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Rector's Assembly Address

Founders' Day Assembly // Friday 12 March 2021

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Tuhia ki te rangi
Tuhia ki te whenua
Tuhia ki te ngākau ō ngā tangata
Ko te mea nui
Ko te aroha
Tihei mauri ora
Tēnā koutou tēnā koutou
Tēnā koutou katoa. 

Welcome to you all on this 104th Founders’ Day for St Andrew’s College. Thank you to the Pipe Band for the wonderful start to today’s assembly. Next weekend, 59 students, staff and 66 parents and supporters will travel to Napier for the Pipe Band Nationals. St Andrew’s College has been a strong competitor in this popular event for many years and we wish you wish you well for the competitions. 

It is hard to believe it is four years since we celebrated our College Centenary when those of you presently in Year 13 were in Year 9. Those observant among you may recognise a guest sitting on stage with me this morning. Lizzie Stevenson, Head Girl in 2017, our Centenary year, has returned today to be the guest speaker. A very warm and special welcome to you Lizzie. 

Three other special guests today are Board Chair, Mr Bryan Pearson, a regular attendee at assemblies and special events, Board Member Mrs Felicity Odlin and OCA President Meg Black.  I also extend a special welcome to two groups of Old Collegians who are celebrating their 60 Years On Reunion this weekend. Last year, the planned reunion for those in the third form of 1960 was cancelled as a result of the emerging global pandemic. This group has now joined with the third formers of 1961 to meet up with old friends and reminisce about their time at St Andrew’s College. 

The early 1960s was towards the end of Rector Les Stewart’s time at the College and the Memorial Chapel had been opened five years before. During their time a new Rector, I.T. Galloway came to the College, the idea for a mountain lodge at Castle Hill took shape with many parents, staff, students, and Old Boys joining working parties to assist with building the old lodge. Well known and highly regarded Frank Collins was made a Senior House Master in 1961.  

In 1962, there were 12 sports played at the College. 20 years later there were 22 and today there are 32. Sports introduced in the 1960s included golf, athletics, sailing, soccer, wrestling, skiing and polo. Cricket was particularly strong in 1964 with Peter Stubbing’s batting total of 854 the best in the Collegian’s history and Alistair Smith, who topped bowling figures, taking 107 wickets in three years. The 1960s at St Andrew’s College will be etched on the memories of the students of that time and I am sure there will be many stories shared over this long weekend. 

The 104 year history of St Andrew’s College is well documented and I hope that during your time here, you, today’s students, will listen to the stories, absorb the culture and know you are a part of a special community. 

A wonderful thing about history is that it is constantly being created. You are part of a St Andrew’s College history and recent achievement such as the 1st XI cricket team winning the Gillette Cup at the end of 2019, the 1st XV winning the UC Cup in 2020, the many other ‘firsts’ in sporting successes last year, or the outstanding cultural events such as StAC Attack, productions, or music competitions, will be recorded in history books for future generations. Most recently from our College Athletics Sports Day two weeks ago, history was made with the amazing feat of our Head Girl, Tapenisa Havea, who broke two of her own Senior Girls’ records, discus, throwing a massive 46.3m, exceeding her previous record by 2.63m. In the 100m sprint, Tapenisa ran 16.54 seconds exceeding the record by 3/100ths of a second. Tapenisa also won the Senior Girls’ shotput but was just shy of the record she set last year. Year 12 student Couper Killick also beat the Sports Day record for the Intermediate Boys’ discus with 47.81m and broke the Sports Day shotput record and College record with a distance of 15.17m. 

History is also being made tomorrow when our Māori Pasifika group competes for the first time ever at the Christchurch Polyfest. Last night the group hosted a wonderful Fa’alinga, here in the Gym, a presentation to whānau and friends. It was a special proud moment to see the group perform. We wish them well for the competition and will find a time soon for you to see them in action. I know they would welcome any support when they perform tomorrow at 11.20am, you can find details on the St Andrew’s College Facebook page. 

