150th Jubilee 2016 - 21/22 October 2016
Friday 21 October 2016 – During the afternoon attendees were able to view Temuka Primary and Opihi College in action. The Primary School had an Art Exhibition and photo display, as did Opihi College. Registration packs were available for collection at the College and ex-pupils enjoyed viewing the photo display there. In the evening attendees meet at the Mix and Mingle at the Marque which had been erected in the primary school grounds.
Saturday 22 October – There was a staff luncheon in the College Library (a chance for ex and current staff to catch up). This was followed by a formal welcome in the College Hall.
Grant Willocks (Principal of Temuka Primary School) chaired the afternoon after a welcome by Mrs Kate Staniford (Deputy Principal, Opihi College). The National Anthem was sung followed by a kapahaka performance – a “combined” group from both schools.
Mr Willocks spoke about the history of education in our district and the progress and developmednts that have occurred during the past 125 years.
Timaru District Mayor, Damon Odey spoke with humour about his school days and he welcomed everyone to the special occasion.
Chairperson, Alister Lyon, thanked his hard working committee and local sponsors who had greatly assisted in making the Jubilee very successful. (Copy of his speech at commencement of this book.) Mr Lyon went on to share some memorable events during his school years. The Timaru Herald later reported “A story Alister Lyon told about being booted out of class to clean his fingernails caused roars of laughter at Temuka Primary School and Opihi College 150th Jubilee. His old teacher was sitting in the front row. Lyon, a farm boy, went to school with his fingernails caked in dirt. He had to wash them in the freezing cold weather under a cold tap. “There was no hot water in those days”. The teacher was Graham Vincent who taught at the school for many years and now lives in Christchurch. Other memories were when the Temuka District High School (as it was then known) was split in 1968 and officially opened the following year. Lyon could remember walking down the street with fellow classmates, each carrying a chair to the new high school. Another was sitting on a large grassed area with a speaker in the middle playing the radio coverage of the landing on the moon.”
Guest speaker Doug Gold (an ex-pupil) gave a very motivational and humorous speech embracing philosophy and the values of life. He quoted Socrates the ancient Greek Philospher who said “I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.” The values he talked about were Honesty, Integrity, Respect, Diligence, Compassion, Loyalty and Trust – relevant to everybody’s own life. He also went on to say how these values are the basis of his business NRS Media.
Temuka Schools’ Jubilee Speech – Doug Gold
Someone once said - no one knows who – that school days are the best days of your life. Not surprisingly, no one has ever claimed responsibility for this bold statement. It was probably some sadistic, strap-happy teacher or a geeky pupil with no other interests in life.
Others say the best days of school were their first day and their last day – especially their last.
My Temuka schooldays weren’t the very best days of my life but they were definitely among the best.
It was a simple, uncomplicated life then – free from the social and peer-group pressures that plague teenagers today. There were no status-defining iPhones; no gold credit cards to brandish; no Facebook to report our every movement; and no online bullying to destroy our self-esteem. Believe it or not, we actually talked to people sitting beside us instead of texting them. I don’t recall any fashion brands then apart from Levi jeans, which I couldn’t afford anyway, and I certainly didn’t strut around with polo players or crocodiles sewn on my T-shirts.
A big night out was a milkshake and a few Beatles’ songs on the jukebox at Martin’s Milk Bar, a seat in the front row watching some B-grade Western at the Elite Theatre (which was anything but élite) and, if I got really lucky, I might have doubled a girl home on the bar of my second-hand bike, which didn’t happen nearly often enough. A major crime was stealing a packet of fags from the local shop; three long knocks and two short ones got you into a pub after hours; a bus trip meant a ride on one of Jock Ritchie’s bone-rattlers; and a late-night feed at Jackie’s Cafe only cost a few bob. Life was great.
But even then things were changing: in his 1966 Principal’s Report Jim Rendell recognised the increased pressures facing the youth of the day. He said this: “Radio, television, magazines and newspapers are continually applying pressure to these young people who are growing up into a world which is much more complex, complicated and diverse than the world in which we adults grew up”. Comments as relevant today as they were 50 years ago. The only difference now is that there’s the internet, social media, e-commerce, mobile phones, computers, a dazzling array of gadgetry and constant media pressure to add to the mix.
It may sound like I’m about to harp on about the “good old days” but I’m not. Today’s world has much to offer and it’s mostly positive. But, some things will always remain the same.
Socrates, the ancient Greek philosopher, said: “I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think”. I mention this quote for two reasons: firstly to prove I actually remember something I learned at school and, secondly, because it nicely sums up the educational environment at Temuka. I was lucky enough to have a handful of inspiring teachers who encouraged me think for myself rather than simply learn the prescribed syllabus.
And this was at a time when authority, discipline and rigid adherence to the curriculum were imposed – with physical force if necessary – and a smart remark would have earned you six-of-the-best.
