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From the Executive Principal

Staff Garth Wynne

Garth Wynne
Executive Principal

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Since the beginning of Term 4 last year, starting with the siblings of current students, I have been meeting parents and boys for the final phase of their enrolment at Christ’s College.

Given the open-entry nature of our school, these meetings are not interviews but rather conversations, and it takes some early convincing to move beyond standard schooled responses. I often comment that I am not interviewing 12-year-olds, but rather, the parents and boys are interviewing me and testing their resolve to come to the school. We aim to enrol 152 boys next year in Year 9 (seven classes of 21 to 22 students) spread among our seven day Houses (of 80) and our three boarding Houses (of 60). I find these conversations very uplifting, for they affirm that what we offer still has much appeal – a single-sex, academic and character-based education underpinned by our faith-inspired foundation and virtues. The boys usually just express a desire to explore opportunities and have fun in a very 12-year-old way.

Scholarships are often a point of conversation where matters of enrolment are discussed at College, so I think it is appropriate to outline again what we offer.

Scholarships aim to celebrate excellence and enable opportunity and diversity. Scholarships are awarded based on performance and character and some include those criteria in addition to the socio-economic need of the applicant. All scholarships add to and enrich the quality of the College experience for all students. Those who receive scholarships are expected to carry at the forefront of their attitudes and engagement the core virtues of College in all that they do and be examples of striving to be at their best at all times and in all things. The scholarship round for our Year 9 students will begin early next term as we offer the following suite of opportunities, which are more fully described on our College Website.

  • Academic
  • Drama
  • Choral & Instrumental Music
  • Sport
  • Regional Boarding
  • General Excellence
  • Executive Principal (general excellence and socio-economic need)

It is important to note that all costs associated with our scholarship programme are offset by the annual donation to the school from its own Foundation. Current parents don’t fund our scholarship programmes, and the provision and nature of the programme are controlled by the College Board. In 2024, the school provides scholarships spread relatively evenly across all five-year groups, representing approximately 150 boys. In the same budget year, the College Foundation will transfer an amount to the school to support our operational needs, completely offsetting any ‘cost’ to the school.

Thank you to the wider school community for a fantastic Term 1, which is about to conclude. The engagement, demeanour, and enthusiasm of all have been palpable and something of which we can all be very proud. I trust everyone has an enjoyable break from everyday routines.

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IBW school photos 2024

Curriculum News

Staff Nicole Billante

Nicole Billante
Deputy Principal – Teaching & Learning

Literacy and numeracy matters

As many parents know, the NCEA changes have brought with them a new co-requisite for literacy and numeracy. Students must pass these to gain any level of NCEA qualification. These are compulsory from this year.

Last year, we opted into the final trials and had very strong success rates with approximately 95% of Year 11s gaining literacy and numeracy. Our Year 10s also attempted the numeracy standard in November, with approximately 90% passing on their first attempt.

A big learning for all involved last year is that boys may not pass on their first attempt, and this is not always an indication of their underlying skill level. Understanding the nature of the assessment and attention to detail also play a part and, as a result, the assessment is designed to be able to be attempted multiple times.

This year, the assessments are running in May and September. All Year 11s will sit at least the literacy assessment in May (with some also resitting the numeracy). Some Year 10s will also attempt the numeracy assessment at this time in order to provide the earliest opportunity possible. This will be determined by their current standard of work in Core Mathematics.

We will meet with these students at the start of Term 2 to explain the assessments in further detail. It is important to remember that the literacy and numeracy skills are embedded in courses from the time boys start at College and that it is only the nature of the tasks themselves that need explanation. Sample papers are available on the NCEA Education website (click here for reading, click here for writing, and click here for numeracy). Boys may also do digital assessment practice through their NZQA logins.

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Wellbeing Education

Staff Caroline Black 6072 SQ

Caroline Black
Director of Wellbeing Education

Empowering Wellbeing | Hauora – the vital role of student voice in schools

Student voice is crucial in promoting wellbeing at school, nurturing ownership, empowerment, and inclusivity. By involving students in decision-making about their wellbeing, we create a supportive environment where their needs are met effectively. College has a strong Student Wellbeing Committee, led this year by our Wellbeing Prefect, Oscar Compton-Moen. I believe sharing Oscar's vision for student wellbeing will benefit our school community greatly.

