College – Issue 29

ISSUE 29 TERM 3 2015

ISSUE 29 Contents



Simon Leese

04 12

College to the rescue of a Santa Parade favourite 52 Welcome back Bishop David Coles 55 Bringing grandparents into College 56 Grandparents have their say 58 Anzac Day Service 60 College commemorates Old Boys who died in WW1 61

2015 Head Prefect Lachlan Stark


Art for Art’s Sake The Learning Centre

14 18 20 21 22 23 24 25 26

Parents praise College’s learning support


ESOL tuition

Blending traditional features and high tech facilities 62 Sir Miles does the honours 66 A modern learning environment 67 Restoring the Hare Memorial Library to its former glory 68 “The most important element in the Quadrangle” 70 Introducing Francis Hare 72

2014 National Top Scholar in English

A word from George’s former English teacher

Kentucky Bound

NZQA Examination Results

Looking to the future

It’s all about communication 29 Conference shows that everyone can be a leader 30 The Hub of the School 32 2015 New Staff 33 Broadening horizons 35


Rugby ANZAC Carnival in Melbourne Third College cricket tour of England Trans-Tasman Cricket Tournament Popularity of tennis continues to grow Tennis star Connor Heap to head to the US A good medal haul at this year’s Maadi Cup

74 78 82 84 85 86


An actor tells all

38 40 42 44 45

Selling your soul to the devil

A successful production requires teamwork

Singing their heart out Winning with words

News & Events

Celebrating successes from Terms 1 and 2

88 92 95 96

College Flight School gets wings


An update from the Development Office

Heads up for Sam Orientation Weekend

46 48 49 50

Donor Names 2013/14

George Lamb goes to boarding school

Having fun in the weekends

SIMON LEESE From the Headmaster

Our last College magazine was warmly welcomed as our communications team created a new look, more effectively communicating the energy and vibrancy of everyday life at the College. As a senior Old Boy wrote to me recently, “When I read the various school publications I am amazed at the opportunities the school provides.” This edition will be no different - a faithful account of some of the highlights of the last few months. For me this will be my last edition and I was asked to reflect on the 12 years I have spent at this remarkable school. Beyond the article here, I did not want to give too much away; you will have to read my book when it is published, if I ever get round to writing it! In the many past editions of College over the years, as I thumb

back through them, are many half-forgotten events, but well- remembered individuals. The events tend to blur together, but the characters never do. In this edition you will see many of the current generation doing all sorts of things. Put it away in a drawer for a few years, and it will serve to remind you of some of remarkable young people who were here in 2015. They are what gives College its colour - printers’ ink is merely the evidence.

Simon Leese Christ’s College Headmaster

Christ’s College Magazine Issue 29, 2015

Marketing and Communications Manager: Claire Sparks +64 3 364 6803 Change of Address: Sandy Scannell +64 3 364 6836

College Magazine Writer: Kristi Gray +64 3 364 6801

Graphic Designer: Ben Bowles

Printing: Caxton



Christ’s College Canterbury

“Have I touched the lives of many in a meaningful way? Only they can judge. Have many of the boys who have passed through College, touched my life? More than most will know.” Simon Leese - Headmaster


College Issue 29 2015

After 12 years at College, Headmaster Simon Leese is leaving to take up the position as Principal of the Prince of Wales Island International School in Penang. The new co-educational private school has both boarders and day students and the projected roll is around 800.

thought to lack gravitas. Perhaps translation into Latin or Maori would have diverted attention. But ‘Have Fun’ lived to tell the tale (largely, I suspect, because a substantial donation came with it). So it should. If boys do not enjoy their school, nothing will ever be what it could be. If the Headmaster isn’t enjoying himself, there is precious little prospect anyone else will. When I came here, I was promoted from Regimental Sergeant Major and made Commanding Officer; no commission examinations, intermediate promotions and ‘relevant’ experience in between. It meant I went from daily dealing one-to-one with innumerable senior boys, to watching others do it. It wasn’t always a pretty sight. I was somewhat taken aback by the profile of ‘discipline’ – so many sanctions and controls. I heard the word ‘suspension’ more in the first six months than

A reflection on my 12 years at College

It has been estimated for me that I have written about 300,000 words in speeches and sermons, not to mention newsletters, since arriving at College. Then there are the hundreds of other addresses and talks that do not have a recorded ‘script’. What can be left to say? I have been asked to reflect on 12 years at College for this, my last College edition. It might be an opportunity for earnest reflection, for heartfelt sincerity, for stirring recollections and for rousing encouragement for the future. Somewhat predictable. When I first arrived I was told the story of controversy about the Carver family window in the Old Boys’ Theatre; their chosen simple inscription was to be ‘Have Fun’ and by all accounts it was

in my whole career to that point. Where are we now? The place is running amok, as anyone can see. I had just come from the end of a year in England, and my departure after 22 years left a lasting bond with the generation who left with me. Just a term later, another end-of-year with boys I had barely known. I was amazed how emotionally involved I was. That was the College; frustrating, surprising, but so deeply involving. I should have had a dollar for everyone in those early days who asked me how Kiwi boys compared with English. I had a standard reply: ‘better looking and more intelligent’. In some cases it was true. Young men cover a


