OBA Newsletter April 2020

In this quarter's newsletter we update you on some sporting achievements from the school and news from the Old Boy's Association. Read about the successful school reunions or 'get togethers'. There is also information on the 2020 Ambrose Golf Day,and the date so you can put it in your calendar!

OBA Newsletter April 2020


We are very glad we can get a newsletter out to you all. In these unprecedented times it is good to know that we can still communicate with others via the internet. How good it would be if this could be sent to many more Old Boys’. If you know of a fellow Old Boy who may not be on our distribution list, please ask him to subscribe via the website or to send (me) Laureen an email at communications@wbhsoba.co.nz and I will add them to the mailing list.
The year so far, has been a busy 3 months with everyone settling into 2020 after the summer break. Hope you are using this self-isolation period to catch up with those tasks that have been neglected, taking time to relax and enjoying the company of those in your ‘bubble’. Stay safe and well.

School News

Here are the student leaders who have designated positions at WBHS in 2020.
Head Boy: Ethan Hare
5 Deputy Head Boys:
Brandon Peck
Jack Slatter
Heath Grant
Riley-Jack Vette-Blomquist
Ben Foon

Whanau Captains:
Bledisloe – Angus Trail and Caleb Squires
Carruth – Zak Wickman and Brad Halton
Grey – Brock Longworth and Rueben Jones
Hobson – Max Robertson and Tawhitirahi Witana
Marsden – Aidan Scrooby and Dylan Hook


2019 ended on a high for the school – with achieving 17 winners in their various disciplines at the ASB Sports Awards evening which was held 24 October 2019. The WBHS students who received ASB Northland Secondary School Sports Award Winners 2019 are:-
Sportsman of the Year-Riley-Jack Vette-Blomquist, Artistic Gymnastics-Ryan Townsend, Athletics-Jordyn Hetaraka, AFL-Xavier Mexted, Basketball-Devon Mills, Cricket-Luke Trigg Football-Daniel Romer, Hockey-Luke Trigg, Olympic Weightlifting-Tanei More-Thompson, Rugby-Javarne Porter, Rugby League-Tea-Rani Woodman-Tuhoro, Squash-Riley-Jack Vette-Blomquist, Surfing-Tai Erceg-Gray, Swimming-Tyler Jepsen, Touch Rugby-Xavier Mexted, Tennis-Daniel Hammond, Water Skiing-Mitchell Williams, Wood Chopping-Tytan Semenoff.

Term 1 saw the inter house Swimming Day on Friday 14th February and the Athletics Day on Friday 28th February. The weather was perfect – if not a bit too hot! Here are the results from these events:-
Swimming Day results Athletics Day results
1st Bledisloe 347
2nd Grey 333
3rd Marsden 292
4th Hobson 189
5th Carruth 173
Junior Champion
1st Ry Luff
2nd Ben Godfrey
3rd Tyan van der Veer/Jayden Milne
Intermediate Champion
1st Tyler Jepson
2nd Jackson Kingi
3rd Kauri Leau
Senior Champion
1st Luca Matenga
2nd Blake Dempster
3rd Caleb Squires

Athletics Day results
1st Grey 552
2nd Carruth 346
3rd Bledisloe 307
4th Hobson 295
5th Marsden 288
Junior Champion
1st Tai Martin
2nd Luke Himiona
3rd Athan Thompson
Intermediate Champion
1st Kiwi Duncan
2nd Kauri Leau
3rd Hamish Stevens
Senior Champion
1st Brock Longworth
2nd John Magrath
3rd= Jordyn Hetaraka, Kian Bird, Ben Campbell

Projects & Fundraising

WW1 Soldier Memorial

We are still making progress in researching the WW1 Old boys but need one last push to get this project completed. If you have an hour or few spare to research a few heroes, please contact Josh Clark j.clark@wbhs.school.nz

WBHS OBA Database

Work has picked up on the database with Laureen True now responsible for maintaining these records and further functionality being implemented by Murray Holdaway. If you would to take responsibility for a year (or decade) please contact Laureen:

So far we have the following “Year Managers”:
1970 – Murray Holdaway
1995 – Jarrod Goodall
1971 – David Templeton


If you have a special year to celebrate, please let us know so that we can facilitate the details of any reunions to the network of Old Boys. We can also help arrange tours of the School if that is of interest.