This year, our guiding vision is embodied in the theme: Kei roto te kaha i te kanorau. Kei roto te mana i te kotahitanga, meaning strength in diversity, power in unity. Our Student Wellbeing Committee is dedicated to fostering an inclusive environment at College and ensuring that we embrace all forms of diversity. We are also working to reduce the stigma of mental health care at school and in the wider community.

Already this year we have raised awareness and celebrated Unity Week, International Women's Day, Ōtautahi Christchurch Pride Week, and Neurodiversity Week. While these events may be annual days of awareness and celebration, they serve as an important reminder of the work that must be done to ensure that everyone is treated with equity and respect.

In Term 2, we will begin our campaigns that address and delve further into these issues. Alongside these, we will also be promoting the importance of prioritising our wellbeing and offering ākonga tools for self-care, sleep, and staying well.

The key upcoming dates are:

  • Pink Shirt Day (17 May – Week 2)
  • Schools Pride Week (17–21 June – Week 7)
  • Mental Health Awareness month (May)
  • Christ’s College Wellbeing | Hauora Week (Week 9)

We hope you will support us with our campaigns and the work we are doing in this space. Mahia i runga i te rangimārie me te ngākau māhaki. With a peaceful mind and respectful heart, we will always achieve the best results.

Oscar Compton-Moen

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    Staff Benn Mc Brearty 1084 SQ 050b2626b1f737e8bdd83eabf9788b97

    Benn McBrearty
    Director of Sport

    Sports Colours awards update

    A decision to update the sports Colours awards at Christ's College stems from a commitment to modernising and enhancing the recognition system for student athletes. By implementing these changes, College aims to provide a more transparent, streamlined, and equitable framework for acknowledging sporting achievements. This initiative is crucial in ensuring that all boys have equal opportunities to be recognised and celebrated for their contributions to sports.

    One of the key motivations behind this update is to simplify the criteria for earning sports Colours. By streamlining the criteria, the new system ensures that the process of earning sports Colours is clear and accessible to all students. This clarity benefits both the students striving to achieve recognition and the faculty responsible for evaluating their accomplishments.

    Furthermore, the updated sports Colours awards system is designed to be more inclusive. Inclusivity is fundamental to fostering a supportive and welcoming environment within the College community. By re-evaluating the criteria and awards process, College aims to recognise a broader range of sporting achievements, including those that may not have been traditionally highlighted. This inclusivity celebrates diversity in sporting interests and abilities, encouraging participation and engagement across a wider spectrum of sports.

    For boys at Christ's College, these changes signify a more progressive and fair approach to recognising sporting excellence. They can be assured that their dedication and achievements in sports will be valued and acknowledged within a framework that prioritises transparency and inclusivity. This not only enhances the overall student experience but also reflects College's commitment to fostering a culture of equality and opportunity for all students.

    Please find the updated policy here.

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    Hannah Clarkson IBW

    Hannah Clarkson
    Director of Drama

    Anything Goes

    Join Rangi Ruru Girls’ School and Christ’s College for our joint senior production, Anything Goes. Be sure to secure your tickets, with only five shows in the Christ's College Auditorium, from Wednesday 15 May–Saturday 18 May at 7pm, and a matinée performance on Saturday 18 May at 2pm.

    Music, dance, laughs, and the age-old tale of boy meets girl – Anything Goes is delightful, delicious, and de-lovely. Set on board the ocean liner SS American, Anything Goes finds nightclub singer Reno Sweeney en route from New York to England. Her pal, Billy Crocker, has stowed away to be near his love, Hope Harcourt. However, Hope is engaged to the wealthy Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. Joining the fun on the luxury liner are Public Enemy #13, Moonface Martin, and his sidekick-in-crime, Erma. With the help of some elaborate disguises, tap-dancing sailors, and old-fashioned blackmail, Reno and Martin join forces to help Billy in his quest to win Hope’s heart. With some adult humour, the show is recommended for audience members aged 10 years and over. Book your tickets here.

