Newsletter December 2020

Update on the events held in spring, the school's new build and student award. A positive year end with a starting base for 2021 for the OBA looking very positive.

WBHS OBA Newsletter December 2020


What a fantastically successful end of the year for the Old Boys’ Association.

On November 4th we held our first Auckland Networking Event for many years with 26 ex-students getting a chance to reunite and discuss the changes to the school with the rebuild and how Old Boys can help with projects like the school museum, the digital archiving, the Old Boys’ Database and the True Tales book.

On November 20th we had the best turnout for many years for Annual Golf Day with 18 teams turning out on the perfectly presented Northland Golf Club course and enjoying a beautiful spring day. As you can expect there were some good stories shared at the 19th with some great golf shots replayed and some very average golf denied.

On the 21st of November, the principal, Karen Gilbert-Smith hosted a gathering of alumni at the school for a walkthrough and a morning tea as part of our promotion of reunions. The year of 2000 reconnected in town for a few beers that evening.

To all the people that helped arrange these events, I thank you with my sincerest of acknowledgments. The work that we have been able to achieve over the past six months would not be possible without hours of work from volunteers and I have great confidence that we are going to be able to achieve even more next year.

Central to the success of the year has been all the hard work from our administrator, Laureen True. She really has been the central organiser of the Executive, and I am truly thankful for her ability to keep the Executive running smoothly and on task. It is with an element of disappointment that Laureen will be moving on to a new role within the school, but I know that your knowledge is not lost and that you will be available to continue to help where you can. On a positive note, we have been able to find a worthy replacement, and Treena Shrimpton will be working for us starting in the New Year.

From a fundraising perspective, in the past year, the OBA has helped fund the new metal blazer badges so that the Boys can display their Colours proudly on their Number Ones. Another initiative that we have implemented this year is the award and scholarship for the “Old Boys’ Fine Young Man” trophy. The award was decided from nominations by his peers and the prize was awarded to Aiden Scrooby, a very worthy recipient. We all wish you well in your studies and chosen career path Aiden (see article under school news).

I wish everyone a safe and enjoyable Christmas and New Year. I look forward to meeting more Old Boys next year and hearing about your experiences both from your time in the school and the subsequent successes and friendships that you have achieved in your lifetimes.

Yours faithfully

Jarrod Goodall



Recently I met with Sport Northland CEO Brent Eastwood, Northland Community Foundation (NCF) manager Greta Buchanan, Don Saunders, Chair of Opera North, and Gareth Foster, an Old Boy of the school to discuss his plans for his funds promised in his will for Northland.

Gareth plans to establish three endowment funds to support top achieving male youth in Sport, Opera, and Education for Te Tai Tokerau. These are all areas close to Gareth’s heart that he sees as important for the future of Northland. Gareth has lived in Northland all his life and thought this was a great way to give back to his community “Giving makes me feel good, it’s great to give something back to the community I have lived in and loved for my whole life,” says Gareth.  I firmly believe that Gareth’s gift will make a difference for one student in each area each year but that this will have a flow on effect, a pay it forward mentality where we create awareness and plant the seed that giving a hand-up rather than a hand-out to others can make a huge difference.  

With the support of NCF and the promised fund holders Gareth was able to discuss what is currently available for each sector, what the current and future community need is, and how funding would be best delivered. This is a wonderful and generous gift by a fantastic Old Boy, thank you Gareth and thanks for looking out your old school tie for the photo!

Ngā mihi

Karen Gilbert-Smith



In October a teacher led project consisting of pupils – Glen Keogh, Curtis Robinson, Xavier Kaipo, Matthew Martin, Jake Child, Eden Brown, Mac Johnston, Finn Hatfull-Njenga, Jack Johnson, Rangitahi Wi, Logan Gardner, Jayden Edwards and Danny Herbert, was undertaken along the bank for the entrance to the new school. They planted the area with mostly flaxes with some grasses along the front and ribbonwoods mixed in along the back.

Construction on the new school buildings is also progressing well

Link to the time lapse camera for the rebuild is here, please click the link below:…

Thanks to Leigh Construction for these photos below – first one was taken 2nd Oct 2020 and the second one was taken 3 Dec 2020.



ASB held their annual Sport Awards presentation on Thursday 22nd October for those students in the Whangārei area.

The winners from WBHS were:

Reef Bainbridge: AFL

Oliver Wilson: Archery

Ryan Townsend: Gymnastics

Hoani Hetaraka: Basketball

Trevor Coetzee: Cycling and Multi Sport

Hayden Ganley: Hockey

Jonny-Rex Smith: Ju Jitsui

Riley-Jack Vette-Blomquist: Squash

Tyler Jepsen: Swimming

Daniel Hammond: Tennis


The criteria for this new initiative is that it will be awarded to a Year 13 student who has contributed to the wider life of the school, setting an excellent example through regular attendance, punctuality and commitment to all school activities. The recipient should display good all-round relationships. Nominated by peers and decided by staff.

At the senior prize giving it was awarded to Aidan Scrooby.

