Leaders in boarding inspire

30 November 2023

Erwin House boarding students dressed in the House colour, red.

Regulus // Issue 3 // November 2023

Student leadership in boarding continues to go from strength to strength, with many boarders embracing the opportunity to take on leadership roles, including in the wider College, says Director of Boarding, Matt Parr.

“We’ve been deliberate about boarders stepping up to lead and are definitely seeing the results. From our cohort of 38 Year 12 boarders, 20 have applied to be College prefects in 2024, which is fantastic. We are hopeful a good number of them will get in.”

The Heads of Boarding and House Leaders have a significant impact in boarding, organising and leading a wide range of events, including the Boarders’ House Weekend at the start of each year. “All of our Year 13 boarders are regarded as kaiāwhina, and are expected to role model good behaviour. They also do a great job of organising the highly anticipated Boarders’ Assembly each year.”

A popular House event, called Smarts, Arts and Jocks, was run by the House Leaders and Year 13 leaders in August. It was a fun way for the boarding houses to accumulate points for the sought after Dianne Needham Trophy, awarded to the winning house at the end of the year. “A quiz, TikTok style challenge, and multi-sport contest were run at the same time by different sets of leaders. It was a great way to cater for everybody’s needs.”

Matt says many of the Year 12 boarders are inspired by the student leaders of the past and the initiatives they have introduced to boarding. These include the Kaitiaki project to promote greater interactions across years levels in the boarding houses, which was introduced by the 2020 Heads of Boarding, Mini Toga and Libby McKinnel; and the whakataukī, Te taki tino ma, and the symbol of two koru, created by 2021 Head of Culture, Tamati Frost, and Heads of Boarding, Sophie Innes and Jake Jackways, which gives boarders a special identity in the College. “Some of our Year 12 boarders are keen to expand on these initiatives in 2024.”

In preparation for more significant leadership roles in Year 13, Year 12 boarders have been in charge of organising focus groups, bringing together students across all year levels in the three boarding houses. Some of the fun initiatives include trips out for coffee or gelato, discussion groups,and interhouse events.

Two student representatives, a male and female from each year level, sit on the Boarders’ Council, chaired by Portia Bennie and Marshall Stokes (both Year 13), which gathers feedback from boarders, has regular meetings, and puts forward students’ suggestions to boarding management. The Council also leads community service initiatives for boarders doing the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Awards. “Boarders put themselves up for selection on the Student Council and are elected by student vote. It gives students at all year levels a taste of leadership,” says Matt.

George MacLeod and Freddy Todhunter have been outstanding Heads of Boarding in 2023, says Matt. “They both have packed schedules yet fit so much in. Their addresses to boarders in chapel have been really meaningful and they’ve sent some great messages. George and Freddy are superb leaders and will leave a strong legacy for future leaders to follow.”

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