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    From the Chaplain

    Staff Cameron Pickering 1608 SQ

    The Rev'd Canon Cameron Pickering

    Christ is risen, alleluia

    Tēnā koutou katoa.

    Christ is risen, alleluia alleluia.

    I trust all have enjoyed their Easter time with family and friends. It has become a highlight of our (Victoria and my) Easter to attend the Mackenzie A&P Show. Of course, Easter is not for a day or even a long weekend, Eastertide being 50 days, and every Sunday in the Church year is a Feast Day of The Victory of Easter. It is just in looking to avoid late-onset diabetes that we limit chocolate to that one Sunday.

    My thanks to the Chapel Choir this term for leading us so well in all our worship through Lent and into Eastertide. I also acknowledge the organists who have helped us through this first term, especially Janet Gibbs in the latter stages. My heartfelt thanks to Robert Aburn, who has been dealing with significant health challenges these past six months. His commitment to the boys this term has been more than stoic. It has exemplified servant leadership. Thank you Robert.

    I wish you all a safe and happy holiday, and look forward to seeing the boys, parents, and supporters of College in our Chapel in Term 2.

    He is risen indeed, alleluia!

    Yours in Eastertide,

    The Rev'd Canon Cameron Pickering

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    International & Round Square

    Staff Sarah Davidson SQ

    Sarah Davidson
    International Student Manager & Round Square Representative

    Circle of Unity

    After powerful words in Assembly from Head Prefect Zinzan Bondarenko-Leatua , Head of Biculturalism Tom Rawstron, and Deputy Round Square leader Noah Yee on the impact of racial discrimination, hundreds of College students have formed a ‘circle of unity’ around the Quad.

    Organised by the Senior Round Square committee, the circle of unity shows that everyone has a part to play in raising awareness of racism and highlighting the importance of eliminating racial discrimination as a whole. The boys have also sung the College waiata, Te Whakapono ki te Atua, and performed the school haka.

    Circle of Unity cropped

    Dinner with Rangi Ruru Girls’ School

    Recently, 28 international students and Senior Round Square committee members have gathered with Rangi Ruru Girls’ School students to enjoy a meal at Korea House and make the most of the opportunity to connect over delicious food.

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    Social Sciences Europe Tour

    Staff Neil Nicolson 0830 SQ

    Neil Nicholson
    HoD Geography

    Social Sciences Europe Trip – September–October 2025

    In September and October 2025, we plan to take senior Social Sciences students on an educational tour to Europe. Students will have an opportunity to challenge their perceptions and viewpoints as they travel from the Bavarian capital of Munich and work their way south and east, via Greece, to the final destination – Istanbul in Turkey.

    Our overarching reason for the tour is to follow in the footsteps – and honour – the many Christ’s College Old Boys who fought in World War I and World War II and, tragically, did not return home. We will endeavour to visit many of the Commonwealth War Graves where Old Boys now rest as we honour their service in light of the Christ’s College 175th anniversary in 2025. Building on this opportunity, we aim to challenge students’ perceptions, understanding, and viewpoints regarding various historical events, while recognising geographic elements. We will also examine the social, geographical, and historical environments of these areas in relation to specific case studies frequently used in the Social Sciences curriculum.

    This trip will provide a valuable practical experience, related to the students’ curriculum learning, and deepen their understanding of the significance of both global and national history. The widening of horizons, and exposure to different cultures and identities are valuable well beyond NCEA, and the depth of this experience simply cannot be taught from a textbook. It is a rare opportunity to deepen and extend student learning in the Social Sciences, while also providing an eye-opening experience for our ākonga.

    Please join us at an information evening on Monday 13 May at 7.30pm in the Chapman Room. For more information, contact HOD – History Neil Nicholson.

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    Latest News & Events

    2024 01 SISS mtb

    Mountain bikers pumped with SI success

    College mountain bikers have powered around Coronet Peak, with Wilbur Talbot and Oscar Talbot claiming titles at the South Island Mountain Biking Championships.

