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From the Executive Principal

Staff Garth Wynne

Garth Wynne
Executive Principal

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Thank you to the College Board and Executive colleagues who have enabled this sabbatical leave to be taken. I especially acknowledge Deputy Principal Rob Donaldson. During my time as Executive Principal, I have been blessed to have Rob at my side as we have navigated the progress of College together. To have Rob so effectively step into my role within the school is a credit to him in every way and reflects both his loyalty to me and to College, and his experience and ability.

The opportunity to travel, catch up with family overseas, and visit schools, when combined with a period to be physically away from the 24/7 nature of my work, has been appreciated.

During this period, Annie and I have taken the opportunity to spend a week in Brisbane visiting our daughter and granddaughters, a week in Perth visiting my brother and godson, and a week in Sydney visiting our son. Fortunately, these localities have allowed visits aligned with high-quality schools. They being: Brisbane Grammar School, St Paul’s School (Brisbane), Christ Church Grammar School, and Scots College (Perth) and The Scots College and The Sydney Church of England Grammar School – Shore School in Sydney. My focus during these school visits was to consider programmes in the development of entrepreneurship and any new innovations in programmes and facilities.

The travel component of this leave had two elements outside Australia:

10 days in Egypt – Cairo/Aswan/Luxor
A classic trip to this country focusing on its ancient past.

17 days on a study tour of Palestine/Israel/Jordan
Coordinated by retired principal Chris Faisandier (Kincoppal-Rose Bay), purposefully for leaders of Christian, faith-inspired schools, this tour was balanced in intent, covering the ‘Holy Land’ and the beauty of Petra/Jordan juxtaposed against the reality of the modern Israeli State and all that that entails, especially as it relates to the plight of Palestinians living in the occupied territories.

Travel should always prompt personal reflection of time and place and this has certainly been the case over the past month or so. One cannot but be moved by the pyramids and the temples at Luxor or imagining the presence of Jesus on the shores of the Sea of Galilee or in the Garden of Gethsemane. We spent our final three days in Jerusalem, one of which coincided with the celebration of the 75th year since the creation of the modern State of Israel and a visit to the Holocaust memorial. Since we had previously walked the streets of Hebron, where the harsh reality of those 75 years for Palestinians was an overt and confronting consideration of history, truth and reality punctuated this experience.

Use of power, both modern and ancient, is what resonated from this visit, along with the complexities of religion and state in our current times.

Consequently, compelling from a professional perspective, is the need for College to continue to use its networks and capacity to encourage as many students and staff as possible to travel/exchange into different jurisdictions away from the small and parochial reality of Christchurch. Key organisations are AHISA in the Australasian context and the IBSC and Round Square at an international level. As the world becomes seemingly more polarised, we need to encourage connection in every way possible. Global competence as a graduate disposition, and professional curiosity and growth can be enhanced by travel of any type.

That game again

Today we have the traditional rugby fixture between Christ’s College and Christchurch Boys’ High School, hosted this year at Boys’ High. As always, I trust that this event brings out the best of our character, on and off the field, both from our school and our wider community, and I encourage all involved to be cognisant of the messages they send and the example they set for the future.

Read on

From the Deputy Principal

Staff Rob Donaldson 0778 SQ

Rob Donaldson
Deputy Principal

Turning off ‘phone zombies’

As we all grapple with the pervasive influence of phones on our lives, I note that some boys are still struggling to keep their phones ‘not visible’ around the campus. Our approach of not banning phones on campus is a reasonable one but it requires the cooperation and self-discipline of the boys to make it work. Some have a compulsion to check their phones often and, in doing so, they risk being ‘phone zombies’. One of the reasons we don’t want them on their phones as they walk around the campus is so that they can interact with others and not tune out of social interactions. We will keep trying to educate them and encourage healthy phone habits. Staff and parents could help the boys by modelling these good habits.

Email policy

Email, for adults in particular, can be a source of great stress, as we struggle to clear our inboxes and prioritise our communications. At College, we have an approach which is designed to rationalise the use of email and make it more manageable for our staff, students, and parents. Here are some key reminders from our email policy:

  • Staff can be expected to read work-related emails from 8am–5pm during the week
  • Staff are not expected to read work-related emails during the weekend
  • Urgent communication outside these times must be done by phone
  • It is expected that staff will acknowledge the receipt of emails and then respond to work-related emails as soon as possible. The advised period of response is within 24 hours
  • Emails must be polite and businesslike in their tone. Emotive and confrontational emails are not appropriate. Any issues that could involve conflict are best discussed in person
  • Students are provided with specific style guidelines for their emails to staff. Such emails need to be formal and polite
  • Emails should be as concise as possible and preferably should not exceed 200 words. If necessary, please attach a letter or a Google Doc link.

