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From the Executive Principal

Staff Garth Wynne

Garth Wynne
Executive Principal

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It is a delight to be able to write to you after such a seamless start to the school year. There is a palpable difference about College as we step forward into our new normal informed by some disrupted years and refreshed with familiar routines and expectations. Thank you to staff, students, and parents for all you have done to make things run so smoothly.

I am especially thankful that such effort has been made to respect our uniform and standards of presentation as the year has begun. As indicated earlier, this will be a strong theme this year as we remind boys of the privilege in wearing the ‘stripes’. At the first assembly, I spoke of how our uniform links us to the past and paves a way for the future. Our blazer represents the protection of our virtues in how we act towards each other and how we are seen by the community of which we are a part.

As our uniform speaks to who we are, so too does the korowai that Head Prefect Ed Davidson and I wore at both our Mihi Whakatau and Prefect Induction Service this year. These treasures are very special to College and their story enriches our whakapapa in a very special way. It is timely to share their significance and meaning with our new families and to remind our current community of their importance.

The Executive Principal's korowai was gifted by the Parents’ Association while the Head Prefect’s korowai was presented by the Christ’s College Old Boys’ Association in 2020. This was a significant occasion in College history.

The korowai were specially created by Jared and Merenia Riwai-Couch and woven by hand by Heni Cook. During a ceremony in 2020, the korowai were blessed by Bishop Richard Wallace, the Māori Bishop of Te Wai Pounamu.

Each korowai is unique. The top row of black feathers signifies the mantle of leadership and mana carried by the Executive Principal while the black and white feathers represent every boy currently at College. The large black area of feathers represents the school faculty, and every teacher and member of staff giving service. The black and white feathers at the bottom represent our Old Boys – the foundation on which Christ’s College has been built.

The top row of feathers in the Head Prefect’s korowai signifies the mantle of leadership and mana carried in the role. The rest of the cloak is adorned with feathers representing every boy at College, past and present, who the Head Prefect serves.

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Boarding Matters

Staff Ben Vink 8793 2222 SQ

Ben Vink
Deputy Principal – Student Care

It is wonderful to have all the boys back for the new year and to see the Year 9 boys settling in so well. It has been great to also have the boys here for the Waitangi weekend as we come together as a boarding community.

Boarding activities

Our boarding activity programme is under way, with the water-based activities proving to be the perfect start amid the high temperatures. From Jellie Park to stand-up paddleboarding to the high-ropes course and the Aqualand water park, the boys have made a big splash. On Saturday, they hit the high notes with a karaoke fun night while the weekend wrapped up with an interhouse challenge day and pool time.

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Matron role

There has been discussion in our boarding community regarding changes to the matron role. When I was appointed to this role, it was clear that at some point in the near future one of our matrons was likely to retire. Having spoken with similar schools, we knew that they had found it challenging to replace wonderful individuals such as Karen Adams and Sharon Cryer with people of equally high quality. In reality, many of these schools believed they had to change their models, as a woman living by herself in residence with 60-plus teenage boys was not as appealing as it had been in the past. In response, we began researching various boarding house models in New Zealand and Australia.

When Richards House Matron Jan Kelleher retired at the end of 2021, we took our time to begin setting up the transition to a new model. Throughout the interview process, it was very clear that there was little appetite from the candidates to live in. This process ended in the appointments of Stacey James and Kirsty Black.

Stacey works as the non-residential Matron in Richards House. She arrives at 6.30am to wake the boys and get them off to school. She also takes the boys to medical appointments and fulfils the same duties as the matrons in Flower’s House and School House. In the afternoon, she meets the boys after they return from school. As the residential House staff and non-residential tutors come on after dinner, Stacey goes off duty and returns home. Throughout the evening, we have two House staff on duty.

From 10pm–6.45am, Kirsty Black, our residential registered nurse, is on duty. Kirsty is on call, with the boys able to communicate with her through a call system, centralised in all Houses. All boys have been taught to use the system. Kirsty lives in a nearby College house. She responds and gets up to the boys throughout the night to deal with any issues – from homesickness through to serious ailments. If Kirsty needs to take the boys to the GP, she does so.

The roles of Karen and Sharon do not change, except that they will no longer get up overnight to the boys from Sunday to Thursday, as Kirsty now does so. As Fridays and Saturdays are Kirsty’s rostered days off, Karen and Sharon fulfil this role.

At present, we are in discussions with Sharon and Karen about how they want to move forward with their roles. This is a two-way conversation. As this is an employment discussion, it is confidential. However, at all times, the care of your children is prioritised. We have a lot of respect for Karen and Sharon and this is reflected within our discussions.