Year 1956 – Reunion

This 60 year reunion was a great success. Read the full article in which Sid Ware has captured this special event and is featured at the end of this newsletter.

Year 1970 – Reunion

The 1970 class of Whangarei Boys High School Form 3A was made up of 34 students who came together from a variety of Northland locations and backgrounds with 7 out of towners boarding at Carruth House. Students came and left 4A, 5A, 6A and 7 in subsequent years, but most lost contact with each other as educations were furthered and careers were created in different fields and places.

In 2000, Murray Holdaway and Stephen McDonald carried out a huge amount of research to arrange a very enjoyable class get together, celebrating the 30 year milestone of starting at WBHS. That was all in the days before email, Facebook and the likes of Linked-in etc were in place.

Last year, Murray, Stephen and I got together electronically and agreed that we couldn’t let the 50 year milestone pass without another gathering of some sort. It seemed like a good idea and we gave ourselves plenty of time to contact past pupils but it turned out to be a much bigger project than we had expected. Eventually we gathered a core group of contact details which grew as we followed up every lead we could get our hands on. We invited 2 teachers of that era to add interest and we decided to invite a few ex pupils who joined the A classes in later years.
On Saturday 29th February, 17 ex WBHS pupils and ex teacher, Warwick Johnson got together for 3 different sessions on the day. In the morning, we were treated to a tour of the school by School Principal Karen Gilbert-Smith and we were all impressed by the presentation of the plans for the new facilities. A few of us then played golf in the afternoon before the main event – drinks and dinner.

The event was a fantastic success. I will never forget seeing the emotion expressed with some of the re-connections, even though some people had to identify themselves so they could be recognised! It really was a fun day and night and Warwick Johnson’s attendance was a hit. We enjoyed hearing his perspective of WBHS in the 70’s, his associate teachers and of us – his pupils. The stories went well into the night, as did the laughter and the reminiscing about those days when the cane was the key instrument for maintaining discipline. The result was definitely worth all the work involved with the preparation.

It would be a great idea for other classes and years to give this a go – it’s easier and more personal than attending a reunion – one thing we found out was – don’t call it a reunion – call it a get together and more people will come.
We now have an email database and hope to keep it reasonably current so that we can do it all again in 20 years’ time!
(Peter Marsh – Form 3A 1970)

Year of 1999 Reunion

After a successful 10 year reunion in ’09, a few local Old Boys took up the challenge of pulling together another edition to mark 20 years since walking out of School Lane for the last time. Their efforts were rewarded when around 30 guys met at the school on a stonking Northland afternoon in November, with a handful having jetted in from the South Island and Australia.

The afternoon started with a guided tour of the school, with time to reminisce and tell a few stories of teenage life in the ’90s. The walk through then finished at the bottom of the drive, by which time a reasonable thirst had been worked up. With the beers and catch-ups flowing on the field, games of cricket and touch naturally followed. While the intent was very much still there, it’s safe to say the collective fitness and skill levels peaked somewhere in between the two reunions, if not before.

After the obligatory photos on Carruth Wall, the group made their way down to The Butter Factory where the catch-ups continued to flow freely. We were joined later in the evening by the ladies from WGHS Class of ’99 who were also out celebrating, and the festivities continued unfettered into the small hours.

Thanks again to everyone who managed to make it along, especially those that travelled long distances – you made the day a very memorable one. 10 years might be too long to wait for the next installment.

2019 Ambrose Golf Day

At 10am on Friday 22 November 2019 at the Northland Golf Club, 39 eager golfers gathered for the 2019 Ambrose Golf Day. We had 13 Teams of 3 players per team and  after a great morning of golf and laughs, the winning team were – “What Dent Matters”. The members being David Dent, Logan Watt and David Mathers.

