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Old Collegians Newsletter

Tuesday 19 May 2020

Like many of you over the last few weeks, I have been enjoying a slightly slower-paced life out here on our farm at Aylesbury. In saying that, life on the farm is never dull. In-between working from home and my children, Reeve (Year 11) and Addison (Year 9) completing their online learning we have been helping with winter calving, preparing, and bottling our raw milk for delivery and landscaping around our house. It has been lovely to do less time in the car and more walking and enjoy the beautiful Autumn weather.

On Monday learning began again on campus, so we thought it would be nice to share some of the more personal things St Andrew’s College did over the lockdown period.

Please know that I am always here for a chat or an email, as we love hearing Old Collegian's news and updates. I can be contacted at or by phone on +64 3 940 2085. If I am not at my desk, please leave a message and I will return your call.

Take care and stay well, I look forward to seeing you around St Andrew’s College very soon.

Warm regards


Kelsey Williams
Alumni and Events Co-ordinator 


From The Rector

Greetings from St Andrew’s College as we have now moved to Alert Level 2 conditions, under very different circumstances than when we began the year. 
The St Andrew’s College campus has been very empty and devoid of activity over the last seven weeks. However, I couldn’t be prouder of how our students and staff have coped and stepped up in these circumstances. We began the lockdown with immediate implementation of a full online / remote learning programme which supported all students in the continuation of their regular classroom activity.  With an impressive team effort, students enjoyed real time online meetings with their teachers who quickly adapted to the new way of managing classroom dynamics, engaging student interests, and meeting diverse learning needs. 
A welcome three week term break followed the first week of this new regime and Term 2 started with around 70 students back on campus and the rest continuing with their at home schooling. Just as for everyone else there are many logistics to manage and uncertainties to overcome. Some of our families will be facing unforeseen and unexpected disruption to their work, home or family circumstances. Our hope is to be able to support our community through this difficult time while at the same time meet the needs of our staff and the demands of our business. 
Over the seven weeks of lockdown, I have valued some time to slow down and reflect upon the possible long-term effects of this unexpected turn of events. What I do know is that St Andrew’s College has survived many difficult and disruptive times in the past and that by working together, supporting each other and recognising our common purpose, we will be better equipped to get through this time. 

Best wishes and strength to you and your loved ones. 

Christine Leighton


From The Old Collegian Association President

As we have now entered Level 2, we can hopefully start to look forward to being able to resume our alumni activities in the not too distant future. I would like to thank those whose reunion events have been affected by the lockdown restrictions and their understanding of the rescheduling plans. 

As an Executive, we are keeping plans open with respect to our Annual Dinner and reunions plan for later in the year. The shape and size of these functions are being worked through so please keep an eye out for announcements in the coming months.

It was, of course, disappointing that Founders' Day and Anzac Day ceremonies had to be cancelled for this year. With the Anzac Day online service, it was an honour to still be able to read part of the Old Collegian Roll of Honour again.

Please keep safe and well.

Jonathan Wells
Old Collegian Association President

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This week, Chaplaincy Online addresses the theme of ‘Embracing Uncertainty’. As we continue to navigate our way through these unprecedented times, the process of routine and the pressure of outcome can cloud our sense of confidence moving forward. Understanding that we are not alone in our uncertainty and that good things can always come out of tough circumstances. When we can embrace the uncertain it can empower and provide a way forward, building a stronger sense of hope. 


Read more >
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Recent Events


Over the lockdown period learning has definitely not been like most of us remember it. Our hardworking staff and behind the scenes administration teams have been supporting students across the Preparatory and Secondary Schools with online learning lessons. There have been fabulous examples of work being done at home including art projects, science experiments, physical education, music lessons, and many online tutorials with excellent student engagement.


St Andrew’s College Pipe Band members paid respect in their community by performing at two different times on Saturday 25 April. Once at 6.00am for a dawn performance with the call from the Prime Minister and again at 11.00am as a collective effort organised by the Royal New Zealand Pipe Band Association, involving pipers and drummers all over New Zealand. They all played 'Amazing Grace' at the same time in their respective bubbles at the end of their driveways.


Our A Band pipers have been nominating each other for a lockdown Teams challenge by sharing soundtracks and videos of something they have worked on that is piping related. Timothy Justice (Year 13) submitted a fantastic cover of the St Andrew’s College Song.


