Thursday, 31 December 2009

From The Hill

Thanks to Bernie Hopkins for forwarding this photo to be added to the file of "the college from the hill".

This was taken in 1984 and is the first image we have of the hill being cropped. We would love a photo of the hill in spuds but it might bring back mixed memories for those boarders who provided free harvest labour!

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Out and About

Good to see so many old boys home for the holidays. Several things we need to note from the last few days.

  • Congratulations to Ben Bull for being awarded a prestigious scholarship that will help him further his media and TV studies.
  • We caught up with a lot of old boys from the last few years at the Christmas Eve Rugby Bowls Tournament held at the West End Bowling Club. We believe the winners were a group of old boys from the coast which included Patrick Stevenson and Andrew Butterworth. Our old boys certainly don't lose that competitive spirit as they grow older!
  • Very sad to note the passing of Ian Stevenson over the Christmas period. Ian was a little too old (83) to be an old boy but he must go close to having had the most sons, grandsons, nephews and grand nephews attend FDMC. He was a true patriach and a man who was held in high regard by all. Our thoughts are with Ian's family and friends.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas One And All

If you remain local to Taranaki then you know we are going to have a lovely fine Christmas. To those of you further abroad we offer this little local scene to remind you of what you will be missing.

Wherever you may be, those of us at FDMC wish you all the best for the day and the year that follows.

God's blessings on you all.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Normal Service Resumed

We have been off line for the last few days, due to technical difficulties. While Christmas and the holiday season is upon us wedo intend to keep posting over the next month, so check in from time to time. Today's photo is of a character who needs no introduction. It is an image we found recently and is redolent of summer at FDMC.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

In The News

Seems we can't pick up a newspaper at the moment with out seeing another FDMC student doing well.

Yesterday we read about recent old boy Nick Price (pictured) winning a $10,000 music scholarship competition which will help him further his classical guitar career.

Today brought good news from our hockey guys. Nic Henderson has been selected for a national ice hockey team and tour while current student Julian Beardman has been recognised as a young achiever for his skill and contribution to in-line hockey.

Well done guys. We will pick up tomorrows paper with a degree of expectation.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Letters From The Sudan

Our Christ the King Parish Priest in Malakal, Father Stephen, is generally a quiet man but he is a source of much interesting information. Stephen has spent all his life in Malakal, remaining here throughout the war years, and is now the leader of the parish in which he grew up. He is fluent in Arabic, English and Shilluk and has a useful knowledge of several other local languages. The use of language is an ongoing problem here in Southern Sudan principally because there are so many languages.

This is a primitive country in so many ways but the widespread ability to converse in several languages far exceeds what one finds in first world countries such as Australia. Children rise to challenges, turn problems into opportunity, and can acquire all kinds of abilities if given the chance.

In Malakal, the predominant language is ‘Arabic’. In Juba it is ‘Arabic Juba’. Apparently the
similarity of ‘Arabic’ to ‘Arabic juba’ is about as close as ‘English’ is to ‘Pigeon English’. In
Malakal I would like to be able to speak Arabic, English and Shilluk; in Juba my choice would be
Arabic Juba, English and Bari. There are so many Dinka, that Dinka would be a good language to know also. There is such a thing as an English-Dinka dictionary. If I visit our work in Yambio,
however, what I really need is Azande. In a near-by Lebanese restaurant, I found myself
communicating in faltering French. The owner speaks Arabic and French but not English.
English is officially the language of the south and is possibly the most universal but Arabic
dominates in Upper Nile State where Malakal is situated. At a recent meeting, I heard the
Director of one of the County Offices complain: ‘We have no-one in our area who can teach
English adequately’.

For those of us who claim to speak English, the locals struggling to learn English must wonder at
the variations we bring. I personally find it difficult to adjust to the differing English
pronunciations of the various nationalities involved here – Indian, Sri Lankan, Irish, Canadian
and the many African variations in the English spoken by the Kenyans, Ugandans, Ethiopians
and Sudanese. All songs in Africa seem to be converted to a drum beat rhythm – even
‘Kumbaya’. I eventually recognised a popular hymn as the drum beat version of this song.
Would you believe that some find my Aussie accent quaint and hard to understand, even before I
indulge in the use of any of our plethora of Aussie idioms? Further, we English speakers do not
all attach the same connotations to the same words. Whereas ‘wench’, for example, in one
country may describe nothing more than a flirtatious girl, in another it is a deeply offensive
epithet. It becomes important not to take offence when none is intended.