Christ’s College Canterbury

Only they can judge. Have many of the boys who have passed through College, touched my life? More than most will know. Much has been made of the earthquake years, and the eventual completion of our replacement buildings may be a source of satisfaction for others. But as Head Prefect Lachlan Stark said at the opening, “It’s only a building. It’s what we do inside it that matters.” When people used to visit for the first time they would look out of my study and remark, without fail, on the beautiful view. I actually used to say, “Yes, but if we were hit by ‘the big one’ and the whole lot went, we would still have a College. We are not just about buildings, you know.” So blame me. Buildings are expensive piles of fancy materials nailed and bolted together. A school is a community of priceless individuals joined together with a unique glue – the values, ambitions and respect they share. I hope my type of adhesive has done a reasonable job. I will leave with a heavy heart, but I have known my successor for many years, and know the school will be in good hands.

years have seen us, at very great expense, put most of it back as it was pre-earthquakes. Couple quaint architecture with a timeless Edwardian-style blazer, and how easy it is to be labelled ‘old fashioned’. What nonsense. I strongly advise my successor to change the uniform and build on the quad – it is the only way to break that perception in the eyes of some. On the other hand, he could build on the reality: some of the hardest-working and most dedicated teachers I have ever had the privilege to meet, the most tractable, responsible and co-operative student body any head could wish for, and some of the sharpest-edge teaching and learning to be found anywhere. Trendy, no. Flashy, no. Understated, possibly. Effective, unquestionably. Sign boards at the front of the school celebrating Junior South Island Pizza-making Champions – really not our style. Dead body – over mine. Have I had fun? Of course I have. Have I been ready to weep at times? Of course I have. Privileged access to so many families inevitably brings you face to face with the deepest personal tragedies. Have I touched the lives of many in a meaningful way?

broad spectrum wherever you are – there are no generalisations. The other thing I quickly tired of was the ‘Englishness’ of Christchurch, and indeed that label for the school. I had not come to the other side of the world to be told it was like where I had come from. I used to tell people I knew one or two people in England who had never actually seen a punt, far less been in one. Christchurch, and the school, has an English heritage, but it is a school of, and for, New Zealand. The College celebrates its architecture and the last few

- Simon Leese June 2015

From the Board

Board Chair, David Barker, remembers his first meeting with Simon Leese very well. At the first Board meeting in 2003 the sole item of business was the selection of the new Headmaster. Simon impressed us then and the decision that he was the best person for the role was straightforward and reached swiftly. He has proved many times how right we were to make that decision and has fulfilled all the promise that


College Issue 29 2015

we saw at that interview.”

“It will be hugely valuable for the future development of College whatever use the Board finally decide for it.” Mr Leese who was up in the Art block when the

Mr Barker says the Board employed Mr Leese with a focus on lifting academic achievement and improving educational outcomes. “If you look at our NCEA and Scholarship results, it is clear that he has achieved this in his time at College,” says Mr Barker. “Our NZQA Scholarship results are amongst the highest in the country and we have seen incredible achievements, such as George Fitzgerald achieving the top Scholarship mark in English, amazing when around 16,000 students sit that exam. “There has been continuous improvement in NCEA achievements levels and the academic standards across the whole school have been lifted.” Mr Barker says Mr Leese has achieved this by involving and encouraging input from staff, employing talented and supportive staff and by leading by example in what he expects from staff. “My impression is he encourages boys to excel – not just the able students, but all students,

February earthquake struck, spearheaded the response for parents, boys and staff. “However, it would be a shame if the rebuild and repair of the buildings alone defined his role as leader of Christ’s College. To do so would diminish all his other achievements during his time here. Inevitably, though, his leadership, resilience and determination to hold the team together after the earthquakes has meant we have been able to come through that most significant event in the school’s history so very well, and he will be remembered for that. “In the project for the new Miles Warren Building, which replaced three other demolished buildings, Simon has shown determination in moving things along, finally getting the campus back to what it was prior to the earthquakes,

to the extent of cooking for the boarders post-earthquake when there were no dining-room staff. “Jane has helped in an enormous number of ways,” he says. “She has entertained, attended most events, and is always ready to smile and chat with boys, staff and visitors. She has been a real asset to the school in her own right. “After 12 years of wonderful service to College, we wish them both well in their new adventures.”

only much improved by the new or renovated buildings.

A word from Jane Leese

Mr Barker says Mr Leese, a former physics teacher, has impressed him with his writing skills. “He has an amazing command of English and writes beautifully crafted prose. He is well read, insightful, thoughtful and reflective, and it comes across in all his communications. I really enjoy reading his fortnightly musings in In Black and White, covering such a wide range of topics on which he always has observations to make,” Mr Barker says. “He is quite self-effacing, happy to make jokes at this own expense and is quite happy to join in any event, such as racing the motorised chilly bin around the College.’’ Mr Barker says Mrs Jane Leese has also been an unfailing supporter of Simon and the school, even

including those who may have learning difficulties.”

