements of noir that form a character-driven mystery thriller, while evoking more escapism, more colour, more humour, more adventure than your standard mystery or thriller.

I guess I’m an emotional person, and it seems the world of fiction is passing through a time of heavy-hitting, dense, dark narratives. These certainly have their place and are often imperative to society, but I personally wanted to write the kind of book that you could read on a plane or on a beach that would bring an immediate escape. That's the reason I pick up a book.

There is definitely humour, in the way that a first-person narration lends itself to. If I tried to write a stone-faced, totallyserious tale that follows a failed actor being mistaken for a rogue assassin named "El Flamingo", I think I would

surely get laughed out of town by the entire literary world.

After living with this character in your imagination for so long, how does it feel for it to be (soon) out in the world?

Exciting, surreal, and downright weird. For about five years Lou Galloway was this imaginary dude I sat around yarning with at all hours, like some kind of a madman. It's like having an imaginary friend who is suddenly about to (hopefully) be envisioned by a bunch of other people, and that's a little nerveracking. It’ll be interesting to see how he and his wild universe are received.

Plans for another book?

I have ideas, but they will take some time to make their way onto a page. I personally work slowly, and it takes a good year or two of purely just living, learning, and imagining before a narrative starts to carve itself out.

Share your news with the WCOBA. oldboys@ wc.school.nz



Old boys' news and feedback


The movie Red, White and Brass, based on a true story of how a group of Tongan fans formed a brass band to get tickets to a Rugby World Cup match, and was released in March.

He was bad. The idea was crazy. But he pulled it off. As new movie Red, White and Brass was released in March, STUFF discovered the fantastic true story behind the film, and how a Tongan church group formed a marching band to get into a World Cup rugby match.

When it came to being naughty at church, Halaifonua (Nua) Finau (Class of 2002) was in a class of his own. Running around, being smart, skipping services, he racked up any number of misdemeanours each Sunday – baptised but bad ass. He wasn’t a bit of a rascal, says his mother, Valeti, he was a rascal, But he was a cute kid, so he got away with so much. All the aunties and uncles said there has never been a kid as misbehaved as Nua, remembers his older brother, Lupeti (Class of 1998).

The brothers were part of the Tongan community attending Wellington’s Wesley Church, where their father, Tevita, was a minister.

In 2011, with the Rugby World Cup looming, Wellington’s council approached Tevita about finding pre-match entertainment for the Tonga vs France match. The church had a fledgling brass band, which accompanied the congregation during hymns. They’d borrowed instruments from the Tawa Boys’ Brigade, and used a Tongan in town on a music scholarship to teach them absolute basics.

But somehow an idea emerged of creating a marching band that could play and parade before the big match, which was just a couple of months away. I was amazed the thought even came up, recalls Lupeti. It was a crazy idea. But there was powerful motivation. It was free tickets, says Nua. We’d do anything. Getting to the match had been virtually impossible until then. A lucky few had succeeded in a ticket ballot, but even

then, prices were hefty.

So when his father suggested Nua might like to reacquaint himself with the church, and be the new band’s drum major, Nua realised he’d been thrown a lifeline to see his beloved Tongan team play at the World Cup.

It wasn’t that simple, though. I went to the first practice, and I was like, ‘this sucks’.I was practising with a mop, and I thought, ‘this is really, really dumb’, and we were marching up and down the hall in literally straight lines. The music was terrible too, he reckoned. I was just like, I can’t believe we’re going to go out and perform this in front of the world.

Nua had studied dance, and performed around the world, so gradually tried changing up the band’s routine, while styling his own moves with the drum major’s mace. But what he possessed in natural skill, he lacked in commitment. He skived off most practices. At a crucial dress rehearsal, he simply didn't show up, leaving his parents and brother furious, and someone else to hastily fill his role. Nua didn’t turn up to the next rehearsal either. I was real bad. I was like, I’m only doing the World Cup, and get my ticket – and then I’m out.

Ladies and gentlemen, the announcer boomed across Wellington’s regional stadium, please welcome to the forefield today, Wesley Wellington Taulanga Ū Brass. And out of the tunnel marched the red and white band, Nua at the front, 30 band members in loose step behind him.

It was October 1, 2011 and the sporting world was watching as the band formed up on the halfway line. When Nua turned to face them and command the band to get ready, he suddenly realised what it meant to everyone. I saw them crying, nervous, fear, excitement. And that’s when I realised how special it was to be Tongan. Staring back at him was his brother Lupeti, tuba in hand.

Nua led them through the next six minutes of a medley of mace-twirling, dancing, and lung-sapping renditions of everything from Joy to the World, to Pōkarekare Ana. It was fun, full of highstepping and high jinks, brimful with what Tongans call māfana – passion, enthusiasm, go with your heart.

And what followed that, after the band slipped into their seats, was just as incredible, as Tonga upset France 19-14, in perhaps the country’s greatest sporting moment, cheered on by painted, flag-waving, heart-on-sleeve fans who’d fast become legends at the World Cup. For Nua, it was one of the best days of his life – 100%. I think if you could pinpoint a moment that made it all right to be Tongan, it was that moment.

