We hope you enjoy this second Taieri College Alumni Newsletter.   The Alumni was launched on 17 August 2014 with a tour of the soon-to-be demolished A Block, view of archives and afternoon tea.

Since then we've had a steady stream of people visiting the Alumni page on the 'Taieri College' website to join, or filling in our form.

The Committee is looking at ways to get the message out there and get even more Alumni to connect, and is planning to put out quarterly newsletters. Make sure you let your friends and family know how they can join up.

Our Committee members are:

Kirsty Fiddes (nee Nelson)
Sue Brinsdon (nee Riach)
Susie Ballantyne
Kerri Kennedy (nee Jenkins)
Jocelyn Boyes
Caron Hodge
Claire Grant (nee Bain)


We congratulate Year 13 Taieri College students Rebecca Murray and Bart Lind, who were named this year's 2014 Class Acts earlier in the year.

The annual Otago Daily Times Class Act Awards for excellence is presented by Prime Minister John Key in Dunedin, to two students nominated from each Otago secondary school. Class Act was established in 2000 to encourage excellence in academic, sporting, social, arts, culture, and leadership.

Rebecca Murray was deputy head girl this year, as well as being arts prefect and representing the school on the student council, arts council and sports council. Over the past two years she has received many dancing awards, including being the top British Ballet Organisation dancer in the South Island, and receiving gold awards in ballet exams.

Rebecca has been accepted to study performing arts at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane next year.

Bart was deputy head boy and sports prefect this year, and student representative on the Board of Trustees, and on the sports council and arts council. He represented the school at the Dunedin Model United Nations and Greater Otago Model United Nations Assemblies, and held the lead role in the school's major productions for three years.

Bart is planning to study law and anthropology at the University of Otago next year.


The Taieri College Alumni has received a donation of $1800, thanks to the Taieri High School 1960's ex-pupils reunion that took place in November 2013.  The reunion was to commemorate a Taieri High School student John Preston who died while playing rugby in 1963.  The reunion committee donated its profits for development and promotion of the Alumni.  


Former Taieri High School teacher Lindsay Hocking passed away at his son's farm in Cardrona earlier in the year, after an illness.

Many will remember Mr Hocking from 1964 to 1985, firstly as a social studies and history teacher, and later as sixth form dean. He was responsible for administrative roles including organising the school text books, spellathons, bus schedules, work days, and a project to review the school uniform.

Mr Hocking attended Caversham Primary School and Macandrew Intermediate, then Kings High School. He was head boy, and an all round sportsman, including an athletics champion, member of the first XI, and captain of the first XV. In fact a leading rugby commentator suggested he was a potential All Black, an opportunity never realised after an accident crushed his foot.

He completed a BA degree at the University of Otago before training as a teacher in Christchurch. He started his teaching career at The Taieri High School in 1964, then took on a role as deputy principal of Kings High School in 1985. He was principal of Kings from 1986 until his retirement in 2001.

A keen fisherman and jet boater, Mr Hocking and his wife Ann, and children Kirsten, Lisa and Lane spent their summer holidays at the Glendu Bay camping ground, earning a reputation for teaching many to water ski. Former Taieri High School teacher Stu Letts recalled Mr Hocking also took teachers waterskiing at the end of the school week, being generous with his time and his petrol. 

Mr Letts said Mr Hocking's planning and attention to detail resulted in a high standard in any project he undertook.


Former Mosgiel District High School pupil Sir Alan Mark has gained numerous accolades for his career in ecology and conservation in New Zealand, including being knighted in 2009.

He was also the first person at Mosgiel District High to complete his sixth and seventh form years here via correspondence.

He started high school in 1945, commuting with 20 others from Dunedin to Mosgiel each day to study agriculture and horticulture. The school only went to the fifth form, and Sir Alan was given the option of attending Otago Boys High School to continue his sixth form education. He recalled lasting three days before persuading Mosgiel District Head of Secondary Alan Sewell that he could learn via correspondence in Mosgiel for his final two years. 