We should also be mindful of not ‘CCing’ or ‘BCCing’ others, unless this is absolutely necessary.

Managing commitments

Finally, as anticipated, this is a busy term for the boys and some are stretched by their commitments. We will keep helping them with organisational skills and wise choices regarding what they can manage. They, in turn, need to help themselves by trying to get a good night’s sleep, eating healthily, avoiding late-night use of phones and laptops, and applying mindfulness techniques that they have been taught.

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Staff Darrell Thatcher

Darrell Thatcher
Deputy Principal – Planning & Co-curricular

Annual Christ's College vs CBHS rugby game

The annual Christ’s College vs Christchurch Boys’ High School rugby game will be held today at Christchurch Boys’ High School, with kick-off at 12pm.

Routine for the day

  • 8.15am House Assembly
  • 8.30–9.10am Period 1
  • 9.15–9.55am Period 2
  • 10–10.40am Period 3
  • 10.40–11.10am Break
  • 11.10am Students attending the game meet in the Assembly Hall
  • 2.30pm Students are back at school following the game, ready to complete after-school co-curricular commitments (including training and games)

Options for boys on the day

  • Attend the game (boys travel to and from the game by buses – no private transport).
  • Remain at College in supervised study (from 11am).
  • Go home at 11am.

Please note:

  • ALL normal after-school co-curricular commitments are expected to be fulfilled by students, including training and games.

Return to school and sport – Covid-19 protocols

With winter upon us, we are seeing more students becoming unwell and are looking to return to school and sport too early.

The responsibility remains with parents to ensure their son is well enough to return to school. Current Government guidelines (seven-day isolation) regarding Covid-19 need to be adhered to.

On return to school, the coach/manager will then 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.

Christchurch City Council cycle lane survey

The Christchurch City Council wants to hear what you think about the cycle lane in Park Terrace.

“We recently reduced northbound traffic on Park Terrace to one lane and added a separated cycleway. If you use Park Terrace, please let us know what you think of the changes. Your responses to our short survey below, along with traffic counts, will help us understand the impacts of the changes before deciding on the future layout of the road. You can find out more about this project and tell us what you think online until Sunday 11 June 2023.”

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Staff Shelley Keach 6322 edited

Shelley Keach
Senior Development Manager

An invitation from Archibalds – Festival of Dreams

This year marks a momentous milestone for Porsche. Archibalds Porsche want to personally invite the College community to celebrate 75 Years of Porsche. The showroom will come alive with interactive stations, a livestream of a section of the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race, complimentary food and beverages, and more.

Sunday 11th June, 10am–4pm
Archibalds Porsche, 22 Tuam Street, Christchurch

Please register here.

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Boarding Matters

Staff Ben Vink 8793 2222 SQ

Ben Vink
Deputy Principal – Student Care

Taking a healthy approach to ward off winter ills

As we prepare for winter, we want to address some important health concerns. Alongside the ongoing challenges posed by Covid-19, we have also seen an increase in respiratory illnesses and gastrointestinal bugs. To minimise the transmission of these illnesses in our boarding Houses, we have several preventive measures in place. Commonly used surfaces are regularly disinfected, and we encourage all students to frequently wash their hands.

If your son falls ill during a weekend at home, please ensure that he does not return to the boarding House until he is completely recovered. It can be more difficult to prevent the spread of these illnesses once they have entered our community.

Please contact me if you have any concerns regarding your son’s health or wellbeing as we work together to maintain a safe and healthy environment for our school community.

King’s Birthday weekend

A reminder that the King’s Birthday weekend is an exeat weekend. The three boarding Houses will close on Saturday 3 June at 3pm and reopen on Monday 5 June at 3pm. The boys will need to be back in their Houses by 8pm on Monday.

Diploma Q&A for Boarding Parents

We are hosting a Diploma Q&A with afternoon tea for our boarding families on Monday 5 June from 3–4pm in the Chapman Room. We hope you can join us for the Diploma Q&A when you drop off your sons at College following the exeat weekend. Please register here.

House Music boarding community event

We look forward to seeing many of you on Thursday 22 June for an evening of Parents’ Association House Music. Prior to House Music, we will meet as a boarding community for drinks and nibbles from 4.45–5.45pm in the Dining Hall. It is a wonderful chance to catch up with the wider boarding community. Please RSVP here for the drinks and nibbles.