Leaving Christ’s College after 12 years will be a wrench for Jane Leese, but she says she is definitely looking forward to the “next step in life’s adventure”. Although she has been the first Headmaster’s wife to work full time, as a teacher at the Cathedral Grammar School, Jane has been an integral part of College life. She is a familiar sight at most events, sports fixtures and school activities, and enjoys contact with boys and their parents. “There is no doubt you have to enjoy meeting people. Once we walk in the door at an event, Simon and I usually part company and take off to talk to different people. We meet hundreds of new people in the course of a year and people often know who we are, but not the

Extra-curricular activities have also been a major focus for Mr Leese, and he and his wife are familiar figures at a wide range of events. “I have been impressed by his unfailing support of all sport and events at College. He is always out on the weekends and evenings, and there is no doubt the boys really appreciate his interest and support of the teams. During his time at College, our achievements at Maadi Cup have been impressive. For a small school, we are now punching well above our weight. Mr Barker says Mr Leese showed considerable foresight in encouraging the Board to acquire the old Christchurch Girls’ High School site in 2006.


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with our children and see our grandchildren in New York, and we plan to build another house!”

Some personal glimpses about Simon Leese from Graeme Worner I first met Simon at morning tea in the old Chapman Block Common Room straight after it had been announced that he would be the new Headmaster of Christ’s College. He spoke incredibly well and I was even more impressed when I introduced myself that he said, “Ah, Graeme Worner. Your mate, Nick Leiper from Uppingham School, [where I did a teacher exchange in 1987] says hi.” At the same time I met Jane and liked her immediately. Soon after Simon started, one of his innovations was to use the marquee that was available from the prize-giving day luncheon for an outdoor-style staff Christmas party, which had traditionally been held at the Headmaster’s house at 1 Armagh Street. I liked the fact that he was prepared to be creative and give a new idea a go. He decided to make some presentations to staff, who had helped out in different ways. Loud ties and personal laminated certificates were the order of the day. I was lucky enough to be publicly presented with a certificate following my long sought-after hole-in-one (nine iron, 127m fifth hole at Harewood GC). Simon likes to dress up and be a little outrageous. He relished the opportunity to sport his England colours whenever he could. During the Lions tour we had a morning tea of little cakes with the cross of St George on them, and most recently, he turned up to join Matt Cortesi’s Old Boys’ football side on Upper in his outlandish Union Jack shorts. He may also have worn these when making history as the oldest College Headmaster to run the senior cross-country course. I wish I could remember all

other way round. Most realise it is a challenge! I don’t have to go to everything, but I usually do because I want to support Simon and the rest of the staff. Everyone works so hard, and as our children are up and away, we can do as much as we want. It can be seven days a week, but that’s how we like it.”

chat, to scrounge food, and even to borrow spanners to fix their bikes.” Another memorable time at College was, of course, the 2011 earthquake. “We were still in the middle of repairs from the first one and soon had builders everywhere. For three weeks I went out in the golf cart and filled up bins with water to bring back for the loos at College, which were used by the builders, soldiers, everyone. We had no power or water for three weeks, so Simon and I pitched in with the few remaining staff. Simon spent hours relaying daily updates to parents, I made contact with staff, and Paul Rodley, our IT director, set up the servers in his own garage to get us all online. The College community is truly amazing, Jane says. “I advise whoever comes after us that the partner get involved in the way I did. I have been able to do such a great variety of wonderful things, and we have met so many interesting and friendly people.” The Leeses are off to Malaysia, where Simon will be Principal of a co-ed private school owned by a large Malaysian corporation. At some stage, Jane says, they will return to the UK where they still have a home. “You never know when Simon will be ready to retire, but there is no sign of it yet. However, we do want to spend some time in Europe

She says they are definitely a team, although she adds with a smile that she would never want to work for him!

“We came here for a four-day interview and during that time we got to know the Board. The then Board members were one of the reasons we decided to take the position. They were so pro-College, and it was our first contact with Julian Holderness in England, which really got us interested.” Jane recalls a highlight of her time at College was Simon’s installation as Headmaster. “It was traditional and steeped in history,” she says. “At a special chapel service, the Bishop gave him a prayer book and a formal certificate. It was very moving.” Living in the midst of a school of boys has been a way of life for Jane. “We went into a school boarding house when I was pregnant with my second child and were there for 17 years. We really liked the fact that we were in the middle of things. At College, boys have come round to our house for a


