ISSUE 42 2022
A n outstanding artist during his time at Christ’s College, Reis Azlan (15069) is now studying architecture at the University of Queensland in Brisbane. In his final year at College in 2021, Reis was awarded NZQA Scholarship in Painting, Design and Visual Communication. He was also recognised with top spots in both 2021 and 2022 in The Creators’ Room Scholarship award for his works focusing on south-east Asia. The award aims to uncover artistic talent within Canterbury secondary schools. “The main message I want my art to communicate is about the diversity in south-east Asian culture,” Reis explains. “I am originally from Singapore, so I aim to implement elements of south-east Asian culture into my art. This means I’ll be dealing with symbolism and elements of everyday life, consisting of aspects of street life, portraits, vegetation, architecture, and colour. South-east Asia is a unique place in the world, consisting of so many different cultures and traditions,” he says. “I hope to show the beauty of this diversity, and unique way of life, through my art.” College cover art – Desa by Reis Azlan
6 Outstanding in every field Star scholar James Currie 8 Future man of the world Multilingual academic Claude Tellick 10 US spot a slam dunk Josh Book aims high 12 On a dream run Matty Hickman on fast track 14 Evolution of College sport Success plays out across school 18 Depth & breadth Opening the gates to endless possibilities of learning 26 Janindu Pahalawatta Studied approach steers success 28 Minchan Park Creating a climate for global change 30 College Diploma A higher achievement standard 34 Shaping standout scholars Inspiring boys to aspire in Science 36
42 Chris Jung Mastering Computer Science 44 Poster Boys Meet our outstanding Old Boys 46 Alex Donaldson Driving Google expertise 50 Character strengths Define and develop 54 A snapshot of College life Bill Irwin – life through a student lens in the 1970s 59 Diversity through ie faitaga A more uniform approach 60 New Chaplain on a mission Rev. Cameron Pickering responds to God’s call in new role 62 Trio of musical talent Devotion, dedication, determination 64 Oli Aikawa The fine art of serendipity 66 George Bradley Engineering a naval career 68 70 years later Formidable forwards play on 70 Jack Elvy Success in the air for aircraft maintenance engineer 72 Upbeat night of House Music Enthusiasm, energy, exuberance 76
Where are they now? The medical class of 2015
Sustaining a community Wellbeing – the fundamental cornerstone of good health
78 Light at the End of the Tunnel Celebrating the best of Broadway 84 Epidemics and pandemics Can we learn from the past? 90 Drop the distractions Dr Nick Penney on Mindfulness 92 Riding a wave of change A swell of popularity in Surfing 96 Stroke of genius Coxswains Sam Bosworth and Henry King team up 100 Duty-bound to step up Dual award recipient Christian Higgins
102 Giving brings its own rewards In service to community 104 Peter Margoliouth A life long commitment to College 106
Career Convos Words of advice 108 Tamai Rugby Opening up the playing field 110
Legacy of giving core to College CCOBA President Angus Dysart-Paul 111 10 Houses Gin The spirit of support 112 History of philanthropy Archivist Jane Teal 114 Giving Day Scholarship support for boys for years to come 119 Steadfast supporters of College Roland Stead and the Michael Glanville Memorial Trust 120 Upper West A whole new ball game 124 Sponsorship Senior Development Manager Shelley Keach 128 Towards a sustainable future Board Chair Hugh Lindo 131 Climate for turning the tide Power to the people to change 134 Eco-Action Nursery Trust Laying the groundwork 136 Farewell to staff We bid farewell to several long- serving members of our community
Welcome to our new-look College magazine. After seven years, College magazine has had a makeover, with articles grouped under the four strategic themes developed under the Change and Continuity Strategy 2025 – Motivation, Connection, Philanthropy, and Sustainability. College’s embedded Character Strengths are also evident in the stories you will read within these pages. Our boys – both current and past – display amazing attributes of which we are all very proud. This is our chance to feature many Old Boys and present students and to recognise their extraordinary talents and achievements.
As for all our boys, their Christ’s College years are simply a step on their life’s journey. However, we know that secondary school is an influential and significant period in their successful progress. College will now be produced just once a year, rather than bi-annually. Any suggestions for stories about the accomplishments of our boys and Old Boys are welcomed by College writers. I hope you enjoy the new look, design, and variety of stories packed into this 2022 issue.
Garth Wynne Christ’s College Executive Principal
Christ’s College Magazine Issue 42, 2022
DIRECTOR OF ADVANCEMENT
CHANGE OF ADDRESS
Claire Sparks +64 3 364 6803 email@example.com COLLEGE WRITERS
Jessica Tabke PRINTING
Admissions Registrar Sarah Fechney +64 3 364 6836 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jocelyn Johnstone email@example.com Martine Cusack firstname.lastname@example.org
Motivation Manawa hihiko
Personal and collective wellbeing relies on an understanding of character strengths and an informed appreciation of how we can bring ourselves and the groups of which we are a part to their best. As a small, faith-based Anglican boys’ school, College will formulate an approach to motivation informed by the latest research and ongoing self-assessment and reflection. The focus to 2025 will be to develop understandings and actions for the benefit of all, but especially the three key stakeholders in the College experience: students, staff and parents. Our aim will be to create an atmosphere of excellence, where all are motivated to contribute to the collective good, as well as being personally motivated to aspire to be at their best.