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

Time to have a chat about the role of AI

At the start of the year, I talked about the power of ChatGPT to both help students with their learning, but also to aid in academic misconduct. It is important not to shirk away from new technologies and risk becoming Luddites, but we also have an obligation to ensure that boys are being fairly assessed. It is a dilemma facing educators across the globe.

Sadly, I have already dealt with several instances where boys have used AI technology to try to improve their NCEA assessments. The instructions from NZQA are very clear – as reflected in our own NCEA policies – that use of this technology to create work that is presented as one’s own thinking will result in a ‘Not Achieved’.

I tasked our Heads of Department at the start of the year with considering how we meet the NZQA expectations of guaranteeing authenticity. Every department’s assessment is different in context and, therefore, they are best placed for individual strategies. Some departments were already using technologies such as (a locked testing browser) that came to prominence with lockdowns, others added post-assessment tasks to test student thinking, and some returned all assessment to class-supervised tasks only.

The student voice has been well represented by Academic Prefect Angus Gifford in navigating the pros and cons of the various assessments. While some adjustments in work habits may be asked of our Year 13s in particular, we have been consistently communicating to ensure students have the best opportunities to show their thinking and abilities in a fair and equitable manner.

While a small number of changes were significant, for the most part, our practices were already set up to support authentic assessment and most departments had not had any change. I have been heartened in my discussions to know that the most significant changes, while sparked by the response to new technology, have really taken the time to consider what skills we want to emphasise with our students and adjust according to that philosophy. Similarly, many teachers are using teachable moments to unpack when AI is useful and valid.

As technology evolves, so must we. However, we will do so with an ongoing lens of how best to support our boys

Read on


Staff Robert Aburn 0247 SQ

Robert Aburn
Director of Music

Music Department in concert

This week, our music students will present a lunchtime concert at St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral as part of their Wednesdays at One concert series. Starting at 1.10pm today, the students will perform a mixture of choral, chamber, and solo works in the wonderful acoustics of St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral.

Tonight, they will perform alongside our sister school, St Margaret’s College, in our annual combined concert. This concert is being held this year in the Charles Luney Auditorium at St Margaret’s College and starts at 7.30pm. These live performances before the respective national competitions give the students a chance to air their Big Sing and Chamber music programmes.

The Chapel Choir is looking forward to the premiere of the new waiata, E te Atua tapu. While this taonga was gifted to College last Thursday, the students have been working extremely hard to learn and remember the actions that are embedded in the work.

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Wellbeing Education

Staff Caroline Black 6072 SQ

Caroline Black
Director of Wellbeing Education

The state of youth mental health

As parents, it is only natural for us to prioritise the wellbeing of our tamariki and it is important to stay informed about the current state of youth mental health. In a world influenced by social media, academic pressure, and economic instability, it is crucial to acknowledge the impact these factors can have on our children's growth and development. While it is important to remember that each young person is different and may face unique challenges, understanding the broader trends can help whānau stay informed and be better equipped to support their children.

In the latest edition of SchoolTV, the state of youth mental health is explored, including some of the major mental health issues affecting young people today. Strategies are provided on how to best support young people experiencing them. I encourage you to read, listen, or view the information provided. Click here to find out more.

Jazz Thornton – understanding youth mental health

I also encourage you to join us in the Chapman Room on Thursday 1 June to listen to mental health advocate Jazz Thornton. She will share the warning signs and explain how to help, along with what to do and things to avoid, while detailing the best approach to supporting your child’s mental wellbeing.

Book here. This event will not be live-streamed or recorded.

    Read on

    From the Chaplain

    Staff Cameron Pickering 1608 SQ

    The Rev'd Canon Cameron Pickering

    Proclaiming the Good News each day

    Tēnā koutou katoa.

    Peace to you all in the name of God.

    We have concluded the Season of Eastertide, though every Sunday throughout the year is a celebration of the Resurrection – the voice of Love is never silenced.

    Last week, Dr Andrew Taylor preached on the occasion of the celebration of St Augustine of Canterbury. Landing in Kent in 597CE, Augustine was an apostle of the Roman Church to the Anglo-Saxons. Dr Taylor, who taught at The King’s School, Canterbury – a school whose foundation goes back to Augustine himself – reflected on the connection between Ruatara and Samuel Marsden here in Aotearoa New Zealand, and Augustine all those years ago. Their apostleship was similar – to proclaim the Good News, though separated in their respective missions by some 1300 years. What is the Good News that each of us is called to proclaim each day in our interactions?