College Issue 29 2015

his outfits worn during the Spring Festivals held every other year, but one that ‘springs’ to mind is an immaculately dressed Captain Cook. This behaviour extended to the annual Common Room parties which always have a theme. Two years ago he would easily have passed as a street vagrant forced into the WWII underground shelter (which was the temporary Common Room under the Open Air block, dubbed the bunker), mixing it with a diverse representation of English society while carnage occurred above. At Richard Bromley’s farewell function, it was Simon and Jane’s suggestion of having an ’Allo ’Allo theme, which proved incredibly popular. Sometimes Simon would really go all out, and staff all remember the infamous doughnut concept as a metaphor for College’s future. Simon treated us all with doughnuts as he outlined that what makes a doughnut unique is the hole in the middle. He was quite right, of course, but we all strained to establish what it was about College that made it unique, trying to block out, and yet relate to, the analogy of the hole in a doughnut. I appreciated the fact that if Simon was invited to join a group of staff for a social time on a Friday afternoon, he would do his best to get there. He then did his best NOT to talk about school, although staff (myself included) were often guilty of bending his ear on some pressing College issue. Perhaps to encourage more staff to pop out for a beer on a Friday, he generously offered to shout for any staff that turned up at the Pegasus Arms if his eldest son, Ben, beat his best-ever time in the New York Marathon. As it turned out, the weather for the marathon was atrocious, and Ben was literally only a minute or so shy of the mark, still running an incredibly impressive time. But Simon still fronted up and dipped into his pocket to shout the largest group of staff ever to

turn up on Friday. Several times I suggested it was time to close the bar tab, but did he listen? Sadly, no, but his over-the-top generosity was hugely appreciated. In return he was rewarded with the photo he wanted; a picture to send to Ben of 30 staff, all sporting Ben’s marathon entry number that Simon had printed off and brought along with him. But it is not all about dressing up and enjoying social occasions. Simon is an impressive speech- writer. He is incredibly well read and writes elegantly, supporting his points with numerous interesting quotes. Similarly, his off-the-cuff speeches at morning tea or staff meetings are superbly constructed and the points are well communicated. He may have slightly misjudged his younger audience at times, perhaps at prize-giving, but many of the parents will have been appreciative of his oratory skills. And, lastly, Simon is up for physical challenges. Most impressive were his trips up to Temple Basin Ski Lodge to observe the Year 12 biologists at work studying zonation patterns in alpine plant communities. On the last occasion, Simon drove up early in the morning, walked up the mountain (by himself), fully immersed himself in what was happening, including a climb to the top of the mountain, stayed overnight and left at sunrise in not only torrential rain, but also following a track that overnight

had become a water-slide of significant proportions. It was only when we left ourselves some five hours later in fine conditions that we realised just what a challenge it was 20cm deep water for most of the track, flowing downhill. One can only imagine the challenges that await in Malaysia. I am sure Simon will seize these challenges with the same enthusiasm he has shown for all things at College. We wish him and Jane safe journeys.

- Graeme Worner

An Old Boy remembers

2013 Head Prefect Harry McCormick gives his take on Mr Leese Where do you start on a piece about your former Headmaster? Where do you begin on what is essentially the Holy Grail of anecdotal writing? The chance to convey some thoughts on


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earthquake-related issue, which wasn’t quite as contentious, was the opportunity to demolish one of College’s most beautiful and awe- inspiring structures – the Chapman Building. If there was ever any good to come out of such an ordeal, the decision to bid farewell to that monstrosity must be one of Mr Leese’s most endearing legacies. I suppose in the end, your legacy is a yardstick as to what you’ve been able to achieve in a job such as Simon Leese’s. There won’t be any more rousing prize-giving speeches, littered with analogies so complex that trying to remember the root of one was nigh-on impossible; or any sermons too intricate for 7.30pm on a Sunday night, or any classes on the quad. However, it would be fair to say Simon Leese’s yardstick looks pretty good. At the risk of sounding clichéd, Mr Leese told me once that you should endevour to leave the school in a better place than you found it, and if you can honestly say you’ve done that, then your term in a position of leadership can’t be disputed. Over the last decade, and certainly during my time at College, Simon Leese has upheld this rule impeccably. He’s been a constant figure during some unsettled times and has steered the school in the seemingly right direction, even if it did mean losing the Chapman building. I’m sure it’s not the last we’ll see of Simon Leese and I’m sure whatever’s next for him, it’ll be tackled with the same enthusiasm, dedication and Englishness that he’s brought to College. I saw a quote the other day by an unknown author that read: “Sometimes people choose to leave, not because of selfish reasons, but they just know that things will get worse if they stay.’’

tradition. Mr Leese upheld and enforced College’s motto – Bene tradita, bene servanda – regularly reminding students of these traditions: shirts in, socks up, polished shoes, top buttons done up, eyebrows waxed, fingernails cut, nostril hairs trimmed, and so on. Coupled with the enforcer (Rob Donaldson), the two formed quite a formidable pair when walking around the quad. Nonetheless, for the few us who spent a bit more time with Mr Leese, you soon realised how much he invested in the school. An avid supporter of rowing and rugby, he often asked me how we were shaping up for the weekend. Academically, College has continued to excel, spurred on by the high standards set by senior management and teachers. Culturally, as well, Mr Leese rarely missed a Sunday chapel or a production, and he was an enthusiastic supporter of the House plays. In addition to this, Mr Leese and the Board steered the school through some difficult times following the earthquakes and made some tough decisions in the process – none more so than the option to stick Portacoms on the hallowed turf! Despite this, an

Harry McCormick with Mr Leese.

