May 2018

Dear Old Boys

Falling autumn leaves all over the College campus remind me that it is time I touched base with Old Boys again.

At the end of Term 1 the College community farewelled the Kersten family from Rathkeale. Willy Kersten’s time as Principal was impressive and the College has made huge strides over the past ten years. He has left his mark in many ways and an impressive portrait of him, painted by the Wairarapa artist Stephen Allwood, now hangs alongside his predecessors in the Trust House Auditorium We wish Willy well as he takes over the reins of Hereworth School in Havelock North for the remainder of the year.

Rathkeale’s eighth Principal, Martin O’Grady, is now ensconced in both the Principal’s residence and the Head’s office. Having been Principal of both Karamu and Fielding High Schools, he is well qualified for the leadership of Rathkeale and of the Senior College.

This week he attended his first Old Boys’ committee meeting where he was warmly welcomed. No doubt he will enjoy meeting many other Old Boys during the months ahead as he attends the Decade Reunions held at Queen’s Birthday and also other regional and College gatherings. The first of these will be held in Auckland in June.

Obituary Fred Lee

It is with sadness that the Association learnt of the death of Fed Lee in Whangamata three weeks ago. Fred joined the College staff in 1968 and was twenty first on the College Staff Register. For many years he taught Technical Drawing, over saw school detentions and supervised swimming.

Upon his retirement, he and wife Pat, who had been School Librarian for some years, moved to the Coromandel. We have extended our sympathy to the Lee family.

10 Years On Reunion – Queen’s Birthday Weekend – 1st to 3rd June

This important weekend is rushing towards us and we are thrilled with the response of many Old Boys. Already one-year group reports over 70 attendees at their Saturday evening dinner – fantastic!

Remember we really would like to see as many of the various cohorts who left on an 8 year – 1968, 78, 88, and 08. So, contact your year group facilitator listed below as soon as possible.

1968 Derek Daniel
06 377 2077

1978 Michael de Stacpoole
021 376 875

1988 Blair Ewington
027 202 4716

1998 This group’s reunion has been rescheduled to occur at Labour Weekend.

2008 Dean van Deventer
022 011 8979

Mitchell Scaife
022 187 1608


Mark Ramsden 1982-1985

After previous postings to the Solomons, New York, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and most recently Fiji, Mark has been appointed New Zealand’s Ambassador to Ethiopia and the African Union. He will also be accredited to Djibouti, Rwanda, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya.

Kieran Charnock 2005-2009

Kieran began his acting during College years at Rathkeale before training in Wales and working for numerous theatre companies. After returning to NZ he has been increasingly involved in film.

At the end of April, he was presented the Moscow Film Festival’s Best Actor Award for his lead role in the film ‘Stray’.

Richard Tosswill 1992-1996

Richard and Becs (nee Wyeth) Tosswill have won the Supreme Award in the Wellington region’s Balance Farm Environment Awards.

Richard and Becs farm ‘Te Anaawa’, a 646ha sheep and beef farm east of Masterton; an operation described by judges as “an innovative and forward-thinking farm driven by a passion for change through social responsibility and commitment to further the future of New Zealand farming.”

Other Stories

I would be grateful to hear about other Old Boys with interesting stories to share either via Gravel or the Rock Runner.

With all good wishes and looking forward to seeing many of you at Queen’s Birthday Weekend or in Auckland on June 12th.


Grant Harper


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