There are also unintentional mistakes. Someone recently used the word ‘masticate’ in talking to
me when I think the word she really wanted to use was ‘massage’. To masticate someone is not
quite the same as to massage! Some years ago, when visiting Papua New Guinea, I was amused
to read a misprint in an advertisement placed in the local paper on behalf of ‘Our Lady of the
Scared (sic) Heart’. This week another mistake caught my attention. The agenda paper for the
Malakal education meeting I attended referred to a consortium of NGOs led by ‘Mercy Corpses’
(sic). That, I would think, was unintentionally imposing a death wish on the ‘Mercy Corps!’
Sudan is a strange mix of old and new, traditional and modern, attraction and repulsion.

There are signs up, largely ignored I notice, in the Juba parish church to ‘please turn off mobile phones’. To drive a vehicle one needs a driving licence. Yet one shares the road with ten-year-old boys driving unlicensed donkey carts along with many other unlicensed people, pigs, goats, dogs, ducks, geese and cattle. At night, the vehicles generally have lights but again not so the carts, animals or pedestrians! Twice in one day I stopped to let a pig pass. Pigs, much fewer in number, seem less alert than the goats and donkeys that generally take some minimal avoidance action of their own when a vehicle approaches. The occasional cat also displays much more avoidance alacrity than most of the humans!

Lots of people here, mostly male, enjoy sitting, watching and waiting. The UN officer told us he
traveled by helicopter with an aid cargo of several tons of rice. When they arrived, he was
bemused by the fact that women unloaded the rice while all the men were sedentary spectators.
He also remarked that he had been twenty years in the UN service and had thought the last place
he was in – Sierra Leone - was by far the worst, until he came here! ‘I’ve been here since Sept. 15
and I hope I’m not here too long’ he stated. ‘The people simply do not want to work – and their
tukuls. I haven’t seen anything like them for a long time. It is primitive.’

Already activity in Juba is closing down as the substantial overseas contingent heads for
Christmas at home. Many NGO personnel do six-month tours of duty with at least one rostered
holiday period during that time. It is not surprising people see more commitment from priests and religious. I find myself thinking of the beautiful words I once heard, and have remembered ever since: ‘You cannot love all mankind, only people, one at a time. The one you are with is the one that counts’. Love is not a generality. It is how we treat the individuals we meet, no matter who they are or where they are. As we prepare for Christmas may we once again recall that the ones we are with are the ones who count. If we don’t love them, we don’t love at all.

Br Bill

Thursday, 10 December 2009

As One Year Ends ...

... another one begins.

Front page of today's Daily News is old boy Ryan Fleming helping one of his Frankley School students, Jack Koch, prepare for our stringent hair standards. The hair rules were no surprise to Jack as his father Bryce has been teaching at the college since 1997. Jack's haircut raised money for the Child Cancer Foundation so he is already showing a good measure of Lasallian spirit.

Today is the last day of school for the junior students and we will have details of the Junior Prizegiving over the next few days.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Silly Season

We know it is an extremely busy few weeks leading up to Christmas but we have noticed a sharp drop off in stories and information concerning old boys. While it is great to reprise the Daily News and the archives the very best reading comes from yourselves.

Drop us a short (or long) note at FDMC Old Boys and tell us what you or your mates have been up to. We promise we won't sell any info to the tabloids.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

An FDMC Mystery

One of the features of FDMC is not so much how it has changed but rather how much has stayed the same.

These two photos of the property from 1972 and 2002 tend to highlight the point.

Either way it remains a great place to work and learn.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Season Over

Some comment last week about why we were showing Kendra with All Blacks other than our very own Conrad. So for the true patriots here he is with two girls and a beer, looking forward to a summer and perhaps a surf or two.

Friday, 4 December 2009

A visit from Br. Ambrose


Br. Ambrose,
the District Superior of the De La Salle Brothers is coming from Australia to spend a morning with us to talk about a possible structure for continuing to develop the great Lasallian tradition at the College.

He is going to be at the College on Saturday January 30 from 9 - 12.30 and you are all very welcome to attend if you would like to. We would particularly like to see some of you who might be interested in being involved in a meeting from time to time.

Morning tea will be served and a light luncheon will be available after the meeting.

For the purposes of catering if you would like to attend please let me know at
We would love to see you.