James Currie – outstanding in every field
S tar scholar, singer, stage director, and swimmer James Currie (15087) proved to be a standout in 2021, securing the Wacher Prize for Academic Head of School amid a stellar student field. Recognised as a College role model, James was lauded for his kindness, humour, and perseverance while always showing “admirable courage and commitment”. At 17, James was awarded university scholarships to Auckland, Victoria, Canterbury, and Otago – all for outstanding academic excellence. A national titleholder and New Zealand age-group representative, James equally made a big splash in the pool “So many memories have been made along the way and I look forward to carrying these memories with me.”
as one of the country’s top breaststroke competitors. Remarkably, he also found the time to co-captain College’s successful theatresports team, debate, and perform – both as a tenor soloist and pianist and a cast member in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing . Winning the Best Director Award in 2021 for Somes House – the overall winner of the House Plays – was a personal highlight. After claiming Calculus Scholarship in Year 12, James undertook the degree-level STAR course in Maths at the University of Canterbury in 2021, with a superb result. In Year 13, James gained Scholarship in Chemistry (Outstanding), Physics, Biology, and Calculus. “I would say that success comes to those who don't restrict themselves simply to what they are comfortable with, but take up all the opportunities that come their way,” he says. “I’m glad that I am leaving College having taken up as many opportunities that were given to me. I honestly can't pick the
most significant moment out of all of the amazing things that have happened. The whole five years of College have been such a journey. “So many memories have been made along the way and I look forward to carrying these memories with me as I move forward in my journey.” James also appreciates the “huge variety and diversity of people that I got to meet and connect with over my time at College”. “Not only the friends that I have made in the House and in my year group, but also inspiring teachers and others. These are connections that I will have for many years to come and they have helped me to accomplish so many of my goals,” he says. “I have also enjoyed having such a talented year group of peers. Everybody has had the opportunity to enjoy and find a passion. Everyone is so talented at what they do – right across the school – and we have bonded and supported each other.” During his time at College, James achieved a remarkable academic record with constant Excellence
Claude Tellick (left) and James Currie at the Leavers Service, wearing their Old Boys’ ties.
grades, being awarded a Gold Tie in both Years 12 and 13 and his Gold Badge in 2021. Amid his myriad co-curricular achievements, James was the College age-group swimming champion for five years, and broke 10 records. Among the other high points were the opportunities to “dissociate from my academics and pursue other things in culture – like languages, Theatresports, Drama, Music, and debating”.
He also credits his many teachers for supporting his remarkable College journey. “All the teachers are so passionate about their respective fields and ensuring the success of their students. “Every one of them has been instrumental in the success, and the success of every student.” As to the future, James aims to one day help find solutions to the climate crisis. “I have a passion for discovery
and Science, so I would like to contribute to some of the biggest issues of our generation.” After taking up his Victoria University scholarship, James is studying Maths, Physics, Chemistry and French – aiming for a Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts double degree. With his focus firmly on an academic or research career in Maths, James hopes to complete a PhD at Cambridge University in England.
Claude Tellick – future man of the world
M ultilingual academic, ethics scholar, and College Head of International/Round Square Claude Tellick (15176) plans to explore the world and tackle major global issues along the way. The runner-up to the Wacher Prize for Academic Head of School highlights climate change, social inequality, and democracy as the issues of the generation, potentially pointing to an international diplomatic career. An Ethics Olympiad silver
medallist, Claude, 18, recognises the importance of “securing democracy”, with a long-term view to representing New Zealand “in some capacity”. “I am really passionate about learning about different cultures and internationalism so I want to do something that enables me to explore the world and also help other people. “I am passionate about getting to know people’s stories and am considering a role in diplomacy
to tackle some of the world’s big issues – climate change, social inequality, and democracy.” A strong proponent of the Round Square IDEALS, Claude was also recognised by College for his powerful commitment to diversity and service, along with his many innovations and initiatives that left a positive legacy for generations of boys. “I think my most significant moment at Christ's College came last year in Term 3, with the
“I always felt like school was just a place to learn but at College you truly feel like a core member of the community. I think the best testament to this has to be the House system.”