Five years later, working in the film industry, Nua returned to the stadium, this time as a reluctant plus-one at the Edinburgh Tattoo show. But he was blown away by the performers, including Tongan musicians, and immediately began concocting a story in his head about a Tongan rugby player in Scotland, who returns to New Zealand to form a brass band, which he then takes to Edinburgh.

When he ran it past friend Danny Mulheron, an actor, writer and director, Mulheron asked where the idea came from. Nua mentioned his own experience, and told Mulheron how his church played at the World Cup. And he


WCOBSERVER Old boys' news and feedback


was like, Just tell the real story –that’s wild in itself.

After writing a script, Nua showed it to Piki Films (Jojo Rabbit, Hunt for the Wilderpeople) who leapt at the chance to put it on the big screen, along with executive producer Taika Waititi.

On Wellington’s waterfront, between sculptures and quotes, the first bars of Scribe’s Not Many rumble from a speaker. How many dudes you know roll like this/How many dudes you know flow like this/Not many, if any... And suddenly there are actors and a brass band moving and miming to it, big bass notes rolling seaward.

John-Paul Foliaki plays Maka, the character based on Nua. The pair met a few years previously when Foliaki was auditioning for Nua’s TV miniseries, The Panthers.

Foliaki says there are a lot of similarities between himself and Nua, both having a black sheep personality in their families, both being very determined to achieve their aims. And I know Nua wanted someone that had a deep understanding of what it means to be Tongan, and that love for Tonga. “I really wanted to make sure I did the role justice, and make him and his family proud.

Alongside a core ensemble of actors, many of Nua’s family and community had crucial roles in the movie. His brother Lupeti plays a character

based on several of their uncles. And perhaps the most remarkable casting decision was getting his parents to play cine-versions of themselves, as Maka’s mother and father.

His parents said they’re incredibly proud of the movie Nua has helped make, and the window it opens onto Tongan life and 'straight māfana'.

One of the joys of making Red, White and Brass was the chance for Nua to involve so many people who were part of the original story: his family; his church; the wider Wellington Tongan community; and the Taulanga Ū brass band which is still going strong. (Lupeti remains a member, along with his two sons. Nua only performed with the band that one time, and then that was it.)

When Nua first mentioned he was making a film about the band’s genesis, many thought it was bluff or bullshit. Even Lupeti doubted it was real until funding for the movie was announced. It was amazing to hear that this guy who could never get anything right, or would

always be causing havoc, had turned it into a film script.

Another thrill for Nua was filming on home ground around Wellington and Porirua: Tawa where he grew up and played rugby; Waitangirua Mall where he used to go to the flea market and buy pies; Wellington College where he went to school; Tītahi Bay where he lived for years. The hood, the streets, the hills that raised me.

Ever since that World Cup performance Nua has regarded being Tongan as his superpower in achieving his goals. One of the things I say to myself in all my work is, ‘I want to make being Tongan mean.’ Because that’s what that performance did for me – it reminded me how mean it is to be Tongan.

He screened the film for Tonga’s Queen and Crown Princess, an event that left him strangely shy and speechless. Like, I’ve met Prince Harry, and Prince William, and Kate, and I didn’t really think that was that cool. It was way better, for me, meeting our Queen.

When the film was released, Nua said he hoped it would bring smiles to everyone around the country, especially those who’ve been hard hit recently (from Cyclone Gabrielle). I think the events of the last few weeks and month have reminded a lot of us Kiwis that our communities are pretty special and important parts, especially in times of need.

As mentioned in the 2022 Lampstand, the Tower Block is being restrengthened. In order to house five floors of students, temporary prefabs have been brought in to accommodate classes in 2023.


WCOBSERVER Old boys' news and feedback


Oliver Rieche (Class Of 2006) writes:

For many, the pandemic had serious consequences in various ways – whether health, career, travel, lockdowns or other restrictions on freedom. Following some initial few hardships, the pandemic turned out to be an incredible opportunity for me – I just had to be courageous and embrace the unknown. I’d therefore like to take you on a journey from my life as a commercial lawyer in London to my new oasis of life, the hippie diving town on the Red Sea in Egypt, Dahab

I still remember exactly how it all began in March 2020. I was sitting at my desk in the London office of my international law firm when suddenly an email from the Office Managing Partner landed in my inbox: New remote working rules with effect of immediately. Not knowing what serious consequences this statement would have, I read on, spellbound. As of tomorrow, the entire London office would be working from home. Contrary to the rather conservative partners, I was very pleased – finally no more micromanagement, finally I could shape my working days more freely while still being productive. I saw the glass half full

In my naive carelessness, of course, I never thought my entire social life would suddenly be affected a few days later by it all, too. While I initially welcomed a forced 'social break' (no more FOMO, yay!), my enthusiasm evaporated a few weeks later, and the situation became simply unbearable after two months. Two holidays were also scrapped. My initial vigour quickly disappeared

On top of it all, shortly before Corona hit world events, I fell in love with Karim on a trip to Egypt in October 2019. Well, sounds all a bit complicated? Indeed. When airports around the world suddenly resembled cemeteries, and there was no prospect of improvement, Arab romanticism quickly turned into frustration: Was it worth holding on to this relationship (which at that time had barely got off the ground)? Or should I rather concentrate on my life as a London lawyer, which I had built up for the past five years? As someone who wears their heart on their sleeve, I chose the former. And with that came a daily waiting and checking of the Egyptian news to look for an end to the no-fly agreements. The frustration increased when new announcements about the lifting of the flight ban were shelved yet again: a game of cat and mouse.

