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Report: 33rd annual Young Sportsperson of the Year Awards

College Sport Young Sportsperson of the Year Awards

On Thursday 23 November, the 33rd Annual Young Sports Person of the Year Awards were held by College Sport at Eden Park. The event acknowledges outstanding performances of students competing in College Sport Auckland competitions along with celebrating National team success.

Auckland Grammar School was well represented with 17 finalists across 12 codes, individually winning eight of them. Furthermore, the six National Championships won by Auckland Grammar in 2023 were also acknowledged.

Congratulations to the following students on their outstanding year and recognition at these awards.

  • Form 5 student A. T. M. T Norman-Hewlett – finalist and winner for Archery
  • Form 7 student O. Wu – finalist for Badminton
  • Form 6 student T. C. Jones – finalist and winner for Cricket
  • Form 7 student J. A. Mora – finalist in Athletics and finalist and winner for Distance Running
  • Form 5 student C. P. Wagener – finalist for Distance Running
  • Form 5 student B. J. Li – finalist for Snow Sports
  • Form 6 student S. N. Lyne – finalist for now Sports
  • Form 7 student G. J. B. Pilkington – finalist for now Sports
  • Form 7 student N. Z. Thomas – finalist and winner for Squash
  • Form 5 student J. H. T Choi – finalist and winner for Table Tennis
  • Form 5 student P. Jajal – finalist for Table Tennis
  • Form 7 student J. M. Woodward – finalist and winner for Disc Ultimate
  • Form 7 student E. P. Craddock – finalist for Disc Ultimate
  • Form 7 student M. W. Tyler – finalist for Volleyball
  • Form 7 student R. J. Kensington – finalist for Yachting
  • Form 6 student S. W. Kensington – finalist and winner for Yachting
  • Form 6 student L. K. Dodunski – finalist and winner for Water Polo and finalist for Overall Sportsman of the Year

Report: 104th annual Grass Track Cycling Race

Grass Track Cycling race

The weather finally relented and allowed us to have the 104th running of the Grass Track Cycling race on Wednesday 15 November. This race was first contested in 1919 with the first winner of the Norman Carter Challenge Cup being G. O. Hosking who completed the 2-mile race in 6 minutes 8 seconds.

An enthusiastic group of students from the School’s Cycling squad, ably supported by their respective coaches and peers watching from the steps underneath the Old Boys’ Pavilion, were joined by a few mountain bikers to do eight laps of the 400m track on the #1 field.

The Senior race started off at a furious pace with Form 5 student R. Y. Turnbull, Form 6 student J. A. J. Barclay and Captain of Cycling F. A. Malpass leading the pack. Unfortunately, Form 5 student C. P. Wagener had a temporary mechanical malfunction and ended up near the back of the field. Barclay managed to break away after the second lap and went on to win the Norman Carter Challenge Cup with a determined Wagener finishing in second place and Turnbull in third.

The Junior race followed a similar pattern with Form 5 student J. Kwon riding solo to win the Caulfield Millennium Cup with Form 4 students G. G. Pollard and E. D. Corbett finishing second and third respectively. It was a fantastic end to the 2023 Cycling season and special thanks go to Master in Charge J. Fry for his continued support of the squad.

College Sport Young Sportsperson of the Year finalists

College Sport Auckland Young Sportsperson of the Year

The 2023 College Sports Auckland Young Sportsperson of the Year finalists have been announced and Auckland Grammar School has a total of 17 students being named as finalists across 12 different sports.

We congratulate:

  • Form 5 student A. T. M. Norman-Hewlett (Archery)
  • Form 7 student J. A. Mora (Athletics and Distance Running)
  • Form 7 student O. Wu (Badminton)
  • Form 6 student T. C. Jones (Cricket)
  • Form 7 students E. P. Craddock and J. M. Woodward (Disc Ultimate)
  • Form 5 student C. P. Wagener (Distance Running)
  • Form 5 student B. J. Li, Form 6 student S. N. R. Lyne and Form 7 student G. J. B. Pilkington (Snowsports)
  • Form 7 student N. Z. Thomas (Squash)
  • Form 5 students J. H. T. Choi and P. Jajal (Table Tennis)
  • Form 7 student M. W. Tyler (Volleyball)
  • Form 6 student L. K. Dodunski (Water Polo)
  • Form 6 student S. W. Kensington and Form 7 student R. J. Kensington (Yachting)

The winners for each category will be announced at the awards ceremony on Thursday 23 November. Congratulations to all our finalists.