International Week,” Claude says. “It was something that myself and many other people had worked so hard towards, so it was a great relief to see so many boys taking part and having fun. One of the most heart-warming things was seeing the difference that it made to students with diverse backgrounds and their response made all the hard work worth it. “It was great to see the whole school really embrace the message of the week and that moment has definitely strengthened my resolve to continue in this area.” Awarded university scholarships to Victoria, Canterbury and Otago for academic excellence and leadership, Claude also achieved Scholarship in Geography in Year 12, Excellence at all NCEA levels, and undertook a challenging STAR course in Political Science at the University of Canterbury in 2021, with excellent results. In Year 13, he further achieved Scholarship in Geography (Outstanding), English and History. Fluent in French, Claude was awarded a Gold Badge in 2020 and a Gold Tie in 2021 for academic achievement, along with Honours Ties in debating and Theatresports. For Claude, “going to College has really changed my idea of what it means to go to school”. “I always felt like school was just a place to learn but at College you truly feel like a core member of the community,” he says. “I think the best testament to this has to be the House system. One of the things I have appreciated
most about coming to school here has been the boys I have got to know in Rolleston over my five years. We all have very different personalities and interests, and yet we are all close friends. “Being a part of the House has also given me the opportunity to take part in events and support the House spirit. Some of my best memories have been doing House Plays, debating, Music and sport, and it is at those times that you truly feel like you’re part of a family,” he adds. Claude points out that like any student who has entered through those “daunting front gates, I have left quite a different person”. “Before coming to College, I was definitely a very shy person and I would often find myself lost in the crowd,” he says. “Christ's College definitely throws you in the deep end and I can confidently say that I am a better person now than I was when I arrived at school five years ago. “Since coming to College, I have participated in every imaginable activity and while it took a while to convince me of the benefits of compulsory sport, through blood, sweat and tears I have come to appreciate the ‘gruelling’, once a
Immerse & Inspire programme is one of my fondest memories of my time at school and it definitely felt like the perfect ‘well-rounded College experience’.” He has also learnt “more about the person I want to be”. “Through going out of my comfort zone, I’ve discovered my passions that I will keep with me even after I’ve said goodbye to school.” Claude credits his teachers as being “one of the most positive aspects of the whole school”, saying that “without them, I would not be where I am today”. “I have to thank every one of my teachers for helping me reach the goals that I've set for myself,” he says. “One of the best things about going to Christ's College is that it feels like every teacher knows who you are, and wants to know how they can support you. “It is only with the passion, enthusiasm, and dedication of our teachers that every student is able to attain success. “Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini – My strength is not as an individual, but as a collective.” After taking up his Victoria University of Wellington scholarship, Claude is studying law, political science, and French.
week volleyball practices. “While reluctant at first, the
Senior Sportsman of the Year US scholarship
a slam dunk for Josh Book
A star on the court for College, Senior Sportsman of the Year Josh Book (15525) is aiming for a professional basketball career after winning a scholarship to Missouri Western State University in the United States. “Basketball is my life and NBA the dream. I love to compete – working hard and always giving 100%, on and off the court,” Josh says. “I aspire to go as far as I can in this amazing sport. “I aim to play professionally and give back to the basketball community. Basketball
particularly discipline and focus, always working hard and, most importantly, completing everything to the very best you can,” he says. At College, Josh has been acknowledged for managing his many commitments effectively, along with being highly organised and focused on successful outcomes – all while continuing to demonstrate confidence and humility. His formidable form and exceptional skills propelled the College A side to Thomson Trophy titles in 2020 and 2021. He has finished his remarkable College
Basketball career with 78 games for the A team. In tandem, Josh has powered up his academic results to secure a top sports scholarship for 2022. A standout in the New Zealand U19 side, Josh also trialled for the Junior Tall Blacks, only to have selections and tours disrupted by Covid-19. He featured in both the U15 and U17 national teams, including beating Australia in the 2018 Oceania Championship and being named in the Allstar 5 for the tournament. In June last year, Josh was integral to Canterbury claiming the U19 National Championship,
teaches many values that translate into everyday life,
with the starting guard named MVP. He was also selected for the Steven Adams High School Invitational camp – for the country’s top 20 young players – and the showcase game for the second year in a row, claiming numerous shooting competition records and titles. Topping his final season at College, Josh was selected for the Canterbury Rams 3×3 New Zealand National Basketball League team. Now 18, Josh cites his move from Nelson to Christ’s College in Year 11 as “one of the best decisions I have ever made”.
“It has certainly given me more opportunities in Basketball and a much better education,” he says of his time at College. “It has been brilliant to be with more like-minded people – finding those peers with the same aspirations and focus who are willing to chase their dreams. “Today, I am more well-rounded, benefiting from support across the whole school. “College has also really lifted my academic game, setting me up for a top-level Basketball scholarship in the US.”
