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Report: Annual Spanish Debating Competition

Enrolment Scheme

The annual National Spanish Debating Competition took place on Tuesday 23 May at Rangitoto College.

Sixteen teams from a number of schools around New Zealand took part in the Senior competition which is for students in Forms 6 and 7, and 11 teams took part in the Junior competition which Form 5 students can enter. Each team comprised of three members plus one reserve.

Auckland Grammar School entered one team in the Senior and one in the Junior section. The senior team (consisting of Form 6 students M. A. G. Galloway and B. J. Lindsey and Form 7 students N. R. Evans and M. W. Tyler) narrowly lost their first debate by one point, but won their second debate.

The junior team (consisting of Form 5 students L. Hao, A. Maganlal, Y. Xue and G. Z. Yuan) won each of their three debates and advanced to the finals against Kerikeri High School. The team argued convincingly for the moot ‘Foreign languages should be a compulsory part of the school curriculum’ and won the Junior section of the competition. They were each awarded with a $100 gift card and a certificate.

Congratulations to the team and to Head of Spanish M. McNeill for her support and guidance of the teams.

Report: 1st XI Hockey team vs St Kentigern College

Shooting for goal

The 1st XI Hockey played their second match of the Super City Competition away against St Kentigern College at Lloyd Elsmore Park on Wednesday 10 May.

Grammar started the match with a very positive mindset and created numerous circle entries through some well worked attacking play down the right-hand side of the field. However, the score remained 0-0 after the close of the first quarter.

A well-constructed penalty corner routine after a quarter that was dominated by some really good hockey by Grammar, saw a perfectly executed drag flick by Form 6 student H. C. Stewart, which gave Grammar the lead, which was followed up by Grammar being awarded a penalty stroke which was converted by Form 7 student H. C. Aspinall in the final minute of the second quarter to make the half time score 2-0 to Grammar.

The team controlled possession and territory, but were caught off guard on the counter attack which saw St Kentigern score and take the score to 2-1 in the final minutes of the third quarter. Some exciting play by Grammar in the final minutes of the third quarter saw Aspinall score and take the score to 3-1 heading into the final quarter.

Some exciting hockey and controlled possession and territory saw Form 6 student H. J. Waldegrave take the lead to 4-1 in the final minutes of the final quarter.

After a solid performance, the team will now focus on their next fixture against Kristin College at North Harbour Stadium next Wednesday evening. Special thanks to coaches R. Anderson and T. Kensington for their ongoing support of the team.

Report: New Plymouth Boys’ High School Traditional Exchange

New Plymouth Boys' High School traditional exchange

On Tuesday 2 May, Auckland Grammar School was well-represented in the traditional winter sports exchange with New Plymouth Boys’ High School, with students travelling down to Taranaki this year.

All teams played superbly and achieved the following results:

  • 1st XI Football won 2-1
  • 1st XI Hockey won 2-0
  • 1st XV Rugby lost 27-24
  • Cross Country lost
  • Junior Basketball won 87-57
  • Premier Basketball lost 89-86
  • Senior Golf won 4.5-3.5
  • Under 15 Rugby won 19-10

Congratulations to all students who represented the School as part of this annual exchange. The feedback about behaviours and attitudes was positive and the way they competed across all codes exemplified how the School approaches sport – performing to the final whistle, executing skills under pressure, competing through to the final whistle, white line mentality. Competitors on field and court, gentlemen off.

Special thanks to staff who travelled as coaches and managers as part of this overnight exchange. We look forward to hosting New Plymouth Boys’ High School in 2024.

Important Notices from the Headmaster – May 2023

The Great Hall

Student Attendance – Notification of Absences

A reminder that if your son is absent, we ask you to immediately complete the Absence Notification e-form that is accessed within the Parent Portal on the day of his absence. This is a legal requirement and is part of our duty of care which we cannot fulfil without your co-operation.

Parents should log in and click on the Absence Notification link under Student Information, which is found on the homepage of the Parent Portal. Parents should be aware that submitting an e-form verifies your son’s absence and will generate an automatic response to the email address you have provided us. It is important that you do not disclose your Parent Portal login and password details to your son to ensure the legitimacy of this functionality.

There is no requirement to phone the School nor to provide a written note to notify us of an absence.

Student Office Updates

Please note that the above system for notifying the School of your son’s absence does not apply for exeat requests, where temporary leave is sought to leave the campus for appointments throughout the School day. Your son should bring a note to the Deputy Headmaster on the front steps of the Main Block after assembly to receive approval.

When your son provides this note to the Deputy Headmaster, he will be given a permission slip to allow him to leave his lesson at the appropriate time, at which point he must formally sign out at the Student Office before departing.

If your son is late to school due to a pre-arranged appointment, please provide him with a written note to be handed to our Student Office staff upon his arrival.

Parents should be aware the Student Office does not accept or distribute any items, including lunches, delivered for your son during the School day.

2022 Cambridge International Examinations Documentation and May/June 2023 Examination Series

Official Cambridge Results certificates from the November 2022 Examination Series will be distributed to current students (who did Cambridge exams last year) in the next fortnight. Old Boys have had their certificates posted to them.