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    2024 03 volleyball champs

    College serves up strong volleyball challenge

    Christ’s College has fought hard to reach the highly competitive Division 1 at the New Zealand Secondary Schools Volleyball Championships in Palmerston North – the only Canterbury boys team to achieve a top-16 spot.

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    2024 01 SI champs

    College in the swim at SI championships

    College swimmers have made a massive splash at the South Island Long Course Championships in Dunedin, claiming a large medal haul.

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    2024 01 career convos jeremy white

    Speaking the same language in learning

    From Flower’s House to Ritsumeikan University, Dr Jeremy White (11663) has undertaken an unusual journey from Christ’s College boarder to English Professor in the College of Information Science and Engineering in Japan.

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    Upcoming Events


    Sunday 7 April, 5pmYear 11 Mother and Son Sunday Roast

    Book now.

    Thursday 9 May, 7amAuckland event – Breakfast with Matt Chisholm

    Register now.

    Wednesday 15–Saturday 18 MayAnything Goes – joint senior production with Rangi Ruru Girls' School
    Book now
    Thursday 6 June, 6–8pmWellington Community Visit
    Register now
    14–16 February 2025

    175 Years Celebratory Weekend & CCOBA Reunion
    Book now.

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    Tech Experience workshops – Whitecliffe – School of Information Technology

    Your sons can experience a day at Whitecliffe during free Tech Experience workshops in May. From building a computer to networking concepts to prototyping using Figma, two workshops are available to students.

    Beginners Guide Workshop
    Learn how to build a desktop computer.
    Wednesday 1 May, 10am–2pm

    Figma Workshop
    Figma is a web application tool to design interfaces. Students can learn UI/UX design and prototyping.
    Thursday 2 May, 10am–2pm

    Students also have an opportunity to learn more about Whitecliffe programmes and potential areas of study. For more information and to register, go to Whitecliffe Open Day or contact

    NextGen Dairy Farmers Programme – taster days

    You and your sons can attend NextGen Dairy Farmers Programme taster days from 8–9 April at the Lincoln University demonstration farm. A programme for Years 12–13 students, it is designed to provide training and support to help fast-track school leavers into dairy farm assistant positions. Students can attend one of the two hands-on taster days where dairy farmers and industry representatives provide the opportunity to experience the industry. To learn more and register, go to NextGen Dairy Farmers – dairy training and click ‘register now’ at the bottom of the page. You can also find the venue map here.

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      From the Archives

      Jane Teal


      If there is a building at Christ’s College that has avoided the demolition ball on several occasions, then it is the building now known as Selwyn. It should probably win the top prize for recycling.

      The story begins in 1878 when the Board decided that it needed a house for the Third Master. A subcommittee was formed to follow up the suggestion of the Sub Warden, Henry Jacobs, that additional classrooms were needed for Divinity and Modern Languages, and that they could be attached to a boarding House. So, the Warden, Henry John Chitty Harper, the Sub Warden, and Fellows Henry John Tancred and William John Warburton Hamilton investigated possible sites and returned with the decision that it ‘should be built upon the piece of ground between the old school room and the fence of the Domain gardens, the front to be on a line with the old School Room”.i

      Thomas Cane, who was briefly the Provincial Architect,ii was asked to draw up plans for a building of 18 rooms, including outbuildings.

      Tenders were callediii and James Goss’ tender of £2115 was accepted.iv

      The building was described in the Lyttelton Times of 14 March 1878.

      That is not the building that you see on the Quad today. Not only was it truncated to create the Fine Arts and Technology Building, but there were many internal and external rearrangements over the years.

      Its initial purpose was as a home for the Third Master. The Sub Warden pre-empted any attempt by the Headmaster, Charles Carteret Corfe, to have any say in the matter, and indicated he would offer the space to Thomas De Renzy Condell (123), who had been a Master since 1867.v So Condell moved in, and, from 1878–1893, he squeezed 241 boys into the dormitories.