National teams: • U15 New Zealand team (FIBA Oceania – Papua New Guinea) – 2018 • U17 New Zealand Team • FIBA Oceania Championship All Star (2018) • U19 New Zealand Team • Junior Tall Blacks trial (disrupted by Covid-19)
Junior Sportsman of the Year Matty Hickman on a dream run
R ising track talent Matty Hickman is making a timely run towards the national podium following a late start in athletics. Recognised as the Christ’s College Junior Sportsman of the Year in 2021, Matty, 16, started to power up on the track last year. “I did a bit of athletics in Year 9 after first trying it, liking it and finding that I was not too bad at it before doing it more seriously in Year 10,” he says. Matty also credits College coach Graeme Christey for his training and encouraging the promising runner to excel. An 800m and 1500m specialist, Matty made the podium in both events at the Canterbury and South Island schools’ athletics championships last year. He also won the U16 Canterbury schools’ road race and finished in the top 10 in the cross-country event. “After competing in secondary school and South Island competitions, I was surprised with how I did,” he says. “I saw what I could do if I trained more outside
of school and as the season went on, I got better. Sports tutor Jimmy Healy has really helped with my strength and conditioning. “I saw a lot of improvement and realised I might be able to achieve at a national level.” Matty is now chasing a national title or podium spot at the 2022
200m and 500m races. At College last year, he was the junior athletics champion and cross-country champion, along with finishing second overall in the junior swimming championships. Matty was also a member of the U15A Rugby team – joint winner of the Section One grade; the U15 Grey Basketball team, and a starting player in the Senior A Water Polo team. “College has been a big help with my sport and academic work,” Matty says. Aside from sport, Matty is interested in the business environment and is studying Maths, Biology, Economics, Accounting, Financial Literacy, and Business. Long-term, Matty plans to chase a sports scholarship at a university in the United States. “It would be good to run for a university over there. Their sports programmes are great and there are lots of opportunities to do well in athletics.”
New Zealand Secondary Schools Championships in the 800m event.
“In December last year, I ran 2min 3sec for the 800m, and am hoping to break 2 minutes as soon as possible,” he says. Despite the Covid-19 disruptions, Matty hopes the nationals will be held this year, as he has worked on his speed and skills over summer and longer-distance running over winter. Away from the track, Matty is also the 2021 Canterbury and South Island U15 champion in surf lifesaving and has earned two silver medals at the National Kayak Sprint regatta in the U16 K4
The evolution of College sport
I t’s game on at Christ’s College as the growth of different sports plays out across the school. From Rugby to Rowing, Cricket to Clay Target Shooting, Football to Hockey and the heights of Basketball and Volleyball, the diversity of school sports is on the rise. A winning combination of premier coaches who, for some, also teach academic subjects, a dedicated strength and conditioning coach and team, evolving first-class facilities and strong sponsorship has fuelled the College sports programme in both traditional codes and new arenas. Equally important, College life is all about being a student first before boys focus on their other passions outside the classroom. “As a result, our leading sportsmen also succeed in other areas, for example, our Head Boy
and Head of Boarding are core members of our 1st XV, with the latter holding the captaincy,” Director of Sport Rob Clarke says. In our summer sport colours awards, several of the awardees were also preparing for the College Senior production with Rangi Ruru Girls’ School, showing a full embrace of the opportunities at College. “Sport is just one aspect of school life at Christ’s College. Our holistic programme encourages boys to be involved in all aspects of the school. It is underpinned by the College virtues of justice, respect, stewardship, compassion, honesty, learning, and spirituality. “We are committed to working with each boy, to inspire and encourage him to always aspire to reach his full potential. While we strive for excellence in all we do, we are equally committed to
maintaining a balance in each boy’s life.” Each boy who plays sport must also fulfil all the other expectations and commitments of school life – from academic to co-curricular and from service to House leadership. “Success is not necessarily measured in wins, but in the strong coaching environment and player development at College,” he says. “In that environment, the boys continue to embrace the College virtues and make the most of all the opportunities on offer at school.”
