February 2019

Dear Old Boys

Greetings from the Wairarapa in high summer.  As temperatures soar a new generation of College boys are discovering the joys of the swimming holes down at the river.  Others were relieved that last weekend’s scheduled and time-honoured climb of Rangitumau was postponed because of dry conditions and fire danger (not that Rathkeale boys carry lighters/matches anymore!)

Finn Yeats

This year began with the sudden and tragic death of recent Old Boy Finn Yeats (2011-2015).  Finn, who boarded in Repton House, was a highly talented sportsman (rugby and athletics) and Deputy Head of School.  At the time of his death he was completing a building apprenticeship.  A large number of family, friends, Old Boys and staff packed the Trust House Theatre for a service conducted by past School Chaplain Rev Ben Arcus and current Chaplain Dale Walterhouse.  As an Association, we have extended our sympathy to the Yeats Family.

The College

A good intake of new boys includes a number of Old Boys’ sons who, no doubt, will keep traditions alive.  The College roll stands at 318 boys.  Excellent news came in the form of NCEA results.  Rathkeale’s results reveal that once again we are at the vanguard of high achieving Colleges and well ahead of most boys’ schools and high decile schools.  The results include 9 Scholarships achieved by 6 boys.  NCEA levels 1,2 and 3 were all achieved at a pass rate of 96%.

Old Boys v College Cricket

The annual Old Boys’ Cricket Club match against the College was an enjoyable game that was won by the College for the second time in the past 10 years.  Thanks to Shay O’Gorman and the Old Boys who fronted up on the day.

School House

As the building nears its hundredth birthday in 2025 it is due for a bit of attention.  Over the summer most of the old outbuildings and the distinctive water tower were demolished because of their poor condition and earthquake risk.  Now scaffolding is being erected in preparation for extensive renovation and replacement of the roof.  Sadly, the cost of re-slating has proven prohibitive but no doubt the Old Girl will look very fine under a new and waterproof top.

Combined Rathkeale Old Boys / St. Matthew’s Old Girls Auckland Gathering

Queen’s Birthday Decades on Reunions

Hopefully many of you who left College in 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999, 2009 will have heard from your Year Group Facilitators regarding this year’s Decades On reunions being held at Queen’s Birthday weekend June 1-3.

Some groups are reporting very positive responses which is excellent news.  Unfortunately, the 1989 cohort is lacking a facilitator/s and as a committee we are very concerned about that.  Perhaps there is someone, or a group, who would accept the challenge of bringing the year group together and continuing the momentum so evident last year’s “8” reunions.  1989 were an impressive year group and it would be excellent to welcome you back to school after thirty years.

Give me a call at the College 027 246 6707 / 06 370 0175 extn. 7730 or email

In the meantime, I rather belatedly wish you all an excellent 2019 and look forward to catching up with many at ROBA events during the year.

Yours sincerely

Grant Harper

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