OBA Newsletter October 2020

In this quarter's newsletter we update you on the OBA, also inviting you to some events in Auckland and in Whangarei. We update you on some school news and share some photographs. It is not too late so please register for the 2020 Ambrose Golf Day on Friday 20th November.


It is great to have winter behind us and to look forward to a few events in the coming months. Below is an excerpt from my letter for the Schools End of Year Fideliter Magazine.

Despite the challenges this year and a reduction in the number of our meetings, we have made further progress on several fronts. There are three main focuses for me during what is a significant time of change for the school, they are:

  • Supporting the current students and providing a fun way of engaging with the network of Old Boys,
  • Encouraging Old Boys to reconnect through reunions and other social occasions, and
  • Helping the school to retain its proud history.

In the past year, the OBA has helped fund the new metal blazer badges so that the Boys can display their Colours proudly. There is also a new scholarship that the OBA will be funding for a student awarded by their peers for the “Old Boys’ Fine Young Man” trophy.

As well as the Golf Day, we are connecting Old Boys through regular networking events. This year we will have had networking events in both Whangārei and Auckland. With the use of the Old Boys Database we are also helping to arrange reunions for those students that want to reminisce about old times and catch up with their school mates.

Over the next few years, we are going to be working with the school to help record the history of the school with projects focusing on digital archiving, a museum and collating a book of “True Tales”.

Jarrod Goodall



The school rebuild has begun. Fortunately the major flooding Whangārei experienced in July did not cause much damage to the new bridge, so construction could continue.


WBHS 1st XI Hockey team retained the Gus Lindsay and Shay Neal Shield – an annual hockey exchange vs Auckland Grammar School. WBHS fought back valiantly to claw back a 2 goal deficit at half time. The match finished 2-2 with WBHS retaining the shield for 2020. Photo – Ben Woodgates

 Students from WBHS took part in the NZSS Squash Championships over a weekend in August 2020, with two New Zealand teams named at the end of the weekend.  Riley-Jack Vette-Blomquist was named in the New Zealand Senior Secondary team. Flynn Venmore and Freddie Jameson were named in the New Zealand Junior Secondary team. An outstanding achievement by these players.

In August the school held a keenly contested inter-whanau haka competition. Carruth’s excellent performance had the judges scoring them 73.5 points. They are now the WBHS inter-whanau haka competition champions for 2020! Photos – Mr Marcel Allen

The Advanced Woodwork Students displayed their work in the staffroom recently. It is amazing to see the standard or craftsmanship that these students have developed with careful guidance from their teacher. Left is a lovely piece of student work here from Reno Leef, Year 13 Pre-trade Woodwork. Constructed from recycled Northpower hardwood power pole arms and brackets. Table top finished in resin.

Here are some other pieces: Vann Cameron (stand-up bar leaner), Jackson Hawkins (beehive inspired low table), Shayden Jones-Codlin (low table with green resin inlay), Herbie Hamilton and Tre Seakens (bedside cabinets).

Gateway Placements

Several ex-students who now have their own businesses have recently contacted WBHS seeking potential apprentices. One is Blake Davies (also an ex Gateway student) who is trialing two students on Gateway placements for an electrical apprenticeship. Another employer is trialing two students for two plumbing apprenticeships on offer. It is heartening that employers often contact WBHS as their first port of call, especially Old Boys’ of the school.

School Visit by former Head Boy

WBHS Old Boy and former Head Boy Bill Hamilton came into school this term to speak to a group of students about the opportunities in Agriculture. He is really enjoying his Massey University course. There is massive growth in this area and being passionate about this industry, the students were treated to a great talk by him.

Mental Health Awareness Week

A week in September marks Mental Health Awareness Week. Year 10 Whangārei Boys’ High School social studies students spent a day flipping tractor tyres in a bid to raise awareness for mental health services for young people. After spending time in the classroom discussing the issues around mental health, this culminated in three classes of 85 boys, each working together in reaching goals flipping huge tyres relay-style for a day.

“The tyre is a symbol for depression. A big, dirty, dark dead weight one has to drag around with them. Some of the boys have to carry that weight around with them all day at school – hence ‘flipping our way through the day’, and it feels impossible but, with support, anything is achievable.” explained Jay Warren (Social Science teacher).

Partnered with I AM HOPE foundation, as well as raising awareness, all donations raised through txts and the Give a little page went to I AM HOPE. The organisation provides free counselling services for young people.

With many sore hands and extremely tired boys, the students had a target of 5,000 but managed over 11 000 flips, a fantastic effort from them all.



The school rebuild and proposed museum will be completed in about TWO years’ time.

Don Goodall has proposed that we should also recognise the occasion with a book similar to the True Tales Series of Books. This one will be about Whangārei Boys’ High School. If everyone wrote one story we would have a book ready to go. If we all wrote two stories we would have two books.

Think back and recall so many interesting and humorous occasions and stories you could produce. If you just write a few lines or a few paragraphs, these will make our book a reality – NO STORY IS TOO SHORT.

Come on guys – let’s get writing.

Please submit your stories to Jarrod – president@wbhsoba.co.nz


Old Boys’ from the years 1940, 1950, 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000 and 2010 – come enjoy a blast from the past.

The WBHS Old Boys’ Committee are organising a reunion


WHEN: Saturday 21st November 2020

TIME: 10:30am

Enjoy a walk around the school grounds to reminisce and share fun tales with younger and older fellow Old Boys’, and share morning tea together.