Simon Leese (albeit brief), from a lowly boy’s perspective was an opportunity too good to miss. Simon Leese is very similar to what you’d expect a Headmaster of College to embody. A stickler for tradition, articulate, intellectual, diplomatic – and English. For a school that gets its fair share of flak for being a pompous stomping ground, to have anyone other than an Englishman running the helm seems a tad ridiculous. This Englishness sat well in a school such as College, built on

You did all right, Sir.

Bene tradita, bene servanda.

- Harry McCormick


College Issue 29 2015


Christ’s College Canterbury

LEAVING A LEGACY 2015 Head Prefect Lachlan Stark

Head Prefect Lachlan Stark says managing the commitments of his role with the demands of study is a bit like the ducks in the pond, all calm and unruffled on top but paddling furiously underneath.

opportunity to really hone my organisational skills before heading into a much busier Term 2.’’ He says that generally boys treat him the same way as they did before he became Head Prefect. “I think most boys in school pretty much know who I am, separate from the Head Prefect role,’ he says. “I would like to think that any respect they have for me is due to experiences they have had with me or from word of mouth, definitely not because of the title. Aside from the odd comment, nothing has changed in the way other boys treat me, and vice versa. In most senses, I am just another student here at College.” When asked how he would like to be remembered as a Head Prefect, Lachlan has definite ideas. “I would like to be remembered as one of the boys, as Lachlan Stark, not Lachlan Head Prefect. As someone who worked hard both for myself and others. I was actually asked a similar question by the Headmaster and Mr Donaldson in my interview for the position. I told them I would like to be remembered as unique, that I would like to try and really leave a positive mark on the school and help to steer it in a direction that benefits the boys in all facets of their lives.

Lachlan say he has noticed some changes during his time at College, and not just physical changes. “In general, I think the feel of College has changed slightly. I think there is a gap in interaction between the junior and senior year groups, and this is something I really feel the seniors need to try and do something about. Whether it is just giving a nod to a junior that you’ve met on the way around the quad, or playing basketball or football with them at lunchtime, it all counts towards the positive experience of being a College boy, and gives them a role model. A little respect definitely goes a long way, and this applies to all members of the school, senior and junior.’’ Despite having been in the role for only two terms, Lachlan feels he has already grown and changed as a person. “I was captain of the basketball team and used to working with a team, but this year is different. I thought I was good at talking to people with different personalities and being able to compromise. But working with the prefects, boys and staff, I feel I have reached a whole new level of reading and gauging how people feel. I believe this is something I will have with me for the rest of my life.’

“There are definitely times when it is difficult to balance the two halves,’’ he says. “I have sometimes found it hard to keep track of everything, because my role is comprised of a number of large events which I am responsible for and, in between these, are countless small jobs that need to be ticked off. Often I have found myself with so many things going on, it is difficult to actually sit down and tackle the workload.’’ Lachlan says the first term was a good way to ease into the role. “There was obviously a step up in my workload, but it was manageable and a good


College Issue 29 2015

Christ’s College Canterbury


ART DEPARTMENT Art for Art’s Sake

Collaboration is the name of the game in the Christ’s College Art Department.

Entering the light, airy, third-floor room of the Art Department, where Year 13 students are working, is to walk into an atmosphere of calm, thoughtful endeavour. Each boy is working quietly on his own portfolio, which will be presented for assessment at the end of the year. Head of Department Mr Darryn George says the boys have the opportunity to test things out in the classroom. He believes his role is providing the best learning environment by guiding the boys in the right direction in any project, but ultimately letting them be responsible from conception to completion. “As teachers, we work alongside the boys. We are researchers and make our own work and we expect the boys to be researchers and make their own work as well. We give guidance in terms of which areas to start researching in – but the boys have to get going and do the research themselves. “We work collaboratively. Each week, the boys produce work for

a group critique. They put their work in front of the group and their peers fire out their ideas, share their thoughts, and talk about different styles. I wrap up the discussion, make some suggestions, the boys write it down and there you have the framework for the next few days’ work. “We definitely encourage independent thinking, so during the week, boys have to think for themselves and critique their own work. We don’t spoon-feed them and this is why our students do so well at fine-art schools, as they can think and work independently. The boys do the research, then use their gut feeling. “My role is to have an image library in my head to suggest names and styles for boys to consider. These references become the starting point for further research. Every portfolio is different and we need to guide the boys to the sensitive shifts they can make.”

Mr George says art is all about having a passion.