But then, towards the end of June 2020, Egypt finally announced that the country, contrary to all others in the Middle East, would actually open their barriers again to international tourism on 1 July. Egypt depended too heavily on tourism to remain shut. Now or never, I thought, and wrote to my boss whether I

could work remotely from Egypt for the time being. London was still 'paralysed', the office only existed on paper in those days, and the time difference between England and Egypt was merely one hour. In addition, my mother had been living in Cairo for 13 years, and I wanted to see her more often. My boss agreed. Nobody (myself included) could have known at the time what impact this decision would have on my life.

Three days later, on 3 July 2021, with 55kg of luggage and a one-way ticket, I sat on one of the first planes from London to Cairo. I did not fully understand what was going on until take-off –what a feeling of freedom! The feeling of being able to travel again, albeit with a mask, was incredible – especially since the vast majority of the world was still at a standstill.

At that time, I didn't know how long I would stay. I assumed I would be back in my London office two months later by September 2020. I would have never dared to believe that the pandemic would continue to this day.

When I landed in Cairo, I moved in with my semi-boyfriend (mind you, we had only seen each other on a handful of short trips prior to the pandemic and had spent a total of perhaps a month 'live' together – although we already got to know both families during this time). It was an experiment: moving in with someone for the first time coupled with a completely different culture (and in a homophobic country). Red flags? Possibly – but, I thought to myself, what’s the worst that could happen? If it doesn't work out, I go back to the British metropolis with another one-way ticket. An optimist by nature, I had nothing to lose.

At first, I had to get used to the intense summer heat. However, I had visited my mother several times in Cairo, so the culture shock in this gigantic city wasn’t as bad. After two weeks, Karim and I moved to his home roots in Alexandria by the Mediterranean coast. We lived in his family's cute holiday apartment; I considered myself the happiest person in the world. I was well aware of how lucky I was compared to my friends in Europe. Anti-Corona measures also applied in Egypt at that time, but they were interpreted rather flexibly. Thus, Corona soon became normal everyday life again with few to no restrictions.

After a month in Egypt, we were looking for something new. Dahab in South Sinai on the Red Sea would become our new home in August 2020. We had already visited it for a week in January 2020 so that Karim could teach me how to dive (he is a scuba diving instructor following a career as an actor/singer/model in LA). We reached the small town in 40 degrees’ summer heat, only to find that we would be spending our first night in a tiny apartment Karim’s cousin owned, with goats and street cats as neighbours, ants as kitchen companions and a non-functioning shower. Enthusiastic faces looked different.

After a few unsuccessful apartment hunting visits, we were on the verge of giving up hope of finding a sensible place to live when we suddenly opened the door to an apartment right on the beach. Master bedroom with a panoramic view of palm trees and the Red Sea and a huge roof terrace with a view of the sea, the nearby Sinai mountains and Saudi Arabia mysteriously lurking behind the Gulf of Aqaba –the decision had been made.

We settled in quickly. Dahab is full of young, dynamic, even spiritual types who either work remotely or have made a conscious decision to take a career break to allow for a recharge or reorientation. Whether scuba or freediving, kitesurfing, windsurfing, mountain hiking, quad biking, desert tours, aerial yoga or breath workshops, Dahab has astonishingly much to offer its 15,000 residents. The indigenous


people of South Sinai, the Bedouins, live peacefully alongside Egyptians and foreigners.

As I fell in love with this place, my boyfriend fulfilled a great dream of his, that of his own diving center. Although he was initially warned he would be at the mercy of many competitors in an already saturated market, he stuck to his dream and opened Sly Dive in February 2021. Within merely six months, his team earned a position among the top five diving centres on Trip Advisor, and is now sitting at #2 (out of over 50); today he can hardly manage all the new enquiries he gets.

While Karim's professional future continued to solidify, by spring of 2021 the anxiety inducing feeling kept creeping in in terms of how long I would be allowed to stay in Egypt. I was always afraid of being ordered back at any moment. The longer the pandemic lasted, I thought, the stronger my case to continue working remotely from Egypt even after the pandemic. Even the conservative world of lawyers had to admit that working online was no longer as utopian as once perceived (and indeed it worked, the partners at my firm admitted that 2020 was the financially most successful year in the history of the firm).