Graeme Mustchin
(Lasallian Facilitator)

The Archive Team

Although we have lost the services of Br Declan the process of maintaining and building the FDMC archives will continue.

Linda Crowe (pictured) will continue to do her sterling work and we would encourage old boys to stay in touch and forward any thing they think would be of value to the archive.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Another Fond Farewell

Yesterday saw the staff farewell to Br Declan, the last of our De La Salle brothers. It was appropriate that Br Dec has been the last brother in residence given his long association with the college and his outstanding example as a man of faith and service.

There were speeches and sausage rolls yesterday with Br Dec reminding us of where we had come from, how things have changed and wishing us God's grace in the future.

Brother will not be leaving the country, at least in the short term, as he will become part of the Brother's community at De La Salle Mangere next year. If you have the chance to call in and see Br Dec you can always be assured of warm welcome and his trademark smile.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

The Return Of The Gala!

A meeting of the PTA this week has confirmed that there will be an FDMC Gala Day in 2010.

March 20th is the date set for the Gala.

That day which will come around very quickly and planning is well under way. If you should be approached to help or contribute in some way to the Gala we would ask that you do what you can.

You can be proactive in your support by contacting the PTA Secretary Mark Parr.

Monday, 30 November 2009

The Summer (?) of Cricket Continues

Weather permitting there have been a lot of old boys and current students involved in cricket over the last week or so.

The photo, taken from today's Daily News, is of old boys Daniel Bolstad and Joe Dravitzki battling it out in the Taranaki one day semi final. A game that was won by Daniel's team Marist United which contains a goodly number of FDMC old boys.

The college 1st XV played in the other semi final where they failed to chased down Woodleigh's total of 202 but still proved to be a competitive outfit. Check out the 1st XI blog for more details.

It is great to see that not only do our students get involved while at school but they carry on their sport beyond school. A perusal of the senior cricket sides in Taranaki will show a large number of our past students still playing the game they love, which is not the case for many other schools.

Friday, 27 November 2009

First Day Muster

The great work done by Linda Crowe and Br Declan in the archives means that we keep turning up new treasures. We believe this is a photo of the school muster on the first day - any info to the contrary would be appreciated.

As always clicking on the image will enlarge it for a clearer view.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Size Is Not Everything!

As it says on the t-shirt "it is what's inside that counts".

Great photo of Kendra Cocksedge with a few, slightly larger, All Blacks. Kendra is the daughter of FDMC office lady Marie Cocksedge while her uncles Chris, John, Pat, Brian and Kevin Goodin are all old boys of the college.

Kendra came off the bench for the Black Ferns in their recent game at Twickers. The big guys she is with having played the curtain raiser!

While on things rugby, congratulations to Kane Barrett, Caleb Mawson and Liam Coltman who have all been named in the NZ Under 20 training squad. We will be watching to see whether they can also go on to bigger things.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Young Achievers

The Daily News has been running a series of articles highlighting young Taranaki achievers. These have included a number of FDMC students.

Today's article is on Year 10 student Josh Lamb who has been very active in community service to others.

It is good to see young folk being recognised for contributions outside of sport and academics and Josh's case shows that you can contribute from an early age.

Well done, young man.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

The Jubilee Homily

The following is a transcript of Father Michael Smith's homily given at the Jubilee Mass.

50th Anniversary Mass, Pentecost Sunday, 31 May 2009
Acts 2: 1-11; 1 Corinthians 12: 3b-7, 12-13, John 15: 26-27; 16: 12-15

Michael Smith SJ

Today is Pentecost Sunday - the day when we celebrate the coming of te Wairua Tapu, the Holy Spirit. This morning I invite you to consider te Wairua Tapu as power. What we are celebrating at this Golden Jubilee of Francis Douglas Memorial College is power. In this homily I will explore four points:

Different kinds of power
Power in multi-national organisations
Power in innovative ideas
Power in self-sacrificial love.

Different Kinds of Power

We know about political power - the power of Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, John Key and Bill English. We also see the misuse of economic power - and the global financial crisis is an example. The media is full of social power - the hikoi to protest about the governance of the proposed Auckland super-city is an example of social power. Most days we deal with computer power - power that allows students to study online university courses offered in another city or even in another country. Much of the world is controlled by military power - the power of unmanned drones used in targeted assassinations of people in the Swat Valley of Pakistan with the touch of a button by an operator watching a monitor in Afghanistan - like some bizarre computer game. The terrorist uses the power of fear to coerce others. We see the intimidatory power of the North Koreans testing nuclear weapons. We seek the healing power of the nurse and so on. Power takes many forms. Power happens between people. Power, at its simplest, is the ability to do something, to act, to accomplish.