Important Notices from the Headmaster – November 2023

Important Notices from the Headmaster - November 2023

End of Year Procedures

To assist with your family’s organisation, the information below outlines School activities and the timing of the School day throughout the last month of the School year.

We highlight these with you as there is a lot on in the coming weeks and we appreciate all families will want advance notice of the range of activities occurring as the School year draws quickly to a close.

Week 5 (Monday 6 – Friday 10 November)

  • Form 3 and 4 students will be completing their end-of year examinations
  • Form 5 students are not required to attend School this week
  • Form 6 and 7 students will be on study leave and/or completing their external assessments. Parents of senior students should note that Cambridge examinations continue until Thursday 16 November. NZQA examinations (NCEA and Scholarship) start on Monday 6 November and continue through until Thursday 30 November
  • Students without an examination on a particular morning and/or afternoon are on formal study leave and are expected to be studying at home, or in the School Library, where they will be supervised

Week 6 (Monday 13 – Friday 17 November)

Form 5 students will have scheduled timetabled classes on Monday 13 November only as part of the Pre-Q Examination Paper Review Day. This day will be the only opportunity for Form 5 Pre-Q students to review and confirm the marking of their examination scripts. All Form 5 students who study one or more Pre-Q courses are expected to attend timetabled lessons for the entirety of the School day. They will be required to meet the School’s uniform and grooming standards. Form 5 students are not required to attend School after this day, except for NCEA assessments, until Wednesday 29 November.

Form 3 and 4 students will have scheduled classes Monday – Friday, where they will receive examination marks back from their subject teachers.

Form 4 students will also attend a mixture of timetabled classes and workshops, where Health teachers will facilitate presentations and associated learning on the impact of pornography on the adolescent brain. Relevant information regarding these important workshops will be communicated to Form 4 parents separately.

Each School day will finish at 3.15pm.

Week 7 (Monday 20 – Friday 24 November)

Beginning on Monday 20 November, Form 3 and 4 students will participate in the Junior School Activities Week programme, on campus, which will operate over 5 School days.

During the Activities Week programme the School day will begin with assembly at 9.00am and students are expected to maintain the usual standards of uniform, grooming and behaviour. They are required to bring PE uniform each day. The day will conclude at 3pm throughout the five days of the Activities Week programme.

Form 3 students will participate in Te Reo Māori workshops held on campus, led by Mr J. Potaka, ably assisted by a network of tutors on Monday 20 November. They will participate in a bespoke Form 3 leadership programme on Friday 24 November.

Form 4 students will participate in a Careers Experience Day with AUT staff onsite at School on Monday 20 November and will complete a specialised leadership programme on Friday 24 November.

Week 8 (Monday 27 November – Friday 1 December)

Monday 27 November – Tuesday 28 November
Form 3 and 4 students will attend School as normal.

On Monday 27 November, all Form 3 and 4 classes will participate in a Form Class Sports Day held on campus. The School day will conclude at 3pm.

On Tuesday 28 November, all Form 3 and 4 classes will attend final timetabled lessons in each subject to complete course-related formalities. ID photographs for 2024 will also be taken of all Form 3 and 4 students on this day. The School day will conclude at 1.15pm.

Please note the School bus service will run at its normal timetabled intervals throughout the final 3 weeks of the School year. Departure times will not be brought forward earlier as the service accommodates students from other schools.

Wednesday 29 November
Students in all year levels return to School for the final three days of the School year meeting the normal standards. The School day will commence at 9am with assembly, followed by a form time where young men will have the opportunity to return all textbooks, library books and School materials to the appropriate place.

After the scheduled form time, all students will return to the Great Hall for the 2023 Colours and Performing Arts Assembly, which will commence at 10.15am. This special assembly will be livestreamed for parents to recognise and celebrate the successes of our top performing arts’ students. The School day should conclude at 11.30am for all who have met their commitments.

Thursday 30 November
All Form 3 – 7 students are expected to attend School.

The School day will commence at 9am and should conclude at 10.30am, after our last formal assembly of the year and Prizegiving rehearsals.

The Leavers’ Dinner begins for Form 7 students at 6:30pm at Eden Park.

Cambridge certificates for the November examinations will arrive in school in March next year. Students who are still at School in 2024 will receive their certificates in person. School leavers will be contacted when certificates are ready for collection from School, but if it will not be possible to collect certificates in person, you can arrange for your certificate to be couriered to an address you specify. The arrangements for this facility can be confirmed here, or via the link available on students’ GrammarNet dashboard.