And yet, it happened. In May 2021, I received the message from the Office Managing Partner: COVID-19 rules to allow working from the office again. Boris Johnson had announced that shops could open again from July and corporations could order their employees back into the office. Despite daily mental preparation, I was hugely disappointed. Because one thing was certain for me, I didn't want to return. Not yet.

A few days later, I promptly received the message from our HR department that there was now a new 'post COVID-19' work regulation. From the beginning of September, lawyers would be obliged to come to the office for at least two days a week. However, it was added that in exceptional cases, one could continue to work abroad. This would need to be discussed and approved in individual cases. All was not yet lost.

Shortly after this announcement, my boss asked me how I felt about the announcement and when he could expect me back in the office. My stomach tightened at the question. The idea of turning my back on my newly found paradise, my two dogs, yes, the life I had built for myself in the past year, as if it had never existed, was impossible. I could not imagine returning to my everyday life in London. I wanted to stay at all costs

Even before the conversation with my boss, I had written a two-page essay to make a ‘case’ for my life in Egypt. In the almost hour-long conversation, I explained to him why I wanted to stay. The quality of my life had increased dramatically, yet I remained productive (if not more productive). I

could network with new clients, if necessary. Last but not least, I was honest about my relationship, which had intensified, blossomed even, in the last few months. Since my boss showed little enthusiasm for my decision, I suggested a compromise. Instead of two days in the office per week, I proposed one month in Dahab, one month in the London office. In the end, my boss remained diplomatically neutral. He neither wanted to approve nor reject my request and instead agreed to talk to HR and our Head of Department about this.

A week later the bad news landed in my inbox. They had decided against it. I thanked them and showed understanding for their decision. I could imagine how difficult it must have been at the time to want your team physically reunited after such a long time. Nevertheless, my area of law (environment, health, and safety law) was well suited for remote work, because we neither appear in court nor meet clients in person – all our contact was via email and telephone (not even via Zoom)

Suddenly, I faced a big decision. Back to London as if nothing had happened, or stay in Dahab by the Red Sea, not knowing what to do next? I chose the latter. Although I wished I could have combined the two, as I really liked both my firm and the position as co-chair of the firm’s LGBTQ+ committee, my decision was clear. I couldn't go back to my old life anytime soon – even if it meant having to quit my job.

At the end of September 2021, when my colleagues went back to work in the office, I officially submitted my resignation. It was a strange feeling. For the first time, I took a path that seemed completely uncertain to me, but which nevertheless felt perfectly right. Like probably many working professionals, I am someone who usually follows a job offer elsewhere when I quit or at least have an idea of how things could continue professionally.

This time, I didn’t have anything. Neither a job waiting for me nor a concrete idea of what the next one might look like.

Of course, my friends and family were equal measures inspired and equal measures shocked about my decision. Wow, you're giving all of this up for... an unknown future? Well, yes. All I knew was that I had made the right decision. A decision for a new chapter in life in the hippie town of Dahab on the Red Sea alongside with my boyfriend's diving center.

Of course, it would have been 'easier' to go back to London, where a well-paying job and friendly colleagues were waiting for me. But sometimes you just have to do things that are matters of the heart. And with a place like Dahab, this decision was not that difficult. A place set between the desert, Sinai mountains and the sea, an eclectic mix of Bedouins, Egyptians and expats, a place full of sporting and spiritual opportunities, good food and a magical energy you really have to experience for yourself.

Although I made the decision to take a sabbatical in 2022 to wind down a bit, it ended up being typically full of activities and adventures. After time spent as a Global Policy, Diplomacy, and Sustainability Fellow online, I travelled across Turkey and Europe, attended youth leadership conferences in Berlin and Kosovo, and later organised a leadership retreat in Dahab for 18 young leaders from 16 countries who are all part of Sandbox, a global network of young entrepreneurial changemakers addressing the fundamental challenges of our time. Now, I have stepped up as the legal director for the upcoming global gathering of 200+ Sandboxers in Vietnam in February 2024.

In November 2022, I also attended COP27 in Sharm-el-Sheikh (the city next door) as part of the official delegation of a Franco Cameroonian NGO focussing on climate migration. This propelled me to eventually remotely join an environmental startup in my capacity as a lawyer at the beginning of 2023, seeking to fight climate change by revolutionising the carbon credit system and curbing deforestation.

I may not be entirely sure where my career is going to take me, but I do know that I want to give back to society through all the privileges I’ve enjoyed throughout my life. I want to have a positive impact. And for now, I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else but Egypt.

If you’d like to discover this region for yourself, please do get in touch with me!

With best wishes from Sinai for 2024, coupled with the hope that we will all go our own ways eventually.


https://www.linkedin.com/in/ oliverrieche


WCOBSERVER Old boys' news and feedback


In 2008, Sky (Trinh Nguyen Dang ) Pham (Class of 2010) joined Wellington College as an International student from Vietnam.

Fifteen years later, and now living in California, Sky together with his wife Susan, managing partners of Greenfield & Associates LLP, received the President's Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of their services to the American People.