Lord Acton, the 19th Century English Historian, famously remarked that: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Given the possibility of being corrupted by power, should we avoid it? No, because we can receive a power that is not of this world, a power which we should use. Jesus spoke of it before his ascension:

‘You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth’ (Acts 1:8).

But what does that power actually look like in my life and in yours?

Power in Multi-National Organizations

The average life-span of a multinational corporation listed in Fortune Magazine’s 500 top companies is between 40 and 50 years. A recent study shows that the average life-span of all firms in Japan and much of Europe is only 12 and a half years. They go bankrupt, get acquired, merged and broken up.

At the heart of our gathering this weekend is a multinational organisation that is more than 300 years old. I am talking about the De La Salle Brothers. They were founded in France in 1684 by Saint John Baptist de La Salle as a community of Brothers whose purpose was to serve the educational needs of the poor. A handful of Brothers began in France. 300 years later they are in 84 countries. The long life of this multinational - whose headquarters in Rome I have stayed at - suggests that something powerful is at work here. Te Wairua Tapu.

The founder, John Baptist de La Salle, was a creative and learned man who had a doctorate in theology. He made finding and doing the will of God the goal of his life. He slowly came to realize that his true calling was as an educator and that God wanted him to set up a proper system for the education of poor children who were grossly neglected. This enterprise consumed the rest of his life. The insight de La Salle brought to the schooling of the poor was that such an educational enterprise needed the power of organisation and system. There were already charity schools operating at the time, but they were poorly organised, badly staffed and often failed. De La Salle’s genius lay in creating an organised body of trained teachers and a system of schools.

Power in Innovative Ideas

Another key to the success of de La Salle was that he thought deeply and wrote extensively about education. His ideas were powerful. For instance, in 1685, he founded what is generally considered to be the first teacher training college in Reims. Also he decided that the Brothers’ schools for the poor would be free. This aroused the hostility of those who operated fee-paying schools which began to lose students. Lawsuits were brought against de La Salle, and his schools were even attacked. De La Salle was undaunted and, by the time he died in 1719, he had founded schools in 22 cities in France. De La Salle contributed significantly to the field of education through his writing and innovative teaching methods. He was one of the founders of modern education. Te Wairua Tapu.

Power in Self-Sacrificial Love

Francis Douglas was born in Johnsonville, near Wellington, on 22 May 1910, the fifth of eight children. Last Sunday I said Mass in the Johnsonville Church, Ss Peter and Paul, which Francis attended as a boy. His photo has pride of place on the wall of the church. He finished school at age 14 and worked as a messenger boy with the Post and Telegraph Department for two years before he entered Holy Cross Seminary at Mosgiel as a sixteen year-old and began studying for the priesthood.

Following his ordination in 1933, Francis Douglas worked as a curate in the parishes of Johnsonville, Opunake and New Plymouth, but his heart was elsewhere. He was drawn to join the St Columban’s Foreign Mission Society. In 1936 Fr Douglas went to Australia to join the Columbans, and to train for a year at their seminary in Melbourne. Then in late 1938 he was appointed to Pililla, a fishing village near Manila in the Philippines. Three years later the Japanese occupied Manila in January 1942. Although he had ample time to escape, he felt he could not leave his people in their time of need. He wrote home to his family: “They have nowhere else to go - and neither do I. War or no war, I’ll stick it out here.” Te Wairua Tapu.

The Japanese were at first tolerant of the expatriate Christian missionaries who stayed at their posts, but as a priest and a foreigner, he was always suspect. Fr Douglas was often taken in for questioning, held for hours and accused of being a spy. He reluctantly obeyed the restrictive rules imposed by the Japanese until July 1943, when he felt obliged to visit some American guerillas in the nearby mountains who claimed to need his priestly services. When he arrived at their mountain hideout he discovered that they merely wanted company. His trek into the mountains had tragic consequences.

The trip aroused suspicions that he was spying for the resistance forces, and on 24 July 1943 Japanese soldiers took Fr Douglas from Pililla to Paete to interrogate him. He was tied to a pillar in the baptistry of the church in Paete and for three days he was tortured and beaten. Unwilling to divulge confidences or break the seal of confession, he refused to answer questions. On 27 July, as night was falling, the soldiers took Fr Douglas from the Church and dragged him to a military truck. The truck drove away from Paete towards Santa Cruz. When it returned that night, the soldiers were its only occupants. His body was never found.

