Monday, 31 December 2007

Bye Bye 2007

On the last day of the year we would just like to thank you for your support this year. Since March we have had over 10000 hits on our humble blog from places all over the world. We love getting your emails and comments and rest assured we will be here for 2008, so keep spreading the word and keep checking in.

Happy New Year and watch out for the red wine.

Sunday, 30 December 2007

Our Brothers

At the end of every year there is a re assignment of roles for some of the Brothers in our community. 2008 will see the following changes
  • Br Ray Khan is moving to Mangere to be the director of their community as Br Jack Iremonger leaves that role to work in PNG.
  • Br Ben Tin has left to work in Vietnam in 2008 but expects to be back at some stage.
  • Br Declan remains with us for another year, which is great for the old boys as he does so much work in the archives. We also have plans for Dec leading up to next years 50th.
Brothers Oliver, Steve, Peter Smyth and Peter Ryan will also be amongst us, and long may that be the case.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Season's Greetings

Merry Christmas to all of our Old Boys and their families.

We hope you have a great holiday break, get lots of prezzies and get to spend time with the ones you love.

We will continue to post over the holiday period but on a weekly rather than daily basis.


Friday, 21 December 2007

Milo Cup Finals

We are the national champions! Unfortunately because the rain did not allow any games to be played, so are the other three semi finalists. We can see from the photo that the team's spirits remained high throughout in the certain knowledge that we would have beaten the others if we had a chance.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Welcome to Hobbiton

The news that Weta Workshop is to be involved with the making of The Hobbit reminds us that we have an FDMC connection to the famous Wellington studio. Mat Webling has been working for Weta in the production department and we believe Dwayne Keegan has recently taken his considerable construction skills to Weta as well. If you know of any one else involved please let us know. We can think of several candidates for Bilbo and perhaps even the voice of the Dragon!

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Recent Contacts

Good to see a lot of old boys back home for the holidays. Some recent sightings and contacts include
  • Kelly George back with his family for Christmas - he has moved from New York back to London.
  • Mathew McDonald spotted at Cinderella recently - he remains an integral part of the family firm.
  • Rangi Dansey was a foundation pupil who recently contacted us - he is now living in Auckland.
  • Pat Paiti, Trent Manton and Connor Landrigan have all made recent email contact.
Keep those emails coming and make sure you say hello if you get the chance.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Sing Up

Great to see old boy Joseph Gardner back in town to perform at the Festival of Lights opening on Sunday night. Joseph is pursuing his operatic career and continuing to study, hopefully next year in Auckland - he is looking for a benefactor of the arts if any one is keen.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Junior Prizegiving

Here we have the major prize winners from this years Junior Prizegiving. A fine body of future leaders, academics and sportsmen.

The full list of prize winners can be accessed by clicking on FDMC Junior Prize List.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Last Day!

Today is Junior Prizegiving and the last day of school for the students at FDMC. The staff will of course be working hard on their planning up until Christmas Eve - well maybe.

Some staff are taking their holidays in exotic locations. Ross MacNicol, pictured left, and his family are spending two months touring India - he is unlikely to find a quality hot dog in that time.

Others of us will stay home, enjoy the magic that is a Taranaki summer and of course write the occasional blog post.

We will have some photos of the junior prizegiving next week.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Cricket Any One?

While our current crop of cricketers are doing very well we are also seeing a number of old boys pushing for higher honours. The Taranaki men's squad was announced this week as

Matthew Broadmore (captain), Travis Stewart, Leith Johnston, Joe Dravitzki, Kolyn Tai, David Good, Tim Weston, Greg Paynter, Rob McLeod, Jamie Watkins, Nick Taylor, Ryan Fleming, Daniel Bolstad, Keith Muller, Andrew Mason, Peter Ingram and Glen Reynolds.

Daniel Bolstad, Ryan Fleming and Joe Dravitzki are FDMC old boys while Tim Weston and Peter Ingram are currently teaching at the college.

We also provide the core of the Taranaki supporters known as the Mustardos and you can keep up with their exploits (?*!) on their Mustardos Blog.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Time Marches On #4

We have saved the roughest group until last! Taken at the 40th Jubilee these are guys who graced our corridors in the early to mid 1980's. We are sure there will be a much larger group at the 50th, especially when so many now have sons at the college.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Well Done

Last weekend saw the national Sec. Schools Athletics Championships. We sent a strong team along with some very good results.
  • Tom Ingram- 1st Open hammer throw, 6th open shotput,
  • Jake Blanks- Senior triple jump (6th)
  • Nathan Coombes- Senior 3000m track (9th).
  • Nick Coulton- Open hammer throw (5th)
  • Kale Joines- Senior Javelin (12th)
  • Aaron McCallum- Junior boys 100m (quarter finalist)
  • Luke McCallum- Junior Boys 3km road race (100/118)
  • Brody Schultz- Junior Boys 3km road race (92/118)
Toms winning throw in the hammer was 5 metres further than 2nd place.

It is of note that three of the athletes are sons of current staff members - Mike Ingram, Graham Blanks and Paul Coulton. We are not sure what that might mean.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Computer Crash

At this time of the year I think we all know how this little fella feels.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Oh Brother!

