The start of any school year is a fundamental change of pace for all involved as staff and students fall into a routine and begin anew.
I have been so impressed with our new boys as they have navigated the challenge of finding their way and of so many of our returning students for helping the younger boys along.
The end of the beginning is our Te Whakatakoto te tūāpapa Ceremony for Year 9 students and mihi whakatau for all new students (parents are invited) on Thursday, followed by House Athletics on Friday. I believe there is a single lesson in all of this busyness, and that is to be present. There is not much point if all this activity passes us by because we are not paying attention.
During the past weekend, we hosted a most successful Old Boys Reunion Weekend, with more than 250 CCOBA members gathering to share their recollections and reconnect with old friends and their school. Such events feed our need for connection in so many ways and, from my view, looked like a lot of fun. My thanks to Alumni Manager Lizzie Dyer who orchestrated – with the support of our Advancement team – a great event. On Friday evening, before the cocktail party, the new CCOBA President, Blue Henderson, was elected. Blue, as well as being an Old Boy, is a past parent and his passion for all things College is palpable.
Last Thursday, all staff at the school undertook Child Matters training, allowing for a later start. This was important professional learning regarding child protection and staff awareness of their ongoing responsibilities as teaching and non-teaching staff members. Parent and student awareness of their responsibilities will be a part of further Child Matters training throughout the year as we strive to make College as safe a place as possible for all in our community.
Deputy Principal – Planning & Co-curricular
Christ’s College Athletics Championships
The annual Christ’s College Athletics Championships will be held at Ngā Puna Wai on Friday 23 February.
Plan for the day:
Boys are expected to be at College by 8.15am for a normal roll call.
Boys can arrive at school in their House athletics gear (singlet and shorts) but must wear their House jersey over their singlet. If the forecast is for cooler weather, then College hoodies and track pants can also be worn. NO casual clothing is to be worn.
The Athletics Championships begin at 9am and conclude at 3.35pm. An order of events can be seen here, and a venue map can be found here.
Boys will be travelling to and from Ngā Puna Wai by bus.
Boys can be dropped off at Ngā Puna Wai and/or collected if parents have completed the previously sent form confirming this. (Please note, there will be no staff supervision of the boys at the venue prior to 8.30am.)
Any absences on the day MUST be communicated to the school in the normal manner.
Boys must stay on-site ALL day.
Boarders will be provided with morning tea and lunch, distributed by House staff at the venue.
Dayboys will need to bring their own food. However, the cafe will also be open at Ngā Puna Wai.
NO lunches will be provided for dayboys who normally receive a boarder’s lunch at school.
Boys must be sun smart by using sunblock that will be available around the field and keeping hydrated. They need to bring a water bottle. There are plenty of water taps at Ngā Puna Wai, so boys can top up their bottles.
For parents planning to attend the championships, you are welcome to bring your own food and drinks. However, the Ngā Puna Wai cafe will be open. It offers “pies, sausage rolls, fresh sandwiches, toasties, paninis, rice balls, slices and much more”, along with “hot drinks, cold drinks, and ice drinks”.
Managing student illness and returning to play
Here we answer frequently asked questions relating to managing student illness and returning to play with regards to sport.
For trips away
We use the following protocol to manage any illness while your son is away:
Your son's health and wellness is a priority, particularly while on trips away and in close quarters with others. With this in mind, whether a cold/flu, gastro or Covid-19, vigilance around good hygiene and hand washing is important.
It is important that all boys travelling are honest and transparent about their health, and let the manager/coaches know as soon as possible if they fall ill. This will be re-emphasised with the boys at the beginning of the trip.
If your son becomes ill while away, we will isolate him from the other boys and then contact you to arrange a plan. Please note, this may include collecting your son, or arranging for friends or relatives close by to do so. This could include other parents, who have travelled to the tournament, helping out.