At first glance Francis Douglas’ death at just 33 years of age seems so futile. Yet the paradox of Christianity is that in Christ we receive the power of life through his death. So it is with Fr Douglas. His self-sacrificial love has inspired hundreds of students at this College.

Te Wairua Tapu which inspired St John Baptist de La Salle and Fr Francis Douglas also lives in us, frees us, makes us sons and daughters of God, and draws each of us into service. In self-sacrificial love, in dying to ourselves, we exercise power.

Te Wairua Tapu sends us into the world to be powerful people. We are to use computers, engage in politics, run dairy farms, manage plumbing firms, be scientists, teachers, lawyers, builders, electricians, economists, mothers and fathers. But we are to grace all these exercises of power with the spirit of the Gospel. Whatever power we possess - and everyone among us this morning has some power to act and to accomplish - we need to shape our power in the world for the world. We need to make sure that, the more powerful we are, the more we are men and women for others.

Let me return to Lord Acton’s dictum that “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. There is only one way to assure that our exercise of power in the world will not corrupt us or cause harm to others. Our exercise of power in the world must be inspired by te Wairua Tapu. Our every thought and word and gesture must reflect the presence of God within us, and then we will, each in our own way, renew the face of the earth. Let us conclude by invoking the power of te Wairua Tapu:

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.
V. Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created
R. And you shall renew the face of the earth. Amen

Friday, 20 November 2009

Thomas Hills - Rhodes Scholar

Great news in today's Daily News with old boy Thomas Hills (class of 2003) being named as a Rhodes Scholar.

Tenable at Oxford University, Rhodes Scholarships constitute the pinnacle of achievement for university graduates wishing to pursue postgraduate study at one of the world's leading universities. In this country, the awards are administered by the New Zealand Vice-Chancellors' Committee.

Thomas has been studying at the University of Otago's Dunedin and Wellington campuses. He was awarded the 2008 Fowler Scholarship for Top Overall Fifth-Year Student in the MB, ChB programme at the Wellington School of Medicine, University of Otago. In 2007, Thomas received the Charles Hastings Medal for Excellence in Medicine and the McGraw-Hill Award.

At Oxford, he intends studying for an MSc in Integrated Immunology leading to his eventual goal, a DPhil programme. Once his studies are complete, Thomas plans to return to New Zealand to train as a specialist. His experience to date includes participation in the 2008 Rural Medical Immersion Programme run by the University of Otago and a 2009 medical elective in Zambia.

We are very proud of what Thomas has so far achieved but are even more excited about what he is likely to contribute to the community as a leader and physician.

Well done that man.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Exam Time!

The senior students are now doing their NCEA external exams while the juniors are currently scratching their collective heads over the junior exams. While not everyone relishes the exam experience it does produce the occasional interesting result. The two examples below are not from FDMC exam scripts!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

FDMC Cricket

After a hiatus of a few months the FDMC Cricket Blog is back up and posting. Cricket has been a real growth sport over the last decade due to sterling work by Gaye Bolstad and great support from teachers such as Mark Wales and parents such as Roger Stachurski.

Timber Co have become very generous sponsors of cricket at FDMC and their support has meant that the good work that has been done will continue on. We are already seeing FDMC old boys make a big impact on regional teams and it is only a matter of time before they break through to the national level.

If you get a chance on a Saturday morning or afternoon pop in to the college grounds, there is always a game going on.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Football Frank

Good to see FDMC old boy Frank Van Hattum is playing his part in the euphoria over the All Whites World Cup qualification. While Frank's heroics from 1982 are a feature of a number of articles, it is probably more important how he and the rest of Football New Zealand manage this opportunity for the games future development.

As Frank is the chairman of NZF we are sure they have the right hard man for the job.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Senior Prize Giving 2009

Pictured right is Shane Rooyakkers the FDMC Dux for 2009. Shane has proven himself to be an outstanding academic with a big future ahead, as you can guess from the silverware he is going to have to polish.

Kale Joines was Proxime Accessit and took out the Butterworth Cup for Culture. Tom Imrie won the Finnigan Award for service to the college.

You can view the full list of special awards at FDMC Senior Prizegiving.