We were rummaging through the archives and came upon this photo which we had never seen before. It must have been taken during the early 1980's and judging by the the shorts and the smiles it had to be around the summer holidays.

The brothers are from left to right ...
Br Dave, Mr Michael, Br Robert, Br Will, Br Kevin, Br Matty, Br. Steve H, Br Steve L, ?, Br Adrian, Br Peter, Br Oliver, Br Pat.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Sharing The Mission

As part of the Lasallian Share The Mission programme two of this year's Y13 students are off to Balgo Hills in the very real outback of Western Australia. Nick Siffleet and Chas Carroll are volunteering their time to work within the Brother's community which serves the aboriginal community of a very wide area surrounding Balgo Hills. we wish them well and know they will have lots of stories to tell on their return.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Milo Cup Success

Last Friday saw our Milo Cup cricket team, drawn from the best players in Years 7 and 8, defeat Hutt International College. It was a convincing win by a very talented team who will ensure that our cricketing future is bright.

The win means FDMC is through to the Top 4 tournament which pits the best 4 teams in the country against each other. We have every confidence that our young fellas will do very well at this level - more details at a later date.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Situations Vacant

Live-in Residential Supervisor

A live-in resident is required to take care of the boarders’ in our Year 9 Hostel in a warm, friendly environment during the week (evenings, overnight and before school). This live-in position would suit a single person who likes their days free to pursue other interests.

All applicants must enjoy the company of teenagers and be prepared to involve themselves in Hostel activities.

Remuneration will be negotiated.

Application pack can be obtained from:
Francis Douglas Memorial College
201 Tukapa Street
New Plymouth
before 19 December
or by phoning or emailing:
the Dean of Boarding on 0275300543

Applications close on
11 January, 2008

Time Marches On #3

Another photo from the 40th Jubilee in 1999. This one is of students from the late 80's early 90's - a staunch bunch.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

How Things Have Changed #4

The latest in our little series.

Scenario: Johnny and Mark get into a fistfight after school.

1967 - Crowd gathers. Mark wins. Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up best friends. Nobody goes to jail, nobody arrested, nobody expelled.

2007 - Police called, SWAT team arrives, arrests Johnny and Mark. Charge them with assault, both expelled even though Johnny started it.

Friday, 30 November 2007

Our Lady

The latest addition to the college environment is a statue of our lady sited at the top of the college entrance drive way. This means she is the first thing people see on arriving and the last on departing.

Dan Keegan and Miles Blair have done a great job of constructing a "modern grotto" for the statue, which integrates well into its surroundings.

The background to the statue comes from Br Dec who tells us ...

"Under the title of ‘Our Lady of the Missions', this statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was venerated at the Columban Seminary in North Turramurra, Sydney from 1981. In 2003 the seminary was closed.

Through the generosity of Leon and Shirley Schollum the statue was restored, and in 2007 donated to this College named after a Columban Priest Fr Francis Douglas."

Our thanks go to the Schollum family for their part in adding to the catholic nature of our campus.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Well Done FDMC

Check out the Taranaki Cricket Junior page for a great breakdown on FDMC's recent success.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Statistically Speaking

We have just been reviewing some of our blog site data and thought you might be interested in a few figures.

In the last 6 months we have had
  • 1068 distinct visitors
  • who spend on average 1.38 minutes a visit
  • there were 168 visits from the USA, 260 from Australia and 350 from the UK
  • the largest proportion of NZ visits come from Auckland
  • 70% of all visitors use internet explorer as their browser
A recent email from old boy Michael Ryan wonders why more visitors don't leave comments. It may be that we are all shy and retiring, although I would have to say that has not been my teaching experience! If you do feel like having a say about something just click on the word comment at the bottom of the post, the rest is easy.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Hard Labour

Here are three hard working old boys; Nathan Hill, Cameron Walsh and Morgan Davies. The guys have been beavering away in the Year 13 hostel as it undergoes a major refit, a change of pace from their university studies.

There is another old boy connection to the job with a kind donation from the Vavasour Charitable Trust making much of the work possible. The Vavasour boys, Charles, Francis and Rollo, where students of the college in the 1960's and part of the Blenheim Boarders contingent. Their support will ensure next years senior boarders have a great environment to live and hopefully study in.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Another Lecturer

A week or so ago we asked if anyone knew of any other university lecturers who were old boys. We are happy to say that Cyril Schafer was prepared to dob himself in;
" I am presently an anthropology lecturer at the University of Otago. I've been working here for a couple of years after finishing my PhD in 2005. I've worked in a number of places but really appreciate this part of the world and am very much enjoying my current position. I teach a number of courses including research methods, ritual and globalization. I am also involved in a few research projects.

My brother (Andy) now works in Sydney as a computer specialist after his adventures in the Middle East a few years ago."

Always good to hear from old boys. Now can anyone add another name to the lecturer list?

Saturday, 24 November 2007

How Things Have Changed #3

By now you know the drill.

Scenario: Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Heather. Heather hugs him to comfort him.

1967 - In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing.

