Issue No. 166

From the Executive Principal

Staff Garth Wynne

Garth Wynne
Executive Principal

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The past few weeks have seen some great successes for College. We have just heard College rock band JJ and the Stingers won the ZM Best Song Award and another group, By Tomorrow, took 1st place in the SmokefreeRockquest Canterbury 1 regional competition, therefore qualifying for the national final selection round.

This year, entrants had to make video submissions – which, although missing the thrill of live performance, added another string to their creative bow. In addition, our senior chess team won the recent Canterbury championship, also qualifying for the next stage of national competition.

We are blessed within College with the variety of talent our boys so often show – and not just in the winning, but in the taking part. This was evident at the Parents’ Association House Music Festival at the Town Hall last Thursday evening. It was a wonderful celebration of House participation in the choir section, and vocal talent and tight teamwork in the small groups. Congratulations to Corfe House who won the inaugural Parents' Association Overall Winner of House Music trophy, as well as 1st place in several other sections of the competition. My thanks to Parents’ Association President Catherine McClean for her work behind the scenes in support of our boys.

The Charles Upham Awards for Character & Leadership

Over the past two years, College has replaced what were known as Merit Awards with awards for character. These awards focus on character strengths – for example, bravery, creativity, curiosity, gratitude, humility, kindness, leadership, perseverance and more – and acknowledge those boys who demonstrate such strengths in their day-to-day life.

Building on this theme, we have now created a new set of awards that further recognise elements of character and leadership. These will be introduced at our end-of-year senior and junior prize-givings. When considering what to call these awards, we could not move away from our much honoured Old Boy Charles Upham, one of New Zealand’s most lauded heroes. You can read more about Charles Upham’s life in the article by College Archivist Jane Teal (see below).

It's time to talk about vaping ... again

In recent months, the issue of vaping as an insidious and unhealthy habit has been brought into sharper focus – and, as College reflects the community of which we are a part, we are also struggling with this new fad. Adolescents are often exposed to and try new things through their peer group. Vaping has in some respects become the new smoking, the beginning of supposed adult behaviour and independence. Regrettably, through sophisticated marketing, vaping has also been presented as a transition away from traditional cigarettes, when in fact the levels of nicotine and consequent addiction are now starting to be recognised as potentially even more harmful. Can I appeal to everyone in our community to be anti-vaping at every opportunity? Any support of the school's initiatives in this area, which involve health education and discipline, would be appreciated.

It's time to talk about marijuana ... once

At times, educators are asked their opinions about certain social issues and this has been the case for me around the impending cannabis legalisation and control referendum. My response is at both a personal and professional level, meaning there is no contradiction between the two. The legalisation of non-medicinal cannabis (marijuana) for recreational use, no matter in what quantity, will make it more available to younger people. This is a matter of fact directly reflected in the change of legal age for alcohol consumption from 20 to 18 years. Given the proven connection between marijuana use and psychosis and the potential negative effects on young people, it is my view that it should remain an illegal substance, other than for prescribed medicinal use and the associated controls that implies.

Student numbers for 2021

Planning for next year is now well underway, therefore we need to know if your son will not be returning to College in 2021. It is agreed between parents and the school that withdrawal or changes are notified a term in advance in order to avoid incurring a term equivalent fees penalty. If your son is leaving, please inform his Housemaster or Admissions Registrar Sarah Fechney no later than Friday 18 September, the end of Term 3.

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Boarding Matters

Staff Darrell Thatcher

Darrell Thatcher
Deputy Principal – Planning & Co-curricular

House Music

Last Thursday evening the Parents’ Association House Music Festival took place, and it was great to be back in the Town Hall. This is always a fun event, and one that highlights a strength of the House system. House Music is student led and gives our senior students the opportunity to show leadership and interact positively with other boys in the House. From a boarding perspective, congratulations to Flower’s House for placing third overall with their version of Coolio’s “Gangsta's Paradise” led by Max Luisetti. School House were also impressive with Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” and must have been close to a top three placing. The evening always highlights the musical talents of our boys – and to me, from a boarding perspective, this was most on display through the contribution of Ben Davis from School House. He was a standout during the evening, playing saxophone in the Big Band, harmonica in the School House song and leading the School House small vocal ensemble. It was great to see so many boarding parents at the drinks & nibbles prior to House Music, and I trust you enjoyed catching up with parents not just from your son’s House, but also from the other boarding Houses.

