College – Issue 41

BEQUESTS Paying it forward makes good sense

Julian Holderness can truthfully claim that Christ’s College has been a constant thread running throughout his entire life. His father came from Auckland to board at Christ’s College. Julian himself followed the trend from 1955–59, boarding in School House from the farm on Banks Peninsula, with his brother following him. Julian’s son, James, then came – the fourth Holderness in School House. Several Holderness cousins have boarded in the House over the years, and now Julian has a grandson in Year 11 and another due to start in 2022 – the sixth generation of the family to attend College. Little wonder then that with a life so tightly bound to the school, he has lately made a bequest. “It felt like a natural progression of my lifelong connection with College, and it was something I wanted to do,” he says. “Initially, I thought about giving the school a sum to help a boy gain the type of education I was fortunate to have had. But then my wife, Rose, and I looked over things, and decided it might be more beneficial to leave the decision on how the bequest was spent to the College leadership at the time. That way, the gift can be put to greatest and most relevant use.”

Julian was a Prefect, captain of the rowing eight – he spent three years in the crew – and was awarded colours in rugby and athletics. He loved it. In his day, College was “strict”. “For example, we had one leave pass a term to go to the pictures,” he says. “But I really enjoyed my time at school because of my love of sport principally, and for the lifelong friendships which I made. We used to sneak out and buy crumpets from the Antigua Boatsheds, and, loaded with butter, cook them on the gas heaters in the studies. I’m sure the Housemaster knew – he must have smelt them, but he never interfered.” In 1960, he went to Lincoln University to study agriculture and then spent a year at Reading University in the United Kingdom doing postgraduate studies and joining the crew of its rowing eight where he was awarded his Blue – “we never lost a race”. Then it was back to the family farm on Banks Peninsula, which he finally sold in the 1990s, retiring to Christchurch with Rose. Julian thinks the image of the College graduate as a Renaissance man – adopted in the 1980s – is still apt. “College is extremely good at developing a well-rounded man. It always was, but today there is rightly much greater emphasis on a far more elevated academic standard. I really admire what the

school is doing for young men, and the great things they do with plays and drama and music with Rangi Ruru Girls’ School and St Margaret’s College.” He has been well placed to observe its transition to a modern 21st century school, becoming the Old Boys’ representative on the school board in 1987 and serving 12 years before accepting another four and a half as chair, finishing in 2003. Two years later, in 2005, he began a two-year term as chair of the Christ’s College Old Boys’ Association. “I really enjoyed every moment of school life myself, and was thrilled that my son, James, did too, and these opportunities later in life meant I could give something back. That’s the thing about College – it sets you up for life; it gives you the confidence and it teaches you about service and about giving voluntarily. “The young men here do so extremely well in their careers. They do amazing things; they’re eloquent and they contribute to society. There’s a lot to be proud of. But independent schools have a huge demand on them and it’s growing all the time. They need to provide facilities and resources, as well as maintain buildings. And that’s one way bequests can help.” He says it has been a thrill this year to be admitted to the Sewell Society, and he is happy to talk to anyone considering making a bequest in the future.

Christ’s College Canterbury


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