A Message from the Rector

By Richard Hall | Posted: Friday March 19, 2021

"Hi, Im Cabbage."

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting a number of old boys in the North Island.

One Graeme Watt introduced himself to me, not by his name, but by his Otago Boys’ High School nickname of ‘Cabbage’. For the rest of the evening no one present called him anything else.

It got me thinking, not about cabbages, (for the record I am not a big vegetable fan), but about the connection a nickname gives.

Now, from the outset I will be frank (no not my nickname!), not all nicknames are even mildly PC, but neither are they all that bad. They connect us together, often humorously, and help us to share experience and mateship.

Boys earn their nickname, and it sticks with them. At first they might not like it, but as they grow older they often grow into the name and as was proven this week, are actually quite chuffed to have it. Most understand that they have made it when they get a nickname, that they matter and that they most importantly of all have been accepted. That is a measure of success.

As a community we understand that acceptance and connection are so important. Interestingly today, I heard the result of a recent Otago University study that found 15 year old's are 2.5 times more likely to experience depression in the 21st century. Is that a measure of how our society has advanced?  Why is this happening? Lots of reasons, but what I heard was a lack of connection between people, of increased loneliness and anxiety.

So, for me, anything that keeps people connected is a good thing, even if it is a non PC nickname it is not all bad.

So to my school mates; Bozo, Sak, Devon and Gill, have a great weekend.

Oh, I forgot to mention that until earlier this year Cabbage was the Chief Financial Officer for Kiwibank; not a cabbage at all!