Immerse & Inspire

The second group of Immerse & Inspire Year 10 boys are now ensconced in Jacobs House, enjoying boarding life. The residential component is always a highlight for the boys, as they appreciate the convenience of living on site, gain an appreciation for what it is like to live as a boarder, and take a greater ownership and pride in College. Immerse & Inspire is about so much more than just the time spent in Jacobs House, however, as it also encompasses

  • The Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award adventurous journey, based at the Boyle River Outdoor Education Centre
  • Lab5 Supercharged – a three-day social entrepreneur course with the Ministry of Awesome
  • A three-day College-based incursion involving sessions on biculturalism, careers, wellbeing, study skills, and leadership.

The underlying goal of Immerse & Inspire is to develop our young men outside of the classroom in areas that will benefit them in their senior years at College and beyond. This includes decision-making, as well as learning tolerance and understanding by spending time living together. The quote “Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking” is frequently mentioned to the boys. From my perspective, I am thrilled to see the programme is now a fully integrated component of a boy's time at College. It has also been nice to see some younger brothers of boys who have already completed Immerse & Inspire now involved.

Numbers for 2021

We are at the stage of the year where we begin planning for 2021. Therefore, we would be grateful if you could inform your son’s Housemaster no later than Friday 18 September, the end of Term 3, if your son will not be returning to College next year, in order to avoid incurring fees for Term 1 2021. This information will give us a clearer picture of how many spaces we have available to offer boys who want to come to College next year.

International Students – host families required

While Covid-19 has provided challenges for us all, we need to spare a thought for our international students who have not been able to see their parents and families since the beginning of the year and are unsure when they will be able to do so. International Student Manager Deanne Gath organised an excellent programme for the boys in the July school holiday and planning is now underway for the upcoming September and Christmas breaks. Part of this involves looking for host families willing to welcome these young men into their homes during these holidays. Support and assistance is provided at all times, and a weekly fee will be paid. For more information, please contact Deanne on 027 215 5366 or email

Our international students are an important part of boarding life and bring diversity to our boarding community. One of the ideal College graduate attributes is to have global and bicultural competence, which is about having the knowledge, skills and open-mindedness necessary to navigate and engage with today’s interconnected world – both in a global and a bicultural New Zealand context. Any support in this area would be gratefully received.

Boarding Programme

Over the last two weeks the boys have enjoyed ice skating at Alpine Ice, go karting at Supa Karts Indoor Raceway and a visit to the Escape Rooms. The workshop continues to be open for boarders to continue their class work or to start a weekend project. The full boarding programme can be viewed here.

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Curriculum News

Staff Nicole Billante

Nicole Billante
Deputy Principal – Teaching & Learning

The vital importance of classwork

As we all know, we are in a hugely privileged position in New Zealand at present to be operating largely as normal after the Covid-related disruptions we experienced last term. But to quote the numerous experts, we can’t afford to be complacent. The signals from our Government are very clear – community transmission will be treated seriously and we need to anticipate that this could impact on student learning.

This is by no means intended to sound alarmist, but rather to signal the importance of day-to-day engagement in work. Should schooling be impacted close to the end of the academic year, NCEA assessments and derived grades could rely on teacher judgement rather than traditional assessment (termed “evidence gathering” by NZQA) – and this teacher judgement comes from what we witness in class and efforts with practice tasks. So, while we hope our lives will remain relatively normal, we must also keep in mind that classwork does potentially carry more weight than in a less disrupted year.

As educators, we aspire to have students whose love of learning has them try their best at all times – but, in reality, that is not actually the way boys’ brains are wired. Research into boys’ education tells us that traditionally boys will be more focused on the end result – leading to the frustration we all have when they “leave things to the last minute”. The upside of this is the concerted effort boys will often make for things they perceive to be of high value. Perhaps the silver lining to the evidence gathering possibility is that it will help in showing our students that all their classwork is high value. We will always continue to beat this drum, for the sake of lifelong learning – but now, more than ever, this is a message for us all to reinforce to our boys.

