Welcome to Taieri College Alumni's winter newsletter. 

How good was it the Highlanders winning the Super 15 Final?  I'm sure there were a lot of ex Otago supporters around the country and the world cheering for our local team.  It was a day to remember for anyone interested in the international competition. 


We're pleased to say that ex pupils are continuing to enrol for Taieri College Alumni at a steady rate. Please forward this newsletter to your friends and family who can select this link click here and register.  


In this issue we profile Geoff Bascand, who is the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank, and was New Zealand's Chief Statistician. Geoff attended The Taieri High School 1972-1975. 

In our Reminisces Column we hear about what being head girl entailed for Eleanor Ashton (nee Johnson) in 1956. We'd love more reminisces - email us with your own memory of your time at Taieri.  

We also have a story on Henry Rutz, the first AFS scholar at Taieri.

Taieri College Alumni Committee



TTHS ALUMNI 1972 - 1975


Geoff Bascand, a Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank, based in Wellington, attended Taieri High School from 1972-1975. 

Before joining the Reserve Bank, Mr Bascand was the Government Statistician and Chief Executive of Statistics New Zealand.


As well as holding senior policy and management positions at the Treasury and the Department of Labour, Geoff has been a Research Fellow at the Centre of Policy Studies at Monash University in Australia, and from 1996 until 1997 he was a staff economist at the International Monetary Fund in Washington DC. 


His first job after graduating was as an economic analyst in Treasury in 1981, which he described as an inspiring place to start a career. 


He has a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) degree in geography from the University of Otago and a Master of Economics from the Australian National University. In 2005, he was awarded a Leadership Development Centre Fellowship.

Geoff spent four years at Taieri High School, completing his final year of secondary school at Otago Boys High School. 


He recalled his Taieri High School days as being lots of fun. "There was a lot of emphasis on sport -- I enjoyed playing being part of team sports at Taieri - I was in the first 11 for both TTHS's soccer and cricket teams." 


Geoff's mother Audrey taught art at the school, and his father Laurie was a scientist at Invermay - they lived at the old Invermay campus at the Taieri airport.


By Eleanor Johnson -- Mosgiel District alumni 1956 

I have lots of fond memories of my years at Mosgiel District High - lots of good friends and teachers (I remember when Pat Tyne started), and I particularly enjoyed the shorthand class. I used to bus up from Momona every day. The one thing I recall really well was the day the Governor General and his wife visited Mosgiel. It was 1956 and I was in the sixth form. We all had to go to the Rec grounds in Mosgiel when Lieutenant-General The Lord Norrie and Lady Norrie arrived. As head girl I had to present Lady Norrie with a bunch of flowers. I was very nervous, but she was lovely. I then was presented to Lady Norrie at the 50th jubliee of the Plunket Society at the town hall in Dunedin a couple of years later; she specifically spoke to myself and the head girl of Otago Girls.  

Eleanor (now Eleanor Ashton) and her husband Howard are retired and live in Mosgiel.



Our northern alumni group meet regularly and if there is any ex students that are keen to link in with them please contact Robert 'Bob' Findlay who will be happy to let you know about their next gathering.



Registrations are still being taken for the 'I Call Mosgiel Home Reunion' which is being held from Friday 16 October to Sunday 18 October 2015 at the A & P Show Grounds here in Mosgiel.  The cost is $100.00 per person.  Contact via email to for any further information.




From left: Margaret Braid (Masson), Joy Bennett (Taylor), Margaret van Zyle (Dickson), Raelene Gruppelaar (Ferguson), Betty Riach (Clyde) and Shona Bennett (McLean).


These alumni from Mosgiel District High School (1947-1953) meet a few times each year to share a meal and memories of school days, teachers and friends. School was a great time for them and they felt well prepared when they walked out of the school gates for the very last time launching themselves into the unsuspecting workforce. They could never have imagined then, meeting up for lunch in 60 years’ time to appreciate their formative years at MDHS!

If you would like to contact any of these ladies please phone Betty on 03 4895185 or email






Our first AFS student was Henry Rutz from Oshkosh High School in America.  It must have been something of a shock coming from an American City to Mosgiel in 1961, and no doubt a shock to his host family.  Allan Shaw (pupil and host family) has provided the following reflection on Henry.

When Tom Hislop asked for a volunteer family to host an AFS scholar,
I managed to persuade my parents to put us forward and, after a couple
of visits from their representatives, we passed muster. At the time we lived in the house, with the adjacent bit of land, on which Ken Whitson's hotel was built ... if only that had happened in 1961 !

When we met him at the old Taieri airport, he presented us with a book on the 1950s decade and was quite apologetic because he had intended to bring some electronic stuff but thought, as we were a couple of South Pacific islands, we would have all that stuff at dirt cheap prices.