Friday, 13 November 2009

New Hands At The Helm

Yesterday was Senior Prizegiving with all the pomp and glitter you would expect of such an important occasion.

We will post photos and the full prize list early next week.

The end of the prize giving saw the announcement of next years leaders. Pictured with Mr Chamberlain are 2010 Head Boy Sam Wells (left) and Deputy Head Boy Tane Clement (middle). We are very sure they will continue a proud tradition of Lasallian leadership at FDMC.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Sign Of The Times

As part of the farewell ceremony to the De La Salle Brothers this plaque was consecrated and has been placed on the statue of De La Salle which greets those arriving at the college.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Another Ending, A New Beginning

This week is the last week of classes for the senior students with the Senior Prizegiving taking place tomorrow. While it is the end of an era for students it is also the start of a new phase of their lives, something that was highlighted in the recent hostel newsletter which we have paraphrased below.

This week we farewell our Year 13 leavers. We began the year with eighteen Year 13 boarders and are now left with 13 as some have moved on to employment as the ear progressed. Of the thirteen still with us their intentions for 2010 are:

Beauden Barrett: Bachelor of Commerce - Melbourne
Brendon Bevins: Farming in Opunake
Andrew Buhler: Bachelor of Business Studies - Massey
Scott Cameron: Ag Commerce - Massey
Richard Clough: Ag Commerce - Massey
Cam Fleming: Bachelor of Applied Science Sport & Nutrition - Otago
Jacob Gopperth: Ag Commerce - Massey
William Gray: Air Force - Blenheim
Paul Hawkes: Agriculture - Massey
Ryan Juffermans: Work
Baxter Rogers : Zoology - Massey University
Mathieu Stevenson: Commerce Law - Victoria
Simon Walsh: Psychology - Otago

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Sportsman All

Last Saturday night saw the 5th annual FDMC Sports Dinner held at the NP Club. It was a very positive occasion where many of the our top sportsman were recognised and celebrated.

This year's guest speaker was Bevan Martene (Martin) who gave an address that was relevant to all young Taranaki sportsmen. His experiences in 13 years as a member of the Black Sox and as a three time world softball champion were of real interest to those present.

Pictured are the joint FDMC Sportsmen of the Year, Edward Rawles (triathlete) and Dylan Dunlop-Barrett (swimmer). Both students have featured on this blog before as outstanding national and international competitors and we know they both have a lot of success ahead of them.

Click on the following link to view all of the awards made on the night.

2009 Sports Awards

Friday, 6 November 2009

From The Archives

Sometimes when we take a wander through the archives we come across the most disturbing items. We have no idea of who this is, when it was taken or why, but we do hope the boys were dressing up for a school production. Any light you can shed on this fashion crime would be appreciated.

Thanks to James Stuart for the following information;

end of year "grand concert &prize giving"1962 photo from concert skit."the 4 wives of mr. adams" identified l/r barry condon,darryl mellow,christopher germann,john willoughby

Thursday, 5 November 2009

The Br Bill Diaries

As we move towards Christmas and all that implies it may be useful to reflect on Br Bill's experiences in the Sudan, most so different from our own current lives.

The stories of the ‘Lost Children of Sudan’ are forlorn and dispiriting. ‘How could people treat
children so badly?’ I wondered, as I read of their plight in several books on Sudan. Now, even
with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in place and many signs of progress towards improved standards and more normal living, the fear and the appalling treatment of people by the rebelgroup, the so-called “Lord’s Resistance Army” (the LRA) is very much a concern in the Western Equatorial province of Southern Sudan, near the boarders of Congo and Uganda.

Since independence in 1962, Uganda, a very fertile country, has had a succession of Presidents of whom the best known was probably Idi Amin (1971 to ’79). Amin came from the north of
Uganda and was one of the Acholi people who regularly have held high rank in the army and
considerable influence in Uganda under a succession of northern presidents. All that changed in
1986 when the military junta of Tito Okello was ousted by Yoweri Museveni from the south. He
has been in power ever since and the Acholi have suffered from being seen as the supporters of
the former leaders. Gradually an Acholi resistance movement grew. Initially it was called the
Uganda People’s Democratic Army and, later, the Holy Spirit Movement. It was led by Alice
Lakwena, a woman who saw herself as a kind of prophetess giving back to her people some selfrespect. She led a revolt in 1987 but was defeated and fled to Kenya. Out of the remnants of the Holy Spirit Movement grew the LRA.

