From the Rector
Kia Ora koutou,
As the famous and oft-quoted Yogi Berra once said, “It’s déjà vu all over again” as we find ourselves back in Alert Level 4 and lockdown. The speed of the decision and subsequent announcement was in direct contrast to last year’s lockdown, but the end result is the same. We are faced with uncertainty and concern as we wait to see how the situation will play out.
For our young men, this interruption will affect the academic momentum many have gained in the first few weeks of this term. It is therefore crucial that while looking after themselves and those around them is a priority, they need to ensure that they continue working and studying while at home. It will be easy, and perhaps tempting, to put things off for another day. It may even be necessary given circumstances at home. I am fond of quoting Seneca, and the philosophy of the Stoics, and so I will again here: “Putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future…you are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours”. In uncertain times we do have to realise and accept that some things are simply out of our control.
Having been away last term on sabbatical, it was great to be back at school for the new term. The sabbatical gave me the chance to visit 21 schools throughout the country: boys’ schools, co-ed schools, state, state-integrated and private schools. It also provided a wonderful opportunity to have conversations with other principals, headmasters and rectors – a rare luxury in the course of a busy school year. There were schools I had been to often – our Super Eight friends in particular – and schools I was visiting for the first time, such as Southland Boys’ High School, with their beautiful old main building and Timaru Boys’ High School, with the famed Lovelock Oak. Small schools, such as Blue Mountain College in Tapanui with a roll of 226; big schools, such as Auckland Grammar (over 2,600), all with one thing in common – trying to do their best to provide opportunities for their pupils.
On visits of this nature, it is natural to come away with ideas and inspiration, with a list of things we’d love to have at Palmy Boys’. But when reflecting on the term, it also proved to be reaffirming in so many ways. While we always strive to be better and to provide more opportunities for our young men, I believe we are also doing many things well. One thing, in particular, stood out for me when reviewing the term: we are fortunate to have such a committed and dedicated staff, whose involvement in and out of the classroom is as good as any school in the country and is key to PNBHS being able to offer an all-round education for our young men.
Ours is a special school. Our history, our reputation, our expectations, our way, our staff, our young men – they are all important, and it is always wonderful to see just how many of our young men add to what Palmy Boys’ is.
It was great to follow the fortunes of New Zealand’s athletes at the recent Olympic Games in Japan, despite the eerie and uncertain atmosphere in a country still grappling with Covid, like so many around the world. Old Boys Campbell Stewart and Kurt Baker were silver medallists, while College House Old Boy Ian Ferguson lost his mantle as the country’s most successful Olympic gold medallist to the phenomenal Lisa Carrington, who became the first New Zealand woman to win three gold medals at the same Olympic Games. Legendary. Speaking of legends, what an inspirational performance from the great Dame Valerie Adams, whose sacrifices paid off in winning a medal for the fourth consecutive time at an Olympic Games. Political considerations and the debate about whether or not the Games should have gone ahead aside, it was great to see the Kiwi flag flying so often.