65th Jubilee Dinner

March 19, 2018 at 11:11 AM

After months of planning, we could not have wished for a better weekend to celebrate the Saint Kentigern College 65th Jubilee. The focal point of the weekend was the Jubilee Dinner and in a blaze of sunshine, guests gathered to chat over pre-dinner drinks in the Old Boys Sports Centre, while the Old Collegians’ Pipe Band entertained. Overseen by the Parents and Friends Association, the gymnasium had been transformed to a glorious dinner venue as we welcomed both past and present staff, students and Trust Board members, along with the many people in our community who have been part of the history of the College. 

We were delighted to welcome past Executive Head, Mr Warren Peat (2001-2008) and his wife Gwyneth; past Head of College, Mr Steve Cole (2009-2016); Dr Maitland MacFarlan, son of the founding Headmaster, Reverend Adam MacFarlan; Mrs Jan Oram, daughter of Mr Herb Massey, the founding Deputy Headmaster; Mrs Judy Stone, wife of Ron Stone, founding PE master, along with son, Matthew; Dr John Beckett, Rhodes Scholar 1967; and founding Boys’ School student, ‘No 1’ David Adams and both founding College students, ‘No 1 and 2’ Warren Boyes and John Corban. 

President of the Old Collegians, Mr Hayden Butler, called the room to order, wishing Saint Kentigern a ‘Happy 65th Birthday’ saying, ‘At an age when most are seeking to ease into retirement, I can assure you that Saint Kentigern is in the prime of its working life and has never looked stronger!’ 

Current Head Prefects at the College, Laura Porteous and George Shirtcliffe formally welcomed the guests before Head of Saint Kentigern, Mr David Hodge was invited to speak. Mr Hodge outlined changes that have taken place over the course of the last year and indicated what the future may hold. Recognising Saint Kentigern’s place in history, he said, ‘The past 65 years has been a remarkable story of remarkable people, who through their deeds inspired generations of students to strive for excellence for the Glory of God and in the service of others. There is no limit to the strength and resolve we can draw from their example.’ 

Our Old Collegians have moved on to many different fields, some far across the world. Guests enjoyed a short video snippet from Mana Vautier, a proud former Saint Kentigern student and Bruce House boarder who has worked in the space programme at NASA for a number of years. Proudly wearing a Saint Kentigern shirt, he made it clear that he is proud to be both a New Zealander and an Old Collegian. 

As is tradition at Old Collegians Dinners, a roll call was taken by decade with a remarkable number of gentlemen who graduated College in the 50’s in attendance. Reverend David Smith came forward to say Grace, giving thanks to everyone gathered for their contribution to the rich history of our College. 

After an enjoyable dinner with much chatting and laughter echoing around the room, 1959 graduate, Graham Little introduced guest speaker for the evening, fellow former student, John Maasland, who joined Saint Kentigern in 1955. 

Following graduation, John was accepted to Cambridge University to study Law, also gaining a rowing Blue in his time there. He went on to lead a distinguished career in business and foreign affairs with over 25 years of executive management in a range of companies. In more recent years, with his role as Chancellor at AUT,  his wisdom and energy has been directed to education with a particular focus on lifting the aspirations of young people in South Auckland to go on to tertiary education; recognising the flow on effect that can have for following generations in these communities. John was an erudite speaker who has fulfilled the Saint Kentigern vision to serve and lead with distinction. Former Head Girl, Sharnika Leleni was called on to give thanks to John, saying that functions such as these are not only for celebrating milestones but for allowing us to meet, listen and gain wisdom from other Old Collegians. 

One Old Collegian, who has given so much to Saint Kentigern over so many years, was surprised to find himself in the limelight. Warwick Bell was called forward to receive the newly created ‘Legacy Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Saint Kentigern Community.’ Warwick started as student No 560 in 1957. He was Deputy Head Prefect, Head of Bruce House and Captain of Rowing. Following university graduation, he re-joined the College as a staff member in 1967 where, other than a year teaching overseas, he stayed until his recent retirement, taking many teaching and leadership rolls, and finally spearheading the creation of the Archives Centre. A hard working, true son of Kentigern, Warwick is truly a worthy recipient for his 50 year connection to the College. 

Another more recent Old Collegian closed the evening. Manase Latu is remembered from his College days as a quiet student with an amazing voice who took the lead in musicals and won the College Solo Music competition two years in a row. Manase gained a scholarship to study music at The University of Auckland, graduating with a BMus with Honours and is now an Emerging Artist with NZ Opera for 2018. Opening with ‘Dein is mein ganzes herz’ by Franz Lehar, we discovered that in the intervening years, Manase’s voice has matured to a rich tenor. He followed this with ‘O Sole Mio’ – hamming it up brilliantly for the Saint Kentigern audience! Our guests were in awe of his talent. 

With the formalities over, it was left for the Old Collegians to mix, mingle and laugh the night away as they enjoyed catching up with old friends and reminiscing on their place in the last 65 years of College history. We value each and every one of them for their individual talents and collective wisdom. Our Old Collegians are a valuable asset as they play their part in preserving traditions and opening doors for new students at the College. 

Our sincere thanks to all who worked towards making the evening such a success.


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