The major raffle prize was won by Kevin Salmon which is a scenic flight with pilot Garry Whimp. The profits from the day was just under $2000 – what a great effort!

It was a very successful day and we would love to see more Old Boys’ at the planned golf day later on this year – Friday 20 November 2020. Save the date and start planning on who you want in your winning team. See the full details on this upcoming event below.

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 as successful as it was.

Upcoming Events


Friday 20 Nov, 2020 is going to be a special day!Way back in May 2018 a few of us got together and agreed that we would kick start this annual Golf day again, and make it into an annual event. This year, more than ever, it is critical that we use the Golf Competition to regalvanise the Old Boys, focus on positives, and get them back doing things they really enjoy – having fun with old mates, a bit of exercise, and a few wonderful liquid refreshments.
This Golf Day would be the 3rd annual golf day in recent times and if this year’s event is as successful as the past two, all who attend will have a great time. The added bonus now, is that we have the services of Laureen to ensure reminders go out regularly to all Old Boys on the data base so we get as big of a turnout as possible.
It is also critical that Sponsors be found ($50 a hole) and that we get prizes donated – so that the whole day is not only an enjoyable catch up, but also it is financially successful as well. If you are keen to sponsor a hole, or donate prizes, please forward your name to Kevin Salmon at kevin.salmon@xtra.co.nz
As with previous years, the all-important BBQ will be in operation, and we will run a 3 person per team Ambrose – so please start thinking about who you can cajole into playing with you and get the teams sorted. For the last 2 years we have had a great turn out, but it would be wonderful, always, to have a few more Old Boys join in.
With the Covid19 virus dominating all the headlines at present, it is really important we look ahead to the future and look for something enjoyable and positive so we can all end the year on a high note.

Without doubt, camaraderie will, once again, be the winner of the day, followed by the BBQ sausages and onions – with golfing prowess a distant 3rd. Huge thanks in advance those who will make the day the success it will be, and to those who make the effort to travel to get here.
See you in November!
Al Kirk


We will be hopefully hosting a few of these events over the year, once our daily living gets back to normal. The first one was held on the 18th March. It is a fun evening to gather and catch up with fellow Old Boys’. These will be advertised via email and on our Facebook account. It is a great opportunity to meet up with fellow Old Boys’ to share a few stories and get to know someone a little better.


Mihaka Beckham was one of Whangarei Boys’ High School’s first Primary Industry Academy boys. He lived in Raumanga with his grandparents, walked to school every day, rain or shine. This link will take you to an article about his farming life, in the magazine – Farmers Weekly

60 Year Reunion – Class of 1959


At the end of our last reunion in Rotorua in March 2017, I was given the job of heading the organization of this one. David Palmer’s wife Robyn promptly offered to help Heather & me when the time came. For those who don’t know,

the class has been getting together regularly since 2006, when David & Robyn hired a motel, which we took over for a thoroughly enjoyable few days in conjunction with the school’s 125th anniversary celebrations. Intervals between our gatherings have lessened from 5 years to 2 ½ as we have all become longer in the tooth, but the gatherings have become longer & more organised. The next one will be in about 18 months; time, as by then we will all be on the doorstep of 80! We aren’t doing too badly so far though. All but John Imrie & Jim Rotherham out of the original 16 are still kicking, though Peter & Pat Allsopp & Graham & Joy Erceg were unable to attend this one due to ill-health. The class is now spread from Whangarei to Denmark, with Dave P & me the only ones who still live locally.

In October 2018, Dave P, Robyn, Heather & I met for lunch, & had preliminary discussions. Over the following months we managed to put together a workable & ultimately very successful programme.

At last we all met in the hotel bar on the evening of Sunday 20th for a very noisy & convivial evening, including dinner in the hotel dining room. Those who made it were David & Lia Hutley, Heather & Sid Ware, David & Robyn (Hamilton) Palmer, Jeff & Annette Johnson, Martin & Anne Perkinson, Geoff & Joy Hayes, Tony & Myrna Lane. John & Judy Bell, & Judy’s sister Laureen, who came to

keep her company when John had to return to Canberra early for a high-powered meeting. He’s been trying to retire for some years now, but doesn’t seem to be able to pull it off! Too good at his job, it would appear!