The LRA is now led by Joseph Kony, a relative and disciple of Alice Lakwena, who believes he
is endowed with some supernatural powers and chosen by God to be the new president of

Children are more easily trained. The LRA are trained to be incredibly vicious, not only to kill
but also to cut off ears, lips and other parts of the body leaving people permanently disfigured.
Their activity has spread from Uganda into the Congo and parts of Southern Sudan. Even as I
write, about 80 local men from the Riimenze area, where Solidarity with Southern Sudan is based in this part of the country, have gone from here to oppose the LRA at Sakure. There have been sporadic efforts to eliminate the threat of the LRA but so far neither military action not dialogue has been effective.

Some 20 kms along the road from here to Uganda, the Sisters took me to visit Makpundu, a
refugee camp for thousands of Congolese who have fled from their country to lesser danger in
Southern Sudan. I am grateful for my limited ability to communicate in French and wish that I
was more fluent. These people have built their tukuls (simple native houses) among the teak
forests of Southern Sudan and now eke out a determined existence. They are prepared to work
and some have been employed to build a brick and grass-roofed tukul for the sisters’ watchman at Riimenze.

As refugees, these Congolese are receiving some assistance from the UN but the standard of food
delivered is poor. The sisters from Solidarity with Southern Sudan try to help them in any way
they can and regularly donate some better quality rice from community funds. Along with a
generous Italian priest, Father Mario, the sisters are bringing the gentle love of Christ and hope to these people who have seen times of hopeless despair. As always the children are full of life and hope while the adults work to shelter them and to nourish that hope.

The children love to shake hands. I think they are especially delighted to shake the hand of this
strange white man walking smilingly among them. Some of the local Sudanese people resent the
fact that these refugees are given UN assistance while IDPs (internally displaced persons within
their own countries) do not qualify for assistance. Actually we talk often of the dilemma of handouts to the needy which can destroy motivation to work. In the Sudanese culture, where women are expected to work, bear children, carry water, cultivate in the gardens and so on, it is not easy to find men willing to work.

Sister Jenny and I took the land cruiser out along some rough tracks to pick up some grass which had been cut for the roof of the tukul being built for the watchman. When Jenny, who was
driving, took us roughly over a couple of bumps, I muttered in jest to Jenny: “Women drivers!”
for which comment I received a quick good-natured punch from my Chilean pilot. The two men
in the back erupted in laughter to see such an exchange between a man and a woman. It would
not happen in Sudanese culture. For my sins, Jenny handed me the wheel for the next couple of
trips and she erupted with delight: “Men drivers” when I went over a rough bump – again to the
delight of the men in the back.

My notional understanding of the pain and fears that have afflicted the Congolese or Sudanese people with whom I struggle to communicate will never be the same as theirs. The large house in which I reside is very different from their tukuls, but that is something to accept, not to worry about. The people of Southern Sudan will always view me with some envy and suspicion; but I am also uncertain about them.

Our paths are crossing on different, individual life journeys. I have new co-workers and friends
from other distant countries who may be labelled as “missionaries” (although the faith we bring
may not be so strong as that of some of the people here) and I am making new friends among the
people of Sudan - slowly. This is a patient, timeless land where there are some wonderful
perspectives on life even in the midst of culturally disappointing aspects such as the treatment of
women. People have time to think, to pray, to live together and to be at ease together. The hymns at mass are rhythmic – and long! People celebrate and appreciate good and simple joys together.

Most local people are very pleasant, cheerful and welcoming. While most are helpful, it is less than pleasant, however, for this white face, probably the only one in view, to be pursued around the market place, by an aggressive young man with glazed eyes, obviously drugged in some way, demanding money. I consistently refuse - and he scribbles with nail polish on our Toyota just as we drive off. It is more disturbing that the LRA have occasionally invaded even major towns such as Yambio. Last Sunday night, our Church bell tolled unexpectedly. When Sr Margaret and I went to investigate, two young men told Margaret the LRA were thought to be in the area. I actually slept well that night but some of the Sisters did not. We found out the next day it was a false alert.

Security is an issue for all. The invasion of a snake into one of the sister’s bedrooms created
another kind of insecurity – although that particular snake is no longer a threat! We saw one tukul recently with two dead snakes draped on its roof. With good reason, the ground around tukuls is kept very clean and clear. The local Sudanese live with uncertainty – and we share that uncertainty, in a different way. The white person has more ways to escape danger but less ability to blend into the background should danger appear. The fact that we are here brings hope to people who could otherwise feel hopelessly forgotten and ignored. We share their best and a little of their worst. We are Christians together, gifted to live with eternal hope.