But my time at Temuka was about much more than a good academic education. It was about establishing the values, principles and beliefs that shaped the rest of my life. My last year at school was 1966 – the same year Temuka was granted full high school status and the year of the 100th School Jubilee. I was head boy prefect. Not because Jim Rendell wanted me to be – he would have preferred someone much more responsible and less rebellious. But, as the only seventh form pupil at the new high school, I was the most senior student. I was head boy because he had no other choice. In this exalted, but unearned, role I vaguely recall being asked to make a speech for the 100th reunion.
Now I collect useless junk – I’ve got old rugby programmes, school photos and reports, a dog-eared copy of the 1966 school magazine and even my old wooden rugby case with mud-caked O’Brien’s boots still inside. So when I was asked to give this address, I wondered if I might have kept something that would be relevant. When I finally found the old cardboard box labelled “Temuka”, I wasn’t altogether surprised to find a hand-written copy of this long-forgotten speech. As I read it, I realised that what I said so long ago is what I still believe in today
If you’ll indulge me, I’ll read an excerpt. The speech focused mainly on the School’s proud 100 year history, changing social and educational trends and notable achievements of ex-pupils. But it’s the ending I found intriguing. I finished by saying: “This is my last year at school and from next year I’ll be facing an uncertain and unknown future. This school has been a very important part of my life for the last 13 years and I believe – or at least hope – it has provided me with a solid foundation on which to build a successful future. I have learned a lot at Temuka, not just academically but, more importantly, I have established a set of values I now hold dearly. In this respect, I must pay tribute to the inspirational teachers I’ve had the privilege to study under.
Way back in primary school, Mr Shepherd taught me to challenge traditional beliefs and to embrace creativity and innovation. Mr Rosanowski taught me the importance of discipline and commitment but also the virtue of not taking yourself too seriously. He made me realise that achievement should be measured against your own ability not against some arbitrary benchmark. It’s not how well you do compared to others, he said, it’s how well you do compared to your own potential. Mr Jeffcoat taught me that history is very much alive and relevant to today’s world; that outcomes in the future can very often be predicted by events of the past. History does repeat itself. Mr Moore taught me that the English language is simply a tool to express myself creatively, not a set of complex, inflexible grammar rules or a library full of dry-as-dust literary tomes.
Above all, you didn’t try to force-feed me the rote-learned curriculum but encouraged me to think for myself; to challenge, to be innovative, to express my views forcefully, to push the boundaries and to believe in myself. To all of you I am eternally grateful.
I hope that as the future unfolds I can do justice to the values and principles you have instilled in me over the last 13 years”.
I didn’t realise it then but this speech summarised the philosophy I have lived by throughout my entire business career. It also got me thinking about the fundamental values in life and it occurred to me that everything has changed …. yet nothing has changed. Technologically and materialistically, everything has changed but, fundamentally, nothing has. The technology, the gadgets, the entertainment choices, the communication channels, the consumer society, the sophisticated lifestyle – they’re really nothing more than reams of glitzy, neon-bright, computer-generated, Microsoft-branded paper wrapped around plain old cardboard boxes containing timeless social, moral, personal and professional values that will never change: Honest. Integrity. Respect. Diligence. Compassion. Loyalty. Trust – as relevant today as they have been for centuries.
So being here for this reunion, it’s appropriate I again pay tribute to these enlightened teachers who instilled these fundamental ideals and had a huge impact on my future. Their names probably won’t mean anything but I’m sure you all have your own Joe Shepherds and Peter Rosanowskis; teachers of the same ilk who affected your lives in the same way.
If it sounds like I’m dishing out sainthoods or knighthoods to my teachers, I’m not. They had the same human failings and foibles we all have and, in some cases, I learned what not to do because of what they did ineptly. One in particular - a very short bloke with a personality to match – taught me nothing academically but did teach me the difference between right and wrong. I learned that I was right and he was wrong.
And Peter Rosanowski’s best efforts failed to help me master the French language. Years later, we lived in France and Ros would have been horrified at my faux pas.
I called one bloke a bastard three days in a row, asked to buy a mistress instead of a mattress at a furniture store, and told a female doctor I had a very personal male problem instead of explaining I had a severe rash (and left with a prescription for Viagra). The difference between une érection and une éruption, French for rash, is just a slight slip of the tongue.
I once asked a female shop assistant if she would like to show me a book I had asked for. "Voulez-vous me monter?” I asked. She looked at me disdainfully, obviously disgusted, and stormed off. I never saw her again and it wasn't until I consulted my dictionary later that I realised what I had actually said was: “Would you like to mount me?”
Clearly she didn’t.
My Temuka French may have failed me but the values I learned didn’t.
When I started the More FM radio network and, later, NRS Media, which was a global media company, our business philosophy was based on these very same principles. Our Core Values were simply:
• Have the Courage to Do What is Right
• Apply Discipline of Thought and Action
• Innovate for Success
• Create Winning Partnerships
• Be Serious about What We Do, Not Ourselves
Exactly the same sentiments I expressed in that 1966 speech.
