Mothers' Morning Tea at the Boys' School

May 05, 2015 at 3:41 PM

‘Mum, Granny, Grandma, Nana, Aunty, Taxi Driver, Zoo Keeper, Ringmaster – however it is you see yourself, this morning we celebrate and honour you all, as the mothers of our sons of Kentigern!’

Laura Lane, Chair of the Boys’ School Parents and Friends Association

Whenever the Boys’ School needs assistance to put on an event, it is inevitable that our mothers are the first port of call with a request for help - our Parents and Friends Association galvanise, and the call goes out for ‘all hands on deck!’

With Mothers’ Day on the horizon, an idea was born; a team rallied and a special morning tea to celebrate our Saint Kentigern mothers was planned. Chair of the Parents and Friends Association, Laura Lane along with fellow-mothers, Helen Van Shaardenburg, and Nikki Joyce worked with guest speaker, celebrity cook Allyson Gofton to put the plans in place, but when it came to the ‘hard yards’ – organising food and beverages, unpacking china, setting of the tables, waiting on our guests and cleaning up afterwards -  it was the staff and boys who stepped in to give the mothers a break. Even Principal, Mr Peter Cassie donned a pinny to wait on tables!

Office staff, Mrs Sue Bowskill, Mrs Julie Rand and Mrs Janet Harvey, along with Mrs Sally Cassie and parent, Mrs Hilary Chaytor, spent a day transforming a utilitarian school hall into a haven of femininity. Crisp white table cloths, fine china and silver teapots were laid out with young lavender plants finishing the effect.

With only sufficient room to seat 250 guests, the tickets sold fast!

It’s not often that our parents have the chance to see our classrooms in action and so the doors were opened wide in the morning for mothers and grandmothers to join their boys. Another 100 mothers also took advantage of this opportunity.  Mr Cassie remarked later that there was a distinctly different smell pervading the classrooms – perfume rather than boys’ socks! The boys then said goodbye as our guests were piped to the hall by David Allen.

As the guests entered the hall, accomplished young pianist, Anthony Gu played. Laura Lane welcomed the ladies before Reverend Reuben Hardie said grace, asking God to bless the special bond between mother and son. No sooner had he finished speaking than a team of Year 8 boys streamed past with tea and coffee pots in hand, ensuring that the 250 teacups around the room stayed topped up! Checked pinny in place, Mr Cassie was not far behind with the hot savouries. The tables were laden with petit fours of a distinctly French flavour in honour of our speaker.

Saint Kentigern parent, Allyson Gofton, has been cooking for New Zealanders for almost 30 years but is probably best remembered for the 5.55pm television slot she held each night for a number of years as the host of Food in a Minute. In November 2012, she and her children, Jean-Luc and Olive-Rose, followed the dream of her husband, Warwick, and immersed themselves for a year in Caixon, a small, rural community in France, armed with little more than a sense of adventure and a very rudimentary grasp on the French language.

Allyson spoke with great warmth and humour as she offered a glimpse into French village life in a remote farmhouse in the Hautes-Pyrenees. A year of quiet country living far from home was not a decision taken lightly and was not without its difficulties, especially where the language was concerned. With her passion for food, however, the most amazing opportunities opened for her to see food grown and produced for flavour which reached the local market stalls ‘With no plastic wraps, no healthy heart ticks, not fat-free labels, just good, honest, fresh food, full of flavour.’ Now back home, her family can reflect on a year that at times seemed hard, yet has left them grateful for the opportunity to experience the joy of living a simple life amongst welcoming locals.

We offer sincere thanks to Allyson for taking the time to share her experiences. Our mothers thoroughly enjoyed her talk and were delighted to leave with a pot of lavender and a copy of Allyson’s latest book, which many took the opportunity to have signed.

In concluding, Mr Cassie said, ‘The role you play as mothers in the lives of your sons cannot be underestimated and I congratulate you all on the job you are doing as evidenced by your fine young men and the way in which they approach life!’

Whilst the morning was not intended as a fundraiser, the surplus raised was donated to the Mondiale Lifepods, a project by parent, Sir Ray Avery to build incubators for premature babies in less developed countries.

Our sincere thanks to the following sponsors, all of whom stepped forward with no prompting to offer their very generous donations.

David Burton of Jack’s Coffee
The Remarkable Chocolate Company
Macarons by William
Living Herbs
Penguin Books
Heritage Hotels
Warwick Kiely

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