Senior students who are re-sitting Cambridge AS examinations in the 2023 May/June Series received their Statement of Entry and Examination Timetable and Rooming Guide at an examination briefing last term. The Timetable and Rooming Guide for the May/June Series has been posted on GrammarNet.

Cambridge Examinations start on Tuesday 2 May and finish on Friday 9 June. Students and parents should also be reminded that, as per the AS Resit Application Form, students are not permitted to have Study Leave, as their regular A Level classes will be operating as usual during the exam period.

Parent Teacher Interviews

We begin Parent Teacher Interviews this term. Interviews take place between 3pm-6pm from next week in the Great Hall. We would encourage you to take the opportunity to make appointments online to meet with your son’s teachers.

Interview bookings are made electronically and parents will be sent booking information and explanation of the process two weeks prior to your son’s year group interviews. Interview bookings are on a first in, first served basis, so we encourage you to act upon the email when you receive it.

Please be aware that the School day will conclude at 2.30pm on the days of Parent Teacher Interviews as follows:

  • Form 6 and 7 Interviews – Wednesday 10 May
  • Form 5 Interviews – Monday 15 May
  • Form 4 Interviews – Tuesday 23 May
  • Form 3 Interviews – Wednesday 14 June

Winter Sport

Please remember that full and correct sporting uniform is required from the start of the season, otherwise young men will not be permitted to play. It is vital therefore that each player has the correct socks, shorts and shirt or jersey. We encourage parents to purchase the correct sports uniform as soon as possible, as winter sport starts promptly this Term.

The School does not allow young men to have compression clothing visible underneath their sports uniform. We appreciate your support as standards are set in all aspects of School life. 

It is always good to see strong School and parental support on our sidelines. We simply ask that Grammar expectations are met or surpassed and that we only share positive or encouraging comments. We really appreciate our parochial supporters, but we ask that actions, attitudes and comments are supportive of ‘The Grammar Way’.


If a young man is away from School the day prior to, or the day of, a sporting fixture for medical or other reasons, he will be ineligible to play for his School team. It is the School’s view that if a young man is not well enough to be at School prior to a fixture, he is not well enough to represent the School in any extracurricular activity. Please ensure his coach or manager is informed of such an absence before his game.

School Uniform

During Term 2, students are permitted to wear jackets around School and in classes, however they are not permitted to wear jackets in Science laboratories or Technology workshops for health & safety reasons.

We remind all students that the only jackets that may be worn to School are the approved School Jacket (available for sale in the School Shop) and the School Rep jacket. Students should not wear the School cap from the beginning of Term 2.

Sandals are only approved for wear in Term 1 and Term 4. All students are expected to wear shoes and socks in Terms 2 and 3, with garters used to ensure their socks are worn to the top of their calf muscles.

Message from the Headmaster – May 2023

Headmaster Tim O'Connor at the lectern

Dear Parents,

As Term 2 begins, there is considerable public debate about the state of the New Zealand Education system. This includes commentary about low student attendance rates, poor achievement rates of students who sat pilot numeracy and literacy assessments, the contents of a refreshed New Zealand curriculum, anecdotes about streaming and the proposed strike action of secondary teachers related to remuneration. You can be assured that amongst the debate, the School will retain and apply its educational philosophy.

The work of E. D. Hirsch, the author of Why Knowledge Matters, seems particularly relevant as the debate continues. Some of his work provides a sound explanation for the style of schooling your son receives. Hirsch pointed out, “We can greatly accelerate the achievements of all students if we adopt knowledge-oriented modes of schooling.” Shying away from such an approach in New Zealand is providing a perception education is easy, and maybe more fun for some but it is irresponsible, as without knowing it, affected students lose the ability to grow a thorough knowledge framework.

While national debate grows as the rate of acceptable disruptions to schooling do, we are very mindful that our primary role is to teach knowledge rich content to those in our care. We aim to support their growth and learning, while holding them accountable for our non-negotiable expectations that I have shared with them and you regularly. Our focus is on providing a consistent, stable environment that promotes the learning of content in uninterrupted fashion.

You recently received your sons Term 1 reports and I have asked all students to genuinely read and review their report so they can assess their performance and set at least three specific goals for this term. 

After reviewing the data we collected throughout Term 1, we want to see all young men better their ‘personal bests’ from their first 11 weeks of teaching.  In order to achieve this, they need to be tested in an environment where their academic performance can be measured accurately and independently. 

Just as they may be motivated by a ‘personal best’ in sport (such as the reaction you see when a developing sportsman finally scores from the set piece the team have been practising), we need all students focused on creating ‘personal bests’ in each of their subjects, through common tests and examinations. There is no reason why their reactions after experiencing academic success cannot replicate those from the sports field, because it is the same dedication to practice that allows such success to be realised.