Aidan has attended Whangārei Boys’ High School since his enrolment as a Year Nine student in January 2016. He is currently studying NCEA Level Three in English, Art Design, Mathematics with Statistics, Biology, and Physical Education. In 2019, Aidan achieved Level Two NCEA in English, Mathematics, Biology, and Health, with an overall Merit endorsement, and subject Merit endorsements in Physical Education and Art Design. In 2018, Aidan achieved Level One in English, Mathematics and Advanced Woodwork with an overall Merit endorsement, subject Merit endorsements in Art and Science, and an Excellence endorsement in Physical Education. He is expected to pass Level three this year.

Aidan has matured into a fine young man. In 2019, he attended the Leadership Camp and was subsequently named a Prefect for 2020. Aidan was also selected as Marsden Whānau Captain. He is a worthy role model for the Whānau and the school as a whole. He has been an active participant in Inter-Whānau activities for many years and has effectively taken on the role as Whānau organiser for Marsden, ensuring students are entered and motivated. Last year he came sixth in the school cross-country, and he anchored the Marsden swimming and sprint relays in 2020.  Aidan extended his athletic prowess by representing the school at the Northland Championships in the 100 and 200m sprints plus long jump. This year he is a member of the 1st XV Rugby team, having previously represented the school in the rugby league 1st Xlll in 2018. The same year saw Aidan play AFL, however, unfortunately, Covid-19 prevented him doing so again in 2020.

Outside of school Aidan has collected Bronze medals at the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Nationals in 2019 and 2020. He has also been involved in boxing and mixed Martial Arts for the last few years. Representative honours have been gained in Touch Rugby for the Te Tai Tokerau Under 18’s last summer. Aidan has also been a great contributor to the wider community, winning a scholarship to the New Zealand Future Leaders’ Conference for his efforts in the Whangārei Future Leaders’ Club. He is also a member of the Student Volunteer Army participating in over 23 hours of volunteer work in the community.  Aidan has also gained valuable life experience in part-time work for Cater Fresh Catering.

Aidan’s teachers find him to be a responsible, approachable, pleasant, intelligent, very well-motivated student, who is able to set definite goals for himself, and focus on achieving them. These traits will serve him well in his intention of becoming a physiotherapy practitioner. Aidan has been accepted into Otago University and has an application pending at Auckland University of Technology. He also has plans to join the Royal New Zealand Air Force at a later date. Aidan is certain to succeed in whatever pathway he chooses to follow. We wish him all the best in his future endeavours.



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.

Thank you to those who have taken time to submit a few lines or a paragraph or two, about your memories or antics while at WBHS.

We are still looking for more stories so maybe while you are enjoying a break over the festive season you can let your ‘creative juices’ flow and send us a tale or two.

All stories are welcome but we really need stories from old boys’ from the years – 1960’s to 2020.

Please submit your stories to Jarrod –


As previously mentioned the archives are being sorted and prepared for relocation when the museum is competed. A stocktake of the Year Books has been done and there are missing editions.

If you do have a copy of these books we would really appreciate them donated to this project, to complete the set.


The 2 missing editions are the Fideliter from 1920 and 1931.



The evening was a great success. Thank you to Murray Holdaway for hosting the evening and to those who travelled from Whangārei to meet with the Auckland group.


The morning of Friday 20th November saw a great turnout of 18 teams of eager golfers who were ready for a fun day of golf at the WBHSOBA 2020 Ambrose Annual Golf Day. The perfect weather conditions made it a good day for perfect golf and maybe some of those not so perfect putts, but lots of fun and laughter for everyone.

Congratulations to the winning team was Macas Mob – David McDonald, Tim Hempleman and Craig Kerr.

Even with the increase in costs the OBA was able to make a profit of – $2187.

If you missed out this year, you can start organising a team for November 2021.

Thank you to all those who supported the fundraising event, there are too many to name but your support is greatly appreciated. Thanks to Ian McDonald from Bridge Technology, Inc in Phoenix, Arizona for his donation and last but not least a big thank you to the major sponsor Yovich & Co – Wealth Management who, without their support this would not have been such a great success.


Thank you to those who attended the ‘Year reunions’ at the school. A special thank you to Karen Gilbert-Smith (Principal) for taking time to host the morning – explaining the new school build, a delicious morning tea, followed by a walk around the school buildings and grounds. Great memories for those who attended.


Don Goodall is very motivated to see the True Tales book become a reality. His enthusiasm has seen him attend ALL THREE of the above events, to promote and share a few tales from his vast knowledge of stories of early life and folk, in Whangārei and the school. A huge thank you to Don for all the time and effort you are investing into seeing this project become a reality. Your commitment is truly appreciated.


As we approach the Holiday Season, it often gives us an opportunity to think and reflect on the past year – with this being a bizarre one – and look forward to the fresh prospects of the New Year. 2020 has been one of challenges but also purpose and achievement. It is no surprise that as an organisation we have to contend with all of the above, but what is important is how we deal with the challenges, maintain our high standards and seek more ways to improve where necessary.

While we celebrate the joys of Christmas, we will like to remember all of our members in New Zealand and elsewhere in the world who have had a difficult year either in sickness or in other ways.

Memories also to our departed members. May their Souls rest in peace.

We hope that you continue to enjoy your association with Whangārei Boys’ High School Old Boys’ Association, however big or small it may be, into 2021 and beyond.