“Mr George always gives a wee pep talk and says, ‘Don’t go for little day trips to Dunsandel or Amberley, get on the ferry to Wellington and continue

up to Kaitaia.’ ” George McKnight - Year 13

College Issue 29 2015


“Sometimes on Curriculum Nights boys will come and ask me if they should take art as a subject because it is their favourite. I say to them ‘Choose subjects you like doing, that you are passionate about, because it is much more likely you will follow that passion and work hard’. Parents sitting there usually accept this, too.’’ All Year 9 and 10 boys take art as a subject. They are given a wide variety of different art experiences, including photography. Year 13 student Bailen Thatcher says art is his favourite subject. He enjoys being in the art room, which is “the best room in school, with great views, where you can relax and be with yourself”. He enjoys working independently, though says it is a big workload which can be tough at times when he is trying to finish a number of things. “You are always working in art, it is never really finished until the end of the year when you hand in your portfolio. But for me the best thing about the subject is it is not all about what the teacher thinks is right, it’s about what we all think. It is good to know how you could improve. Art can be quite a solitary thing and it is good to be collaborative. That is why I really enjoy the class.

“Some boys see it as a drop- out subject, but that definitely is not the case. It is different from other subjects, because there is not so much written work. It is more creative, and boys take it very seriously and work really hard all year.’’ Bailen was intending to study architecture, but has his eyes set on a cricket career. For George McKnight, art classes offer the chance for a different way of thinking. “You learn things through your own work and research rather than it being teacher-driven,” he says. “You have to manage your own time and have lots of self-discipline. “With art you always get a boost of achievement as it is something that is yours and original. You always

Previous page: Art by Bailen Thatcher.

Top left and right: Paintings by Bailen Thatcher.

Above: Bailen Thatcher and George McKnight at work on the classroom.

Right: Art by George McKnight.

feel like you’re going on a journey and developing a little idea into a bigger one. As a student in art you drive yourself to places you have not been and you get to push boundaries of your imagination. Mr George always gives a wee pep talk and says, ‘Don’t go for little day trips to Dunsandel or Amberley, get on the ferry to Wellington and continue up to Kaitaia.’ ” George has a plan for the whole year, which he says is essential so he can visualise where he is going.

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College Issue 29 2015


Year 12 student Wilbur Morrison has absolutely no doubts that the work he does in the Learning Centre has helped him make significant improvements in his grades, his work output, his understanding of what he learns and his attitude to study.

“Everyone loves going to English tuition,” he says gleefully. “You laugh and learn at the same time.’’ Wilbur says he has always struggled with dyslexia and has had trouble with reading, writing and comprehension. When he entered Year 9 he was identified as someone who would benefit from extra tuition. “You can take any subject work with you and the staff know how to get the best out of you. They know how to say things in a way that I can understand. The one- on-one learning gives you much more confidence, because rather than telling yourself that you

aren’t any good at something, they tell you that your brain is just wired in a different way from other people’s, so you need a different way of learning. “This year I took up chemistry, which I would never have thought of doing, and I am really enjoying it. If I hadn’t had the tuition, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to try something like that.” There are four dedicated teachers in the department: Mrs Lesley Anderson-McKenna, Mrs Helen Butterfield, Mrs Elizabeth Maddren and Ms Gill Kilpatrick, who recently replaced Ms Catherine Bell. The programmes run

across all year groups and the team sees more than 100 boys a week. Some boys just need confidence, some have significant learning challenges and some have a range of specific needs. All Year 9 students, except those in the top band, are tested when they come into College, and staff liaise with feeder schools to identify any boys with potential learning challenges who would benefit from extra tuition. In the first term, Mrs Maddren goes into classrooms, observing students and building up learning profiles. Head of Department Mrs Anderson- McKenna says one of the most

Wilbur Morrison working with Mrs Lesley Anderson-McKenna.

Christ’s College Canterbury


important parts of the job is liaising with classroom teachers about these learning profiles, so they can understand the learning needs a boy may have and cope with them accordingly. “We set up a learning programme for each boy and they work in small groups or have individual tuition once a week. We have ongoing testing to see if help is still needed. The boys really see it as a positive experience and maybe once there was some sort of stigma around helping those with learning needs, but now it is an important and integral part of the school, which is valued by everyone. The team also has plenty of communication with parents, who are grateful for the help their boys are getting. “All of these boys will succeed given the right support. Some come to us with a mentality of failure, so we give them confidence and they do succeed. “We have boys with significant learning challenges and our system provides them with the support they might not get elsewhere. For options such as having a reader/writer, using a computer or having extra time in an exam, we have the boys tested by external agencies to make sure they get the help that they need. “We find that when it comes to exams and assessments, most of our boys punch well above their weight.’’ Tom Jackson, who came to College in Year 11, says the help he has had from the Learning Centre has helped push him towards achieving an Excellence in English. “I am dyslexic and lacked confidence in my work,” he says. “The staff helped me critique the structure of my assessments and look more deeply into my work to explore different ideas and help me look at the bigger picture. Everyone is different so it is great to get help in your own work to get the maximum benefit.”

