August 2017

Welcome to the first newsletter of 2017 for the Taieri College alumni.

The Taieri College Alumni Committee held its annual meeting on April 10 at Taieri College, attended by 9 people.  The chair report was read out by Claire Grant on John Cuttance's behalf, and the financial report was presented by Sue Brinsdon. The chair report is at the end of this newsletter for your information. 

Thanks to John Cuttance who was again elected Chair, and Sue Brinsdon elected secretary. Committee members are Claire Grant and Sandra McLeod.  The committee is keen to attract further members, so please get in contact if you are able to help.   Email  

Taieri College will be celebrating its sesquicentennial - 150th - in 2021.  So our next big reunion will be in four year's time - keep Labour weekend 2021 free!  Please encourage all ex-pupils you know to join our Alumni database so they receive all the news about this upcoming reunion.  Any ideas and offers of assistance for marking this important milestone are very welcome - please contact us.

Our database was emailed to all members in March, to let you all know who are part of this Taieri College Alumni network. We have received positive feedback from this, thanks.  Please remember to let us know if your class year (3rd form year) is not recorded so we can update your details.  

Alumni from 1977 have recently set up a facebook group - The Taieri High School 77ers. Have a look if you are interested in what your peers are doing now.

  • An invitation to 1956-1967 alumni to lunch and a catch up at the Leviathan Hotel, Dunedin on Wednesday September 6 from 11am to 2pm.  Bookings are essential, please contact Bob Findlay on
  • Some classmates who started at The Taieri High School in 1967 are getting together at Labour weekend. Contact Stu Hammer for more details


We are very grateful to Brian Cadzow and his family for their donation of funds for an annual scholarship to be awarded to students going on to study Information Technology/Computing at a tertiary level.  This will be known as the Cadzow Family Technology Scholarship and the first recipient will be announced at our senior prizegiving in November. Brian (alumni 1974-1978), Judith (alumni 1969-1973) and Wendy (alumni 1970-1974) are ex TTHS students.  All were prefects and Brian was head boy & dux in 1978.  

Taieri College News

Taieri College's current roll is 1020 students, consisting of:  Y7 (form 1)149, Y8 (form 2)140, Y9 (form 3) 156, Y10 (form 4)176, Y11 (form 5)156, Y12 (form 6)147, Y13 (form 7) 96.

The College has finally had approval for Hislop Hall to be replaced by a Performing Arts Centre. Hislop Hall was damaged by fire in November 2015, and demolished last year. Detailed drawings are being prepared and will then go to tender. Hopefully building will commence before the end of this year.
Watch this space
Concept plan of Hislop Hall replacement

Taieri recently completed an upgrade of its Indoor Training Centre which was built in 1996 to celebrate the school's 125th jubilee.  The College is grateful to the Otago Community Trust for a donation to assist with upgrade costs. The ITC now has a new floor, wall coverings, insulated ceiling, new lighting, heating and sound system. This multi purpose building is used for PE classes and sports practice, school assemblies, functions and exams. 

Cricket nets have been set up beside the courts in Kaye Field and four floodlights installed so the courts can be used in the evenings for sports practice.

Several Taieri College trips so far this year have offered exciting opportunities for its students. They are the culmination of lots of organisation, fundraising and commitment from students, staff and parents.

During the term 1 school holidays eighteen Year 12 and 13 students from the Social Sciences dept (History/Geography) went on a biennial trip to Vietnam. The trip was a valuable lifelong learning experience for the students and teachers involved.

A Taieri College rugby team also went to Argentina in April.  This was an incredible experience that gave the boys a real insight into Argentinean culture by playing rugby against local clubs, being billeted by host families and exploring the sights.

Twenty Year 13 Tourism students went on an annual visit to Auckland in May.  The goal is for students to see first hand some of the main tourist attractions in New Zealand and to get a taste of the tourism industry in NZ's main gateway city.  This trip opens students eyes to tourism and to life in a big city.

 - the College is proud of Hamish Mears (Year 12) who competed in the Oceania Championships in Fiji.  He picked up two bronze medals in the Shot Put and Discuss.  A fantastic result.

Chris (on right) with Bruce Todd (our new groundsman)
 Staff farewell - the College said goodbye in July to Chris McInnes, caretaker and campus manager,  who retired after 29 years.  Chris is an ex-student of The Taieri High School (1963 - 1965) and he has been a loyal colleague and friend to many.  We wish him all the very best for his retirement.

Alumni in the news

Congratulations to Raylene Bates of Mosgiel (TTHS alumni 1978-1982). She was awarded the MNZM for services to sport, particularly athletics in the 2017 Queens Birthday honours.  Raylene works for Athletics NZ as the Para-Athlete High Performance Manager/Head Coach.