Friday 1 December
The 2023 School Prizegiving will begin at 9am in the Great Hall. This is a celebration of achievement and is a compulsory event for all students.

All young men are again expected to attend in school uniform, wearing shoes and socks. As is the norm, we remind students to ensure they are appropriately groomed before arriving at School for this important occasion.

Prizewinners who fail to meet basic standards or fail to attend School on Wednesday, and Thursday will not be issued prizes and awards at the Prizegiving ceremony.

We encourage parents and friends of the School to join with us for this celebration of the 2023 academic, sporting and performing arts’ student achievements. Seating is available for parents on the B Floor of the Great Hall. Parents are encouraged to arrive early.

Prizegiving should conclude by 11.40am. For parents and friends of the School who cannot attend Prizegiving, the occasion will be livestreamed on the website.

The School year concludes for all young men at the end of a final form time that will follow Prizegiving. Form teachers will issue all students with their end of year report at this second form time.

Students who sat Cambridge examinations will also receive a notice with personalised log-in and password details so that they can access their results online on 10 January 2024 for AS and A Level).

Students who have completed Pre-Q courses will receive their Pre-Q Results Certificate at this time.

If applied for, senior form teachers will also issue Form 6 or 7 leavers with their Leavers’ Documentation at the end of Prizegiving.

All young men who have met all School commitments will also be issued with a copy of this year’s School magazine, the Chronicle, and a copy of the School List.

If a student does not attend Prizegiving, they will not be issued any documentation. Similarly, students who arrive to Prizegiving not meeting our uniform or grooming expectations will not be issued any documentation at the scheduled Form Time that follows Prizegiving.

Those who have had documents withdrawn due to being on the Defaulters’ List, or for not meeting our expectations, will be required to report to the Great Hall at 9am on Monday 4 December in uniform.

Key dates for Term 1, 2024

  • Thursday 18 January: Form 5-7 Option Changes (10am-3pm)
  • Friday 19 January: New Students’ Orientation (9am-12pm)
  • Friday 19 January: Form 5-7 Option Changes (12pm-3pm)
  • Monday 22 January: School Closed (Staff Only Day)
  • Tuesday 23 January: Term 1 starts for all Form levels
  • Monday 29 January: School closed (Auckland Anniversary Day observed)
  • Monday 5 February: School closed
  • Tuesday 6 February: School closed (Waitangi Day observed)
  • Wednesday 7 February: Form 3 Parents’ Information Evening
  • Thursday 15 February: Athletics Sports Day
  • Friday 16 February: Scholars’ Assembly
  • Friday 15 March: Cross Country
  • Thursday 4 – Monday 8 April: Term 1 Examinations
  • Friday 12 April: End of Term 1

Message from the Headmaster – November 2023

Headmaster Tim O'Connor at the lectern

Dear Parents/Guardians,

At Auckland Grammar School, Term 4 is known as the ‘examination term’. This is not only because the year concludes with the important and well-known senior school external assessments associated with Cambridge and NZQA, but also because of our Form 5 Pre-Q examinations and the end of year examination series for Form 3 and 4.   

We know that academic growth at all levels of the School is supported by a strong work ethic that includes effective study, a preparedness to make the sacrifices to do so and willingness to ask questions and take advice. This type of self-disciplined approach supports the development of a growth mindset in students. It is that mindset and the ability to apply it that will help them experience success in these final weeks of the year and in the future. 

As a parent or teacher, it is often difficult to explain the value of hard work and sacrifice to young men. This is primarily because it is through practice and experience that students come to understand there is a direct correlation between the quantity and quality of their study and their results. 

With the junior examinations just days away, our daily assemblies are focused on reminders about the impact regular study will have on the success they experience. Following the Rugby World Cup final, it seemed appropriate to share segments of James Kerr’s book, Legacy. He described All Blacks teams through the years focusing on making marginal gains, as they had come to understand that when small gains are added up, they can make a difference to their performance and/or the results of test matches. 

All Blacks Captain Sean Fitzpatrick (1992 – 1997) described success as being modest improvement, consistently done. He also observed that the best sports people in the world practice more than they play. Right now, for our young men, study is their practice. 

We want students to be able to create their own marginal gains in each subject area. Applying the study skill techniques they have been taught (and are available on GrammarNet) and having the self-discipline to revise regularly will help them realise this. 