Return to sport
Please note the following Health Centre advice to minimise the spread of infections:
Please test for Covid-19 if your son is symptomatic.
Please keep boys at home while they are unwell, as with any other infectious illness. Most people are highly infectious for the first five days of Covid-19. After this period, transmission rates start to wane.
On a boy’s return to school, we strongly recommend that they wear a mask for five days, even if they are asymptomatic.
Please encourage your son to wear a mask for the entire period of his illness when he is symptomatic. We want to protect the medically vulnerable in our community.
The responsibility remains with parents to ensure their son is well enough to return to school.
Concerning sport, the coach/manager will assess individual circumstances and conditions to determine an appropriate graduated return to physical activity and play.
If it is believed your son is not ready to participate, appropriate parent communication will take place to explain the reasons.
Your son’s health and wellbeing take priority, so if there are concerns, caution will be exercised in the decision.
As we begin the new year, we always have a new wave of senior students bringing their cars to school. We understand that as students move to their restricted and full licences and often live some distance away, that they want to travel by car to school. It is handy and, ultimately, we believe that decision is one for you to make at home.
However, when the student arrives at College with their vehicle, we do have a vested interest as we want to ensure that your son is safe in, and around, Christchurch. We ask the students to hand in their keys to the staff member on duty when they arrive at the House. The keys are then placed in a lockbox. The student can ask a staff member for access to their car keys so that they can use the vehicle.
If you want certain conditions placed on the vehicle use, please inform your son’s Housemaster. For example, some families only want the cars used to travel between home and the school and not around Christchurch.
Please fill in the 2024 Vehicle Permission Form so that we have all vehicle details. If your son uses more than one vehicle, please include the full details of both vehicles, along with the licence your son currently holds.
If a student breaches the road rules and we are notified or is seen to be breaching the rules – such as having passengers when not legally able to do so – we will contact you and ask that the vehicle be picked up and not brought back to College for at least a term. It is important to ensure that a student drives safely while under our care.
Be protected against meningococcal disease
Meningococcal disease is a dangerous illness that can kill or cause serious disability. The best way to protect against the disease is to be vaccinated with both the MenB and the MenACWY vaccines. Until 28 February, these are available free for those aged 13–25 in close living situations, such as a boarding school or hostel.
Vaccination appointments can be made with your son's healthcare provider.
Deputy Principal – Teaching & Learning
An educated approach to homework
Now that classes are in full swing, students will start to see an increase in their work. The first NCEA internals will be held at the end of this month and the younger year groups will be diving into their first units of work. It is therefore timely to remind parents and boys of our homework policy.
The policy was revised last year after a thorough review of the educational research by the Centre for Teaching Excellence & Research (CTER). It can be read in the policy area of Schoolbox. In short, we have considered the purpose of homework and the optimum load for students, given their age and stage of development.
The cornerstone of the policy is that homework should be meaningful. There is no educational value in doing work that is unrelated to classroom learning, so teachers are encouraged to set work that either prepares students for new learning, reinforces recent learning, or retrieves prior learning to strengthen understanding. Furthermore, we have created guidance times to help balance boys' workloads and neural capacities.
Our guidance is a maximum per school night for a student to complete across all classes:
Year 9 → 60 minutes (2 x 30-minute blocks)
Years 10–11 → 80 minutes (2 x 40-minute blocks)
Years 12–13 → 120 minutes (2 x 60-minute blocks)
If a student finds that their assigned work takes significantly longer than this time, they should discuss this with their teachers. This is a good signal to the teacher of where a boy may be at with his understanding and can spark a deeper learning conversation.
Also, a part of the policy, that boys do not always note, is: “Whilst this may be through allocated homework tasks, it is important to note that no set tasks don’t indicate the students have nothing to do; rather, students should be guided to review learning material or read for pleasure.”
I often hear from parents that their sons say they have no homework. It may be that there is not a set task that is ‘meaningful’ but we are trying to encourage the boys to, at the very least, read when they have these free moments. Supporting the boys to complete their homework and revise their learning will greatly contribute to their level of achievement.