Another integral strand of the Christ’s College sports programme is the “ongoing
support of a range of outstanding sponsors”. While boys reap the rewards of a sports programme that focuses on “excellent coaching and training, supported
by strength and conditioning and mental skills coaching, there are also various layers of sponsorship”. Among the principal and leading sponsors are Aon (Rowing), Archibalds (Rugby, Cricket and Basketball) Avon City Ford (Rowing), Golden Homes (Rowing), Oxford Group (Rugby) and Pak’nSave (Rugby, Rowing and Mountain-biking), and Synergy Investments (Hockey). Many College teachers also specialise in a sports code, bringing that extra expertise and a greater understanding of each boy. “With so many of our coaches also being teachers or in- school specialists, we take a holistic approach to our sports programme,” Rob explains. “Teacher-coaches really know our boys, recognising when they need more support – both in the classroom and during co-curricular activities. That combination helps support overall
in all age groups and lifting the prestigious Maadi Cup in 2021 and winning silver in 2022. Among the coaches are Mathematics and Statistics teacher Tony O’Connor – coach of the gold medal-winning 2020 Tokyo Olympics rowing eight guided by former College coxswain Sam Bosworth – and Head of Department – Physical Education Henry Smith, a World University Games rowing medallist. Tony – a world champion – and Henry have coached multiple winning crews in international events, and at Maadi, respectively. Leading College’s charge up the Basketball rankings is Senior A coach and Teacher-in Charge – Health Ben Sheat, a respected national coach of youth teams and the Canterbury Rams, who has been named men’s coach of the year at the 2022 Basketball New Zealand Awards. While nationally ranked distance- running coach – and Commerce teacher – Graeme Christey guides school athletes, Assistant to the Director of Sport – and Head Strength and Conditioning Coach – Kris Miller works with multiple
teams across the codes. College’s Director of Character & Leadership – and Physical Education and Health teacher – Matt Cortesi wears multiple caps, also overseeing and coaching the high-achieving Football 1st XI. While the boys have defied the vagaries of sporting life and, more latterly, a pandemic to win multiple titles on the field, track, court, water, and range over the past five years, Rob points out that “sporting success is measured in many ways”. “Underlining those achievements are the many opportunities for each boy to achieve personal sporting goals and kickstart their commitment to physical activities and life-long wellbeing. “Our commitment to excellence and achievement is tempered by the recognition that this is youth sport, and we aim to marry the two. We have found the right balance by providing a quality programme across a range of sports to suit all abilities and interests,” Rob says. “Over the past few years, we have done extremely well in terms of trophies across an array of
achievement at all levels.” College regularly secures a
large medal haul at the national rowing championships, featuring
sporting codes. However, it’s equally important to see that the boys have done as well as they can in their chosen sport and that they want to carry on with that sport after leaving school – that’s success. “While Rugby and Cricket remain the largest winter and summer
winning in 2017, 2020 and 2021. The appointment of a dedicated Master-in-Charge for Rugby and Cricket – former Canterbury and Leinster player Stephen Dods – at the end of 2015 has been crucial to a Rugby renaissance. The Rugby evolution – driven by Stephen with support from a committed parent community – has reignited the code’s spirit, enabling a strong development environment thanks to top coaches, a strengthening and conditioning specialist and greater sponsorship. The College Cricket 1st XI has claimed the Premier one-day and two-day titles at regional level last summer, along with a third place at nationals for the College Colts in 2021. Among the other College teams, the Clay Target Shooting side has climbed performance ranks, winning the New Zealand Secondary School Points Score team event for the first time in College history in 2021. College was also named the 2021 Canterbury Clay Target Point Teams’ Champion. College Volleyball players have
taken their first-ever trip to the nationals, while the school skiers annually secure top finishes in both the Canterbury and South Island events. In 2022, as the summer season peaked, College claimed titles in Cricket, along with standout performances in Mountain-biking, Tennis, Athletics, Sailing, Surfing, Polo and Rowing – including runner-up in the premier Maadi Cup. In 2021, as the winter sports season drew to a close, College teams were in regional title contention in four major sports – Basketball, Hockey, Football and Rugby – for the first time in more than 170 years. The Christ’s College 1st XI won the Canterbury Secondary Schools Premier Hockey Championship for the second time in a row while the College A Basketball team lifted the Thomson Trophy also for the second consecutive season in a row. Both the top Football and Rugby sides narrowly missed out on their premier titles. Today, College is competitive across many sporting codes, with many recent Old Boys featuring nationally and internationally.
sports at Christ’s College, boys have many different
sporting opportunities. We have worked hard to ensure that all programmes build to a level which allows boys to achieve success. However they define that. “The strength of our success in a variety of sporting codes shows that we are doing something right,” he points out. At College, the demand for spots on Basketball teams has soared, along with more boys opting to play Volleyball, jump on a mountain-bike, hit the waves or head to the range. Christ’s College is again a leading Rugby school, drawing the Crusaders 1st XV Championship final in 2018 and just falling short in the 2021 final. College is also a force in the annual clash with Christchurch Boys’ High School,
Depth & breadth
At Christ’s College, a broad co-curricular programme opens the gates to the endless possibilities of learning as much – if not more – outside the classroom as inside. It builds self-reliance, resilience, and discipline, while developing the skills integral to being part of a team. It nurtures a lasting love of the great outdoors and the performing arts, and underlines a commitment to valuing our environment and serving our wider community.
Director of Music Robert Aburn with outstanding pianist Joshua Hooker.
Orchestrating a crescendo of music
O ne of the most life-enriching experiences at Christ’s College, Music is a pillar of a holistic education built on the principles of teamwork, perseverance, love of learning and an appreciation of beauty and excellence. Director of Music Robert Aburn believes that the benefits of the diverse music programme at College extend well beyond the school gates, instilling the discipline required to succeed
and highlighting the value of teamwork. “We have several streams of performance work – choir, chamber, orchestra, jazz and big band, and contemporary,” Robert says. “Historically, we have been really strong in choir and very fortunate in the 19 years that I have been at College to be able to build on the work of previous directors and expand. “We have strengthened that foundation with chamber music,
where boys are encouraged to play in small ensembles and excel. Our targeted repertoire meets the needs of the boys while challenging students musically. “With the orchestra, we have worked with St Margaret’s College for several years and are now rebuilding to provide more opportunities. We also have our jazz and big band programme,
which goes from strength to strength, and our popular contemporary stream.”