I recall at the first school dance we attended, taking a couple of young ladies for a stroll and, to Henry's astonishment, being blinded by Charlie Brown's torch light and firmly told to return to the hall ... apparently considerably less liberal than back home in Oshkosh ( the home of the ' Oshkosh by Gosh '  (kids clothing factory at that time at least ).

Henry found our cars to be a bit smaller than he was used to. His father had died only a year before he came here ... having been a successful car dealer ... so Henry found the Shaw family Austin 7 somewhat cramped ... and I'm sure the stops to let the engine cool at the top of the Kilmog, on the way to Palmerston, would hold many a group spellbound with the telling when he got home.

Another thing he noted was the lack of choice in most items in our stores. He could run pretty quick and won the 100 and 220 yard events at the Otago/Southland secondary schools meet that year ... beating, if I remember correctly,a chap Johnson who went on to represent NZ.

We also saw the odd gridiron curling pass float across the rugby field ... a bit deflating for those forwards who were well on the way to where the action no longer was.

Henry left the day of the France v Otago game at the Carisbrook ... a game that incensed us all with the sheer thuggery of the French ... 12 of the Otago team were injured! He left a keenly-felt hole in our family for many months.

Article kindly provided by John Cuttance






The strength and depth of the Taieri College Music department is evident by its success at this year’s Rockquest Otago competition. Fifteen of the total of 31 acts in the Rockquest heats were from Taieri College, with four bands and one Solo/Duo act going to the finals.  Haze Harrington (Taieri College) and Renee O'Brien (KVC) then went on to won the Solo Duo section of Rockquest Otago Finals. “Alex and the Lads” from Taieri won the Band section. Unfortunately they did not make it to the national finals. 

The head of the Taieri College music department is Alumni, Christina Cochrane (TTHS 1979 - 1982). She has been teaching at Taieri College since 2009, and has been Head of Department since 2011.  Previously she taught at John McGlashan and overseas.  She also taught at The Taieri High School for a year in 1989. 

Christina comments that she is proud of all the students who entered the Rockquest competition.  We had nine bands and six solo/duo acts. To win both sections in 2015 has been fantastic and all students have put a great deal of work into achieving these results.










We have recently had twenty-one students and four teachers spend a month (June 29 to July 29) in Kenya and Tanzania as part of a World Challenge expedition. These two groups of students organized and fundraised for this trip themselves which involved many hours of hard work outside of school time. These trips aim to provide a life-changing experience for students by teaching life skills and expanding minds outside of the classroom. The students were required to budget and organize where they were going and who they would work with.

One of the highlights was helping build a new school classroom in Kenya. Other highlights were going on a safari in the Ngorongoro crater, in Tanzania, and getting up close to lions, elephants and hippos; going on a five-day trek up a 4000m mountain in Kenya; and spending a few days on the beaches of Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania.

The trip followed a similar World Challenge journey by 16 Taieri College pupils in 2012, who organised a successful four-week educational expedition to Botswana and Namibia.

The students were among more than 7000 secondary pupils who travelled on expeditions this year to 50 destinations around the world, including Africa, Asia, Southeast Asia, South America and Central America.

One of the teachers travelling with the groups was Alumni, Ronnie Gale, TTHS 1977-1981. Ronnie teaches Year 8 (Form 2) students and has been at Taieri College since 2004. Prior to that he taught at St Mary's Mosgiel and North Taieri.



  We featured Bryce Abernethy (Alumni 2005-2011) in our April newsletter.

He was heading off to the World Rowing Championships in Bulgaria in July to compete in the lightweight doubles with Canterbury's Matthew Dunham.

They came 4th in the finals, a wonderful effort Bryce.  











 FORMAL 2015




The annual college formal for year 12 and 13 students (6th & 7th form) was held in Dunedin on Saturday 23rd May.  Students met at school first giving parents a chance to admire them all in their wonderful outfits. They travelled to Dunedin in buses to enjoyed an evening of music, food and the wonderful atmosphere that the Dunedin Town Hall provided.  The theme of the evening was Las Vegas.


The rebuild of A Block is nearing completion and the alumni committee are planning to donate a plaque and a specimen tree to the college to commemorate this.   

If you would like to contribute towards this cost please direct credit your donation to our Westpac bank a/c no. 03 1725 0106800 00 with the reference “Alumni”.  Donations by cheque can be posted to Taieri College, PO Box 45, Mosgiel. All contributions would be gratefully received.

We will advise you when the official opening ceremony of this exciting new block will take place.

If you have any stories of interest, are planning any reunions or are interested in joining our committee please let us know at 

Remember to email if your details change, so we can update the database.