Alumni profile - Janine Southby (Brown)
TTHS alumni 1982-1986

The current Silver Ferns netball coach Janine Southby has always had a passion for sport.

Janine (nee Brown) attended The Taieri High School from 1982 to 1986, and says she loved lots of different sports - netball, tennis, basketball, touch, cricket, athletics. Not surprisingly, she was awarded both Junior and Senior Sportswoman.  She remembers enjoying the interschool sports exchanges with Dunstan, St Kevins and South Otago High School OHS and going to SISS netball tourney in Blenheim, although recalls as a 4th former with a whole team of 6th and 7th formers it was also "pretty scary."

She went on to represent Otago at both netball and tennis in age groups.

After she left school, Janine trained as a teacher at the University of Otago Dunedin Teachers College. She has held various teaching roles in Wellington, Palmerston North and overseas from 1991-2000, but continued to follow her netball passion in both playing and coaching. 

Sporting accolades

Janine played in the Otago NPC netball team between 1987 and 1990, then was chosen for the New Zealand Young Internationals squad and team in 1992-93.  She has played for Wellington, Manawatu and the Western Flysters franchise, and was in the Otago NPC 2001-2003 which was runner-up to NZ Cup in 2002, and the Otago Rebels Franchise team which made the semi finals in 2003.

Janine got into netball coaching while at University and carried on through various teaching roles. 

She started coaching Uni-Albion to Dunedin Premier Netball Club title in 2004 and was the assistant coach to the Otago Rebels in 2005, becoming Head Coach Otago Rebels in 2006 and 2007. She coached the Steel from 2012-2015. She was appointed assistant coach to the NZ U21 team in 2008, the team gaining a silver medal at World Youth Cup in 2009. She was Head Coach to the NZ U21 team from 2010-2013, which went on to win the World Youth Cup in 2013. Janine became Head Coach for the newly formed Fast5 Ferns 2013 and 2014, the team winning the World Fast5 Tournament. 

She was appointed Silver Ferns Coach in November 2015, a role that is both busy and rewarding.

School memories

Janine and her family lived at Henley, and she vividly recalls the big transition from being at a country school of three classes to a very large high school. But there was lots of fun on bus rides to and from school each day.

Some of her reminiscences were having to wear 'rompers' for PE in 3rd and 4th form which were definitely were not popular among the girls. She recalls a group of boys making a bomb and setting it off in a science lab and the bag search that followed. And she remembers lots of card games played in senior common room during study periods. She always enjoyed Mr Letts and Mr Brookes classes.

As with many fellow alumni, she also has fond memories of the build-up to school formals, and the gossip afterwards, although perhaps not so much fondness of the 1980's fashion, looking back at the photos.

Gwenda Hill (Bain)

TTHS alumni 1969-1971
TTHS/Taieri College teacher

Gwenda has been teaching maths for 41 years at Taieri College (and formerly TTHS).  She has always enjoyed maths and explaining things - it was her love of  maths and a desire to help people understand problems which attracted her to the teaching profession.  Despite having worked at the same school for all of her teaching career she says there has been plenty of variety to maintain her passion for the job.  There is always something different - maths curriculum changes, new students coming through. During her tenure at Taieri College she has taught multiple generations of the same family and thinks being a part of the local community has helped her in her work.  "Ah ha moments" when pupils of all levels, who had been struggling with a particular problem, suddenly clicked, were some of the most rewarding.  Gwenda is also actively involved with the NZ Assn of Maths Teachers and has written classroom textbooks.
Extract from Taieri Times March 2,2016

She tells her story as a pupil

I began as a student at The Taieri High School in 1969, having moved from a country school where I was one of nine students in my form level. Consequently I spent most of that year completely overwhelmed by the size of the school. 

Students were walking around singing "Charming weather" to get the response "Oh yes, delightful weather" and it took me a while to learn that this was from a musical they had been in the year! I also vividly remember the massed singing -- boys all on one side of the hall and girls on the other. The boys singing of the "Bold Gendarmes" was amazing. 

Playing sport, and understanding a lot of the work given to me, helped. Thank goodness that I didn't know at this time that I would be here, with only a few short breaks, for over forty years! " 

A Softball team 1971
Back row: Mrs Sue Gain, Gwenda Bain, S Smart, Jan Murray, Jillian McCulloch
Front row: Karen Reid, Anita Willis, V Wigg (Capt), S Carmody, Susan Boddy 

Brian Dodds

(TTHS alumni 1960-1964)
Queens Service Medal recipient

Retired Balclutha accountant Brian Dodds has been awarded the Queen's Service Medal for his services to healthcare and the community. 