“For me, the musicianship is
The boys are also fortunate to have external tutors and “a fabulous group of parents actively encouraging and working with students to facilitate that excellence”, particularly in chamber music. “We have gone from virtually no performances of chamber music over the years to five groups this year – two of which have made the Chamber Music Contest South Island finals, which is outstanding. That has come about through perseverance, striving for musical excellence, and by providing the repertoire that best aligns with the boys. I think the last time we were at the national finals for chamber music was in 2006.” College choirs Chapel Choir and Schola Cantorum have also done “exceptionally well at the Big Sing competition”. “At this year’s Big Sing, it was the only time we had every member available because of the disruptions of Covid-19 and influenza. We regularly win but the recent regional awards are affirmation of the hard work put in by the boys.” College always creates opportunities for the boys to perform, including solo and group musical items at the weekly School Assembly. “I think we are incredibly lucky to also have the Chapel worship because we are regularly singing and working together. With Big Sing and community events, we provide those professional opportunities. We have very high standards, but the boys meet
those standards. We also offer special occasions such as the Service of Choral Evensong to honour the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, ensuring that the boys can perform at a higher level.” All boys – no matter their ability – take part in the Parents’ Association House Music Festival, vying for House honours. “It’s an opportunity for the entire school to come together and the boys certainly rise to the occasion. Those in the choir or instrumental groups lift the standard of each House for this highly competitive evening at the Christchurch Town Hall.” Robert also cites the holistic approach at Christ’s College as integral to post-school success. “With a holistic education, it is important that the top academics, sportsmen, and musicians are involved in other activities because employers want young men who have abilities in several areas. “It is important that they are not only a good musician but can work with people. Those skills are integral to success. For 88 boys in the choir to do the same actions and sing in incredible harmony also requires discipline. “For me, the musicianship is important but so is teaching the skills to work together and collaborate, along with ensuring diversity of music and catering for all musical expression – from classical to contemporary. Our new Christ’s College Diploma also emphasises creativity and boys creating their own musical works, which is a real strength.
important but so is teaching the skills to work together and collaborate, along with ensuring diversity of music and catering for all musical expression.”
“Some of the original songs produced under the
contemporary programme are incredible, reflecting a very high standard and enabling more boys to reach the finals of Rockquest. “Our big band and jazz members also regularly take out the top prizes at the Southern Jam Youth Jazz Festival in Blenheim.” In every musical genre, Robert expects the highest standards of execution. “The boys love a challenge, and my job is to facilitate that ability to achieve high standards of excellence. “We also bring in professionals to work with the boys but allow students to make the final decision on what works best. It is ultimately their performance and that is what brings out the best in the boys.” College encourages the boys to share their talents, take others along the musical journey and inspire through performance, engagement, and interaction – and the power of music.
Taking a dramatic turn
Director of Drama Hannah Clarkson.
F or Director of Drama Hannah Clarkson, “the nature of Drama – and performance – provides so many opportunities to take a look at yourself and the world around you”. “Putting yourself into the shoes of the character that you are playing allows a student to see a new perspective,” Hannah believes. “The experiences that we provide on stage – and off – also give the students the chance to take note of their character strengths or areas that may need to be developed.” Each year, hundreds of boys across all year levels tread the boards, set the scene, light up the stage, and take on every role – from actor to stage manager, lighting director to set designer and costume expert to producer. “Our Drama programme at College is focused on giving students many opportunities to get involved in Drama and the Arts,” Hannah says. “We aim to provide a chance for all students, whether they are Drama focused or not. They can extend themselves in acting, dancing, singing, improvising, devising or theatre technology. “We offer both large and small- scale productions for seniors and juniors so that as many students as possible can get involved. We shift the focus each year for major productions – between a scripted play and a piece of musical theatre – so that students can demonstrate their strengths and learn the varied skills that come from both.”
“Drama stimulates creativity but it also provides opportunities for collaboration, problem-solving, negotiating, decision- making and empathy.”
senior production, Light at the End of the Tunnel , has drawn together the talents of singers, dancers, and actors for a Broadway showcase. Next year, College will join forces with St Margaret’s College to present a play. It is the reverse for the junior production, with this year’s play performed with St Margaret’s College and a musical planned for next year with Rangi Ruru Girls’ School. Hannah adds that “our facilities are fantastic and our incredible staff can share an extraordinary wealth of knowledge and abilities – their passion and efforts provide fantastic learning opportunities”. “We also have a great deal of support from the school and our sponsors, which allows us to aim high and offer challenging experiences. “We have a history of excellence, which we work hard to continue, and we enjoy collaboration and often work with experts or professionals to extend opportunities even further. “We love that students take full ownership of a production once it is up and running – a student stage manager runs the show and students perform all crew duties. There is a genuine love of Drama at College and students are driven to succeed and do their best.”