      Condell’s House became a home away from home for many boys from Hawke’s Bay, including the Williams cousins, the Murphy brothers from Gisborne, and the Nelson brothers from Napier. Closer to home, the Weld brothers came from Oxford, the Holderness brothers from Amberley, and the four Blunden brothers from Bennett’s on the Oxford-Cust Sadly, this House included Harry Robert Scott Grigg (850), who died at College. The stained-glass window to his memory can be found in the College Chapel.vii

      The greatest number of boys in the House was in 1885, and the 21 residents came from as far afield as Hawke’s Bay and Riverton, and included Timaru, Oamaru, Mount Peel, Tauranga, Mount Grey, Kirwee, Long Beach, and Christchurch.

      With Condell’s retirement, the House again became a Housemaster’s residence until 1918, when an increase in the roll resulted in an additional dormitory and the creation of Jenkins House. It flourished from 1919–1932, with a one-year interlude when John Geoffrey Denniston (1990) took charge. Once more the fluctuating roll meant it returned to being a master’s residence.

      In 1935, it became Waiting House, where boys literally waited until there was space in another boarding House. The 1850–1950 School List records the House where these boys eventually found their home, but an examination of the Form Lists shows that Waiting House lingered until December 1939. The greatest number of boys went into this House when they arrived, which meant that it was not until its fifth year that there was a range of ages. By May 1936, the 14 initial boys had been absorbed into Harper House and Julius House, except one boy who was added to Flower’s House. Bulkeley Aneurin Yorke Wynne-Yorke was the Housemaster.

      In 1940, it became Condell’s again, with Thomas Webb Compton Tothill (2357) as Housemaster. There are many stories about this time, including the use of the fire escape ring and a rope to literally do that – escape.

      But wait, in 1960 there was another roll increase, and this time it resulted in the creation of a fourth dayboy House, Corfe. To accommodate it, the building had to undergo further renovations, including the creation of a biology laboratory and classroom upstairs.

      In 1977, the Art Department moved into the former Dining Room, and shower and locker rooms were added, and Corfe House moved upstairs. In 1984, an addition to the west – in the same style – was built to house Art, as Art History had taken over the Dining Room, along with a darkroom, storerooms, and a pottery room.viii

      Demolition reared its head again when consideration was given to the creation of the Fine Arts and Technology space, but it was spared – in part. The latest additions to the west were removed, a well as a portion of the main part of the building as far as the fireplaces was demolished. Condell’s and Corfe moved across the road.

      Then there was a building without a name. Various names were proposed, but it was George Augustus Selwyn, Bishop of New Zealand and the first Warden of the College, who was recognised. Permission was obtained from Selwyn College, Cambridge, to hang a copy of the George Richmond portrait of Selwyn in the building.ix So, in part, the building is back where it started – for it includes the Divinity classroom.

      i Christ’s College Board Minutes 5 February 1878, 12 February 1878.
      ii Vangoni, Peter,
      Cane is best known for the Timeball Station, and less well known for the Lyttelton Anglican Vicarage, St John’s Winchester that is now in the grounds of Waihi School, the former Akaroa Pharmacy , the Christchurch Girls’ High School building now part of the Arts Centre and St Martin’s Duntroon.
      iii Lyttelton Times 7 March 1878
      iv Hamilton in College! p97 reported that the tender of Isaac Luck for £1800 was accepted. This is not confirmed in the Board Minutes of 14 March 1878
      v Board Minutes 12 February 1878 not the Warden as recorded in Hamilton, College! p97. See also Star 26 March 1878.
      vi Francis James Williams (975), Sydney Leonard Williams (976), Arthur Edward Turner Williams (1060), Heathcote Beetham Williams (1000), Arnold Beetham Williams (1102), Frederick Montague Nelson (1105), George Nelson (1246), Ernest Nelson (1347), Edward Rowley Murphy (1269), John Rowley Murphy (1270), Michael Rowley Murphy (1413), Stephen Weld (841), William Weld (1293), Hardwicke Holderness (1421), Hildebrand Holderness (1422), Arthur Reginald Blunden (1382), Harold Ernest Blunden (1460), Leonard Walter Blunden (1564), and Bernard Lionel Blunden (1565).
      vii Harry Robert Scott Grigg (850), see Ciaran, F and J Teal. 2001 The Stained Glass Windows of Christ’s College pp18-19.
      viii See Wells. R and DG Hamilton. The Buildings of Christ’s College.

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