History will also show that our Founders’ Day celebrations over the last two years have been disrupted by unexpected events. Last year we had to cancel our Founders’ Day celebrations due to the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic just before New Zealand moved to Alert Level 4 on the Wednesday 25 March. The year before our 102nd Founders’ Day was marred by the tragic events at the two Christchurch mosques. These events remind us why our College values, which are deeply embedded at the heart of our College, are so important. 

I suggest that our two newer values of Creativity and Inclusivity are particularly relevant as we navigate these challenges of the last two years. This year, as we head into our 104th year, we once again commend the amazing achievements of so many of you and know there will be many more to come. 

I want to acknowledge three special successes this Founders’ Day, and I ask Mr Pearson to recognise these students as they come forward. The first is that of our Deputy Head Boy, Arden Ongley. Arden is the first of our Year 13 students to fully complete his Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award this year. It is interesting to note that St Andrew’s College began offering the Duke of Edinburgh Award in 1964, a year after it was first introduced to New Zealand, when our reunion guests were in Year 12 or 13. 

Since that time, 150 St Andrew’s College students have earned their Gold Award.  Each year, we now have 300 to 350 students working towards one of the three levels and in recent years, each year 12–13 students have completed their Gold by the end of Year 13. This is an outstanding effort by you all and also by the College. I must also thank Head of Values and Culture, Mr Bell, who has overseen the Duke of Edinburgh Award for the last ten years at St Andrew’s College.

Arden is the 70th student to complete the Gold Award since 2012. Congratulations Arden.

The second award this morning is to Madeleine May (Year 13). Madeleine is an outstanding, indeed top golfer who plays well beyond her age group. Madeleine has been dominant in many prestigious competitions recently and was the convincing winner in the female division at the South Island Strokeplay Championships at St Clair, Dunedin. She hit 16 under, to win by 11 shots over the four rounds. Madeleine has been offered a prestigious scholarship to attend the University of Mississippi known as ‘Ole Miss’ in the United States next year. 

The final awards go to a group of four students who participated recently in the challenging Coast to Coast Adventure Race. The mixed team of Nate Pringle (cycle), Benjamin Ferrier (mountain run) and Georgia Spark (kayak) (all Year 13), won the School Division Two-Day Coast to Coast, beating the other seven teams in this Division. Incredibly, they came eighth out of all 83 teams entered, of all ages and genders, completing the 24km in 13 hours 20 minutes to claim this most impressive trophy. An amazing result. The final student in this group is Molly Spark (Year 13) who was the first female runner home in the 33km mountain run, also part of the Coast to Coast event. Molly competed in the open event for men and women and ran the second fastest time ever for a female in 4 hours 18 minutes. She was 13th overall out of 186 competitors – men and women of all ages, and first female out of 73 females of all ages who competed. This is an unbelievable achievement. 

Finally, this morning, at this special assembly I want to acknowledge Mr Bryan Pearson our Board Chair who in June will be standing down after 12 years on St Andrew’s College Board with the last four as Chair. Mr Pearson has seen the College through earthquakes, the mosque attacks, and the COVID-19 pandemic, and all the other challenges of school life. He has given undeniable support to me and the staff in difficult times and has expectation that we will all continue to strive for excellence in all we do. His service to the College has been exceptional and as an Old Collegian I know he is proud of what you achieve and what St Andrew’s College represents today.

This brings me to the end of my address with much to enjoy throughout the rest of the assembly. 

I leave you as is customary with a whakataukī which captures the essence of this special occasion which celebrates the constant renewal of our school community, year upon year. 

Māku te ra e tō ana;
Kei a koe te urunga
Ake o te rā. 

Let mine be the setting sun
Yours the dawning of a new day.  

Nō reira – tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.


Christine Leighton

Founders' Day Assembly // Friday 12 March 2021

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