“We find that when it comes to exams and assessments, most of our boys punch well above their weight.” Lesley Anderson-McKenna - HOD

Top: Mrs Elizabeth Maddren. Middle: Boys hard at work. Bottom: Ms Gill Kilpatrick.

College Issue 29 2015


LEARNING CENTRE Parents praise College’s learning support

Mary Burgess, whose two boys have been through the Learning Centre, is passionate about the impact it has had on their learning.

She says her two sons were severely dyslexic, but she believes they had the best educational opportunity they could possibly have had by coming to College, which has smaller classes and the tuition, help and guidance they have had from the Learning Centre. The communication the staff had with other class teachers really helped those teachers to understand each boy’s different learning needs, she says. Son Harry got Level 3 English endorsed with Merit, Level 2 endorsed with Merit and Excellence awards in other individual standards. “I can’t speak highly enough of the staff, as they recognise

both the need for help and the potential of each boy. They never give up,’’ she says. “They believe in the boys and give them what they need to be successful. They give them confidence, act as sounding boards, listen and give them strategies to work things out. By breaking everything down into bite-sized pieces, they make things easier for those who have different ways of learning.’’ Parent Rose Acland, whose two sons also have had tuition from the Learning Centre, says the centre is a fun, safe place slightly removed from the rest of the school where the teachers have a thorough understanding of the issues surrounding learning needs,

and know how to achieve the optimum from each boy they teach. “It has assisted hugely in giving our boys confidence in their abilities,’’ she says. “It has helped them understand and overcome the obstacles presented by a learning disability and to know that it is an issue they have to work with every day. But they find out it is not insurmountable and academic achievement and success are still possible. “Both our sons have performed beyond expectation in all external examinations and in the case of our elder son [the help] enabled him to perform well at university level. “The small group or option of a one-on-one helps the boys get the best out of each session, which are tailor-made to what the boys are working on in class and to the assessments coming up. There is good communication between the centre and the boy’s class teachers to aid this process,” she says. “The boys have really enjoyed the close, relaxed rapport they have had with their teacher and, in our case, we had the same teacher for both our boys. The centre understands each boy’s individual capabilities as well as respecting the aspirations of parents and boys alike to try and achieve the best academic outcome for school and into the future,’’ she says.

Catherine Bell, Lesley Anderson-McKenna, Helen Butterfield and Elizabeth Maddren.

Christ’s College Canterbury


ESOL tuition

ESOL falls under the umbrella of the Learning Centre. ESOL students are boys for whom English is a second language and they need help with vocabulary, grammar and writing skills. The level of English varies significantly with some just needing help with colloquial English, while others are at a more elementary level.

Mrs Helen Butterfield, ESOL teacher says, “These boys not only have difficulties with the new language, but also with a new culture, especially the boarders. This means there is also a significant pastoral care element to this work. These students are taken individually or in small groups, several times a week, depending on their level of need.’’


College Issue 29 2015


George Fitzgerald’s 100% mark in the 2014 NZQA Scholarship exams gave him the prestigious award of being New Zealand’s Top Scholar in English.

He also won an Outstanding Scholar Award, placing him in the top 70 students in New Zealand. This was for being awarded Outstanding Scholarships in both English and Geography as well as Scholarships in Biology and History. The journey to achieving the country’s highest mark in English began in Year 9 when George was put in the English extension group with a tutor who sparked his interest in the classics. “This really helped me look at literature in a different way and see it as something I could

put into my own life. It helped me to be able to look at the difference between knowledge and wisdom and use my knowledge in the real word,” he says. “But to get to where I have done I have had to do an enormous amount of preparation over the years. I enjoy English because it is not just rote-learning but gives you the opportunity for creative thinking, for using your knowledge to create an argument and to support opinions. “In English, you need a lot of accumulated knowledge and in Scholarship, any knowledge is

good knowledge, so I worked towards and focused mostly on Scholarship exams.’’ George says he is grateful to English Department teachers, who “have so much passion for what they are doing”. “They always tried to maximise my love of English and encourage me to read, to take part in external and internal writing competitions and they are part of the recent successes I have had.” George is currently in Dunedin at Otago University where he is studying Health Sciences leading

George Fitzgerald – 2014 National Top Scholar in English.

Christ’s College Canterbury


to a career in medicine. He is looking towards working with an organisation where he can apply science in a humanitarian way. He believes his time at College has prepared him for the different way of life at university. “Now I have left, I can look back on College as a unique experience because of the huge variety of activities you are able to pursue. If you get stuck in, it is a lifestyle which envelops you totally. I got involved in committees, cultural activities and sport and often didn’t get home until after 7pm as there was always so much to do. “I really think that helped my academic career because I had a balance of other activities to complement my studies. College is adept at discovering boys’ aptitudes and encouraging them to pursue these with a passion. You soak up the entire ethos of the school, which is to enhance the raw abilities you have when you arrive. “It is this sense of busyness and belonging that you get used to at College that I want to retain so I get involved in life at university and in the Hall that I am living in. College has taught me the benefits that I can reap from being involved and has shown me that I can get out of my comfort zone and take on new experiences.”

