Pride in Belonging

Gravel – Spring 2023

Greetings, Old Boys, wherever this Gravel may find you. In Wellington, we have just had two weeks of the sort of wind we are renowned for, so spring has arrived. With the election looming, and the All Blacks having lost their first pool game, it certainly seems as if change is wanted, or coming (take your pick), or both. Wherever you are, I hope spring will be good for you.

We have several upcoming events for you, and I hope that we will see you at one or more of them.

Leavers' Dinner

On Wednesday, 1 November 2023 we host our annual Leavers' Dinner at Rathkeale for all those boys about to depart school. We probably all remember our last months of Rathkeale, the excitement of entering the real world, the pressure of end of year exams and sporting fixtures, and for some, a slight feeling of sadness that unique atmosphere that is Rathkeale is about to end. The Leavers’ Dinner is the first time our new members get a taste of belonging to ROBA, and how it may benefit them outside the gates.

At the Dinner, new members dine with Old Boys and are presented with their Old Boys' tie. This year's guest speaker is Old Girl, Vicky Robertson (1985-1987), formerly a Black Sticks goalie, Deputy Head of the Treasury, CEO of the Ministry of the Environment and Secretary for the Environment and, a Productivity Commissioner. As an old friend from my schooldays who has gone on to achieve amazing things, I know Vicky will have inspiring words about the future for our new members. 

The key to the success of this dinner is having you, Old Boys, present. Members sit among the leaving students and talk with them about their plans for next year, what they will miss about their school days and how they will keep their connections with their friends and the college alive. Old Boys attending, are the example of how we foster our friendships and connections to those we were at school with, and to the college itself. This is a tangible way you can contribute to the work of ROBA. Please email if you can attend this year's Leavers' Dinner and help these young students get their first taste of life as an Old Boy. If nothing else, you may be pleasantly surprised by the quality of the meal served…


Another opportunity for you to get involved with the Old Boys is at our AGM on 28 November 2023 at the Loan Star Café & Bar in Masterton. We have a great committee of energetic members keen to build ROBA’s contribution to our members, and to the College. If you would like to become involved, and help with our work, you will find we are collegial, and the work is rewarding. We also have a very supportive group of people who sit outside the committee and help with specific projects, so if that sounds like you, again, please come to the AGM. There will be no press ganging!

Wairarapa & Wellington Christmas function

Our Wairarapa & Wellington Christmas drinks are at the White Swan in Greytown at 6 PM on Friday, 8 December 2023. This is a fantastic central venue, and we hope Old Boys will come together for an end of year celebration. Wellington Old Boys, if you are interested in coordinating transport for this event (there is often a late train on Friday night), please contact me at and we could have vans to and from Woodside station.

Leaver’s Ball

In a new initiative for ROBA this year, and in conjunction with the Old Girls, we are supporting the parents that organise the Leavers’ Ball after the school term has finished. This year, our new members will be welcomed to the Ball with a first drink from ROBA. Hopefully, they will have a sense that ROBA has their social interests in heart, right from that first step through the school gates.

4WD Tour

We are very excited to have launched our ROBA 4WD Tour, a biennial fundraising event to take you into the Wairarapa's most picturesque country. To be held over Easter 2024, the Tour will give you access to iconic farms, forests and landscapes not normally accessible by the public. Amazing scenery will be combined with fantastic hospitality and fun. The full tour will camp at Rathkeale with dinners, charity auctions and all the comfort you can bring, sleeping alongside your muddy Hilux or shiny Range Rover. Register your interest here quickly, as places are filling fast 4WD Tour ( Open to both Old Boys and tourers alike, if your days of running up Rangitumau are over, this could be for you. Likewise, if you can help this event, be it as a marshall, or giving access through your property, please email

The 4WD Tour is a major new initiative for ROBA and I cannot give enough thanks to our subcommittee, led by Stuart McKenzie, for the enormous amount of work that is going into this. Hopefully, the proceeds will allow ROBA to take the benefits it gives to our members, and to the College, to another level. Amongst other things, we are looking forward to building a more comprehensive scholarship program to ensure that a wider range of young men can enjoy the benefits of the education and experiences at Rathkeale that we had.

2024 Decade Reunions

Did you leave Rathkeale in 1974, ‘84, ‘94, 2004 or 2014, or did your year group leave then? If so, your year will be having its Decade Reunion at Rathkeale over King's Birthday Weekend in June 2024. Mark your calendar. Planning is underway, and you can expect to hear from your year group leaders with their plans for the weekend shortly.

“What’s ROBA all about then?”

We exist to ensure you continue to enjoy all the benefits of having spent your formative years at Rathkeale. Be it through reunions, social functions, networking, following, or supporting the College, or special interests within it, ROBA aims to meet our common interests outside the gates. We use the phrase “Pride in Belonging" to encapsulate our enthusiasm for our connection to each other, and to Rathkeale. If there is something you think ROBA should be doing, please email me at

Keep in contact!

Finally, are all your contact details in our database up to date? Obviously, your email must be if you are reading this. What about friends and brothers? Changed jobs or address? We can only help you if we can find you, so please check all your (and their) details are up to date at Old Boys Directory ( and/or email our trusty Vice President

Have a great spring.

Edward Cox

Rathkeale Old Boys’ Association

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