While we have been on lockdown, William Couper (Year 9) has been very busy 3D printing face shields with Project Face Shield New Zealand. The majority of his group are university students, engineers, and designers. They have printed, assembled, and distributed thousands of face shields to health care workers including midwives, vetenarians, dentists, nurses, rest home workers, COVID-19 testing stations and other organisations around the country. The initiative has now come to an end but was very well received in a time of crisis.


The Senior U18 Rugby group completed a Gratitude Master Chef Challenge. Players were asked to cook a meal for their parents, families, caregivers, or hosts to say thank you to them for the support over this challenging time. They then had to post a picture of their efforts.


The Heads of College – Hugh Montgomery, Emily Tyrrell, Omri Kepes and Aleisha Davis have started a new initiative over the lockdown period called HeadsUp. This initiative was to engage students and let them feel connected while being away from each other. The Heads of College have been sending out a weekly newsletters to all students which included messages, updates, funny challenges, and photos and was a way during the isolation period to stay connected.

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It is with sadness that we record the passing of Ernie Poole. Ernie was a passionate and proud Old Collegian who, after leaving the College, served in a number of ways including as a boarding house master, as President of the Old Boys’ Association from 1963–1964, and Secretary of the Old Boys’ Association in 1989. In his final year at the College (1950), Ernie was Head Prefect, and he overhauled the prefect punishment system to make it more transparent and consistent.

Ernie, somewhat unsurprisingly, went on after gaining his Master of Arts degree, to a distinguished teaching career culminating as Deputy Principal of Riccarton High School. Ernie is survived by his six children and their partners, and a number of grandchildren.


Our St Andrew's College Jazz Big Band have been busy rehearsing from home during lockdown. Check out this performance of ‘Groovin’ High’ which was all recorded individually and then edited together.

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Our latest Green library display is about our St Andrew’s College founder Reverend Alexander Thompson.

Many of our community missed the opportunity to see the wonderful display before the lockdown and we also were unable to gather together for our annual Founders’ Day Assembly this year.

The display features a 1920 AJS combination motorcycle, similar to the one Rev. Thompson famously rode around the College grounds during its establishment at Strowan in 1917.

Rev. Thompson’s driving ambition was to ‘educate the sons of the Presbyterian and Scottish community of Canterbury’, and due to his determination, St Andrew’s College opened its doors in Christchurch in 1917, with 19 boys and four teachers. In late 1917, the fledgling St Andrew’s College Board purchased ‘Strowan’ the magnificent property, which is still home to the College today. 


The St Andrew’s College 2020 Community Support Programme has been established for short-term assistance to those families in our College community who are experiencing severe financial hardship at a level that puts ongoing enrolment of their child/children for the remainder of the year at risk. The College has allocated substantial funds to this programme and is seeking contributions from those in our community who are in a position to help others at this time.

We have received enquiries from Old Collegians who have enquired about how they can contribute to this Programme. A specific communication will be going out soon, inviting you to direct donations to this Programme through our 2020 Annual Giving Campaign.

If you wish to discuss this further, please contact Director of Development, Miranda Newbury, on +64 21 339 707.


The support of the Old Collegians Association runs through so many of the St Andrew’s College campus developments. We are excited to announce that the Old Collegians Association has pledged $150,000 across the next few years to provide financial support for the new Gough Family Theatre. In honour of this donation, the foyer area in the Theatre is now named the St Andrew’s Collegians’ Foyer.


Our Rector, Christine Leighton shared with staff a picture of a new friend who has taken up residence on our campus over the lockdown. A rabbit who has decided to make her home in the garden by the flagpole outside Strowan House. She greets Christine most days and is remarkably tame. ‘Hope’, as she has been named, seems to be an appropriate symbol for a new term – one where we can hopefully return to some normality as a community.


Gracious Father,

In these unprecedented times may we continue to seek your guidance for the uncertainty that may lay ahead. As we return to routine, allow us to be mindful of community knowing as one we can make a difference, yet understand that in unity, we are so much stronger. 

For those isolated in illness, struggling with loss, and the most vulnerable among us, we pray that your presence will be a source of comfort and that they may know your strength in times of weakness.

Allow us to draw on our past experiences of triumph and times of success. May we take courage in knowing that this season will come to an end, as this time too shall pass. May we take heart that through you, all things are possible and that your love and mercy can surpass our own understanding.

Guide us in this next phase of our lives as we seek to return to our work, local communities, and activities that will build us up and sustain for the seasons ahead. 

Grant us your peace, so that in confidence we may reach out to others in ways of support, love, and hope.


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Please view the upcoming Old Collegians Reunions and Events. 

Visit the Old Collegians Reunions and Events >