We have a busy few weeks of the year left, to complete examinations, and conclude Term 4 extracurricular activities, before we join together for Prizegiving where we will celebrate student achievement, resilience and personal growth.

Per Angusta Ad Augusta

Tim O’Connor

Report: New Zealand Secondary Schools Cycling Championships

The Senior A Cycling team with the Sir Bernard Ferguson trophy

The New Zealand Secondary Schools Cycling Championships were held in Palmerston North during the first weekend of the Term 3 holidays, with the weather conditions as expected – cold, windy and intermittent rain

The Team Time Trial was held in Rongotea in windy and wet conditions which made the technical course more challenging. The Junior A fought hard, but missed out on third place by just 12 seconds.

The Senior race was filled with suspense and nervous tension. Westlake Boys High School were the first team on the course and set a time of 22:14 which remained the fastest time for each subsequent school. The Senior A team (pictured above) were the last team to start, 2 minutes behind the Senior B team.

Both teams focussed on maintaining their structure. With a 1km finishing straights and with poor visibility and the commentator adding to the suspense, it was the Senior A who appeared into view. They completed the course in 21:46 to retain the Sir Bernard Ferguson trophy for the second year in succession.

The 20km Road Race took place at Halcolmbe. While punctures, mechanical failures and ill health militated against the team, Form 5 student J. Kwon took second place in a tactical race in the Under 16 category.

The last day of racing saw the team contending with wintery conditions at the Manfeild Raceway in Fielding for the Points Race.

J. Kwon won the Under 16 event during which he showed his cycling acumen in overcoming the combined efforts of Westlake Boys and Palmerston North Boys High Schools, while classmate C. P. Wagener won the Under 17 event, through the combined efforts of Form 5 student R. Y. Turnbull and Form 6 student J. A. J. Barclay making this result possible.

The concerted efforts of the entire squad over the three events culminated in the School securing third place in the Top School competition.

J. Kwon and four of the members of the Senior A Cycling team (with two in absentia due to Cambridge examinations) crossed stage on Wednesday 11 October to receive their national medals, the Sir Bernard Ferguson trophy and the School’s congratulations.

Obituary – Professor Richie Poulton ’76

Obituary - Professor Richie Poulton '76

Professor Richie Poulton ’76 passed away during the School holidays. He had a strong connection with Auckland Grammar School including speaking at various School events including daily assembly as part of the 150th celebrations in 2019.

Richie was a Prefect in 1980 and a member of the 1st XV Rugby XV and 1st XI Cricket teams. He captained the 1st XI team in Term 3 and he received the Cup for sportsmanship, loyalty and effort in the 1st XI.

Richie was an influential social scientist in New Zealand and served on many government, public and academic statutory bodies, and was a consultant internationally. He led the internationally renowned Dunedin multidisciplinary longitudinal birth cohort study since 2000. In 2007, he established and became a Co-Director of the National Centre for Lifecourse Research, a research centre based at the University of Otago in Dunedin, but with partners located around the world.

In 2014, Richie was appointed as part-time Chief Science Advisor to the Ministry of Social Development and in that role, he led much of the work advising government on social investment and was a member of the group who reviewed Child, Youth and Family Services.

In 2014, he was also named as a Highly Cited Researcher by Thomson-Reuters, one of only four New Zealanders to be so designated, and was listed in Thomson-Reuters ‘2014 World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds’.

Richie was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) for his services to science and health research in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours and in 2018, he was one of three recipients of the Augusta Award (pictured above).

Auckland Grammar School extends its deepest sympathies to Professor Poulton’s family and friends.

As a mark of respect for the lives and contributions of Richie and Daniel Aliaga ’93, the flag on top of the Main Block will remain at half-mast today (Monday 9 October).

Obituary – Daniel Aliaga ’93

The flag at half-mast
Obituary - Daniel Aliaga

Daniel Aliaga ’93 passed away on the last day of Term 3 after a courageous battle fighting cancer. The School has extended its support and sympathies to Daniel’s wife and their wider family on behalf of the staff, students and the Board. 

Daniel was a dedicated teacher of Chemistry at Auckland Grammar School, beginning at the start of the 2020 academic year. Teaching across the dual qualification pathway, his contributions within the department and faculty were appreciated by colleagues and students alike.