And Temuka schools played a quirky role in More FM’s culture. I launched the first More FM just weeks after the 1991 Jubilee where, as a joke, I bought Temuka Reunion souvenir spoons for all staff. I wrapped the spoons in gold paper and made a serious presentation to staff who, I'm sure, expected some valuable gift to commemorate a special occasion. They were unimpressed when the precious gift turned out to be a cheap Temuka spoon but, for some unknown reason, these spoons developed into a cult. From then on, whenever a major milestone was achieved everyone was given another souvenir spoon - we had Elvis Presley spoons, Vatican spoons, Queen Elizabeth Coronation spoons, Scottish Country Dancing spoons and spoons from all over the world. But, the Temuka Reunion spoons were the most prized because they signified the owner was an original staff member.
The spoons became such a symbol of achievement that, whenever there was something to celebrate, a Spoon Parade would be mandatory. Everyone had to march through downtown Wellington displaying their spoons prominently in a military-style parade. Some had them draped across their chests like a row of medals; one had a collector’s shield full of spoons hanging around his neck; others had them in unmentionable places. It's hard to imagine sane, rational people marching through town with souvenir spoons dangling from everywhere but sometimes silly, crazy things like this help create a culture. In many ways, this epitomised More FM - unconventional, creative, different, spontaneous, self-deprecating.
The souvenir spoons became an integral part of our culture and were far more important than I could ever have imagined when, on a whim, I bought them in Temuka. We had a 25th More FM reunion earlier this year and, without exception, all original staff brought their coveted Temuka spoons.
I have also learned that success should never be measured by fame, fortune or position.
Success can only be judged against our own personal goals. A skilled carpenter in Temuka who is the best in his field can be just as successful as a global billionaire. The carpenter may not have a fleet of private jets or glamorous mistresses fawning over him but he is successful because he achieved the goals he set for himself. The difference between success and wealth is vast; one is a measure of achievement, the other is simply the accumulation of money and possessions, which often has little to do with talent or ability.
In my era alone, there were many who were truly successful. They set their own goals and exceeded them. People like my best friend Wayne Gillett (internationally acclaimed professor of medicine, the highest accolade in his field); Doug Pearce (another highly successful university professor); his brother Jim (CEO of the local power board); Warren Sowerby (renowned mediation barrister); Glenn Ritchie (who transformed Jock’s old bum-shakers into a modern, nationwide bus fleet); Rangi Faith (accomplished poet); Hamish Cameron (well-known artist); Barry Jones (top draughtsman); Peter Juriss (successful businessman and respected Classics teacher); and the list goes on. There were many before and after my time so Temuka has plenty of success stories to celebrate.
There will be some who don’t share my enthusiasm for their days at Temuka and their views will be shaped by their own experiences. But, despite any misgivings, I’m sure they will have forged enduring friendships and will have fond recollections of many good times. And this weekend is a time for us all to reminisce and, for a couple of days at least, relive the past.
For me, the finish line in the marathon of life is getting closer – I’m hoping the final sprint is still some way off but I doubt that I’ll see the 175th Jubilee. As I get older and grumpier – I’d like to say wiser but that would be untrue – I have time to reflect on the influences that affected my life.
Temuka schools played a critical role and it was here I learned to believe in the winner mentality. Perhaps it was because none of us came from privileged backgrounds or perhaps it was because we were encouraged to chase our dreams but, whatever the reason, we realised that to succeed we had to fight hard for everything we believed in.
But, the most important lesson I learned at Temuka was this: the difference between being a winner in life or a loser is a matter of choice not destiny.
Winners are proud, committed, persistent, enthusiastic and determined to succeed. Losers are always blaming others or looking for excuses. I’ll leave you with my favourite quote.
The Winner is always part of the solution. The Loser is always part of the problem.
The Winner always has a plan. The Loser always has an excuse.
The Winner says "Let me do that". The Loser says "That's not my job!"
The Winner sees an answer for every problem. The Loser sees a problem for every answer.
The Winner sees a green near every bunker. The Loser sees two or three bunkers near every green.
The Winner says it may be difficult but it is possible. The Loser says it may be possible but it's too bloody difficult.
BE A WINNER! And have a wonderful reunion weekend. (Doug Gold, Guest Speaker)
The reunion cake was cut by the oldest and youngest –Pat Gillett (95) and Azayah Brokenshire (5(who had turned 5 two days before the event.)
A photo of all attendees was taken followed by decade photos. The 1950’s group was huge, so split into two photos.
Photos are available for purchase from the website www.kolourcare.co.nz
Tea, coffee and cake concluded the afternoon.
The Grand Gathering took place on Saturday night in the marquee, again attended by over 400 people. Judging by the noise a good time was had by all – drinks flowed, food was consumed and dancing happened.
Sunday was left for attendees to arrange their own gatherings with family and friends. The marquee was dismantled in approximately 4 hours, with assistance from local men who kindly gave their time to do this.
To conclude these celebrations a tree (Gingko Biloba) was planted in the Temuka Domain, the following Wednesday. Students from both schools attended.
The tree was planted by the oldest girl student from Opihi College (Tea' Prentice) and the oldest boy student (Ramahi King Reeves assisted by Jacob O’Neill) and Temuka Primary School’s youngest pupil, Azayah Brokenshire.
The tree and plaque were donated by Fonterra Clandeboye.