Ian EdwardI thoroughly endorse the establishment of an Ashburton College Alumni and thank those taking the initiative to facilitate this decision.
Ashburton College offered me the environment to explore a range of life skill opportunities and through them, to establish friendships I have valued for a lifetime. These were “very good years”.

While having attended the College for just my final two years of secondary school, the time spent in Ashburton linked me back to my South Island family heritage. I remain forever grateful to the College Principal of the time Mr Dave Thurlow, teachers- particularly Mr Laurie Davies, Mr Alan Packman, Mr Jess Sutherland and the mentors that opened my mind to future possibilities.

As an organiser of over 50 major concerts and outdoor events, I have learnt that the concept of “TOGETHER IS BEST” always provides for the best outcome.

It is exciting to read that the newly appointed Ashburton College Principal, Mr Ross Preece has stated that his style will be “INCLUSIVE”- surely the very best way to lead the College into a rewarding future. I shall not only continue to take an interest in the activities of Ashburton College, but look forward to reminiscing the “good old days” with past pupils through the Alumni.


Ian Edward    QSM
Head Boy 1967

peter wallWhen my English teacher and 1st XV Coach Mr Jess Sutherland invited me to meet with him at his home over the weekend, I knew something serious was
up! Was I to be dropped as Captain of his 1st XV? Had I stuffed up in my English exams? Was there something I needed to know privately about the amalgamation of the High School and the Technical College?

With fag in hand Jess, as we fondly referred to him, led me through to his front lounge. Bluntly he said he proposed to recommend to the new Principal, Mr Thurlow, my nomination as the new Head Boy. I was stunned. I had not been a Prefect in the lower 6th Form and the notches on my belt (yes, the cane and strap were accepted educational “tools” in those days!) would surely preclude me? The logic Jess employed was that, if I could lead the
rugby, cricket and basketball teams, then I had the character and leadership skills to take this role in the amalgamation of the two schools. And so my role as Head Boy began.

It was a great challenge, an honour and a wonderful experience which delivered an outstanding reference for life after school. I am proud to have been the first Head Boy of one of New Zealand’s largest schools of the day, Ashburton College.

What of the experiences in the role? What do I especially remember reflecting back 50 years? My enjoyment and successes were greatly assisted by the skills and character of Francis Baird, the first Head Girl. Sadly Francis died at an early age having achieved great success in the educational field. Principal of one of Auckland’s most prestigious girls’ school St Cuthbert’s, ill health forced her resignation. Subsequently Francis died in 1995. Francis
was a joy to work with, highly intelligent, a great sportswoman (Captain of the school netball and athletics teams) and a delight to lead the school in our opening dances in the ballroom and on our trips to Rangiora and the West Coast. Those of you reading this who knew Francis will share great memories, and sadness, at her passing. 

I recall our Prefects’ Room being pretty special - a place of refuge, intrigue to those not permitted to enter, a place where we planned and agreed on our duties. Some great characters joined me as Prefects: Roger Tonkin, my best hunting and fishing buddy; the two Ivans - Ivan Burrowes and Ivan Behrnes; Alistair Campbell and Keith Dalton to name a few. Keith, later Head Boy himself, and Alistair both passed on too early, a reflection I guess that it is 50 years since we graced that old Prefects’ Room.

We enjoyed excellent relationships with our Masters: Jess of course; Lawrie Davies (known as “Truck”!), Science Head and Coach/Player of our 1st XI; and Tom Phillips, Head Maths Teacher. These masters were all ex-High School. I am sure Lawrie kindly accredited me in Biology because I scored a few runs and rolled the cricket wicket before our Saturday games, rather than attending science classes!

Our Principal Mr Thurlow always seemed to me to be very serious and focused on excellence. He was driven to make amalgamation a success and was astute enough to leave the staff/prefect relationship to those with a background knowledge of the schools. Our relationships and the smooth  amalgamation outcome was in no small part due to the place sport played in bringing two different cultures together. I did not experience a “them and us” attitude and I was always delighted to add skilful Tech boys to our sporting teams.

I left Ashburton to continue my education and career the year after I finished school. Ashburton College, its teaching staff, my fellow students and my role as Head Boy certainly influenced my character and established a platform for me to enjoy a wonderful and successful life beyond College. Positive memories remain: can it be 50 years? I guess if you look at our aging faces and sadly reflect on fellow students no longer with us, then 50 years it must
be. Thank you Ashburton College.

I wish current students and staff every success in the future. Your school days are special so embrace them.

lauren ellisLauren’s career began as a junior cyclist where, as a New Zealand representative, she won a Silver Medal in the Individual Pursuit at the Junior World Championships in Belgium in 2006 and a Bronze Medal in Mexico in 2007.

She was coached by Hayden Roulston in her early career, competing on the road for the NZ-managed Jazz Apple pro team in 2008 and 2009 in USA.

Lauren has been mostly New Zealand-based since, now in Cambridge, focusing more on the track. She won a Silver Medal in the points race at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi and has World Championship Medals in the Team Pursuit in 2009 and the Points Race and Team Pursuit in 2010.

Lauren was in the women's team pursuit that finished fifth at the London Olympic Games, while her Rio Olympic results reaped impressive 4th placings in the Women’s Omnium and Team Pursuit.

Lauren spoke of her ‘very shy’ teenage years, her personal development and career as a cyclist. The audience heard what it took to be an elite athlete while Lauren, from her experience, encouraged students to take opportunities when they are presented saying that, by pushing themselves harder than they think they can, the rewards can be higher than they have ever considered.

Taken from Ashburton College Newsletter Issue 40 - 24 November 2016