Brian was a founding member of the Balclutha Hospital Support Group in 1991, which sought various options for the preservation of clinical services in the Clutha district. "When the old hospital closed, we had a public meeting at the town hall. It was packed.  "There was a suggestion to form a committee. Pauline [his wife] nudged me and said perhaps I should volunteer." 

He went on to become a member of Clutha Health Incorporated (CHI), which was formed to build and manage a new hospital, and was the inaugural and interim chairman from 1997 to 2001. He stayed on as a board member until November last year. 

He was also a member of the Balclutha Health Services Board, which developed the plans for the new hospital, Clutha Health First (CHF), which opened in December 1998. He was the inaugural chairman of its governing body and remains in that position. 

From Mosgiel originally, Brian puts his strong desire to serve the Balclutha community down to his former employer, the late Bill Thomson senior, and the work ethic of his accountancy firm Shand Thomson. "As accountants, we were expected to make a full commitment to the community and to take on leadership roles. It's something I embraced because I believed it." 

His leadership has guided health services that have proved to be sustainable and stand as a model for the concept of an integrated family health centre. "It had to be sustainable, something with community ownership, and a fully integrated service, because no one was going to bail us out," he said. Brian has also been a trustee of the former Clutha Community Mobility Van and the South Otago Nurses' Trust Fund. 

Brian was a member of the South Otago High School board of trustees for almost 10 years, which he chaired for four years, and holds leadership roles with St Andrew's Presbyterian Church. Now aged 70, and retired from the major positions he has held, his achievements in community-based health are a highlight of his life and career. 

"I have been very lucky. When the hospital project came along, my work colleagues cut me some slack. A huge amount of work had to be compacted into an incredibly short time, in just 12 months, for the hospital to be ready to take patients. "I've got this recognition; I don't always feel comfortable about it because I've worked with some good people. It wouldn't have been possible without them." The father and grandfather's skill with figures is still being called upon. 

A keen lawn bowler, he has just been appointed treasurer of the Balclutha Bowling Club. "You've got to do your bit," he said. 

Courtesy of the Southland Times, June 5, 2017

Records broken- Taieri College Athletics Day 2017

A total of 14 records were broken at Taieri College's athletics day in February this year: 

U12G 200mDanni Thomson broke S Smith record of 30.90s set in 2008 with a run of 30.23s 
U12G Discus Shyah Beattie broke Z Beattie record of 20.16m set in 2014 with a throw of 22.37m 
U12G 1500m       Gina McQueen-Richards broke R Cunnigham record of 6.09 set in 2015 with a run of 5:43.83 
U12B 200m Jackson Smith broke J Mitchell record of 30.21 set in 2015 with a run of 30.02s 
U12B DiscusZaine Murdoch broke his own record set in 2016 of 25.94m with a throw of 28.13m 
U12B ShotputZaine Murdoch broke H Mears record of 8.45m set in 2013 with a throw of 9.38m 
U12B 800mCorey Reid broke T Mitchell record of 2:47:53 m set in 2015 with a run of 2:41:50m
U13B High Jump Ben Joyce broke R Anderton record of 1.40m set in 2010 with a jump of 1.41m
U13G 800m Gabby Kakahi broke E Hiom record of 2:54.7 set in 2009 with a run of 2:40.10m
U13G 1500mGabby Kakahi broke S Conroy record of 5:52:49s set in 2012 with a run of 5:35.20m 
U15G Discus Zharna Beattie broke S Wilson record of 26.03m set in 1992 with a throw of 36.68m
U15G Shotput Zharna Beattie broke S Wilson record of 9m set in 1992 with a throw of 11.59m
U15G 200m Tara McNally broke M Fraser record of 27.6s set in 1992 with a run of 27.25s
U16B Discus Hamish Mears broke N Tait record of 49.59m set in 1989 with a throw of 51.31m 

Alumni participants at World Masters Games

Three former Taieri High School students from the early 1960's took part in the World Masters Games in Auckland in April. Ross Jackson and Morven Inglis were 1961 school athletic champs, and had not seen each other for 56 years until meeting at a TTHS Alumni Group get-together after the games.

Ross Jackson (alumni 1958-1961)

Ross lives in Wellington. He competed in 70-74 year age group, in both the 60 km cycling road race as well as the national road cycling championships five days later in Cambridge. Despite finishing "back in the pack of 85" he says "it is still great to be out there competing and sharing in the camaraderie of events."  At Taieri Ross was involved in variety of sports, including rugby, cricket, athletics, cross country running and gymnastics. Since then middle and long distance running have been his greatest strengths,and where he attained his best athletic achievements.