2007 - Heather is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in prison. Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Time Marches On Again

Lots of interest in yesterday's 40th Jubilee photo so here is an even older group of old boys. You can enlarge the photo simply by clicking on it.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Time Marches On

Br Declan has been going through the archives and has come up with a number of group photos taken at the 40th Jubilee in 1999. We intend to share some of those photos with you over the next few weeks. None are marked by their year group but a little detective work suggests that this fine body of men graced the corridors in the second half of the 1960's. Can any one confirm this?

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

How Things Have Changed #2

A continuation of the politically incorrect observations.

Scenario: Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from Guy Fawkes, puts them in a model aeroplane paint bottle, blows up a red ant bed.

1967 - Ants die.

2007 - Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Homeland Security and SIS called. Johnny charged with domestic terrorism, SIS investigates parents, siblings removed from home, computers confiscated, Johnny's Dad goes on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Senior Prizegiving

Last week saw our Senior Prizegiving for the year. It was well attended and as always showcased the academic talent in the college.

Pictured is Amrit Singh who was the 2007 Dux with Proxime Accesit going to Simon Velvin.

The leaders for 2008 were also announced with Caleb Mawson named Head Boy and David Hills Deputy Head Boy. we will give some more background on our next generation of leaders in a later post.

You can access the full list of students receiving prizes by clicking on 2007 Prize List. Find out who now holds your old cup!

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Ball Photos

A slideshow of photos from the Graduation Ball. What a nice looking bunch, with the occasional exception

Saturday, 17 November 2007

How Things Have Changed #1

This is not very politically correct but then neither are we.

1967 vs. 2007

Scenario: Jack goes duck hunting before school, pulls into school parking lot with shotgun in gun rack.

1967 - Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack's shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack.
2007 - School goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and never sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Graduation Ball

Last Saturday saw the beginning of a new tradition at FDMC, the Graduation Ball. This has replaced the mid year College Ball and could be described as a Leaver's Dinner on steroids. With Year 13 students, their parents and partners the ball took place at the Plymouth Hotel and went on well into the night. The general opinion seems to be that things went well for a first time event and parents appreciated sharing the night with their sons. We will include some more photos in a later post.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

The Chapel Windows

We mentioned the chapel windows in yesterday's post and today they appeared in the Daily News as part of an article on young Ken Imrie. Ken has made it to the national finals of a TV2 quiz show.

While the photo does not display the windows to their best effect we thought some of you older old boys might be interested to see them. We will do a post on them in more detail at a later date.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Sad News

We received news yesterday of the sad passing of Arthur Watson. Arthur was the father of Brother Adrian Watson, old boy and past teacher at FDMC.

Arthur had been a great supporter of the college from the early days where he was active in raising money for and physically establishing Francis Douglas Memorial College. Over the years Arthur has given many hours of his time to building and maintaining various parts of the college. It was Arthur who was entrusted with the fixing of the stained glass windows in the new college chapel.

Our thoughts are with the Watson family and our prayers are of thanks for the person that Arthur was.

May He Rest in Peace.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Look Out Bondi

Old Boy Paul Cracroft-Wilson featured in today's Daily News as one of the best hopes for the NZ surf lifesaving team in their international competition in Sydney this month.

Paul's specialty is the beach flags race being the current Australasian champ.

New Zealand Surf Lifesaving sport manager, Mark Weatherall, said he considered Cracroft-Wilson the "quiet achiever" of the Kiwi squad.

"He's very quick, very focused and very determined," he said.

We are sure that is the case as it aptly describes the Paul we new at school.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Face Off

A new view from the staff room (the old Library) as De La Salle looks towards our most recent addition, a statue of Our Lady.

We will have some more details on the new addition later in the week, which promises to be a very busy one as we build towards prizegiving on Thursday.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Even Sunnier Days

Not sure which year this was taken but it does portray the classic FDMC study technique whereby students get a tan along with a bit of information.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Sunny Days

The days are getting longer, the sun is out more often and the senior students are getting ready for exams and holidays. It is a scenario which is repeated every year, and this group of characters from the 1990's could just as easily be sitting in front of the hostel today.

Senior Prizegiving is 11 o'clock, 15th of November if you happen to be in the neighbourhood.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Back In Class

In the last couple of weeks we have had old boy Nick Bouterey in the college teaching a small group of students about animation and design. Nick's last year in the college was in 1995 and he has been off doing the "big wide world" thing and more recently tutoring at WellTech. He returned to NP in the last month and is looking to build on his career in motion graphics and animation design. Nick tells us he was surprised by the number of physical changes in the old school but was most blown away by the idea of teaching Peter Smith rather than the other way around.

Monday, 5 November 2007

The Gecko Kid

Old Boys from the 1990's may well recall Trent Bell. Trent was a profoundly deaf student with a wicked sense of humour and an abiding interest in lizards and geckos. Even while at school Trent was becoming the national expert in local gecko species and has since gone on to a university degree. He is now employed by DOC and is their lizard specialist with, we suspect, a still very sharp sense of fun.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Bits and Pieces

Aaron Cole's mum was at the college this week. She tells us Aaron, who was at FDMC in the 1990s, is a teaching golf professional who is currently living and working in Kuala Lumpur.