Moving to the United States, Sky graduated with a Finance degree from California State University, Fullerton, and an MBA from Ohio University. He is now studying a Doctorate of Business Administration focusing on Banking, Corporate Finance, and Securities Law at Liberty University.

He is the CEO of the Kien Nam Group LLC (property management company), president of Greenfield & Associates CPA, and member of the Advisory Board of California International Bank.

In 2015, Sky graduated from the Superior Court of California, County of Orange Leadership Academy. In 2020, he joined the U.S. Army as a reservist, working at the 350th Engineer Company based in Los Angeles.

Sky is active in the community, serving as the president of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Westminster, Chief Executive Officer of Ban Tay Nhan Ai (Compassionate Hands Foundation) in Garden Grove, and a member of the Vietnamese American Uniformed Services Association (VAUSA). Prior leadership roles include involvement as a committee member of the Vietnamese American Chamber of Commerce (VACOC), CSUF Phi Beta Delta, CSUF Entrepreneur Society, and United Nations Association of Orange County.

Annually, Trinh and Bao have raised money for toiletries, sleeping bags, and canned food drives for the local homeless. More than 100 volunteers helped reach the goal of packaging 10,000+ meals in September, 2014, and 20,000+ in December, 2015. Everybody

was willing to work hard together to create a world without hunger.

Sky received a Titan in Action Award from CSUF, recognising Community Service as an expressed component of the club's mission. His story and experience were shared with the Orange County community through his Student Recycle Club combine education and stewardship article in the OC Register. In 2022, the Kiwanis Club of Greater Westminster, in partnership with the Kiwanis Club of Huntington Beach, served over 230 soldiers and family members during the 79th TSC Resource Family Day at JFTB Los Alamitos, CA. Over the years, Sky has developed the skills to contribute to his passion for improving our community.

Susan is the CFO of the Compassionate Hands Foundation (Ban Tai Nhan Ai), which focuses on helping children and poor people in Vietnam and Asia. She is also the treasurer for the Kiwanis Club of Greater Westminster, which focuses on improving the world, one child and one community at a time.

Sky and Susan met through volunteer work with United Way Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program at California State University, Fullerton. They have helped open many different NGOs and positively impacted our community with more than 5,000 volunteer hours over the years. Now they are married and have two children, Stanford and Skye.

Sky and Susan said, Winning an award, especially the Presidential Award, is

always a special moment because it creates motivation in you and gives the courage to give more excellent service. They further say their family's philosophy is to impact over 1 million lives in our lifetime. We believe that compassion is life, wisdom is the path Greenfield & Associates LLP is a CPA firm that specialises in financial and tax consultation, bookkeeping, payroll, CFO, tax preparing and filing services to meet clients' needs. They seek to provide a full suite of tax and accounting and CFO services for small businesses in Orange County and Los Angeles County. These services allow business owners to save money on in-house accounting, ensure compliance with tax laws, and make valuable management decisions from their numbers. Greenfield & Associates acknowledges its responsibilities to communities and the environment. The firm would give time and hours to help communities and the environment, advancing communities toward financial independence and wealth.

We emailed Sky to find out about his career journey, and he responded, "Wellington College has been a big part of my life. I firstly want to express my deepest gratitude toward Headmaster, Roger Moses, teachers and staff members who helped shape me into the people you see today. The Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award is an honour not only for myself and my family but to all who supported me throughout my journey.

As I reflect on the Class of 2010, I was the Vice Chair of the International Students' Association with the strong support from Mr Mike Pallin and Mrs Sue from the International Office. ISA helps to organise the World Vision, Blue Dragon fundraisers and International Cultural Festivals. These extracurricular activities helped to build up my leadership, management and people skills. Wellington College has also planted the seed of compassion within myself. Our students have been very fortunate that we have had resources readily available to aid our academic growth and allow us to go far and beyond. These experiences have been both memorable and life changing. All the lessons that I have learnt, both in and outside of class at Wellington College taught me countless lessons to help me grow into who I am today".


Dave Ashby

The 2022 Lampstand mentioned that long-serving staff member, Dave Ashby retired. We thank Roger Moses and Rob Anderson who kindly wrote of their memories of Dave’s career at Wellington College. We are sure there are many Old Boys over the past forty years who too will endorse Roger and Rob’s tribute.

Dave Ashby was appointed to the staff of Wellington College in 1986, both as a teacher of Mathematics and also as the School’s first Sports’ Coordinator. He arrived with a stellar reputation as a teacher, a coach and an inspiring motivator of young people.

As a student in the 1960s, Dave had attended Rongotai College where he achieved spectacular success as an athlete. His McEvedy Long-Jump record remained unbroken for several decades.

After leaving school, Dave completed his academic qualifications in New Zealand and his teaching qualification at the University of Leeds. Prior to Wellington College, he had taught both at Katikati College and his alma mater, Rongotai College. Very quickly it became apparent that Dave’s prior reputation was totally justified. He was a superb classroom teacher, popular colleague and his sublime organisational skills were soon put to effective use, where he was a McEvedy Shield track coach and Manager of the 1st XV. In this role he organised a trip for the team to Australia, the first of many overseas rugby tours that Dave would organise and manage.