The start of the year begins with a flurry of opportunities open to students across and beyond the curriculum. While some will be familiar, there are several new events on the calendar.
Model UN Hong Kong
This year, Christ’s College has been invited to attend the Model United Nations hosted by St Paul’s Co-educational College from 2–5 July in Hong Kong. Under the umbrella of ‘sustainable development’, the conference will feature three councils, namely the European Union (EU), the Human Rights Council (HRC), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). This event is open to Years 11–13 students.
Race Unity Speech Awards
The Race Unity Speech Awards provide a platform for senior secondary school students to express their ideas on how to improve race relations in Aotearoa New Zealand. This year’s topic is Te Taura Tangata – The Rope of Unity. The topic aims to provide students with an opportunity to participate in dialogue about how to improve race relations while also developing key competencies. The awards are open to Years 11–13 students.
The EPro8 Challenge is a fun, fast-paced, interactive, inter-school science and engineering competition. Each year, more than 25,000 New Zealand school students take part. College plans to enter teams from all year levels in the junior and senior grades.
The Ethics Olympiad
The Ethics Olympiad offers students the opportunity to sharpen their critical thinking, and skills in debating and moral reasoning, while competing against peers nationwide. This year’s topics cover a diverse range of ethical dilemmas, from paying for history to sportswashing. Senior students can be involved this term while junior students will be invited to participate later in the year.
Da Vinci Decathlon
College introduced the Da Vinci Decathlon to New Zealand in 2023. We are excited to offer this competition again. It is an opportunity to unleash creativity and innovation in an interdisciplinary competition, with students tackling challenges across 10 diverse disciplines – from art and engineering to code-breaking and philosophy. This year’s theme is ‘innovation’. Years 10 and 11 teams are already allocated but we encourage Year 9 students to get involved.
New opportunities are published in student notices as they become available, so please regularly check these notices. Please ask your son to contact Ms Bracken if they are interested in the above competitions and events.
As our students settle into the new school year, hopefully they are also settling into a routine that includes regular reading. Reading for pleasure brings myriad benefits, both emotional and academic. However, for students who have not found reading to be ‘fun’ in the past, finding a book that they actually want to read can seem impossible.
To support those students who find it difficult to discover books that they enjoy reading, I have several evening sessions available to provide one-on-one help. These 20-minute, bookable slots allow parents and students to come to the library together during the evening to privately discuss any reading difficulties, and work with me to find several books that best suit a boy’s interests and are at an appropriate level. While students can do this at any time, often our most reluctant readers benefit from a parent being part of the process.
The first evening session will be on Monday 26 February, with further sessions on Tuesday 27 February and Wednesday 28 February. Depending on demand, I may schedule more sessions later this term. Please book through this form.
To the parents, caregivers, and supporters of our boys, thank you for attending our first Sunday service for Term 1. It was also a delight to welcome a significant number of Old Boys and their supporters to our second service, held during the Reunion Weekend. A full Chapel, full of song, alighting to a beautiful Canterbury sunset is something I hope never to take for granted.
This last Sunday was the first in the season of Lent. Our Bishop and College Warden, The Right Rev’d Dr Peter Carrell, spoke with the boys last Wednesday. His reflection has focused on how those of faith, alongside those who explore, can use the period leading to Easter to develop and deepen an appreciation for where meaning is found. We talk in class of pilgrimage as a journey with a sacred objective. Often, I think we find ourselves ‘accidental pilgrims’ – the key being stepping out and off.
This week, the Christchurch Diocese has launched the next phase in its campaign for the Reinstatement of the Cathedral, with a Choral Evensong at the Transitional Cathedral.
Mā ō tātou ringa, ka rewa anō te tuara o tō tātou whare karakia With all of our hands the roof of our Cathedral will rise again.
