Old Boys' Society President's Report - March 2019

By Geoff Bates | Posted: Wednesday March 20, 2019

Firstly, me Geoff Bates, I’m your new President having taken over from Brent Alexander who after 9 years of service to the school stood down at the last AGM. Thank you, Brent, on behalf of the Old Boys’ Society for all the time and effort that you put in over that period.

My time at school was from 1973-77. My late dad Bill 1931-35 and my son Josh 2010-14. During the latter I reconnected with the school by standing and being elected onto the Board of Trustees. Three of those six years as Chairman. From this I attained an up close understanding of how our school ticks from the inside out, and an even greater appreciation of the demands placed on today’s educators and how poorly a state school is funded.

The undoubted highlight while Chair was the opportunity to offer Richard Hall the position of our 14th rector. Richard over the past four years has cemented in place a vision for Otago Boys’ that will build on our schools existing foundations of excellence and all important tradition.

Richard has the rare quality of being both a great manager and a great leader. One of his expectations, and he has a few, is that an OB’s boy holds his hand up, i.e. how can I help rather than out, what’s in it for me.

I feel it is time that we as Old Boys, as a collective, hold our hands up and offer Richard what he and our fine old alumni needs to continue to build on what he and his team has achieved to date.

OB’s is a large chunk of real estate that will always need work. Ministry funding is limited and does not extend to the Hostel, or the jewel in our crown Aspiring Lodge.

During my term as President I will be looking at ways on how we can offer back to our school. I will be asking questions of you on what it means to be an Old Boy.

Simply, I feel if we connect and engage with our old school it will ensure that Otago Boys’ maintains its rightful standing as one of the top boy’s school in New Zealand. Richard and his team are more than leading the way, but they need our support.

So, my first question of you is are you prepared to donate the cost of a flat white or your long black to the school on a monthly basis. A measly $4.50, or x12, $54.00. Call it a sub, call it whatever but see it as a helping hand. Times 7 odd thousand living Old Boys that we know of (buy can’t necessarily connect to) equals $378k. Wouldn’t that kick start things.

Have a think, but do more than that by going to


and drop our school a dollar or three or whatever you feel being an Old Boy is worth.

The two major projects currently on the go is the redevelopment of the Hostel, and an upgrade of the Shand building into a function centre for both the school and the Old Boys Society.

Your contribution will not just go into a bucket it will be used directly on the above, or if you choose the Lodge as a third alternative.

The recent 2019 Crest Cleaning Otago Boys' High School Old Boys Golf Tournament in February raised $27,500. These funds are going towards the outdoor programme at Mt Aspiring to buy packs, outdoor gear and to support boys with the fees that come with a week in the mountains. A big thank you to Old Boys Tom West and Nick Fisher for making this happen. The same goes to Grant McLachlan of Crest Cleaning the major tournament sponsor plus all the hole sponsors and everyone else involved. For the first time we had a lady’s team, but must admit I wasn’t brave enough to suggest they were now OB’s Old Girls.

On a totally social note a very successful luncheon was held back in November last year where we were hosted by Old Boy Danny Gin at the Savoy in Dunedin. This was attended by around 50 Old Boys and friends of the school where Ryan Martin (former 1st XV captain, teacher at OB’s & Assistant Coach to the Otago Mitre 10 rugby team) did a presentation on the Otago rugby season from an attack perspective. This was followed by a Q&A with six of OBHS Old (young) Boys that were part of the Mitre 10 Cup Squad which lifted the Log o’ Wood last season.

This will be an annual event so mark your calendars for Friday November 22 later this year where we will be looking to entice 75 along.

Thank you to Gwyn Pratley for organising the traditional Old Boys vs OBHS 1st XI fixture at the end of January. Robbie Lawson, a former Otago Cricket captain, led our team to a 56 run victory but the real winner on the day was the opportunity for past and present OB’s boys to join together. A great way to kick off the new school year.

Coming up on Wednesday 10 April is the annual OBHS vs Kings Old Boys bowls tournament at the Mornington Bowling Club from 1-4pm. Our organiser Grant Humprey tells me a field of over 60 is expected with no doubt keen rivalries to the fore.

For those rugby followers there is a preseason game against a visiting Kings College 1st XV on Saturday 13 April. 

On Tuesday 14 May it’s the Kings interschool with an Old Boys pre-match get together planned in the Shand. The same is planned for the Christchurch Boys interschool on Tuesday July 2. Again, mark your calendars.

Traditionally the North Canterbury Old Boys, as I understand it, host a pre-match to the Christs College interschool. Alan Alty or Steve Pile is this a goer?

For the time being that it’s from me but I urge you to keep/get in touch and reach out to other Old Boys you know who may not be connected to us. One of our biggest problems is that the Old Boys email database goes out of date pretty much on a daily basis. Email bounce backs is a growing problem. A ‘where are you now’ link on the Old Boys web page is a current work on.

Geoff Bates
Old Boys' President
[email protected]