In 1991, he was first appointed to Senior Management as Director of Programmes, a position that entailed the organisation of major school events such as the 1992 125th Jubilee. With the retirement of long serving Deputy Headmaster, Gary Girvan in 2001, Dave was a logical choice as one of the two Deputy positions along with Mike Pallin. Mike was Deputy Principal, Curriculum and Dave, Deputy Principal, Administration.

Subsequently in 2007, Dave was appointed as Associate Principal. In both these roles, Dave proved to be a consummate professional. He was a profoundly loyal Deputy to Headmaster Roger Moses, inveterate supporter of staff, an

inspiring role model for students and meticulous organiser of school events.

As the day-to-day organiser of the school programme his universally recognised organisational skills ensured that the complex ‘machine’, that is a school, ran smoothly at all times. His attention to detail was remarkable. No task was too big or too menial for Dave to tackle whether it be the visit of a Governor General or the marshalling of miscreants on after school detention to rearrange chairs in the Assembly Hall. Each duty was completed with aplomb. Praise for a job well done was modestly and deftly deflected by Mr Ashby.

As Associate Principal, Dave was responsible for the maintenance of school discipline. When Dave spoke, staff and students alike listened, such was the respect in which he was held by all. The ‘rogues’ Dave had to deal with on a daily basis never outwitted him. Almost without exception they came to regard him with great admiration and even affection.

Whenever we meet Old Boys especially those who spent a significant amount of time with him on detention, the most frequently asked question is, How is Mr Ashby? It is inevitably followed by a smile and a complimentary remark about his fairness, detection skills and unflappable sense of humour

True to form, Dave retired as Associate Principal without any fuss or bother at the end of Term One, 2022. Typical of his generosity of spirit, when approached to continue in the tedious and at times frustrating job as relief coordinator, Dave obliged.

Dave Ashby’s contribution to the Wellington College Community is beyond measure. To staff and students he personifies all that is good and positive about the teaching profession.

We all wish him well for the future. Roger Moses and Robert Anderson


WCOBSERVER 2023 school news



Afew weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to introduce myself to the Old Boys network, and more importantly, fill you all in on what's been happening at the College so far this year!

My name is Tai Renner, and I am the 2023 Manukura/Head Prefect. Over the past four years, I have been fortunate to participate in my passions in Rowing, Public Speaking and Kapa Haka. I am writing this the day after returning from the 2023 Aon Maadi Cup Rowing Nationals where I met and talked to many Old Boys; including Phillip Wilson (Class of 2014) and Thomas Cummack (Class of 2015). Experiences like this have certainly reminded me how important my connection to you all truly is.

In terms of the activities at the school, Wellington College is off to a great start for 2023. All 400 of our newest brothers in Y9 have all settled into their journey here and have already experienced many great highlights. They had the opportunity to attend the 100th Meet of the McEvedy Shield, where Wellington College won for a record-breaking eighth time, and in late March, they enjoyed fundraising for the 25th annual Runathon. They are also part of our newly reinstated House System - returning after more than half a century. The Senior School has also had a great start to the year,

celebrating 2022’s success in NZ Scholarship Examinations, where we were awarded the fifth most in the country. On the sports field, we have also seen great success. In late March, the 1st XI Cricket won Wellington’s Premier Youth Grade and will head to the Nationals later in the year, Senior Floorball won its fourth National title and a multitude of athletes across all summer codes have received trials for or made NZ representative squads.

I look forward to filling you in on all the exciting news at the College and the year progresses, and looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible.


Two school ANZAC ceremonies were held on 26 April to allow all students to experience this important commemoration

Click HERE to watch a short video of these services.

It has been a hive of activity over the past few weeks around the school (working around a building site with the restrengthening of the Tower Block) and the temporary loss of car parks. However, the Property team have established a new Wellington College sign at the entrance of the school and are presently carrying out an extensive planting programme. There is much to see on your next visit to the school.

Tai Renner (Head Prefect) and James Mason (Deputy HP) laid a wreath at the Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Cenotaph.

WCOBSERVER 2023 school news

The McEvedy Shield is one of the most iconic events on Wellington's college sport calendar.

The annual athletics meet on the first Tuesday of March saw the top athletes from Wellington College, Rongotai College, St Patrick’s College Town and St Patrick's College Silverstream gather at Newtown Park to compete, as fellow students packed out the stand and banks, for a fun day of top athletics and school pride.

The event celebrated its 100th edition, with Wellington College taking out the title for the eighth year in a row with 214 points, 58 points ahead of second-placed Silverstream.

Adam Cooper (Class of 2010) and Operations Manager and Sports News presenter with Wellington's Newstalk ZB was joined in the studio by the victorious co-captains, Guy Lees and Leo Yousuf, along with Wellington College's Head Coach, Mark Tinkle (Class of 2004). Click HERE for the interview.