    This week is Wellbeing Week at College, with Director of Wellbeing Education Caroline Black addressing the students in Chapel on Monday. Her message was that each and every member of the community should feel a sense of belonging at College. This message of belonging is the Good News many students need to hear.

    As the Church celebrates the Feast of Pentecost, we are encouraged in all we do with the promise that where there is Love, there will be God also. To know you belong is to know Love, to encourage another in their sense of belonging is to live lovingly. Where there is such Love, the Spirit of God – set apart and Holy – moves.

    Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

    Te Pouhere Sunday

    For our next Sunday Chapel Service – Te Pouhere Sunday – on 11 June, we extend a warm invitation to all parents, caregivers, and supporters to join us at 7pm, as we celebrate the Three Tikanga (cultural streams) that constitute the Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand, and Polynesia.

    Yours in Christ,

    The Rev'd Cameron Pickering

    Read on

    Latest News & Events

    2023 06 gifting taonga

    In praise of E te atua tapu – the new College waiata

    A new waiata – E te atua tapu (To the Almighty) – that captures the wairua (spirit) of the message has been gifted to Christ’s College by the Puanaki whānau during a powerful mihi whakatau on Thursday morning in the Assembly Hall.

    Read full article
    2023 04 scotch cc rs exchange

    Round Square – exchanging places in Tasmania

    When James met Seton and Connor met Charles, they believed it was the beginning of a lifelong friendship. All four boys were ready to exchange addresses and embark on a voyage of discovery, despite living on opposites sides of the Tasman Sea.

    Read full article
    2023 01 senior honours tie

    Ties that bind – Senior Honours recipients Sam Bosworth and Joe Moody

    A gold medal-winning coxswain who has made rowing history and one of New Zealand’s most powerful present-day rugby props have been awarded Senior Honours Ties at the Christ’s College Assembly.

    Read full article

    Upcoming Events


    Wednesday 31 May, 8.30am–3pm

    CCOBA Rugby Reunion (25 Years On, 50 Years On, 60 Years On, 70 Years On)
    Book now

    Wednesday 31 May, 1.10pmWednesdays at One recital series – with Christ's College, Catholic Pro-Cathedral in Manchester Street
    Wednesday 31 May, 7.30pmCombined St Margaret's College and Christ's College Concert, Charles Luney Auditorium at St Margaret’s College
    Thursday 1 June, 5pmScholarships and study in the United States – a virtual presentation by Angus McKenzie
    Register now.
    Thursday 1 June, 7pm

    Parent Education Evening with Jazz Thornton – Understanding youth mental health
    Register now.

    Monday 5 June, 3pmDiploma Q&A for boarding parents

    Register now.

    Sunday 11 June, 7pmTe Pouhere Sunday – service of Choral Evensong
    Sunday 18 June, 6pmChrist's College Hockey Social Function
    Book now

    Tuesday 20 June, 6pm

    Tauranga Community Visit

    Book now.

    Thursday 22 June, 6.30pm

    Parents' Association House Music Festival

    Friday 30 June, 6–9pmChrist's College Parents' Association Midwinter Drinks
    Book now
    Wednesday 19 July, 6pmDunedin Young Old Boys (YOBs) Event

    Register now.

    Wednesday 2 August, 6pmAkaroa Community Visit
    Register now

    Tuesday 8 August, 6pm

    Hawke's Bay Community Visit
    Register now.
    Friday 8 September, 7–10.30pmChrist's College Parents' Association Spring Bling
    Book now.
    Wednesday 29 November, 6pmChristchurch Young Old Boys (YOBs) Event
    Register now

    Friday 8 September, 10.15am–12pmGrandparents' Day

    Medbury School’s Centenary Production Play On

    14–15 June, Christ’s College Assembly Hall

    The Time Travellers steal back the formula and decide to use the TARDIS to help them with their school ‘Decades’ project. By mistake, they overshoot and land in 1022 to find that the Medbury grounds are like a swamp. They encounter numerous native creatures. The time travellers try to make their way back to 2023 passing each decade from 1920 as they go, including WWI, Elvis Presley, Y2K and the rise of the internet and social media. Other specialist groups appearing include: the Mana Kapa Haka group, Medbury staff performers, some parent guest artists, and a Christ's College Old Boys' Choir.

    Book your tickets here.