Monday 21st we all went by bus to Opua, then vehicular ferry to Russell, where we visited the old churchyard, & had a very nice lunch at the Duke of Marlborough. From there we came back to Paihia, looked at the view from the top of the hill at Waitangi, and then back to Whangarei.

On Tuesday the 22nd, we boys(!) all visited the School, where we met with Karen Gilbert-Smith for a very nice morning tea, & for a detailed discussion on various aspects of school business; particularly in relation to the Class’s sponsorship activities, also the mooted expansion & redevelopment plans & so on. I myself gained the impression that Karen has the interests of the School & its pupils very much at heart. I get the idea that she sees quite a few sleepless nights! At this stage a Northern Advocate photographer appeared, & we had our group photo taken with Karen in the Quad. From there we visited the School library, where we presented the Librarian with a copy of the late Hump Dyer’s book, “Ma te Reinga.” Hump held the post of Colonel of 28th Maori Battalion for some time during WWII, & was also a highly respected master at the school in the Tuesday the 22nd, we boys(!) all visited the School, where we met with Karen Gilbert-Smith for a very nice morning tea, & for a detailed discussion on various aspects of school business; particularly in relation to the Class’s sponsorship activities, also the mooted expansion & redevelopment plans & so on. I myself gained the impression that Karen has the interests of the School & its pupils very much at heart. I get the idea that she sees quite a few sleepless nights! At this stage a Northern Advocate photographer appeared, & we had our group photo taken with Karen in the Quad. From there we visited the School library, where we presented the Librarian with a copy of the late Hump Dyer’s book, “Ma te Reinga.” Hump held the post of Colonel of 28th Maori Battalion for some time during WWII, & was also a highly respected master at the school in the 40s & early 50s. We also presented her with a copy of our late classmate Jim Rotherham’s book, “The No-bull Prize,” a volume of stories of his Life & times as a farmer & farm advisor. Next was a walk down the drive to view & discuss the sadly-butchered old pohutukawa trees, which were originally planted as memorials to Old Boys killed during WWI. After that we had a quick visit to the Gym & a yarn about old times to the Phys. Ed teacher. Many thanks to Karen & staff for making us so welcome!

We left the school about 1.15, & met the girls for lunch at Refuel Café at the Kensington Leisure Centre. The rest of the afternoon was free, & I think a good few of us may have studied the backs of our eyelids quite closely for a while! In the evening we all went to “No. 8” Restaurant at the Town Basin for dinner.

On the Wednesday morning we walked to the Town Basin and boarded the “MV Waipapa” for an enjoyable cruise down the harbour, with a half-hour stop at the old cement works on Matakohe-Limestone Island, then back to the Basin. From there we drove to the Parua Bay Tavern for lunch (lovely views as well!), then rested until the evening, when we held our official class meeting , then our formal Reunion Dinner in the hotel’s Marina Room. Our guest speakers were Mike Elliott, Deputy Principal, two of the boys the class had sponsored on the “Spirit of Adventure,” & Ercoli Angelo, Chairman of the school’s Endowment Trust.

Thursday 24th was our last full day. We took a bus via Dargaville to the Matakohe Kauri & Pioneer Museum, where we spent several interesting hours. We returned via Maungaturoto, arriving at Waipu in time for an early dinner at McLeod’s Pizza Barn, then back to the hotel. By this time all those old tails were dragging bit, & I think we all crashed fairly early!

We got up late Friday morning too, & had brunch in the hotel dining room, complete with a few more speeches & a lot of hugs & handshakes, then all went our separate ways. On the whole we had a highly successful & enjoyable few days!

My grateful thanks must go to my wife Heather, to Robyn & David Palmer, to Martin Perkinson & Dave Hutley, all for their expert work where needed. Thanks also to Amy Masters, Conference coordinator at Distinctions, Shona Roberts of Whangarei Bus Services (1994) Ltd, & Heather & Tony Gamley, of Whangarei Harbour Cruises.
(Written by Sid Ware)