With the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday don't forget to have a little look at whatever Greg Childs is riding. With the sad passing of Tess Gaffeny the staff syndicate will be wide open this year. Tess always had a knack for winning or placing!

Enjoy your weekend fellas, wherever you might be spending it.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Jersey Swap

As mentioned the other day, Conrad Smith was kind enough to come and speak at the Sportsman's Awards and Dinner. He did an excellent job, talking about his life in sport so far and how it was important not to let it define who you are. It was a message that was very well received.

In the course of the evening Conrad presented the school with his All Black jersey from his second test match, the Armistice Test verses France. This was gratefully received and will be displayed at the college. Not to be outdone we presented Conrad with the latest version of the 1st XV playing jersey, a jersey which we hope will get a bit of use in some form or other.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Is there a doctor in the house?

Dan Keegan has mentioned to us the success of his relation Te Taka Adrian Keegan who attended the college in the late 1970's. He is now a lecturer at Waikato University and has recently completed his PhD on the Usage of Indigenous Language Within a Digital Library Environment.

Always great to see old boys achieving academic success. How many other university lecturers do we have out there?

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Sports Awards Dinner

Last Saturday night saw our second ever Sports Award Dinner, held at the New Plymouth Club. It was a dazzling night, with Conrad Smith doing a great job as guest speaker (more on that in a later post).

Pictured is Josh Hickford, nephew of old boys Sam and Shane Bennett. Josh received a number of awards with the biggest being the most outstanding contribution to college sport. Other key awards included;

Sportsman of the Year - Rick McKenna
Team of the Year - 1st XI Cricket
Outstanding Act of Sportsmanship - Junior Levi

We will publish a full list of awards later this week for all those who want to know who currently has their cup.

Monday, 29 October 2007

Catch Up

We have had a steady flow of old boys making contact in the last week or so, which of course we always encourage. In no particular order ...
  • Bill Lynch was a "Blenheim Boarder" who's last year at the College was in 1965. Bill is currently living back in Richmond.
  • Mike Whitehead is currently the Senior Marketing Consultant and Auctioneer for Coopers and Co. (Harcourts) in Takapuna.
  • Craig Reilly was at FDMC between 1965 and 1970 an now resides in Kohimarama, Auckland
  • Kevin Reilly ( yes there is a connection) left FDMC in 1974 and is currently living in Auckland and working as the National Key Accounts Manager for ASB Business Banking.
  • Martin Calder is now a Human Resources Advisor for the Rodney District Council and is living in sunny Orewa.
It is interesting to see how many old boys have followed the national trend and ended up somewhere in the Auckland region.

Friday, 26 October 2007

A MAD Walk

Last Friday's Mission Action Day proved to be very successful on a number of counts. The day was fine, which made a nice change, the students entered into the spirit of the liturgy and the day very well and the walk went without major incident. The students were able to raise around $16 000 for the missions, which was an excellent effort and of real value to the people the missions serve.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

In the News

We seem to have a lot of college connections in the local paper of late. Yesterday's Daily News included an article, with photo, on Leo Walsh and his opinions on the current rugby situation. Leo has not been in the best of health recently and it was good to read how positive he remains about the current rugby world.

Yesterday's front page also had an article and photo on Anthony McCarten and his new film project to be shot in Taranaki, staring Melanie Lynsky ( not an old boy, but an old girl of NPGHS). Long time blog readers will recall we profiled Anthony a few months ago.

The other good news was that we did not recognise any one in the court reports! Keep up the good work fellas.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

From Br. Dec

It is inspiring to learn of a time (within the last 70 years) when so many were prepared to die for what they believed.

For those who read Spanish, a website is also included!

On next Sunday 28 October 2007, will be beatified a group that numbers in total 498, all of whom were martyred during the years of the Spanish Civil War, 1934-1939.

There are 2 bishops, 24 diocesan priests, 1 deacon, 1 sub-deacon, 1 seminarian, 7 lay people, and 462 men and women from Institutes of Consecrated Life.

Of the 462 are
  • 45 Sisters from 8 different Congregations.
  • 47 Marist Brothers, the youngest of whom was 19 and the oldest 62.
  • 58 De La Salle Brothers, of these 21 were below the age of 30 and the oldest 60.
Three web sites that give details of names, places and dates etc are:

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Apprentice Of The Year

We noticed the winners list of the Apprentice of the Year competition in last weeks Daily News. It is great to see so many old boys doing well in the trades. We have identified the following old boys from the list - apologies to anyone we have missed.