Daniel also had a passion for Football, having played for the 1st XI team while at Grammar as a student. As a staff member, he continued his support of Football through coaching the 2nd and 3rd XI teams, then assisting the 1st XI this year. He also supported Social Tennis and the Tuakana Teina programme.

Auckland Grammar School extends its deepest sympathies to Daniel’s family and friends.

As a mark of respect for the lives and contributions of Daniel and Professor Richie Poulton ’76, the flag on top of the Main Block will remain at half-mast today (Monday 9 October).

The Sir Douglas Myers Scholarship recipient for 2023

Angus Baker winning the Myers Scholarship

During the last assembly of Term 3, Acting Headmaster S. McNaughton spoke about the importance of academic studies, not just for intellectual development, but for all-round personal development as well.

Through five years of being a student at Auckland Grammar School, you can create your own story about who you are, and the life you want to lead. And having done that opportunities can arise, along with new challenges.

He spoke to the student body about the Sir Douglas Myers Scholarship which provides an opportunity for students who have already distinguished themselves academically to take up a place offered by the prestigious Cambridge University.

The late Sir Douglas expressed the hope that graduates would return to New Zealand to become leaders in their chosen fields, to the direct benefit of New Zealand and its people.

To be eligible, applicants have to have studied NCEA Level 3 or Cambridge International Examinations, in the year of application, and have a record of achievement sufficient to satisfy the academic criteria for entry to the University of Cambridge.   

The scholarship provides tuition fees and a living allowance for the successful applicant, to enable them to take up a place offered by Gonville and Caius College at the University of Cambridge. The scholarship will normally be held for the duration of the scholar’s undergraduate course.

We are delighted to congratulate 2023 Senior Prefect A. K. Baker (pictured above with S. McNaughton) who was named as this year’s recipient. Baker’s name will be added to the list of Grammar students to have won this scholarship that is recorded on the board to the right of the stage, and at Cambridge, he will join recent leaver Isaac Mellis-Glynn who won this same scholarship in 2021.

In addition to be one of four Senior Prefects for 2022, Baker is the Head Prefect at Tibbs House, he represented New Zealand for Kayaking at the Asia-Pacific Cup, he captained the New Zealand Economics Olympiad team and he won the Cambridge High Achievement Award, as well as two NZQA Scholarships (one at Outstanding level) in 2022.

In an extracurricular sense, he has completed the Gold Duke of Edinburgh journey, he is a member of the Model United Nations, Literati, Interact, the student editor of the Chronicle and he was the New Zealand Political Leaders’ Debate moderator.

Baker will be studying Human, Social and Political Sciences at Gonville and Caius at the University of Cambridge, home to 1000 undergraduates, graduates and academics and we wish him all the very best.

Report: Minister’s Plate Finals

Form 7 student Tianchang Yi as the 2023 winner of the Minister's Plate competition

When the late Merv Wellington, as Minister of Education, officially opened the new Music Suite at Auckland Grammar School in 1984, he presented a silver plate which has become known as the Minister’s Plate. Two years later, the Amos family donated a similar plate establishing a Junior Award. The awards have become a traditional fixture in the School’s calendar and serve to recognise the achievements of the finest solo musicians at Grammar.

The awards were held on Wednesday 6 September in the Centennial Theatre and were judged this year by Old Boy and previous winner of the Minister’s Plate Ben Hoadley ’90. Ben holds degrees in bassoon performance from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and the New England Conservatory in Boston, as well as a Masters of Music in composition with First Class Honours from the University of Waikato where he was awarded the Lilburn Composition Prize. He has held fellowships to the Australian National Academy of Music, Tanglewood Music Centre and the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall, has tutored at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music since 2019 and he is the principal bassoonist with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra.

With Prefect S. T. Manning as the Master of Ceremonies, the 2023 finalists produced a diverse range of instruments and genres. The standard was extremely high, with Ben saying that, in all his experience of the competition, this year has produced the highest standard he has witnessed. Ben addressed each finalist individually, describing what he liked about their performances and offered encouraging advice that he felt could lead to improvements.

The Junior Music Plate winner was Form 3 student S. Xu playing the alto saxophone, performing Fantaisie by French composer J. Demersseman. This year’s Minister’s Plate winner was Form 7 student T. Yi (pictured above), also playing the alto saxophone, for his performance of San Felio by the Ukrainian composer V. Neselovskyi.

The competition was a superb evening of musical excellence and Ben’s expertise, encouragement and sincerity were warmly appreciated by all the finalists and the audience alike.