    Read on


    Staff Chris Sellars

    Chris Sellars
    Careers Advisor

    Upcoming careers dates

    JuneUniversity scholarships open

    Students can apply for their Common Confidential Reference
    Form (CCRF) for university accommodation

    1 JuneAra medical imaging information, 9am–12pm, Ara Manawa campus, Years 11–13
    8 JuneAra Institute of Canterbury Open Day, 3–6pm
    8 JuneUniversity of Canterbury (UC) Year 12 Discovery Day, 9am–3pm
    14 JuneVictoria University Information Evening
    15 JuneUniversity of Melbourne, Queens College residential college presentation, 8.15am
    20 JuneUC scholarships open
    22 JuneAra Information Evening, 5.30–6.30pm
    26 June

    Ara introduction to nursing, Ara Manawa campus, Years 11–13, 9am–12pm

    28 JuneUC Virtual Information Evening, 6pm, online
    20 JulyUC Digital Screen Information Evening
    27 JulyUC Information Evening (repeat of 9 May)
    1 AugustOtago residential colleges, applications open online
    1 AugustUC Residential Colleges, applications open online
    3 AugustMassey University (Manawatū) Campus Taster Day
    10 AugustUniversity of Otago course planning, 8.15am
    15 AugustOtago University, closing date for entrance scholarships
    15 AugustUC scholarship applications due
    17 AugustUniversity of Otago course planning, 8.15am
    24 AugustAra-specific dual enrolment event
    25 AugustMassey University (Wellington) Open Day (TBC)
    25 AugustVictoria University of Wellington Open Day
    26 AugustAUT Live Open Day (TBC)
    26 AugustUniversity of Auckland Open Day
    AugustUniversity of Auckland scholarships applications close
    8 SeptemberUC Open Day
    15 SeptemberCommon Confidential Reference Forms (CCRF) due
    27 SeptemberUC accommodation applications close
    29 SeptemberLincoln University Open Day (during school holidays)
    30 SeptemberUniversity of Auckland, first-round accommodation applications close
    OctoberUniversity of Auckland, applications to study open
    10 DecemberUniversity of Otago enrolments due
    DecemberUniversity of Auckland applications to study close

    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.

    Below are recent postings on the College careers website:

    Thinking about university?

    With school-leaver decision making in full swing, Universities New Zealand — Te Pōkai Tara’s 2024 Thinking about university? resources are now live at

    Money Hub – Scholarships

    A guide to scholarships for any student planning to start university in 2024. It provides a comprehensive list of scholarships offered by every university, as well as those specifically available to local students, along with a list of privately funded, Māori, Pacific, and international university scholarships. MoneyHub has also published tips for scholarship application.

    Victoria University of Wellington – admission and enrolment from 2024

    Admission applications and course enrolments are now a two-step process at Victoria University of Wellington. Students first choose a degree and apply for admission, and then – after accepting an offer – they can enrol for their courses. The university encourages students to start their application process once they have decided on their degree. Students will have to register for a Pūaha account to apply for admission, scholarships, and accommodation.

    For the first time, all these applications are in the same place. Read the steps to enrol.

    University of Otago

    All enrolment, scholarship, and residential college applications are made online via eVision.

    Victoria University of Wellington school leaver scholarships

    Applications for the Te Herenga Waka ─ Victoria University of Wellington school-leaver scholarships open in June. There are seven different scholarships available, including three new scholarships.

    New scholarships

    Full details are available on the university website.

    UC Scholarships

    Applications for 2024 UC scholarships open on 20 June and are due by 15 August. Future student advisors will visit some schools, and there is also a video online with tips and advice on how students can submit the best application possible.

    UC Digital Screen Information Evening

    Students can join in person or online on 20 July to hear experts in the film, game, animation, and sound world talk about career opportunities following the completion of the new Bachelor of Digital Screen with Honours degree. You can register to attend in person or simply watch on Facebook.

    University of Canterbury – Engineering

    Those studying NCEA Level 3 Calculus – whether in Years 12 or 13 – need to understand the ramifications of entry into the Maths programme at UC for Engineering. EMTH118 Engineering Mathematics 1A requires the following: NCEA Level 3 Mathematics, 14 credits (18 strongly recommended), including the standards Differentiation (91578), and Integration Methods (91579). If they do not have these prerequisites, students must take MATH101 at university.

    School Subject 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 the subjects they enjoy.

    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.

    Read on

    From the Archives

    Jane Teal

    The Quad and the Cloisters

    Have you ever wondered why we have a Quad and why the Christ’s College Old Boys’ Association e-newsletter is called The Quadrangle? Is the main Quadrangle no more than a piece of grass that must be mown regularly and have its edges trimmed and keeps us fit as we walk round on our way to and from various locations? Where do the Cloisters fit into the story?