  • Andrew Turner - winner of the Senior Excellence Award, Light Fabrication and Welding
  • Tony Stewert - finalist for Senior Excellence Award, Fabrication and Welding
  • Paul Clarke - winner of the Junior Excellence Award, Electrical
  • Gareth Tai - finalist for Junior Excellence Award, Electrical
  • Callan Day - winner of the Senior Excellence Award, Maintenance & Diagnostic
  • Reece Hannam - winner of the Senior Excellence Award, Heavy Fabrication and Welding
  • Chad Smith - finalist for Senior Excellence Award, Refrigeration & Air Conditioning

Friday, 19 October 2007


Never under estimate the power of prayer! Today is mission action day (MAD) at the college, which means after a number of school activities we indulge in a sponsored walk to raise funds for the missions. This formula has been happening for close to a decade now and as you can imagine is somewhat dependant on the weather. You can imagine the relief this morning to awaken to a fine day, even more so as it has been raining for the last fortnight and is predicted to keep raining for the next month. We will keep you posted on how the day goes and how much we raise, with perhaps a sunny photo or two thrown in.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

New Nets

Nice article in today's Daily News about staff member Peter Ingram and his up coming cricket season with CD. Pete, Tim Weston and Mark Wales have done a great job in supporting cricket at the school in the last couple of years. In behind them doing a lot of the hard yards is Gaye Bolstad our cricket coordinator.

The observant amongst you will notice that Pete is in our new cricket nets area which has been developed on the tennis courts. The courts have been resurfaced with 7 new nets set up using retractable netting - a great system which will help with all the teams we currently field.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Final Instalment

I didn't expect to be writing my final instalment the week before the final....and I considered not writing anything but I thought it might help the grieving.

Fair to say its been a tough 8 days and I know the guys are still broken about what happened and hoping that time will help heal the wounds and put some perspective on our "tragedy".

I have been oblivious to the reaction over here but I've heard its all been pretty sympathetic which does help. The pain the players and management go through is on a different level to what even the most ardent supporter feels, so I'm always disappointed when people decide to have a crack at us.

For my part I reckon we could have played that World Cup ten times and won 8 of them....but there was always a chance we could have a bad day and get knocked over and that's what happened. That's sport.

I've spent the time since with plenty of College Old Boys for a much needed laugh. Adam Franks runs a Walkabout bar in London and kindly locked the doors for a few ales....he operates with a true Lasalian spirit so I suggest other Old Boys get along there while in London for an ale. Was also up in New Plymouth on my return to farewell Scott Ireland with plenty of fellow Old Boys from '99. I then found myself with a slightly older crew for Kieren O'Neill's 30th. Two great nights with plenty of quality gentlemen that the College has produced.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Cricket Season

No sooner has the winter sports finished than the summer ones start. In the blogging spirit we have set up a FDMC cricket blog for anyone who wants to keep track of how things are going in the world of whites.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Bits and Pieces

Just a few bits of info as we begin the first week of the last term.

Br David Hawke was back to speak to staff at our teacher only day on Monday. Br Dave was in good form and gave a very informative talk about the global La Sallian family and what was happening around the world. He tells us he still has a soft spot for FDMC which was his first teaching appointment.

We commiserate with Conrad and his fellow players. It is a moot point whether we are getting more mature in dealing with defeat or just more familiar. If you wonder why you haven't seen him on the TV we believe he is taking some time to show mum and dad around the UK and France.

Still on a rugby theme, Kane Barrett was last night awarded the Roger Urbhan Trophy for the most outstanding Under 19 player in Taranaki. Old boy Scott Ireland received the award for most points scored for the Taranaki A team. Scott is off to Cornwall to play on a short term contract and plans to be back next year - beware the scrumpy!

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Well Done Stef!

Congratulations to Stefan Webling on his recent motor racing scholarship. The scholarship, worth $70,000 over the two years, will allow him to race in a top quality Stealth model Formula Ford prepared by Christchurch company MotorSport Solutions.

Stefan left school last year and is the youngest of three Webling brothers to go through FDMC.

The photo is courtesy of the Daily News.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Hostel News

Above is a fairly grainy photo of the "middle hostel" as it was being built in 1979. It is now nearly 30 years old and like many of us showing a bit of wear, fifth form boarders being what they are. The hostel is about to undergo an overhaul and refit which is being looked forward to by all concerned.

Mr Ian Russ, hostel manager for the past 18 months has moved on and is to replaced by Sjaane and Steve Simpson, who have recently returned from some time overseas. They will be living on site and it will be the first time we have had a husband and wife team overseeing the hostel, something we are sure will work well.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Keeping an Eye Out

Thanks to Kevin Breedveld for the following information on guys from his era (last year1980).

Of 6 RED 1980
  • Bruce Frecklington is still in Bulls, unless he is drinking all my beer and lying around the pool on a weekend visit. He is still involved in farming and property.
  • Spoke to Patrick Bennett's dad Brian at the NP Club a little while ago, but he said Patrick is still in Singapore
  • Seen Simon MacInnes around town, not sure what he does for a living
  • Terry Dodunski is in NP working for a telecom business
  • Think Dave Edwards is teaching.
  • Jonathan Koea you know about
  • Saw Michael Burrell at Physio last month, but not to talk to.
  • Peter Morgan is in Auckland area farming,
  • Mark Fleming and Ray Dolan are sadly gone.
  • Paul Watson is in communications and does work on oil rigs, was meant to play squash with him, but we keep missing each other
  • I saw Rod Young at Ray Dolan's funeral and hear a little through our mothers, believe he is in the Auckland area in manufacturing
  • Seen Brent Roebuck running the NP roads
  • Terry Hurley was farming, but has a manager on and is truck driving when I talked to him at squash, he remains a great sportsman and seems to be passing that onto is kids. Has picked up a new nickname since school - Tinsel. You can ask him about that.
Always good to get details from old boys - keep them coming.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Quarter-final Time

Apologies for the lack of contact.....I blame it on a combination of laziness and technical problems, the later of which Mr D has corrected for me. Computer Skills with Pete Smith in 4th Form didn't equip me with the ability to deal with Blog Spots.