Throughout Lent, there are two Collects – the prayers which gather a community in their daily life together. As the rhythm of this thriving community at Christ’s College begins to bed in, I leave you with a Lenten Collect which permeates this season of reflection and repentance.
Heavenly Father, your Son battled with the powers of darkness, and grew closer to you in the desert: help us to use these days to grow in wisdom and prayer that we may witness to your saving love in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Yours in Christ, The Rev'd Canon Cameron Pickering
College coach Matt Thatcher has guided Old Boy AJ Madondo to a provincial record in the triple jump and Year 13 student Aston Nijjar to 1st and 2nd place in the long jump and triple jump, respectively, at the Athletics Canterbury Club Championships at Ngā Puna Wai.
Term 1 tertiary liaison visits for Year 13 students
Whether your son has decided where he plans to study in 2025 or is still unsure, it is important that he comes and hears what these tertiary providers have to offer and asks any questions that may help him to make a decision.
29 February – 8.15–9.15am University of Canterbury – F201 5 March – 11am–12pm University of Auckland* 7 March – 8.15–9.15am Lincoln University – F201 14 March – 8.15–9.15am Victoria University of Wellington* 9 April – 1–2pm University of Otago – F201
*College venues to be confirmed
Te Whatu Ora Health Careers Expo – Year 13
Friday 1 March – 1–3pm – Manawa campus, corner of Antigua Street–Tuam Street
The Health Careers Expo offers the opportunity to learn more about the wide range of professional and support careers available in health. It will showcase a range of areas, including medical engineering, technical, mental health and psychiatric services, cardiac physiology, pharmacy, physiotherapy, and radiation. The University of Otago, the University of Canterbury, and Ara will also attend the expo. Boys should email Ms Cashion if they wish to attend.
Trimble visit – 22 March – Year 13 students
Year 13 students are invited to join leading technology company Trimble and the University of Otago at an exhibition of technology in real-world applications, using software, hardware, and augmented reality. This is open to students interested in engineering, computer science, physics, and surveying. Students can discover where these areas of study can take them in their careers. Further details will be provided. Boys should email Ms Cashionas soon as possible if they wish to attend. Only 10 spaces are available.
Deciding on your career pathway
Deciding on the most suitable career path can often be challenging. With so many options, yet little experience of actually working in your industry of interest, it is no wonder so many look for career guidance in one form or another to help them find their calling.
Seek has compiled a career guide with some helpful tips to steer you on the right track.
Identify your passions
The first important step is to identify your son's passions and where their strengths lie. Pursuing a career in an area that your son knows nothing about or has very little interest in will likely lead them on a path to boredom and frustration. Often, the most successful professionals are the ones who are as happy being at work as they are relaxing during the weekends. They thrive in their workplace because they are doing what they love each day. Make this your aim for the future, first and foremost.
As well as knowing what your son enjoys doing, they should consider the following when deciding on their career:
The demand for the role. Will there be many jobs that you can apply for?
The future income you wish to earn. Will it be enough for your lifestyle?
The environment. Does sitting in front of a computer from 9am to 5pm sound appealing, or would working outdoors be more suited to your personality?
The potential for career progression. If career growth is important to you, think about where your role of choice can lead to in the years ahead.
Consider the level of challenge you hope to set for yourself, the potential for work/life balance, flexibility of hours and location, and how important working in a team versus alone is to you.
Christ's College CareerWise
The Christ’s College careers website, CareerWise, is a rich source of information about all things related to career information. You can subscribe here.
Parents as passengers on their teen’s career journey
Understand the career process so that you can successfully guide your teenager through the exploration process.
In late 2023, two new portraits appeared in the Dining Hall. They are of the Right Rev’d Victoria Matthews and the Right Rev’d Dr Peter Ruane Carrell, 9th, and 10th Wardens, respectively, of Christ’s College. The fact that they are hanging from the mezzanine balcony raises the question – what are Wardens? And there is another question for those who have a sartorial interest – what are they wearing?
