Hero photograph
Photo by Photo courtesy of Mr L Townend

Final round up for 2021

John Blaikie —

2021 has been another challenging year for everyone but I am extremely proud of the way the Rector, staff, pupils, and the wider Otago Boys’ High School community have supported each other over this time.

The Foundation has continued its successful transition to a sustainable entity that can now contribute positively towards the development of the school, its students, alumni and staff.

I would like to thank departing trustees Tim Doherty, Jamie Cargill, and Paul Twemlow for the sterling work they have done over the past few years and welcome Lawrence Alloo, Matthew Lane, Tess McLauchlan, and Lockie Chisholm as new trustees. They have all ‘hit the ground running’.

I would also like to acknowledge Geoff Bates (President of the Old Boys Society) who has stepped down from his role and welcome Gerard Finnie into the position.

The highlight for me this year has been the continuing success of trustee Des Smith’s Student Support Fund. With the generous support from our Old Boys community we have been able to help a number of boys who require some financial assistance.

The upgrade of the Tennis Courts is also in full swing (despite some unavoidable delays through Covid) and hopefully by early/mid next year you will see the exciting project come to fruition.

The proceeds from another extremely successful Old Boys golf have been used at our Mt Aspiring Lodge where a new boiler has been installed – well overdue! This facility remains a fantastic asset for the school, enjoyed by staff and pupils alike.

Last month we had an Old Boys luncheon with former All Black Kees Meeuws as our guest speaker. Kees spoke candidly about men’s mental health and the importance of talking with each other. Big thanks to Gwyn Pratley for organising this (alongside the many other functions he helps coordinate throughout the year!)

Earlier this year (with the extremely generous support of an old boy) the Foundation purchased land at the front of the Hostel. We are currently undertaking some preliminary work on how we best utilise this, recognising that the Hostel is a crucial part of the school fabric and attracting the best boys is vital for the ongoing success of the school. There is no denying the Hostel needs an upgrade and the Foundation wants to be at the forefront of any activity to assist with this.

Unfortunately the Hostel 150th reunion had to be postponed this year because of Covid restrictions. Through the extremely hard work of the organising committee this has now been rescheduled for Friday 25th and Saturday 26th February next year. This promises to be a fantastic weekend and a real celebration of the rich Hostel history.

The Shand and Marsh Grandstand upgrades are all on the horizon, as is an upgrade of the Pool. Exciting times for both the Foundation and the School.

I would personally like to thank Rector Richard Hall and all the staff for the fantastic work they have done in what has been another challenging year.

On behalf of the Foundation I wish you all a wonderful Christmas with family and friends and I look forward to catching up with many of you in the New Year.

John Blaikie

Chairman of OBHS Foundation