He gained University Entrance this way, then studied botany at the University of Otago. He went on to gain a Master of Science, first class honours, and gained a Fulbright Travel Grant to complete a PhD at Duke University in North Carolina, USA. 

"It wasn't easy, but I look back with thankfulness at the chance I was given by the school to stay on -- the Secondary School Head was most helpful and supportive, and the other teachers were all friendly -- I remember particularly Jim Cumberbeach, Ted Farrant, Jack Gaston and Catherine Castles."

He enjoyed playing rugby for MDHS, won the cross country, and made life-long friends including Les Cleveland, Stuart Preston and Robert Findlay. He was also Head Prefect for two years running.

Sir Alan has had an interesting career as a plant ecologist, spending a lifetime researching the ecology and sustainable management requirements of the South Island high country. He has been a lecturer at the University of Otago, and is currently Emeritus Professor. He has a book on NZ Alpine Plants, and some 200 scientific papers. Awards have included a Fellowship of the Royal Society of NZ in 1975 and a CBE in 1989.

Sir Alan has been a strong advocate for conservation, belonging to many conservation and professional organisations including the Forest and Bird Protection Society, the NZ Conservation Authority, the Otago Catchment Board, and the Manapouri-Te Anau Lake Guardians Trust to name just a few. He advised government on sustainable management of these lakes, as their appointed Guardians Chair for the first 26 years, after his involvement in the Save Manapouri Campaign in the early 1970's. 

He is still writing research papers and involved in conservation, including the Mid Dome wilding pines eradication project in northern Southland, and the nation-wide Wise Response Inc (www.wiseresponse.org.nz) initiative.


A group of Mosgiel people are looking at hosting a reunion (for over 40's) in October 2015 at the Mosgiel A & P Show Grounds.  Friday, Saturday and Sunday - $100.00 per person.  This includes nibbles, meal, music, photography and transport from designated areas.  For more information please contact mosgielreunion@outlook.com.

Girls' Life-Saving Team 1967
Mr Foster, K Wood, J Knowles, L Stevenson, I Mckinlay, W Tough, L Grant

1981 Various Activities

Captions from top left:  'The sheer pain of recreational leadership','Mecca is the other way', 'You'll just have to hope that some kind person will buy you and let you out', 'Hey, is that a staff member on the end', 'Believe it or not, I'm walking on air', 'Ah! the prospect of Nirvana!', This will teach him to park in the bike sheds'.

1947 Cooking Class

1967 Athletics Champions

Back Row:  G Hawker, D McKay, G Reid, D Haraki

Front Row:  J Luke, A Clingin, S Daniel, D Boddy

1959 Staff

Back Row:  Aimes, Thyne, Davis, Hardy, Brown, McLean

Second Row:  Duncan, O'Connell, Hodgson, McDonald, Scully, Miller

Front Row:  Miles, Kennedy, Hislop, Cumberbeach, Smith, Taylor, Hunter

1967 Science Class

1973 Staff

1967 Typing Class

1981 Various Activities

Captions from top left:  'Who IS that standing up there?', 'Just my face,thank you', 'Gee,twins!', 'And they're still only half awake', 'Where did you say the taniwha was Betty?', 'I say, did she not wear the same outfit at last year's debutante ball?', 'I do hope Charles doesn't fall off again', 'If this doesn't sink him, nothing will'.

1967 "A" Gymnastics Team 

Back Row:  J Smith, P McKee, D Mackay, T McMurtrie, J McCorkindale, S Hammer, Mr O'Connell

Front Row:  J Luke, L Hogg, L Grant, W Tough, D Erridge, B De Vries

1967 School Shooting Team

Back Row:  S Deaker, J Inglis, G Inglis, P Mutch, A McCaw

Second Row:  R Mathieson, J Gibson, D Haraki, Mr G McDonald

Front Row:  R Griffiths, R Peat, B Williams (Captain) G Stoddart,

 P Langley

If your details change for any reason you can email them to us at  alumni@taieri.school.nz and we will update the data base.

We welcome any feedback and if you were interested in joining our group please feel free to contact us.

If you wish to read any of the current Taieri College newsletters please click here

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and we will be back in contact with our next newsletter in early 2015.