What is a Warden and why does Christ’s College have one? The answer goes back to the Deed of Foundation, which states:
“The Bishop of the Church for the time being of the Diocese in which the College shall be situate shall be ex-officio the Warden of the College.”
The Warden, in this sense, is therefore the guardian of the college, a role that may date back as far as the 13th century.
The first Warden was George Augustus Selwyn, Bishop of New Zealand, and when the Diocese of Christchurch was split from the New Zealand See and became a Diocese in its own right, all the bishops of the Diocese have subsequently been Wardens of College. Originally, they chaired the Board meetings, but from 1997, the chair has come from the members of the Board of Governors, also known as Fellows.
Visitors to the Dining Hall often ask why all the Wardens are wearing different clothes. The answer lies partly in the choices they made when they sat for their portraits. Apart from two paintings, the subjects were painted from life. The other part of the answer is that the paintings were to hang in an academic institution and so their attire, overall, reflects that.
Four of the paintings show the bishops in academic regalia. Bishop Churchill Julius is wearing the gown of an Honorary Doctor of Laws (Cambridge) and Bishop Campbell West West-Watson is wearing the gown of an Honorary Doctor of Divinity, also from Cambridge. Bishop Maurice John Goodall (BA) and Bishop William Allan Pyatt (MA) are wearing the hoods of degrees from the University of New Zealand.
Bishop Henry John Chitty Harper and Bishop Alwyn Keith Warren, on the other hand, are portrayed in black. This photograph from the Christchurch Anglican Diocesan Archives of Bishop Harper and Dean Henry Jacobs (College’s first Headmaster) shows more clearly the outdoor clothing of the clergy in the 19th century. They are both wearing frock coats over an item that was known as an ‘apron’, which is essentially a shortened cassock. Breeches were worn underneath with gaiters, which, like those worn by trampers today, are protection for the legs, originally on horseback. Bishop Warren was probably the last New Zealand bishop to dress like this.
The development of the colours of cassocks is a long and convoluted one and may come from the early Councils of the Church. The result of evolution has been black for clergy, red for cardinals, and white for popes. Bishops wear purple. Purple, as the portraits indicate, can range from a deep blue-purple, to violet, magenta, and almost pink. The Christ’s College Chaplain, now that he is a Canon of the Cathedral, is entitled to wear a blue cassock, a decision that was made by the Cathedral some years ago to distinguish them.
Pectoral crosses and rings are associated with the office and work of a bishop. The ring is symbolic of spiritual marriage to the Church. Bishop Peter’s ring was given to him by his wife, Teresa, and his family. It has the cross of St Cuthbert on it, a reminder of their time in Durham from 1990–1993 when +Peter was completing his PhD. Pectoral crosses often have a history. They can be handed down from bishop to bishop. Bishop Peter’s pounamu pectoral cross was worn by Bishop Maurice, the 6th Bishop of Christchurch, who ordained +Peter Deacon and Priest. It was a gift to Bishop Maurice from Miss Molly Mullan, Headmistress of St Margaret’s College. This cross will be handed on to the next bishop.
Two portraits are slightly different from the others. Bishop David John Coles is dressed more casually and is wearing the gown of the Warden with its shield from the College Coat of Arms. Bishop Victoria is wearing what is known as ‘choir dress’. Underneath the chimere or ‘long cote’ of Tudor times, she is wearing a rochet with puffed sleeves and ruffles at the wrist. This item has its origin as the surplice. At the 1897 Lambeth Conference (the worldwide meeting of Anglican bishops), they were given the choice of black or red chimere, although, in theory, the red one is reserved for those bishops with a Doctor of Divinity.
Acknowledgement: The Right Rev’d Dr Peter Carrell, 9th Bishop of Christchurch and 10th Warden of Christ’s College.