Boarding Facebook page

To connect with boarding families, we have set up a dedicated boarding Facebook page, click here.

What's for dinner?

View the Dining Hall menu produced by the talented team at Spotless.

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Curriculum News

Staff Nicole Billante

Nicole Billante
Deputy Principal – Teaching & Learning

No shortcuts in learning at school and home

It’s a new year and a fresh start for students and teachers alike, and it’s already off to a successful start at Christ’s College. This year, the focus is on consolidating the best teaching and learning practices, to ensure that all students receive a top-quality education.

The positive energy and enthusiasm in the classrooms is palpable, and our teachers have been putting their expertise to use in crafting engaging lesson plans that are both informative and fun. Our students are eager to learn and are approaching their studies with a growth mindset, which bodes well for their future success.

At Christ’s College, we believe that education is a partnership between the school, the students, and the families. With everyone working together, we are confident that this will be a memorable year, filled with meaningful experiences and academic growth.

The three paragraphs above were generated by the new AI tool, ChatGPT, in less than one minute. I want to demonstrate to our community just how articulate this tool can be. I do not feel this needs to be banished from schools, as some commentators have argued. This technology has the potential to be hugely powerful if used well, but it also has the potential to hinder learning if used as a substitute for original work. We will work with students on how to harness the benefits but it is important to understand that it enables shortcuts that undermine the whole point of the education boys are at College to receive. I would encourage discussions at home as to the appropriate use of emerging technologies.

The discussion of not taking shortcuts with learning is timely as we are working as staff to implement the new Homework Policy that is the culmination of extensive research by the Centre for Teaching Excellence & Research last year. I wish to bring attention to some key points below.

We are recommending time limits per night for homework, based on age and stage.

Cathy Vatterott, an expert in the field, summarises: “The gist of the research is that a small amount of homework may be good for learning, but too much homework can actually be bad for learning.”

Our goal is to reinforce classroom learning with meaningful, efficient tasks. Our boys are busy young men with sport and cultural pursuits as well, so ensuring homework does not impede much-needed rest and a full night’s sleep (which are just as important for learning) is also an important aspect of these time limits.

We also wish to use this new, revised Homework Policy to support students in independent study. Especially in senior years, they may not be assigned a specific task in every class, but that does not mean there is no work to be done. This will be an ongoing discussion that may take time to be embedded but will reap rewards long term. And also, significantly, the policy mentions (perhaps most relevant to our junior students who do not have the demands of NCEA) utilising homework time for reading for pleasure is a very valid and recommended task if all classwork is up to date.

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Wellbeing Education

Staff Caroline Black 6072 SQ

Caroline Black
Director of Wellbeing Education

It’s the little things

The start of a school year is an exciting time, filled with possibilities and opportunities for growth and learning. Whether it is the excitement of reuniting with friends, the thrill of taking on new subjects and activities, or the anticipation of what the future holds, the start of a school year is a time to embrace change and look forward with hope, optimism, and curiosity. There has been such a vibrant energy around school over this past week as we have welcomed new students, staff, and their whānau to our school community and reconnected with returning students and colleagues.

With new classes, routines, and social opportunities, it can be easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of it all. This ‘busyness’, while bringing with it a sense of anticipation and excitement for what the future holds, can also feel a little overwhelming. Pausing and being present can help us to slow down and connect with our inner selves, reducing the feeling of overwhelm and increasing our overall wellbeing.

I noticed my own feelings of frustration and overwhelm this morning while trying to complete the daily school drop-off. One minute we were waiting for that elusive gap onto Rossall Street, then frantically trying to make the Carlton Mill lights with a sea of red tail lights stretching ahead of us. There may have been some short-temperedness with a late lane change from the car beside us only then to narrowly miss the cyclist weaving between the lanes and a couple of pedestrians trying to cut across from the park. That early morning urgency, when we all need to be somewhere at a certain time, creates a whole new level of busyness. And yet, just as school was in sight, the traffic slowed to a standstill and paused to allow a mother duck and her three nearly grown ducklings to safely cross the road. And we all smiled at this little moment of joy and then calmly set off on our way.

Whether it is the new school year excitement or busyness that you find yourself facing, it is important to take notice of, and cherish, the small moments of joy that arise throughout our days. Whether it is a kind word from a friend, a compliment from a teacher, the sun on the school Chapel in the morning or a smile around the Quad, these moments can bring a sense of peace and happiness in the midst of a busy schedule.

By taking the time to notice these moments, we can cultivate gratitude and positivity, even in the midst of a busy year. By finding joy in the little things, we can increase our overall wellbeing and make the most of the opportunities that a new school year has to offer.