Anyway, the last couple of weeks have been pretty busy with travel, trainings for our pool games and also preparing for the knockout stage. The pool games obviously weren't a major challenge but I still relished the chance to play a few games after missing so many over the last couple of years with injuries.

We arrived in Cardiff on Monday pretty excited that the serious stuff was finally upon us, even with a tougher than expected opposition for our Quarter. The team was named that afternoon and there were obviously a few disappointments, mine included. But I only needed to look at the quality of the other players that had missed out to make me realise that its not an easy team to get a spot in and opportunities are always around the corner. I think Richard Doherty had similar selection issues at the height of our 1st XV's form in '99.

The number of New Zealanders and College Old Boys following the team continues to grow. Hopefully I'll be able to catch up with a few of them before and after the games, always a highlight of my travels.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Greg Childs

Greg is another famous old boy from the late 70's. He has had an outstanding career as a jockey, both in NZ and across the ditch. His partnership with Sunline was very special and we know of a good many staff and brothers who always have a little flutter if Greg is riding something in the big Cups.

Recent newspaper articles suggest Greg and a few other Aussie based jockeys may make an appearance in NZ soon so they can keep their hand in while racing is limited by the equine flu. We hope he makes it back to Taranaki but either way we will be watching the fields and jockeys for the Melbourne Cup very closely.

Sunday, 30 September 2007

Old Ads

As we were looking through the 1969 magazine last week we noticed how many of the ads at the back were for businesses that no longer exist - a sign of the times. Some of the more famous include

Burgess, Fraser & Co - wholesalers
Sunray Bakery
DJ Malones - wine and spirit merchants
Duncan & Davies Nurseries
Darby and Hannan Ltd - decorating supplies
IL Murch Ltd - plumbing
The Kash - menswear
Beechey & Underwood Ltd - office supplies
Deare's Ltd - shoes
Hedges Jewellers Ltd

Not a multi national amongst them but all were prepared to support their local community.

Friday, 28 September 2007

Dr J

Jonathan Koea was a student at FDMC in the late 70s and early 80s. A fairly quiet and studious fellow he is now by all accounts an outstanding surgeon.

To quote Jonathan's own on line description ... "I trained in General Surgery in New Zealand and became a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 1998. Following this I undertook postgraduate training at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York specialising in complex surgery for cancers of the liver and gastrointestinal tract. We returned to New Zealand in 2000 and settled on the North Shore. I hold a consultant surgical appointment at Auckland Hospital and run outreach clinics at North Shore Hospital, Warkworth and Whangarei Hospital.

The most enjoyable part of my professional life is meeting and caring for patients. I am a North Shore resident and I believe that specialists should be part of the communities that they serve. I run outreach clinics at North Shore Hospital, Whangarei Hospital and Kowhai Surgery in Warkworth in order to be accessible to patients in North Auckland."

Jonathan's is currently an Associate Professor who specialises in oncology and hepatobiliary surgery and is definitely the man to see if you need your liver, bile duct or gallbladder dealt to.

What impresses us the most about Jonathan is the range of organisations he works for and the obvious way he gives back to his community. We would like to think that that may in part be grounded in a La Sallian outlook on life.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Staff 1969

When it comes to staffing the college things have certainly changed over the years. This photo of the staff in 1969 highlights how many Brothers there were compared to lay staff. We now have more than 3 times as many teachers but only twice as many students, so someone was working pretty hard back in the 60's.

Standing: Br Declan, Peter Walsh, Br Luke, Leo Walsh, Br Stephen, George Karam, Br Petronius
Sitting: Br Lawrence, Br Philip, Mrs French, Br Julian, Fr John Julian, Fr Uhlenberg, Mrs O'Neill
Absent: Br Peter, Br William, Br Ives

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Catch Up

Just recieved an email from Jono Milne (Head Boy 2002) with some catch up details. So we share them with you as an encouragement for others to do the same.

I finish my LLB/BA (Criminology and Political science) this November after 5 years in Wellington at Victoria. I'm then heading to South America for 2 and 1/2 months to continue learning Spanish with a mate from down south. I return in February to start work at Russell McVeagh in Auckland, never thought I'd become a JAFFA but should only be there a couple of years.

I don't know who you've heard from with regards to our year. But here's a quick run down of a few who moved out of Taranaki. Philip Yarrow (stockbroking), Hamish Irving (Macquarie Bank), James Mcseveney (retail) all in Sydney. Nick Rowland in Palmerston North running Murphys Law pub. Matty Webling at Weta film company in wellington. Hans Kalders working towards a double degree in science and accounting at Vic. Ben Whittington in Europe finishing his Arts and Law degrees.