    I asked myself all these questions – the result of a comment from a member of staff – and I turned to the Scheme for the Establishment of a College…i.

    The information about the Collegiate or Upper Department, by its very title, provided the initial clue and indicated that thought had already been given to:

    “Designs for the Collegiate buildings, of a plain but suitable character, to be constructed of wood in the late pointed style of architecture, and with due regard to the danger of fire are in [the] course of preparation … They may require some modifications according to the nature of the site they are to occupy.”

    Collegiate is the key word. Oxford and Cambridge, where the Warden, George Augustus Selwyn, and most of the early fellows were educated, are collegiate universities and are thus made up of colleges.ii

    Alison Brooks Architects, in its recent work at Exeter College, describes the following:

    “The Oxford Quad is an 800-year-old pedagogical model where each college’s teaching, convening, and residential buildings act both as an architectural frame for rectangular landscaped courtyards and as a highly multifunctional context serving the needs of the College community.”iii

    Although the Cambridge rectangular spaces are known as ‘courts’, the image is the same – buildings with specific roles surrounding a central area.

    This was where the minefield of possibilities began. Where did ‘quads’ originate?

    Oliver Rackham and Peter Carolin in their report on The Courts of Corpus Christi point to evidence in Bologna (from 1088), Paris (1150), and Salamanca (1218), and to the fact that castles, manor houses, and monastic buildings all have these central areas.iv

    Cloisters surrounded quadrangles or garths in monasteries, and they often contained gardens in which the monks worked. This enabled self-sufficiency, as well as a physical and mental balance from their involvement in education, sustaining the poor and needy, hospitality, and the daily offices of the church. They also provided space outside dimly lit buildings, and places of light and sunshine where monks could sit, read, and work on their illuminated manuscripts. They were also a means of moving from place to place under cover.

    The New Classrooms and the Cloisters (later Harper–Julius). CS Thomas Album 1905–1908. Christ’s College Archives CCPAL5/11/1

    The earliest photographs we have of the Quad were taken in the 1860s. If you look closely, there is a cricket pitch running across the centre of the image.

    The Quad, looking towards the south-west. Barker Photograph, Wright Collection Christ’s College Archives 2007/81/4
    The Quad, looking towards the north-west, 1860s. CLJ Merton Album Christ’s College Archives CCPAL51/3

    By the time Herbert William Williams (547) described it as a “sacred grass plot” in 1875 – with “200 lines for trespassers” – the Quad was well established.

    In April 1908, the Register records its past and planned future:

    “Horses, cows, calves, and even dogs and strange birds have made their entries into and hurried exits from the Quadrangle. But it is many years since the sacred precincts have been torn by plough and harrow. The formation of a good grass plot, suitable to the place, to serve as a proper setting for the buildings that are to come, has been undertaken and guaranteed by George Rhodes. The new grass plot will be sacrosanct … .”v

    ‘Sacred’ and ‘sacrosanct’ – what have those words come to mean over the years?

    Cadets form up on the Quad.

    In the 1950s, the Quad proved to be a useful place when the reconstruction of the Chapel was undertaken.

    A fair has made use of the Quad.

    In my living memory, there have been spring festivals, 150th celebrations, Sculpture on the Quad, post-earthquake prefab classrooms, marquees for various events, Anzac Day crosses, and Carols on the Quad – all of which have had the Quad as the centre.

    So, does the answer to the ‘sacred/sacrosanct’ question hinge on the word ‘formal’, and asks a further question – do we need to rethink how the main Quad can best serve the needs of the College community? Does the Christ’s College Old Boys’ Association in The Quadrangle acknowledge the original formal centrality that we have perhaps forgotten over the years?

    i Scheme for the Establishment of a College in or Near the Capital City of the Settlement of Canterbury, New Zealand, and to be called the Christ-Church College. Christ’s College School List 1850-1950 pp29–31.
    ii Cambridge Fellows: James Wilson (Trinity) George Cotterill and George Augustus Selwyn (St John), William Wellington Willock (Magdalen), James Edward FitzGerald (Christ Church). Oxford Fellows: Robert Bateman Paul (Exeter), Octavius Mathias (Corpus Christi). Trinity College, Dublin: Henry Barnes Gresson.
    The University of New Zealand, of which Canterbury University College was a part, was originally a collegiate university.

    v Christ’s College Register, April 1908 p364.

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