Term 2 is a ‘business as usual term’. We need young men to be focused on meeting all of our basic expectations, rather than picking and choosing which parts of Grammar they support. These include:

  • Being present and on time, then meeting commitments and demonstrating personal excellence without excuse – in the classroom, with homework and study
  • Being involved outside the classroom and in doing so showing commitment to their team / group practices and match / performance obligations
  • Showing respect and pride through the way their uniform is worn and their grooming is maintained – being standard setters who work ‘above the line’ and reflect this in other parts of their lives including consistent attitudes and behaviours

The consistent implementation of our shared educational philosophy and a positive, high-standards culture are the universal building blocks for success. The framework for our community is ‘The Grammar Way’.

We look forward to the educational conversations with you this term as your sons build their knowledge base and enjoy creating new ‘personal bests’. 

Per Angusta Ad Augusta

Tim O’Connor

Report: North Island Secondary Schools Orienteering Championships

The School's Orienteering team

14 members of the School’s Orienteering team travelled to Palmerston North in the term break to compete at the North Island Secondary Schools Orienteering Championships.

Battling variable weather over three days of competition, the team saw some great success. Form 5 student S. C. Randerson was second in the Long Event, and he combined with fellow Form 5 students J. A. Strang and C. P. Wagener to come second in the team’s Relay Event. Overall, the team were placed third in the Boys’ Premier Schools Division. 

A special thanks to coach M. Crosby and Master in Charge C. Porteous for their incredible support of the team.

Report: New Zealand Secondary Schools Team Yachting Championships

The Yachting team

The New Zealand Secondary Schools Teams Yachting Championships were held during the second week of the Term 1 holidays. With quite gusty conditions on the first day and unsafe launching conditions on day two, racing officials made the call to delay racing until the third day before teams were able to get onto the water.

Led by captain R. J. Kensington, the team performed very well in the tricky conditions to come out on top after the first round event, winning eight of their nine races.

The second round robin proved more difficult, with the team coming up against some strong competition, finishing the week with 13 wins from 18 races. This meant the team finished in third place over behind winners Westlake Boys’ High School and Rangitoto College in second place.

It was a fantastic end to a challenging regatta, but the third place means the team has qualified to compete at the Interdominion Championships in Sydney later this year. Congratulations to the team and to Master in Charge L. Sweeney for her support and guidance.

Report: National Youth Jazz Competition

The award-winning Big Band

After a resounding performance in assembly the previous day, the School’s Big Band and Jazz Combo travelled to Tauranga on Wednesday 5 April to compete in the 45th National Youth Jazz Competition, which runs in conjunction with the National Jazz Festival. Currently celebrating its 60th year, this year’s competition featured 520 students across 31 secondary schools.

Both groups were looking to uphold their high standards having maintained Gold Awards across a number of consecutive years, along with receiving individual and group awards in 2022, including being named Best Big Band.

Form 7 student R. R. Ranu Ediriweera Wijesuriya – the 2023 leader of the Big Band – received the Lauren Ellis Trophy for Best Big Band Drummer. Ediriweera Wijesuriya won Best Combo Drummer in 2021, as well as the Best Big Band Drummer in 2022, a significant achievement to win it across consecutive years.

Both the Jazz Combo and Big Band received Gold Awards, which reflected their standard and level of playing.

Finally, the Big Band were named as the country’s Best Big Band and received the New Orleans Trophy.

Congratulations to both groups and to Head of Performing Arts and Director E. Hare for his continued guidance and support. We look forward to seeing the groups perform at the annual KBB Music Festival in August.

Report: Kapa Haka performance at Polyfest

Kapa Haka group performing at Polyfest

Just before the end of Term 1, on Wednesday 5 April, the School’s Kapa Haka group competed at the ASB Polyfest at the Due Drop Events Centre in Manukau. The group have been practising since the start of the year in preparation for the competition, with all group members committed to practices after school and over many weekends to construct a performance bracket.

Form 6 student S. H. A. S. Peita ably led the group on stage with mana and contributed to the choreography and structure of all items. His commitment and contribution to the group’s performance were evident throughout the campaign.

The Kapa Haka group was happy with their performance and privileged to perform with many other outstanding rōpū from the rohe.

The group would like to acknowledge and thank the Rawiri whānau of Matua Doug Rawiri, Whāea Angela Rauhihi, Daetona Rawiri ’15 and Breize Rawiri for their unconditional support of the group, from tutoring the group to ensuring all students were well-fed during the many practices. The group are now looking forward to next year’s performance.

Additional Prefects announced

Additional 2023 Prefects

As Term 1 concluded on Thursday 6 April, we are delighted to announce that three additional Prefects were named in assembly. With a range of extracurricular and sporting activities between them, these students will join the other Prefects, taking the total cohort number for 2023 to 49.

Congratulation to (pictured from left above):

E. B. Hall – 2023 Prefect

  • Cricket Senior Read
  • Rugby 1st XV

J. R. Mather – 2023 Prefect

  • Disc Ultimate
  • Football Senior C3
  • Interact Group
  • Proceres Grammatici

S. K. D. Thomson – 2023 Prefect

  • Interact Group
  • Rugby 4A
  • Tennis Senior A3