Our Options Evening will be held tonight in the Chapman Room, from 7pm. It will start with a very brief reminder about the key components of NCEA and the remainder of the session has been designed to allow parents and students to circulate the room to ask questions of our curriculum leaders and tertiary providers.

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From the Chaplain

A place for faith

Recently, in The Press, there was an opinion piece advocating teaching world religions in our schools. It is well worth sharing with you here.

Teaching religious studies as part of the school curriculum would help students understand the important role religions have played in shaping our world, cultures, music, and conflicts.
All world faiths have fascinating concepts and exciting characters that make up interesting lessons, like Mohammed’s​ wife Khadija​ who was a successful businesswoman in a 6th century world of men. Or the Taoist idea that there is a path, or Tao, that can be understood only by living in harmony with nature and the cosmos. Goliath, Confucianism, the afterlife, polytheism … religions are made of stories and ideas that force us to wrestle with the meaning and purpose of our own lives …
Discussing core beliefs in major religions from a young age normalises philosophical differences amongst the peoples of the world. It gives us terms and understandings that help explain the vastly different ways that people live their lives. In our increasingly diverse Aotearoa, this could go a long way to building empathy across ethnic divides, encouraging non-judgemental views of other faiths, and cultivating a view amongst children that looking or dressing differently may be a matter of inherited beliefs rather than of inferiority.
If taught objectively within our schools, religious education would complement curriculum topics such as geography, the arts, and the new history curriculum expected to be delivered in all NZ schools by 2022 …
Teaching students the differences and similarities between the world religions – that, for example, Christianity, Islam and Judaism are as Abrahamic​ religions based on the same ideas from the same time in history – would foster fresh insights about perceived and actual divides in a country which is home to a staggering 213 ethnicities and dozens of different belief systems. These are all important learnings for the 21st century.

Click here to read the full article.

As you know, Christ’s College has long been following this approach.

In my own life, there is no conflict whatsoever between my Christian faith and treating others who hold to different beliefs with intelligent respect. In fact, it is my Christian faith that encourages and challenges me to do so. Similarly, some are surprised that in my own life, there is no conflict whatsoever between my Christian faith and science (my first degree is a BSc). In fact, it is my Christian faith that encourages and challenges me to hold to an amazing, consistent universe that can be (and should be) scientifically explored. Faith focuses on “why?” and “how should I now live?”; Science focuses on “how?”

In Year 9, Religious Education is looking at Jewish traditions, and understanding the influence of Moses on our culture (and how those stories can still speak to us today). Year 10 continues to look at the different world religions and also the connections to science that I write about above. In Year 11, we are studying history, especially the Reformation, which clearly has ongoing influence today. (Why does Christchurch have a Latimer and a Cranmer Square? Where is Ridley Square? Why is the restaurant on Latimer Square called “Bloody Mary's”?)

In the midst of learning about and learning from the world’s great religions, students can, in a safe, respectful environment, discuss and form their own values, and have a framework for the issues of our day – such as whether to legalise cannabis for recreational use, or the euthanasia debate.

Yours in Christ.

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Staff Chris Sellars

Chris Sellars
Careers Advisor

Upcoming careers dates
11 AugustOptions Evening, 7–8pm
13 AugustOld Boy mentor, architecture, Tower Block, 1st floor, 1pm
15 AugustUniversity of Otago scholarship applications close
15 AugustUC scholarship applications close
18 AugustBeca Engineering
20 AugustUC course planning, 8.15am
21 AugustVictoria University Open Day, plus virtual Open Day
27 AugustUC Open Day
29 AugustAuckland University of Technology (AUT) Open Day, 7.30am–3.30pm
29 AugustUniversity of Auckland Open Day, 9am–2pm
1 SeptemberVictoria University school-leaver scholarship applications close
1 SeptemberCommon Confidential Reference Form (CCRF) to have been requested
2 SeptemberLincoln University course planning
2 SeptemberUniversity of Auckland scholarship applications close
10 SeptemberCareers Expo, Year 12, depart College 8.30am
11 SeptemberCareers Expo, Year 11, depart College 8.30am
15 SeptemberCCRF due at universities
30 SeptemberUniversity of Otago accommodation applications close
1 OctoberVictoria University online enrolment opens and accommodation applications close

Christ's College CareerWise

Click here to subscribe to our CareerWise website and receive weekly updates about careers events, news and job opportunities.