Hannah also highlights the core value of Drama, explaining that “being involved – whether in the classroom or in the many co-curricular opportunities – allows the boys to deepen their understanding of themselves” and the wider world. “Drama stimulates creativity but it also provides opportunities for collaboration, problem-solving, negotiating, decision-making and empathy. These are all wonderful skills and we know that they are particularly valued by universities and employers.” And more boys are recognising the importance of Drama in a holistic education. In 2021, 60 boys were involved in the senior production and 40 in the junior show. Fifteen boys tackled Theatresports, 20 stepped up for the Sheilah Winn Shakespeare Festival, and 20 took part in TheatreFest. Fifteen joined the Stage Crew while a further 15 began to make some bold steps towards the DanceNZmade inter- school competition. Twenty boys also joined the
theatre trip to Auckland. Equally important, 70 boys
studied Speech and Drama at College in 2021 and 100 boys took their bows in the REACTION House Plays Festival. This year, in collaboration with Rangi Ruru Girls’ School, the
DoE Master-in- Charge Graeme Christey.
Duke of Edinburgh Hillary Award – be of service
E very year, boys are challenged to dream big and go far beyond what they believe they can achieve through the Duke of Edinburgh’s (DoE) Hillary Award. The highest international, non- academic award for young people, the DoE Hillary Award “recognises what we expect of our boys during their time at College”, DoE Master- in-Charge Graeme Christey explains. “It instils in the boys the habit of keeping physically fit, learning new skills, seeking adventure and giving service to the community.”
Graeme, who also teaches Commerce and trains middle- distance runners at College, points out that “employers all over the world have the DoE Award on the top of their list as a core requirement of a prospective employee”. The prestigious Gold award “sets young people apart and can be recognised when applying for courses or jobs”. “You often find that those young people who achieve the award go to the top of the interview pile.” The award recognises that a
great deal of learning happens outside the classroom, with those experiences creating committed and fulfilled young people. It is a personal challenge, pushing boys to their limits and recognising their achievements. To earn an award, each boy must learn a skill, boost their physical wellbeing, volunteer in their community and experience a team adventure in a new environment. Each level – from Bronze to Silver and Gold – is progressively more challenging. Today, the DoE Hillary Award is
“The Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award instils in the boys the habit of keeping physically fit, learning new skills, seeking adventure and giving service to the community.”
integral to achievement at Christ’s College, fulfilling the expectations of a key element of the new College Diploma for Years 10–11. “We offer many opportunities for boys to succeed in all areas of the College Diploma. The DoE Bronze Adventurous Journey is part of the Year 10 Immerse & Inspire programme and College promotes the Bronze and Silver programme as part of the Gold level of the Diploma. Each year, up to 70 boys move on to the DoE Silver award and 15 boys target Gold.”
All students receive their Gold award from the Governor- General, having completed a demanding schedule of 52 weeks of learning, physical challenges and community service, including two four-day Adventurous Journeys and a week-long residential project. Students who achieve Bronze, Silver and Gold represent a combined 104 weeks, plus two overnight, three-day and four-day Adventurous Journeys, along with a week-long residential project. “A practical, hands-on award, it
strongly aligns with the ideals and virtues of College and the six Round Square IDEALS of Learning – Internationalism, Democracy, Environment, Adventure, Leadership and Service.” At every level, the DoE Hillary Award inspires young men to transform their lives and commit to a life of service for the betterment of others while striving to extend their personal boundaries, always believing in themselves and facing any challenges.
“I genuinely thought it might have been a mistake generalising – instead of focusing on a few subjects – but it worked out in the end. Maybe there’s a lesson about dreaming big in there?”
Janindu Pahalawatta – studied approach steers success
O utstanding Scholar Janindu Pahalawatta (15150) believes there is a lesson in “dreaming big” after earning spectacular NZQA Scholarship success. The Outstanding Scholar Award recognises the top students in New Zealand, with Janindu being awarded Scholarship in six subjects, entitling the talented University of Otago health sciences student to $15,000 over the next three years. Janindu also topped the table for College, winning Scholarship in English, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Calculus, and an Outstanding Scholarship in Statistics in 2021. “I genuinely thought it might have been a mistake generalising – instead of focusing on a few subjects – but it worked out in the end,” Janindu says of his remarkable results last year. “Maybe there’s a lesson about dreaming big in there?” He adds that “a massive network of teachers, friends, and family members” has supported his achievement and, more importantly, “shaped me into who I am”. “I am truly indebted to every one of you.” Janindu, who hopes to study
medicine and become a psychiatrist, credits several teachers for supporting his Scholarship goals. “College runs Biology and
While he welcomes the Outstanding Scholar Award and University of Otago Academic Excellence Entrance Scholarship, Janindu does not define himself by awards. “The Scholar Award and my University of Otago Academic Excellence Entrance Scholarship mean that my university fees are mostly covered for a few years, so I don't have to worry too much. It’s honestly a big relief. “However, I’ve never been one to define myself based on what I have – or haven’t – been awarded,” he says. As for what he would tell his Year 9 self? “Probably try and keep an eye out for your ‘why’. It took me a while to find my ‘why’ – the reason to do anything – mostly because I didn’t realise I needed one. I suppose my ‘why’ really comes down to healing people, and helping them get on with their lives. It would be great to be someone who can help others get through that suffering and back into enjoying their lives.” However, his favourite piece of advice comes from tutor Ruth Simms: “There's no correct way of living life, so the best we can do is just try.”