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    Advanced Learning

    Staff Emma Bracken 0899 SQ

    Emma Bracken
    Head of Advanced Learning

    From an Olympiad to university, opening the door to opportunities

    This year, Advanced Learning offers boys a range of opportunities for development and growth. While some will be familiar from previous years, there are also some exciting new inter-school competitions on offer.

    Several Advanced Learning opportunities can be used as evidence for elements of the Christ’s College Diploma. Boys are reminded to monitor the student notices as information on events and opportunities will be posted when it becomes available.

    Star Courses

    The University of Canterbury offers a range of subsidised courses to Years 12–13 students. Enrolments will be taken shortly for semester one and dual semester courses. Enrolments for semester two-only courses will take place in July. If you are in Year 12 and considering taking MATH199 next year, please email Head of Advanced Learning Emma Bracken to arrange a time to meet and discuss the prerequisites.

    Senior Ethics Olympiad

    The Senior Ethics Olympiad will be held on Friday 19 May. The Ethics Olympiad fosters collaboration and co-operation and develops critical-thinking skills. Team members work together to develop approaches to contemporary ethical conundrums. Weekly training will soon get under way. Details will be provided in the notices.

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    Health Centre

    Nicky Taylor IBW

    Nicky Taylor
    Health Centre Nurse

    Rachel Trengrove IBW

    Rachel Trengrove
    Health Centre Nurse

    Medical records update

    Happy New Year and a warm welcome to our new families who have joined the College community this year. It feels reassuring to start a school year with more certainty than the previous three years.

    If your son/sons have experienced any changes to their health over the holidays, please update their medical records via the parent portal. If you have any concerns regarding the health of your son, do not hesitate to contact us via

    We look forward to working alongside you in 2023.

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    From the Chaplain

    Staff Cameron Pickering 1608 SQ

    The Rev'd Canon Cameron Pickering

    Chapel core to College life

    Tēnā koutou katoa.
    Peace to you all in the name of God.

    As we begin the new year – my second as Chaplain to Christ’s College – there is a welcome return to numerous Services of Thanksgiving and traditional rites and passages unable to be held last year under Covid-19 restrictions.

    As a staff, we gathered in Chapel the week before school returned, and the next week welcomed Year 9 students to College. We have again gathered as a whole to induct the 2023 Prefects, and also come together for our Waitangi Day service.

    During the academic break, our wider College community gathered in Chapel on several occasions to farewell and commend to God those who had connections with College. It is a privilege to be alongside people and families on your behalf at such times.

    We have received letters of thanks from the Christchurch City Mission, Christian World Service, and Women’s Refuge, all of which are worthy recipients of 2022 Chapel service collections. This year, we hope to continue to lighten the load of these agencies, which do so much good in our city and world.

    Evensong Service

    I extend a warm welcome to all parents and caregivers, supporters and friends of Christ’s College to join us for our first Evensong Service this Sunday 12 February at 7pm. Our Choir continues to go from strength to strength numerically and it does us all good to stop amid a busy start to the year and give common worship and thanks for all the blessings of life.

    Meanwhile, our new Chapel Prefects, Edward Nye and George Brackenridge, have shared their thoughts on their roles below.

    While being a Chapel Prefect, I hope to help parents and boys understand that the Chapel is a core part of life at Christ’s College and that it is a place for everyone in school no matter who you are. The role of Chapel Prefect comes with challenges, like writing rosters and finding other Prefects to help with ushering in the services as well. These things will all be easier with the help of my co-prefect, George, and I look forward to the skills these opportunities will develop.
    – Edward Nye

    It is an honour and privilege to be named a Chapel Prefect at College. Leadership, to me, means empowering others and leading by example. I want to foster a greater understanding of Chapel to the new boys of the school. During Covid-19, when we were unable to attend Chapel, I felt a huge part of my sense of belonging disappear. I aim to impart this appreciation and respect that I was fortunate enough to experience in my junior years to others. I believe Chapel is such an integral part of our educational journey and provides enlightenment to all boys.
    – George Brackenridge

    As we have begun so may we continue, in the knowledge and love of God, who has called us together.

    May God bless you all this week,

    Yours in Christ,
    The Rev'd Cameron Pickering

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    Latest News & Events

    Prefects Induction Service 8730

    College Prefects step up

    Our 2023 College Prefects have been inducted during a special service in the Assembly Hall.

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    2023 01 spirit of adventure

    College trio on crest of life-changing wave

    Three College boys have weighed anchor and set sail on the Spirit of New Zealand.