Curriculum Studies Guide

Year 10 and Year 11 boys have attended a session about subject options and career pathways. Click here to view our Curriculum Studies Guide.

Curriculum Vitae

A curriculum vitae (CV) shows who you are, what you have done and what you are good at, outlining personal details, academic qualifications, community service, achievements and interests. The aim of a CV is to help you get an interview. Our online flip book Preparing for the workforce has information on writing and designing a CV, and includes information about identifying skills, writing a cover letter and interview techniques.

I recommend all Year 12 and 13 boys create a CV, which should include information about subjects, evidence of leadership (in and outside school), and involvement in sport, cultural activities and community service. Universities require such information, as will Housemasters who will be writing references.

Immerse & Inspire – Year 10 Careers

As part of the careers module in the Immerse & Inspire programme all Year 10 boys are shown how to use digital platform MyMahi, which is designed to support their learning development, future pathways and personal wellbeing. On MyMahi the boys can follow the newsfeed and add to their profile: reflections – character strengths, passions, areas to work on, and ways they prefer to learn; goals – about self, hauora (wellbeing) and academic; plus complete a pathway planner and CV builder.

Key Dates – University Halls and Scholarships

1 August – University accommodation applications open
15 August – Scholarship applications close
1 September – CCRF to have been requested
15 September – CCRF completed by Housemasters and submitted
30 September – Accommodation applications close

Please note: Both an application for accommodation and the CCRF are required.

University Accommodation and CCRF

The New Zealand Common Confidential Reference Form (CCRF) is an online university accommodation reference form. Students should be requesting this now. The student registration for the CCRF can be found at

Combine your passions

Most universities offer conjoint programmes or double degrees. A combined degree – for example, a Bachelor of Arts and Commerce (BACom), Bachelor of Arts and Science (BASc), Bachelor of Commerce and Science (BComSc) – allows you to follow your passions and expand your career opportunities.

A BASc graduate will have expertise in both the sciences and humanities – their scientific capabilities will go hand in hand with their knowledge of human history, how people think, and how societies function. Students choose two different majors, one from the arts and one from science or applied science. There are many combinations of subjects available, options include history and genetics, music and zoology, communication studies and data science, global studies and energy management, philosophy and neuroscience, society and sports technology, or you can choose to create a combination that reflects your interests and aspirations.

University of Auckland

Open Day Online
Tuesday 25–Thursday 27 August, 6–9pm. Go online and register for a series of webinars and panel discussions that cover everything you need to know about studying at Auckland in 2021.

Open Day On Campus
Saturday 29 August, 9am–2pm. See what life on campus is all about, and experience a packed day of tours, events and presentations. For more information and to register, go to

Applications for the University of Auckland school-leaver and first-year scholarships now close on Wednesday 2 September. Visit the scholarships page for more information.

Summer School
Summer school is a great way to boost your study skills and achieve your goals. The University of Auckland offers a range of summer school programmes that provide additional preparation for entry into the university. Click here for more information, or contact the schools partnership office at

AUT (Auckland University of Technology)

Discover future study possibilities at AUT Live, Saturday 29 August, 7.30am–3.30pm. For more information, go to

Victoria University

Open Day is the best opportunity to see all that Te Herenga Waka–Victoria University of Wellington has to offer and get a taste of university life. For more information, go to

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From the Archives

Jane Teal

“A ton of guts”i – Charles Hazlitt Upham, VC & Bar

From 1867 to 2007, 22 Victoria Crosses (VC) were awarded to New Zealanders. However, only one New Zealander – Charles Hazlitt Upham – has been awarded the VC & Bar, which means he received the VC twice in recognition of his heroic actions during World War II.