Chemistry Scholarship sessions, so I went along to those every week,” he says. “Those sessions were really beneficial, because (Heads of Department) Dr Graeme Swanson and Scott Franklin really knew what they were doing – not just in terms of content, but how the exams worked. HoD David Newton also set up a weekly Physics meet-up to connect Scholarship students. Bouncing ideas off each other and learning from each other really does help. “Calculus was more self-study, cramming an entire textbook’s worth of content leading up to my exam. What helped me a lot here was, again, co-operation. Fellow Year 13 James Currie really got me through a lot of the content. Most of the Scholarship Statistics skills were developed in class and thanks to Dr Tom Hawkins for going in depth with internals.” For English Scholarship, Janindu worked with (former Head of Department) Sian Evans but “the most guidance came from English tutor Ruth Simms, who went above and beyond to put me in a place to succeed”.
Minchan Park – creating a climate for global change
A decade after leaving Christ’s College, University of Cambridge alumni Min Park (13911) is busy “shifting the needle in the right direction” to target the world’s biggest threat – climate change. As a Senior Associate with Unreasonable – an international community of high-growth, high- impact companies aiming to bend
history and profitably solve global problems – Min strongly believes in doing “my very small part to help us get there”. Responsible for the community’s venture selection process – from sourcing and diligence to final decision – for fast-growing enterprises tackling the world’s most pressing problems, London-based Min aims to help
“innovative climate solutions edge closer” to having a global impact. “Whether it be a company making carbon-negative cement (responsible for up to 10 per cent of global emissions), long- duration energy storage (needed for a meaningful transition to renewable energy), or carbon emissions tracking software (so businesses know where and
“The three years at Cambridge were amazing. I regularly pinched myself at the opportunity to be living in one of the oldest academic cities, laden with its traditions, esteemed alumni and talented students from all around the world.”
how to make a change), these companies need to be operating at a global scale in order to have a meaningful impact on the world,” he says. In the next 10 years, Min plans to strengthen his commitment to action by “either taking a more hands-on role in one of these companies with breakthrough solutions or in a role which works to redirect capital towards these companies”. It is a huge change from Min’s original plan to pursue Physics. In his student years, he believed that “understanding the inner workings of our universe that define our reality seemed to be a noble and meaningful pursuit”. However, he soon realised that “studying Physics would most likely be about adding incremental academic value in a niche field, rather than discovering massive underlying truths about the universe”. “At the same time, the Economics teachers at College, especially Robin Sutton, were fantastic at explaining the foundation of Economics – the modelling of human behaviour in a constrained world defined by unlimited wants and limited resources.” Rethinking his future plans, Min discovered that he could “understand a lot about human psychology and behaviours which drive people at the individual and aggregate level” and opted to pursue Economics at university. With a letter of recommendation from former Headmaster Simon Leese, he found himself at the
University of Cambridge. “The three years at Cambridge were amazing,” Min recalls. “I regularly pinched myself at the opportunity to be living in one of the oldest academic cities, laden with its traditions, esteemed alumni and talented students from all around the world. “The course was challenging but taught me some crucial skills – performing under pressure, self-discipline, and clear communication – which help me to this day. Also, British people absolutely love the Kiwi accent, so it was extremely easy to make new friends.” Initially, Min took on a role as a strategy consultant in London, working to support various businesses with their most pressing problems, before moving to a European private equity fund. “While private equity is a prestigious, well-respected industry promising interesting work and handsome remuneration, I soon felt that the pursuit for profit came at the expense of authenticity and empathy, which I believe have been fundamental to my happiness to this day.”
Seeking a purpose-driven role that aligned with his own values, Min took on his present position, focusing on helping to develop and grow “ventures in the climate and social space that generate world-positive outcomes”. Min – a member of Richards House and a talented footballer – also strives to embed authentic relationships in his work and everyday life, recalling the impact of two College teachers. “The boisterous Matt Cortesi (now Director of the College Centre for Character & Leadership) was often found shouting on the football pitch, and the quirky Dr David King taught Physics but left College to follow his passion and start his own bouncy castle company,” Min says. “They both seemed to have a zest for teaching, authentic relationships and for life in general, which I admired.” Longer term, Min hopes to lead a much simpler, enriched life, “pursuing the things that make me happy on a daily basis – sport, quality relationships, and spirituality”. “Nothing is set in stone but I’d like to be prioritising the happiness of myself and everyone around me.”
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