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    2023 01 kapa haka intro

    Kapa Haka – connection, community and culture

    Nearly 100 parents and boys have gathered in the College Dining Hall for the annual Kapa Haka community breakfast.

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    2023 01 mihi whakatau

    Mihi whakatau for new boys

    New boys and staff to Christ’s College have been welcomed with a traditional mihi whakatau (official welcome speech) – featuring a whaikōrerō (formal speech), haka, and waiata (song) – on The Quad.

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    2023 08 year 9 first day

    New boys quickly in step with Christ’s College

    The first day for our Year 9 students.

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    Bill Li

    Winning move for chess champion Bill Li

    Year 10 student Bill Li has outmanoeuvred his rivals to win the U16 Champion title at the New Zealand Chess Competition in Wellington.

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    Nick Gibb 1

    Nick Gibb caps standout season with cricket scholarship

    Gillette Cup-winning 1st XI captain Nick Gibb has been awarded the prestigious 2023 Dormer Melluish Aldridge Cricket Scholarship to further his skills overseas.

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    Upcoming Events


    Tuesday 7 February and Thursday 9 FebruaryParent Education Evening – Making use of the Parent Portal

    Register here.

    Monday 13 February, 6pmSumner Community Visit

    Book now.

    Friday 17 February, 4.30pmCCOBA AGM
    Friday 17–Sunday 19 FebruaryCCOBA Reunion Weekend 2023

    Register here.

    Monday 20 February, 6pmTai Tapu, Selwyn, and Lincoln Community Visit
    Book now.
    Thursday 23 FebruaryWelcome to Christ's College – Year 9 parent registration
    Register here.
    Thursday 23 FebruaryYear 10 Welcome back to Christ's College

    Register here.

    Sunday 26 February, 10amJoe Studholme Memorial Vintage Classic Car Day

    Book now.

    Tuesday 28 February, 6pmWaimakariri Community Visit

    Book now.

    Wednesday 1 March, 7.30pmParent Education Evening – In your skin – Relationships and Sexuality Education

    Book now.

    Thursday 2 March, 6pmNorth Canterbury Community Visit

    Book now.

    Saturday 4 March, 12pmCCOBA Yacht Race

    Register here.

    Monday 6 March, 7pmDiploma Information Evening for parents of Years 10–11

    Book now.

    Thursday 9 March, 6pmSouthern Lakes Community Visit

    Book now.

    Thursday 9 March, 7pmNCEA Information Evening for parents of Years 12–13 students

    Book now.

    Thursday 23 March, 7pmParent Education Evening with Lea Stening – Sports nutrition for teens

    Book now.

    Sunday 26 March, 2pmCCOBA vs College Hockey

    Register here.

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    Staff Chris Sellars

    Chris Sellars
    Careers Advisor

    Upcoming careers dates

    28 FebruaryVictoria University of Wellington liaison visit, 1pm, Year 13, W101
    2 MarchUniversity of Canterbury (UC) liaison visit, 8.15am, Year 13, Fine Arts building
    9 MarchUniversity of Otago liaison visit, 8.15am, Year 13, Fine Arts building
    15 MarchUniversity of Canterbury (UC) liaison visit, 10.15am, Year 12, during Congers
    7–8 MayOtago Tertiary Open Day – College to take group
    11 MayCareers Expo, 9am, Year 12, Christchurch Arena
    17 MayLincoln University, 10.15am, Year 12, during Congers
    24 MayNZ Defence Force, 10.15am, Year 11, during Congers

    Christ's College CareerWise

    The Christ’s College careers website, CareerWise, is a rich source of information about all things related to career information. Check it out and sign up for weekly alerts by subscribing here.

    School subjects and career opportunities

    Discover where your school subjects can take you. Careers NZ has put together posters featuring career opportunities. Boys can learn more about career options based on subjects they enjoy.

    Career interviews

    One-on-one career talks with Year 13 students are under way. I will work through all the Houses, seeing boys during study periods. If your son (in any year group) needs immediate help, please ask him to contact me. I will find a time as soon as possible and will follow-up with you by phone. Year 12 interviews will start in Term 2, and Year 11 interviews in Term 3.

      Careers sessions

      Careers sessions with liaison officers from different tertiary providers will be held for Years 11–13 students throughout the year.

      Career Convos

      During the year, College hosts presentations from Old Boys who share their post-school journey and detail their careers. Our Career Conovos are held on various Thursdays from 8.15–9.10am in the Jacobs House Leadership Lounge. It is an informal setting, with breakfast provided. Last year, the speakers included builders, medical students, architects, and engineers.