It was a real community (and very humbling) day at Wellington College in mid-February when students, staff, parents, Old Boys, and the Wellington community worked and donated supplies to fill a bus to help out those affected by Cyclone Gabrielle in Hawke's Bay. So many amazing people called in to donate an array of goods

A great team of volunteers coordinated the donated goods - so much in fact that an additional bus was needed (and arrived) plus the NZ Airforce took a freight load of nappies, formula and medicines by plane.

In the end, two Go Bus New Zealand buses and a filled plane headed north that same evening, with further trips north over the next week with additional goods.

On behalf of the team, who put this together in a relatively short time - thank you. And a big shout out to those who worked tirelessly all day to be so organised. A further shout-out to Old Boy, Jono Cox of the 1852 Bar and Restaurant who put on drinks and dinner for the volunteers at the end of the day.

A few days later, the school ran a Mufti Day to raise funds that went directly to Napier Boys' High School to assist their students who were affected.


WCOBSERVER 2023 school news: sport

WAKA AMA: Wellington College had a very successful competition at the Waka Ama Regionals in March at Lake Henley.

The J16s won a Silver Medal in the Championship 250m Final and a Gold Ribbon in the 500m Plate Final (with a faster time that second place in the Championship Final). The J19s won a Gold Ribbon in the 250m Plate Final.

ROWING: It was a great start to the year for our Rowers with a Gold Medal for the Intermediate Octuple at the North Island Club Championships.

At the North Island SS Champs at Lake Karapiro, Wellington College had a great regatta across all age groups. Eight crews qualified for 'A' finals and four crews qualified for 'B” finals. After a great pep talk the night before from Mr Denham, who was lakeside with the squad over the weekend, the boys gave their all on finals day and did the school proud. Appearing on the medal podium were our U15 Quad winning a Silver, the U18 Quad winning Silver and the U18 Novice Quad taking out a Bronze medal. The U16 Quad missed out on Bronze by less than 1 ½ seconds. This was a fantastic end to the whole squad’s season.

Maxim Ericson (Y13) who on the back of a stellar season has been selected for the NZ U19 team to the World Rowing Championships in Paris in August.

Cox, Lachie Wall was selected for the North Island U18 team to row against the South Island.

Maxim took out the Silver Medal (by less than a second) in the U18 single sculls,

and the U15 Quad (Ollie Wiig, Henry Jones, Harry Kavanagh, Tom Ward and Lachie Wall) won the Gold in their final.

CRICKET: The 1st XI won the Premier Youth Grade Title. In a rain-shortened final played at the Basin Reserve, the 1st XI beat HIBS and therefore qualified for the Gillette Cup later in the year.

On the back of 114 from Ari Bonar and 27 from Will Julian, 174/3 off 20 overs proved to be a touch too much for HIBS who posted 111/7 off their 20. This was a great way to finish an undefeated season in this competition. Well done coach Tyler Byers and the team

We were well represented in the Wellington teams at the Indoor Cricket Nationals in Auckland in April, culminating in five players being selected for the NZ team to compete in the Indoor Cricket World Cup, Dubai in October this year. They were: NZ 13 and Under NZ team: Leo Bridgman, Zac Bridgman, Harrison Mazey, Tom Wilkinson. NZ 15 and Under NZ team: Lucas Henderson.

The Junior cricketers, playing in the NZCT National Junior Champs finished a very creditable second

SWIMMING: At the NZ Open Champs, Finn Harland (Y13) won two Bronze Medals, a Gold Relay Medal and set a NZ record in the 17yrs backstroke. The NZ Age Group Champs have proved equally successful for Finn His performance in the Open 100m Backstroke qualified him for the Junior World Champs (U19) to be held in Israel later in the year (the only NZ male to qualify). Age Groups saw him win four Gold

Medals in the 17-18 age group setting five new Wellington records on the way.

Not to be out done , David Zhu (Y13) won thee medals (one Gold, one Silver and one Bronze) in the 16 year age group. Declan Broadfoot (Y9) won six medals (three Silver and three Bronze) in the 13 year age group. Zac Alexander (Y11) won one Bronze Medal (from six finals) in the 15 Year age group

ATHLETICS: A number of our students performed with distinction at NZ Track and Field Championships in December. McEvedy Captain, Leo Yousuf won a Gold Medal in the U20 Men's 4 x 100m Relay, a sixth place in the U18 100m Final in 11.16.

George Gray won a Gold Medal in the U16 2,000m Steeplechase in 6.55.90 and had an eighth place in theU16 800m (2.10.99).

Heath Abbot won a Silver Medal in the U18 (5kg) Hammer 52.17m (Personal Best) and a Silver Medal in the U20 (6kg) Hammer 50.80m (Personal Best).

Heath also performed exceptionally well at the highly competitive Australian Junior Champs in Brisbane to win a Silver Medal in the U17 Hammer.

This was a fitting end to his season after breaking local and school records while only 16 years old. Heath's progress at such a young age bodes well for the future .

