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!