      Career view

      I recommend that all parents and students – regardless of their future university of choice – look at the Career View resources published by Victoria University of Wellington. Career View provides detailed information on where the different subjects can take you in terms of skills and career pathways. See more here – Victoria University of Wellington careers website.

      In Black & White – Careers

      I share a range of relevant information with parents and boys via In Black & White. However, I am aware that not all boys read the school newsletter, so I hope parents will use the information provided as a springboard for investigation, discussion, and inspiration to support their sons as they consider their futures.

      Please contact me with any suggestions regarding careers, or if you require any career-related advice for your son.

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        From the Archives

        Jane Teal

        100 years ago – 1923

        If you look up the New Zealand History website for key events in 1923i, you discover that this was the year that the Otira Tunnel was opened, writer Katherine Mansfield died, the National Bird Protection Society (later The Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society) was founded, the first Chatham Cup football game was played between Seacliff from Otago and the Wellington YMCA, and New Zealand was allocated administration of the Ross Dependency.

        However, what was going on in our small corner of the world at Christ’s College?

        In all, 63 boys of various ages enrolled in February, and were allocated to School, Flower’s, Jenkins, North Town, South Town, and Condell’s Houses. They included Geoffrey Buckland Orbell (3550), who would rediscover the takahe, Charles Hazlitt Upham VC and Bar (3565), Charles Hilgendorf (3534), who was knighted for public services, especially as Chairman of the New Zealand Meat Producers Board, and Paul Scott Sergel (3559), who co- founded St Paul’s Collegiate School in Hamilton.

        Term began on Friday 9 February, and on 24 February, most of the school went to the Canterbury vs Wellington cricket game at Lancaster Park.ii The boarders went to the Westminster Glee Singers on 17 March, and, on 22 April, there was a service in the Chapel for the dedication of a memorial to the Old Boys who fell in the Great War.iii

        The original WWI Memorial.

        Flower’s House won the interhouse cricket and, because of the hard state of the grounds, it was not possible to begin football (rugby) until a week after Easter. The Swimming Sports were held at both Corsair Bay, where Francis Karl Morris (3545) was 2nd in the U13 100 yards, and in the baths, where Arthur Charles Knight (3537) was 2nd in the Forms 1–2, 30-yards race.

        Corsair Bay, about 1926, Robinson Album CCPAL/50 Christ’s College Archives.

        By the time the August College Register was published, it was able to include the results of the Tancred History essay competition, with Robert Archibald Whyte (3573), Peter Sidney Plummer (3553), and Harold Frederick Harding (3530) placed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, respectively, in Class C.

        There is no doubt that some of those 63 boys were members of the choir, but, unfortunately, because of influenza practices, it had to be discontinued for a while. They, and all other boys at College, regularly attended Chapel services.

        Christ’s College Chapel 1923–24 CCPAL14/8/2 Christ’s College Archives.

        Athletic Sports Day was on 11 October, but “the weather was really bad, rain fell at intervals throughout the day, and a cold southerly wind prevailed which made things unpleasant for both competitors and spectators, though luckily the heaviest downpour occurred during the luncheon adjournment”.iv

        Unfortunately, Eric Stephen Gerard (3528) was beaten in the final of the lightweight boxing competition and Paul Harper Fortnoum Cox (3522) was 8th in the junior gymnastics competition.

        The end of the year was rounded out by the 15 December dance in the gymnasium, the 16 December Commemoration Service in the Cathedral that honoured the founders of the Canterbury Settlement, and the 17 December Prize-giving.

        The prize winners among the 63 boys who had enrolled in various classes at the beginning of the year were:

        Denis Sidley Anderson (3514), Latin
        Roger Fairbairn Ballantyne (3516), French
        Geoffrey Harington Dunkley (3525), Tancred Literature
        Harold Frederick Harding, Tancred Literature
        James Howard Hewlett (3532), French
        Charles Hilgendorf, English
        John Hawdon Lascelles (3539), French, Junior Somes Scholarship
        Edward Weston Morrah (3544), Latin
        John Tarratt Alan Neville (3548), Tancred Literature
        Paul Scott Sergel, English, Mathematics
        David Mortimer Taylor (3563), Latin
        Morvyn Williams (3568), English
        David Dumville Thorpe (3564), Latin, French, Mathematics
        Charles Hazlitt Upham, Science
        Basil Archdall Wright (3574), Science

        ii Canterbury won by 114 runs after many days rain delays, Star 1 March 1923.
        iii This was replaced by the present memorial when the Chapel was extended in the 1950s.
        iv Christ’s College Register, December 1923 p302.
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