Monday, 24 September 2007

What Next?

As you can see in the sidebar the great "who is the best house?" debate has concluded with Solomon just edging out Benildus - yet again! Do you have any ideas for a new opinion poll? If so, leave a comment on this post and we will do the rest.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Saturday Smile

It's the final of the rugby world Cup, and a man makes his way to his seat right at the centre of the field. He sits down, noticing that the seat next to him is empty. He leans over and asks his neighbour if someone will be sitting there.

"No," says the neighbour. "The seat is empty."

"This is incredible", said the man. "Who in their right mind would have a seat like this for the final game of the World Cup and not use it?"

The neighbour says "Well, actually, the seat belongs to me. I was supposed to come with my wife, but she passed away. This is the first World Cup we haven't been to together since we got married in 1987."

"Oh . I'm sorry to hear that. That's terrible. But couldn't you find someone else, a friend or relative, or even a neighbour to take the seat?"

The man shakes his head "No, they're all at the funeral."

Friday, 21 September 2007

The Hat

While browsing the 2000 magazine we came across this photo of Br Bill and Marcus Hancock; we assume it was taken at the end of Athletics Day. Marcus is now back in Taranaki after studying in the Manawatu. Br Bill is running De La Salle Malvern in Melbourne and we are sure the hat is even more necessary there.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

The Horsey Set

With Br Will now living in Kaikoura we no longer have the riding school or, obviously, the horses on the property. Of course the girls coming to ride the horses are no longer a distraction for the boarders, but being boarders they can always find other distractions.

The photo is taken from the 2000 magazine and while we recognise Br Will and several of the horses we can't work out the students names - any ideas?

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Contact Time

We have had a lot of up dates from old boys recently which is great - keep them coming. the following are some examples.

  • Mike McGuinn is living in Wanganui and has recently got engaged. He has also recently spent some time in hospital having been "run over" by a cattle beast in the yards at the freezing works. We can hear Br Will chuckling.
  • We mentioned a few weeks back that we had run across Mark O'Dea at the rugby. We hadn't. We were talking to his cousin Nick - it's an age thing! Mark is living in New Plymouth and still remembers Mr Blanks as a great VF teacher because "he let me off being late every day if I told him a joke "
  • Ben Whittington is living in Lyon, France on a university exchange. He has been entertaining a number of "guests" who all find themselves in France at the same time as the World Cup - A Kalin and C Smith included.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Let's Get Dirty

As I am sure you all know, we are not just about ball sports at FDMC. The photo is of Callum Neeson, Cameron Hart-Hancock and Jason Rickett who were members of our Motocross team at the recent Taranaki Sec. Schools competition.

Callum won the Champion of Champions and Cameron was placed 3rd.

Overall we were very competitive at all of the age groups, showing you can't beat FDMC boys for speed and dirt

Monday, 17 September 2007

Old Timer

The retro theme may have gone but we couldn't let the 1970s go without this photo of a very young Peter Costello. Several people have pointed out that our recent image of Pete in a tie was not the only one in existence, although it did take some time to find this little gem circa 1977.

For those of you of a mathematical bent you will have identified the fact that Peter has now been at FDMC for 30 years - an outstanding effort.

For those of you who are more philosophical in nature you might ponder on how 30 years of teaching is bound to cause just a little bit of aging.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Retro What?

The thing about retro fashion is that it lasts even less time than the first time around. We have changed to a cleaner, less paisley, look and promise that we will stay in the one mode for a while.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Our League Boys

While rugby has been getting a lot of press FDMC also has a number of past and present pupils doing very well in rugby league. A number of current students are representing age group teams while the Taranaki Sharks team has two FDMC players on their roster. Manu Rakena who is a recent old boy and Scott Jensen who is a current student at the college. Scott is a nephew of David "Pickers" Pickering who many will remember from the 1990s. It begs the question have we had any old boys who have gone on to play NRL?

Wednesday, 12 September 2007


Fair to say it has been an eventful 10 days since my last instalment.

Last week started with the excitement of being named in a pretty strong line-up for the first game and ended with my favourite hamstring ruining that chance a day before the game. Was pretty devastating at the time but since then it has responded far better than I expected to a couple of days rest and now I find myself preparing for another test.....the life of a rugby player.

The team is still in Marseille, a beautiful city that has gone to ridiculous lengths for us to enjoy our stay. The reception we receive in the northern hemisphere, particularly France, still staggers me, and I know most people back home have no idea as to how much support we receive up here.