Morven Inglis (alumni 1960-1964) 

Morven now lives in Canada.  She competed in the age category 70-74 in five individual swimming events in free and back plus 2 relays, Results 1 silver (200 free) and 1 bronze (free relay). At Taieri Morven was involved in track and field, hockey, tennis, swimming, and diving. 

Alan Dougal (alumni 1962-1966)

Alan is from Auckland and competed in the athletics 65-69 age group.  His results were a 1st: 400m 2nd, 300m hurdles, and 2nd: in the relay.  Rugby and athletics were his sports at Taieri .

Alan has had top ten places in five World Masters athletic events since 2013, in the 65-69 years age group:

  • 2nd in the 400m (behind world record holder) and 4th in the 300m hurdles (NZ record) at the 2013 World Masters Athletics (WMA) outdoor championships in Porto Alegre, Brazil.
  • 7th in the 400m and 9th in the 200m at the 2015 WMA outdoor championships in Lyon, France. 
  • 7th in the 400m, 7th in the 200m and 3rd in the 4 x 100m relay at the WMA outdoor championships in 2016 in Perth, Australia. 
  • 7th in the 400m, 7th in the 200m and 3rd in the 4 x 200m relay at the 2017 WMA indoor championships in Daegu, South Korea.
  • 1st in the 400m, 2nd in the 300m hurdles and 2nd in the 4 x 400m relay at the 2017 World Masters Games in Auckland, New Zealand.

Report from Robert Findlay & John Cuttance

Alan Dougal displays some of his medals, including the gold and two silvers, won at the World Masters Games in Auckland in April.

Ross Jackson, Morven Inglis and Alan Dougal catching up after the Masters Games

1961 The Taieri High School Athletic Champions
Jo Rivett, Ross Jackson, Morven Inglis, Dennis Brown, Zona Metger, Ken Whitson 

TTHS memories

Class photo supplied by Robin Moody (TTHS 1958-1959)

Taieri College Alumni Assn Inc - AGM 10 April 2017 
Chairman's Report  

I am sorry that I am not able to be present at the 2017 AGM of the Taieri College Alumni Annual General Meeting. I am present on holiday in the North Island travelling in my Motor Home. I do not expect to return home to Dunedin before 20th April.

Unfortunately my involvement and efforts to advance the Alumni over the past year have been minimal at best. Although I strongly believe in the Alumni and its advancement, through other commitments that I have had over the last year, but in reality my ability to procrastinate, my involvement with the Alumni Committee has been far less than it should have been.

Luckily the Alumni has been well supported by Sue Brinsdon who has been a most efficient and helpful Secretary and Claire Grant for the writing and editing of the marvellous newsletters. Over the past year Sue has been working to develop and update the Alumni database and I believe that the completion and publication of the data base will encourage further membership enrolment.

Our membership has increased by 89 over the past year to 463 members. There have been two newsletters issued (May & Nov) and a memorial gathering was held at the college on 17 July for ex-pupil/ex-teacher Karen Taiaroa to unveil her art work and plant a rata tree. A 1957 upper 5th form/6th form group of ex-pupils held a reunion in October.

It seems that there is a greater number of ex The Taieri High School pupils from my era (1959 -- 1963) resident in Auckland than in the Mosgiel/Dunedin area. Robert Findlay (Head Boy 1954) has established an Alumni Group that has met in Auckland on a social basis several times over the past year. I believe that Robert's work in keeping in contact and organising social gatherings with ex pupils from his time at TTHS is a good example for the development of satellite Alumni Groups. It is a fact that for many years the ex-pupils from TTHS and Taieri College have spread far and wide throughout New Zealand and overseas and therefore their ability to have involvement with a Mosgiel based Alumni is naturally limited, and therefore it is important that the establishment of satellite Alumni groupings be encouraged. 

For those who have joined the Alumni throughout the past year I now say to you welcome on board and for those who have helped maintain and develop the Alumni I say thank you.

Unfortunately each year sees the passing of fellow pupils and teachers from times past and to the families and love ones of those who have died during the past year I extend my condolences and sympathy.

Let us go forward to the next 12 months with the hope that the Alumni will grow in numbers and in strength.

Regards, John Cuttance (Chairman).

Henry Rutz

We note with regret the passing of Henry Rutz (alumni 1961). Henry who we featured in our August 2015 newsletter was the first AFS student at TTHS.  He stayed with the Shaw family and is remembered for his rugby skills and as a champion sprinter.

We hope you enjoyed this edition of our newsletter - if you have any stories of interest or are planning any reunions email us. And please let us know if your details change, so we can update the database.Email

Click here if you wish to read previous Taieri College newsletters.