We have emailed this to those who we have contact details for, however we need your help in finding your missing classmates since not all of them are on the various social networking sites. If you are in contact with any of them please let them know. If you are part of these years and didn’t receive a separate email – it may be due to wrong ‘leaving year’ dates being recorded on the database. Please accept this as your invitation to attend.

If this Reunion applies to you and you would like to facilitate an occasion for just your year group, after the school visit, please let us know and we can give you the list of names and contact details we have for your year. We are also here to assist you in any way we can to arrange a lunch venue, etc.

If you are planning on attending please let Laureen know by 6nd November 2020, for catering purposes at communications@wbhsoba.co.nz

It wouldn’t be the same without you!



The Auckland Branch of the WBHS Old Boys’ Association have planned a social event. It will be a time for catching up with fellow Old Boys’ and for you to meet the new President and some of the committee who are coming down from Whangārei for the evening.

Date: 4th November 2020

Time 5:30pm


Vista Group Head Office

City Works Depot
90 Wellesley St West
Auckland 1010

There will be light refreshments provided so for catering purposes, if you are planning on coming, please RSVP by Monday 26th October 2020 to communications@wbhsoba.co.nz


Please register NOW!

Friday 20 November 2020 Northland Golf Club 

10.00am for 10.30am Shotgun Start

$25.00 per player

Sponsor a Hole for $50

Please Support our Naming Rights Sponsor:

Playing Rules

  • Teams shall consist of three players – all male, all female or mixed
  • Individual entries welcome, we will find you a team
  • Two teams allocated to each tee (yes you can play with your friends)
  • Men – White tees and Ladies – Yellow tees
  • Men’s max handicap is 24, Women 36
  • Players are expected to play off their last know handicap if not a current affiliated player
  • Each player must use at least 4 drives each
  • Handicaps will be added together and divided by 5
  • Ambrose format with a one club length place through the fairway or one putter head on the green, all no closer to the hole
  • Drinks carts will be available during the day. A BBQ will be setup around the 1st tee area

General Information

  • Please meet at 10.00am for a 10.30am shotgun start
  • No eftpos will be available on the day so bring cash 
  • Sponsor a hole for $50 each (GST inc) you provide the signage we will put it up and take it down. Invoices and receipts available on request.

Register Please complete registration form which can be obtained from our website www.wbhsoba.co.nz

If you are keen to sponsor a hole, or donate prizes, please forward your name to Kevin Salmon at kevin.salmon@xtra.co.nz


We welcome Malcolm Parslow who has become a Life Member of the OBA by paying the Life membership fees. Malcolm was a student at WBHS from 1959 to 1961 and now lives in Victoria, Canada, where he has been since 1993 following 5 years in Calgary, AB where he did a PhD in “mid-life”. Now 74 yrs. old, retired since 2009 and enjoying the coastal environment.

Former students of Whangārei Boys’ High School graduated from Victoria University of Wellington

Here is a list of Old Boys who have graduated from Victoria University between June 2019 and May 2020. Congratulations and wishing you all future success.

First Name Last Name Qualification Institutional Honours Major 1 Major 2
Adam Bennett BCOM – Bachelor of Commerce Accounting Commercial Law
Callum Howett BBMSHO – Bachelor of Biomed Sci (Hons) Second Class Hons (Div1)
Jeong Woo Yang BCOM – Bachelor of Commerce Information Systems
Jordan Smith BCOM – Bachelor of Commerce Economics Finance
Joseph Savio BSC – Bachelor of Science Criminology Psychology
Michael Kelly BDI – Bachelor of Design Innovation Media Design
Tim Atkins BAHONS – Bachelor of Arts with Honours First Class Honours Classical Studies


Please take a moment to remember WBHS Old Boys’ who are no longer with us. Our sincere condolences to their loved ones, family and friends.

There have been a number of gentlemen who have passed away since our last newsletter however here are a few that have been brought to our attention. If you are aware of an Old Boy who has passed away please let us know so we can acknowledge and remember them.

Graeme Coote

In July Graeme passed away after a battle with Cancer. He was Senior Swimming Champ in 1964. He lived in Australia for over 40 years. He started in Melbourne where he established a successful Insurance Business then moved north to Noosa and for the last 20+ years has been in Brisbane. His stomach Cancer hit him two years ago, was treated but appeared again just under a year ago. Was treated in Brisbane, then Melbourne then Boston in the USA when they tried to find a cure based around modifying the Bone Marrow but the results were not as good as hoped. His sister is married to David Bower who was at WBHS in Carruth House at the same time. (Written by Warren MacKenzie)

Innes Alexander Clarke 1934 -2020
Innes Clarke, who died in April 2020, attended WBHS from 1946-1951. Innes lived in Whareora and followed his father Alexander’s footsteps to attend WBHS. He achieved University Entrance in 1950 and Higher School Certificate in 1951. After school he started work as a cadet at Dalgety’s Whangārei, before transferring to the Dalgety’s wool department in Auckland in 1953, followed by training as a wool classer at Massey (1957-58).
Innes worked for Dalgety’s until 1972, with a break in the middle when he and wife Doreen lived in England for 18 months. In 1972 he started work for Pryce Jones Ltd, a subsidiary of Watties. He worked for Watties and related companies for close to 30 years, in the human resources field, as well as contributing significantly as a volunteer in a range of church and community organisations throughout his life.
Innes and Doreen had three daughters; Doreen died in 2015. Innes lived in Auckland until 2019 when he moved to Waikanae. Innes married Shirley Reid (née Tucker) (also originally from Whangārei) in January 2020. (Provided by Sara Clarke)

Waka Harris

Waka left WBHS in May 2017 and was a boarder in Carruth, was tragically killed in an accident in Auckland in August 2020.

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