As one of our most celebrated Old Boys, College is proud of the fact that you can look up Upham in the School List and find he is number 3565 and spent 1923–27 in Flower’s House. We celebrated his 2nd VC with a College haka outside his parents’ house in Gloucester Street and a letter from the Board of Governors, and over the years have added further acknowledgements: a painting in the Dining Hall, naming the Upham Quad in his honour, a bust in reception and, most recently, a plaque on the east wall of the Miles Warren building.

Upham C H Ch 27

Charles Hazlitt Upham’s last visit to Christ’s College at the opening of the Upham Quad.
L–R: Bishop David Coles, Ven. Philip Robinson (member of the Board), Charles Hazlitt Upham, John George Strack ( Sub Warden)

There are College stories about his slipping out of Flower’s House at night to fill a pillowcase from the pie cart, of shooting at the light bulbs at the King Edward Barracks rather than the target, and of his care for the underdog. His Housemaster HE Solomon described him as a person who could be trusted implicitly “and once having given his word, nothing would budge him”.ii He won prizes for English, History, Science and Divinity, as well as accumulating enough positive visits to the Headmaster for work well done to be awarded a Star prize.iii He also played in the 2nd XV and placed 2nd in the debating competition in 1927. In his argument, Upham “opposed the influx of population to towns in New Zealand” and said schools “should foster the pioneer spirit, which was rapidly disappearing”. Professor Blunt, who was judging the competition, commented he “made too full use of the word ‘and’ and some of his facts were questionable. Overwise his speech was good”.iv

At Lincoln Agricultural College (now Lincoln University) he completed a Diploma in Agriculture and then went farming – the occupation he had wanted ever since he was a boarder at Waihi School in South Canterbury.v In his biography of Upham – Mark of the Lion – author Kenneth Sandford wrote that perseverance was key to his life at this time. “He accepted difficulties as part of normal life, as things one had to surmount”.vi That meant training dogs, breaking in horses, wading through rivers and trudging over mountains, and dealing with lack of sleep, food and dry clothes.

In 1939 Upham returned to Lincoln to complete a Diploma in Valuation and Farm Management and then marched into Burnham Camp as a volunteer – Private Upham. What followed has been detailed many times but part of the citation for the Victoria Cross sums it up:

During the operations on Crete this officer performed a series of remarkable exploits, showing outstanding leadership, tactical skill, and utter indifference to danger ... He showed superb coolness, great skill and complete disregard for danger. His conduct and leadership inspired his whole platoon to fight magnificently throughout, and in fact was an inspiration to the whole battalion.vii

But that was not all. Charles Upham was to become the first combat soldier to be awarded a Bar to his VC. The second citation referred to his involvement in the North African campaign, at Ruweisat Ridge:

Captain Upham, without hesitation at once led his company in a determined attack on the two nearest strongpoints on the left flank of the sector. His voice could be heard above the din of battle, cheering on his men, and in spite of fierce resistance of the enemy and heavy casualties on both sides, the objective was captured.viii

The citation goes on to mention his wounds and the fact that he was captured. Initially he went to Italy and then to Germany as a prisoner of war, but his escape attempts were so numerous he was sent to Colditz, the high security camp for officers who had become security or escape risks or who were regarded as particularly dangerous. He was mentioned in despatches for his escape attempts.

Ultimately, Upham returned to his family home in Christchurch. Christ’s College was among those who congratulated him.

Upham CC VC acknowledge055

From the Christ’s College Board of Governors.ix

On his return to New Zealand, the Christchurch community raised funds to enable him to buy his own farm. Upham declined to accept the money, however, and it was instead used to fund scholarships for returned servicemen or their descendents to attend Lincoln College or the University of Canterbury. He purchased his own farm in North Canterbury, and from 1959–77 was on the Christ’s College Board of Governors.

In 1992, Upham was presented with a further award – the Greek Legion of Honour – by Chief of the Hellenic Armed Forces General Ioannis Veryvakis, in recognition of his valour on Crete.x

On 22 November 1994, Charles Hazlitt Upham died. The newspapers were full of his heroism and humility. And how did Christ’s College acknowledge him?xi As the gun carriage carrying his coffin rolled past the College gates from Bishopspark on the way to ChristChurch Cathedral the boys lined Rolleston Avenue and Gloucester Street and stood in silence – For Valour.