FLOORBALL: The Senior A team retained their national title at the NZSS Floorball Champs at Atau Tangi in Wellington. They went though undefeated beating Rongotai College 5-3 in the final in a fast, high-scoring

game befitting of the best two teams in the tournament. The juniors with a young team finished a creditable fourth

GOLF: It was a great couple of days for WC Golf! Our Y9 team of Aidan Wong and Ben Willocks won the Philips Cup. The first time for Wellington College since 2018

The following day at the CSW Team and Individual Champs, we had further success. Our top team of Charlie Jackson, Gethyn Healy and James Hargreaves came second in the team gross, just two shots back from the winners. This gives Wellington College a place in the NZSS champs later in the year

Our other team of Max Mitchell, David Peach and Jack Lancaster won the team net prize and David Peach won the individual net.

VOLLEYBALL: For just the second time, and over a decade and a half since their last win in 2007, the Senior A team are CSW Regional Tournament Boys’ Volleyball Champions.

SPEED SKATING: In what is thought to be a first for Wellington College, Y10 student Micky Zhang won titles at the NZ Speed Skating Championships in January.

Winning seven out of eight Golds raced in his grade, he also set a NZ record in his Cadet Boy's Grade and claimed the Aggregate Trophy for most points across the grade.

Stay up-to-date with WC Sports News on Facebook


WCOBSERVER 2023 school news: arts & culture

SHELIAH WINN SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL: In a fantastic way to end Term One, Wellington College's 15 minute-reduced Hamlet was selected from the 19 regional performances, to represent Wellington at the National SGCNZ Festival to held in the newly refurbished St James Theatre over King's Birthday weekend. Two other pieces in the Festival were recognised as strong examples of collaborative creativity and student direction.

JAZZ: Congratulations to the Wellington College and Wellington Girls' College Big Band and the Combo who were both awarded Gold at the National Youth Jazz Festival in Tauranga in April. The Big Band were also awarded the SOUNZ award for best performance of a NZ work!

DEBATING: Our Premier A team made it into the semi-finals of the local competition but were beaten narrowly by Scots College in a 2-1 split decision. They were negating a motion about the deplatforming of notable public figures from social media.

Although our loss to Scots College was disappointing, the results for individual speakers were fantastic and there were still some happy Wellington College students. James Mason was selected for the Wellington Gold team to compete at the Nationals in May. Nikhil Cox was selected as a reserve

for Wellington Gold. Henry Isac and Barnaby Stevens both received Highly Commended Speaker Awards, and Theo Masseurs, Arthur Fell and Oscar Horne (all Y12) have been invited to join the national development squad. For Theo, this is three weeks after his first ever inter-school debate. Y11 students ended with four out of five wins.

AFIO MAI NIGHT: It was a wonderful evening for our Pasifika community who attended our WC Afio Mai Night in February. It was also a great opportunity for Headmaster Glen Denham to welcome all our families, especially our new aiga who have just started their five-year journey at Wellington College. Glen shared his vision, expectations and aspirations of our students to motivate them to do their best. The families and fellow students also had a chance to meet the 2023 Pasifika Prefects. The evening concluded by the sharing of some lovely meaai/food and making new connections.

TE PIRINGA: We welcomed our junior ākonga Māori and their whānau at our hākari in February. This was a night of connection where key staff and Prefects were introduced, and the sharing of our priorities and aspirations as a kura. Matua Piri organised amazing kai, and our senior students did an awesome job on the BBQ!


Wellington College has embarked on our new house system for 2023 with all five year groups spread across the board.


Before an earthquake uplifted the land on which the Basin Reserve resides, the land surrounding it was wetland. Hauwai is the name of the land that was used for agriculture in the area. The land that Wellington College sits on was used for kūmara gardens and were harvested by the local iwi. The house colour is therefore purple.


Before an earthquake uplifted the land on which the Basin Reserve resides, the Waitangi stream ran through Wellington College. The stream ran through Mount Victoria and flowed into the harbour where Waitangi Park is currently located. The stream was used for agriculture in the area

The house colour is blue.


Wellington College lies at the base of Te Ranga-ā-Hiwi, which is known for its bush, town belt, and lookout. Te Ranga-ā-Hiwi is the Māori name for the hills between Point Jerningham to the coast between Lyall Bay and Island Bay. This includes Mount Victoria, Mount Alfred, and Mount Albert. The house colour is green.


Te Aketārewa pā was an old fortified pā that sat on Mount Victoria around the area where Alexandra Park is currently located. The pā was one of the last remaining fortified pā in the region. Though not many records remain of the pā, it is still important to Wellington College as it resided on the land which our school currently sits on. The House colour is red.


Kaipapa is the name of the Māori site on which the current Governor-General's house resides. Since Wellington College also sits on this land, it is a part of our school pepeha. This pepeha was gifted to Wellington College by mana whenua, te Āti Awa Taranaki Whānui. Mana whenua use the colour yellow, so this is why Kaipapa is yellow as well.

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