A word from George’s former English teacher

The Grand Hall of Parliament was the imposing setting for this year’s Top Scholar Awards ceremony, held in May at a formal gathering of top scholars, parents, teachers, NZQA staff and MPs. Sitting in place of honour were 32 young men and women, the top students from the 2014 New Zealand Scholarship examinations. Among them was our very own George

Fitzgerald, who was there to receive his Top Scholar in English award. The ceremony began with karakia, mihi and waiata, then NZQA Board Member, Murray Strong began proceedings by welcoming “the very very best of the best” to Parliament. And George certainly is “the very best of the best”. Scholarship English is by far the most strongly contested of all Scholarship subjects: 16,843 students sat the exam last year. The next biggest Scholarship subject is statistics, with 11,859 students. Latin had just 23 students sitting last year. Thus to win the Top Scholar of English is a particularly outstanding achievement. The most engaging and entertaining speech of the morning was delivered by the Hon. Hekia Parata, who had to hold the fort, so to speak, for an extra 10 minutes until the Prime Minister arrived from a previous engagement. She explained that this would be a straightforward task, as “it is true I can suck the oxygen out of any room!” She then proceeded to explain why this was such an important and enjoyable event for her. Mrs Parata noted that, “Scholarship isn’t something that just happens in Year 13, it is a culmination of years of hard work and discipline. But most importantly, it’s about pursuing what you are most passionate about. Find what you are passionate about and you will succeed.” Addressing the top scholars, she encouraged them to “nourish that passion – you’ll be a lot nicer person to be around!” Ever since Year 9 George has impressed English teachers and tutors alike with his vast vocabulary, voracious reading, wonderful oratory skills and compelling writing. While reading his essays, there was a frequent need to lunge for the nearest dictionary to look up yet another obscure word. I’m sincerely grateful to George for teaching me glorious lexicon, such as epizeuxis and deracinate.

“Scholarship English is by far the

most strongly contested of all Scholarship subjects: 16,843 students sat the exam last year.’’ Christine Rayward

We wish George all the very best in his future studies.

- Christine Rayward

College Issue 29 2015



Angus McKenzie, 2014 Head of the Humanitarian Committee, who received two scholarships to the University of Kentucky, says his role at College helped him win the scholarships.

Angus was awarded the See Blue Scholarship (academic) and the International Student Ambassador Scholarship (leadership/academic/ extra-curricular), each worth $37,000 NZD. Angus actually qualified for a higher scholarship, but is awaiting confirmation of transcript equivalents, ie what NCEA correlates to in the US. The university was keenly interested in the work of the Humanitarian Committee, especially last year’s effort of raising $33,000 for CanTeen from the Big Shave, Year 11 semi- formal and charity collections.

“This role definitely gave me an advantage,” Angus says. “I was the first person from New Zealand to apply. Most of the other applicants were really book-smart, but I came in with something different, as well as having good academic grades.” Angus chose the University of Kentucky, because he had done a student exchange to Nashville in 2013 and made friends in the area.

“I am also a huge follower of college basketball and the

university is big into this sport. Not only that, but the school is celebrating its 150th anniversary and has just spent around $800 million renovating the school, so there is a new stadium, new dormitories, a new business centre and the library is supposed to be as good as the one at Harvard.” Angus will leave at the end of July to study accounting and to do a Master in sports administration.

Christ’s College Canterbury


ACADEMIC NZQA Examination Results



Excellence Endorsement (%)

Level 1 Level 2 Level 3

William Briscoe Chemistry English Geography Christopher Brown Calculus Timothy Bullen Painting O Will Cameron Statistics Charles Carey Biology Oscar Fitzgerald Drama English George Fitzgerald Biology English O Geography O History Andrew Ford Drama Ben Fulton Chemistry

Christ’s College




All decile 10 boys’ schools








Merit Endorsement (%)*

Level 1 Level 2 Level 3

Christ’s College




All decile 10 boys’ schools








English Physics Statistics O

*Note: Merit endorsements reduce as Excellence endorsements increase.

Endorsement rates at both Merit and Excellence levels continue to be on a par with, or greater than, those achieved by boys in single-sex boys' schools.

Luke Gellen


Alexander Gibbs

Chemistry English Statistics Biology Chemistry Physics

Anthony Goh

Jamie Hall

Ji Woo Kim


Boris Marinov Painting Lachlan Oliver-Kerby Drama Jeremy Penrose Calculus Chemistry Physics Statistics Ross Shillito Calculus Chemistry O Tobin Smith Drama Samuel Taylor Calculus Antony Thomas Statistics Etienne Wain Accounting O Economics

English History Statistics Chemistry Physics

William Warren

O=Outstanding Scholarship

Etienne Wain – winner of five scholarship awards.

College Issue 29 2015


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