Charles Hazlett Upham Gloucester Street
ii Sandford, K (2003) Mark of the Lion, Penguin Books, p18
iii These book prizes are now in the College Archives, the gift of his family
ivChrist’s College Register, December 1927
v See Lincoln College
vi Sandford, ibid, p21
vii Sandford, ibid, p115
viiiChrist’s College Register, December 1945, p89
ix Donated to Christ’s College by Forbes Mackenzie and housed in the CC Archives
xThe Press 23 November 1994
xi See also Hamilton, DG and Barton, P (1995) both in Christ’s College Register, number 257, pp14–16
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Latest News & Events

House Music Julius 4868

Corfe House’s night of glory

It was a triumph – for College and especially for Corfe House.

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Bball Alumni Game 4

Play hard, have fun

In a nail-biting finish after a neck and neck game it was the Old Boys who managed to pull through, taking a 97–95 win at the inaugural Old Boys vs...

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Max Darling B Ball

Max Darling makes the big league

Wollongong Hawks NBL basketball team will have a new member this season – Old Boy Max Darling.

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Ara Jazz Quest 1

Music in the key of fun

The Big Band got into the groove at JazzQuest on Sunday 2 August, picking up a silver award in the annual competition for secondary school jazz bands and musicians.

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Biology Trip 2020 2

Into the woods

The idea of a walk in the woods has become much more meaningful for Year 9 students Jacob Onions and Hugo Helmore after the Year 9 Biology field trip to...

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Interhouse Debating Final 1

Getting their points across

Some of College’s strongest debaters went head-to-head in the interhouse debating final at lunchtime on Monday 3 August – and these boys sure know how to get their point across.

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Int Week Food Truck 4

Embrace a global perspective

Now perhaps more than ever, with our borders temporarily closed, it is important to be outward looking and engaged with the world – and Round Square International Week is a...

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Clay target shooting 2020 2

Straight shooters

Gun young College clay target shooters have shown excellent form at recent secondary school shoots, with eight boys participating in the competition held at Ellesmere Clay Target Club on Sunday...

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Art Aitken SSC U14 Duathlon 2020

Motivated by multisport

Racing in perfect conditions – “no wind, not too hot, nice and cool” – Year 10 student Art Aitken managed to pull ahead of the pack to win the male...

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Floodlights at Hagley Oval

Work is now underway to install six new broadcast-standard floodlights at Hagley Oval, which will effect the adjacent Christ’s College Cricket Ground and football pitches.

The work is set to continue for the next few months, and means reduced access, very limited parking, and a lot of heavy vehicle traffic at the site.

There will be no impact on the College grounds or games scheduled to take place there, but we recommend College families wishing to access the grounds allow extra time to park elsewhere and walk. Sports coaches are talking to the boys about site safety and awareness.

It will be a great facility when finished, we just have to be tolerant while the work is going on.

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Upcoming Events

19 & 20 AugustCommunity Visits – BOOK HERE
Blenheim – Wednesday 19 August
Nelson – Thursday 20 August
11 AugustNCEA Options Evening
7–8pm, Chapman Room

16 August

Hockey Fundraiser – 6pm, Winnie Bagoes
27 AugustParenting through Uncertainty – supporting yourself and your children
7pm, Chapman Room
9–13 SeptemberEvita
Wednesday 9 – Saturday 12 September, 7pm
Sunday 13 September, 4pm
Christ's College Assembly Hall

11 September

Grandparents' Day – 10.15am–12pm
13 AugustDunedin YOBs – BOOK HERE
21 AugustChristchurch YOBs – BOOK HERE
2 OctoberCCOBA Annual Golf Tournament – BOOK HERE
20 October65 Years On Reunion Dinner – BOOK HERE
21 October65 & 75 Years On Reunion – Gentlemen's Lunch
or fill out a form below
65 Years On Reunion Form
75 Years On Reunion Form
and email them to
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