We travel to Lyon on Thursday for the game and afterwards a chance to catch up with a couple of college old-boys, Ben Whittington and Al Kalin. Hopefully I can have a few beers with them after getting through the game unscathed. Like Brother Anthony used to say, "Trust in the Lord" and things will hopefully turn out for the best.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Recent Contacts

We are always encouraged by the contacts we have from old boys who have been reading the blog and are prepared to make contact and up date us on what they are doing. Some recent contacts have been from

  • Reece Williams (1994-98) - currently teaching at St Peters College in Auckland and keen to see more photos of Peter Costello in a tie.
  • Bryan Finnerty (1980s) - currently running a backpackers lodge at Mt Ruapehu ( see our Old Boys Business page) and has a son in Year 10 at FDMC.
  • Alistair Kalin (1990s) - continues his OE odyssey and was last seen playing rugby in Sweden and is sure he will run into plenty of old boys at the World Cup.
  • Paul Coulton (early 1980s) - has just returned from a six week rugby coaching stint in the UK and reports that the rugby was so-so but the places he visited were great.
  • John Bourke, Greg Northcott, Greg Dwyer, Andrew Bennett and Michael Whitehead have all been in touch to up date their contact details.
Drop us a line at and let us know what you have been up to.

Monday, 10 September 2007

Rugby Photo

Taken from the Daily News is a photo of our NZ Secondary Schools players. From left to right they are Todd Curtis (FDMC), Mitchell Campbell (NPBHS), Rick McKenna (FDMC) and Kane Barrett (FDMC).

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Rugby Ups and Downs

Out thoughts are with Conrad Smith at the moment as he battles those niggling injuries which have dogged him this year.

On a brighter note we have had news this weekend that three FDMC students have made the New Zealand Secondary Schools Rugby team, certainly a first for Francis Douglas College. The three players are
  • Rick McKenna - 1st 5/8
  • Kane Barrett - lock
  • Todd Curtis - tight head prop
Congratulations to those guys. In Kane and Todd's cases they still have another year of school to go so we will be seeing more of them in the future.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Colour Up

As we mentioned yesterday we had a Colours Assembly this week which recognised 9 students for there achievements and service to others. Mike Brown (seen above) gave the keynote address on service to the community. Mike's son Danny is an old boy of the college.

The students who received their colours were;

Josh Hickford - Service
Nick Siffleet - Service
Hamish Till - Service
Tim Hills - Culture
Shehan Gunatunga - Culture
David Hills - Culture
Max Williams - Sport
Liam Richardson - Sport
Nick Henderson - Sport

Thursday, 6 September 2007

A Rare Occasion

Yesterday saw our second college colours ceremony of the year - more details in a later post.

As well as recognizing outstanding student contributions we also witnessed a very rare sight - Mr Peter Costello in a tie! Peter did an excellent job introducing all of the colours students and looked quite dashing for a man who does not normally believe in neck apparel.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Filling In The Gaps

The College Honours boards are a great record of who did what, and when, but there are a few gaps, and we wonder if anyone out there reading this blog may be able to fill the gaps for us. The missing names are:

Head Boarder 1987
Deputy Head Boarder 1994
Deputy Head Boy 1985 through to 1991
Swimming Champion 1976 and 1977
Cross Country Champion 1964, 1972, 1974, 1976, 1981, 1982, 1985, 1990
Basketball Captain 1971, 1974, 1976

If anyone can help, could you please email and put “Honours Board information” in the subject line or you can leave a comment at the bottom of this post.

Travelling Priest

It is not just our elite sportsman who get out and about. For a man in a mobility scooter Father Joe Riordan certainly covers some miles. Father Joe is currently in Ireland but is looking to return to New Plymouth in the next month or so.

The boys at the college do miss their occasional ride on Father's wheels.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

World Cup Correspondent

Hello fellow Old-Boys

Mr D has asked if I would like to contribute to the blog with a few updates from inside the World Cup Squad so here is the first instalment.

Admittedly there is not a lot to report so far, we have been in Corsica for a few days and shortly fly off to Marseille. The media have already annoyed us by taking the angle that we are lounging around with Europe's rich and famous in a 5 star resort.....the reality isn't nearly that luxurious, the accommodation is nice but nothing ridiculous and the township reminds me of plenty of sleepy towns in New Zealand....but that wouldn't make as good a story I suppose.

Must say it has been very relaxing though. Its ridiculously hot over here and the only activities have been a bit of fishing and sailing. Our one training run was at a packed soccer stadium and the locals must have been disappointed watching 30 guys running round trying to play soccer.....wasn't pretty. They didn't seem to mind though and the locals constantly swarm the lads for autographs, despite the fact that I'm sure very few even know how rugby is played.

The easy ride is almost over though, the jet lag is pretty much gone and the training will start when we get to Marseille before our first game.

Will keep you posted, Conrad Smith

A Team of Characters

The 1993 Senior A Basket ball team enjoyed their sport, and as you can see from the photo they weren't afraid to show it. Mrs Elyne Plumb did a great job for many years, organising and encouraging basketball at the college. Elyne has been living in Northland for the last 10 years or so.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

The Purpose of Education

Sometimes we just need to be reminded of what school is all about!

Thursday, 30 August 2007

The Hostel Ladies

We have always been fortunate in the people who have acted as support staff, both in the hostel and the school. This picture was taken in 1997 of the long serving and hard working ladies who were keeping the hostel running.

Back Row (from left) - Heather Yardley, Heather McDowell, Carol Burnard, Jo Reesby, Barbara Fox
Front Row (from left) - Lesley Loveridge, Ingrid Hanlon, Margaret Smith, Margaret Fleming