Br Bill

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

A Fond Farewell

The following slideshow contains images from the farewell to the Brothers. Most will recognize at least some of these famous FDMC faces.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Old Boys News

But enough about us, what have you been up to? We have picked the following snippets up of the grapevine.
  • Steven Kibby has been playing his part in the NZ U17 march to post section play n the FIFA U17 tournament in Nigeria.
  • Also in Africa is past Head Boy Zenek Zurakowski who is "sharing the mission" with the locals.
  • Tane Morgan and Jeremy Webling have taken Caffe Blues in Westown and "kicked it up a little" with evening meals complimenting their fine award winning coffee.
  • Zac Anderson (aka the nerd) and Jeremy Hitchcock (aka J C Star) are heavily involved in NZ Wide Pro Wrestling - a very scary thought and thanks to Issac Hayward for the heads up.
  • Scott Ireland is playing for the 1st XI this season and stamped his mark on things with a strong 87 in the weekend.
All news gratefully accepted.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Glancing Back

Thanks to Br Declan for this great and timely reflection.

De La Salle Family Coat of Arms

The work in Christian education which St John Baptist de La Salle began in France continues today in about 80 different countries.

When he died in 1719 aged 68, a group of about 100 followers had been formed. These men had decided to be associated together so that they could devote themselves to the education of youngsters, especially those who were poor. Other decisions made were that they would not become priests and would be known as Brothers to one another and to their students.

To achieve this and to persevere in the work they bound themselves by vow. From then on it was the expectation that the Brothers would
  • be celibate - have no family of their own,
  • be willing to live a communal lifestyle,
  • be content to work without any remuneration and
  • be prepared to go wherever they were asked by superiors.
It was in 1906 almost two hundred years after the death of De La Salle that the first twelve of his Brothers arrived in Australia from France and Ireland.

Over the next 100 years the number of Brothers working in the Australasian region increased to almost 300. Responsibility was to be accepted by them for over 70 schools in 60 or more different towns or suburbs, not only in Australia, but also in Papua New Guinea and New Zealand.

The Brothers have also responded to needs in other countries – India, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Italy, Pakistan, Nigeria, England, USA, Kenya, Bolivia, South Africa, Vietnam, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Israel, Thailand and now the Sudan.

To measure the time and effort given by the Brothers towards Christian Education, this unit might be used: ONE Bro/yr being the equivalent to one Brother teaching or working for one year. Over the fifty years that Brothers have been involved at Francis Douglas, sons from 67 different families have been members of the community. Two actually came from the same family. Their lands of birth were Ireland, Australia, Holland, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and England. To this New Plymouth College 425 Bro/yrs of service as Christian Educators have been given by the De La Salle District.

As the time of the Brothers’ presence here comes to an end to me it seems appropriate to mention some things spiritual.

When Francis Douglas Memorial College was opened in 1959, the Brothers were justly proud that the Catholic Church had honoured their founder John Baptist de La Salle as a Saint, and two Brothers had been beatified. Nine years earlier De La Salle was proclaimed the Patron of Teachers and Student Teachers.

Now in 2009 there are 13 Brothers who are canonized Saints, 78 Brothers have been beatified and the lives of several others are being carefully studied with similar recognition in view. The countries from which these Brothers have come are, France, Belgium, Ecuador, USA, Spain, Argentina, Reunion, Canada, Italy and Madagascar.

It seems that true holiness can be found in the classroom.

Faith in Jesus Christ, God who became Man, has to be the main motivation for men who choose to adopt the lifestyle lived by Brothers.

If over the past years you feel that you have benefited and perhaps been inspired or encouraged as a pupil, a teacher, a staff member, a parent, a friend, because of your contact with Francis Douglas Memorial College, then you have probably experienced Christianity expressed in a Lasallian Way. It is this Spiritual Heritage that we, the departing Brothers, now entrust to you. A legacy that you can claim and share and from which you may receive courage in the times ahead.

May Jesus live forever in our hearts!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Brothers Go The Extra Mile

The following is a transcript of the address given by old boy Ross Williams at the farewell mass to the De La Salle Brothers in Stratford last Thursday. We are proud of our Brothers and we are just as proud of the way our students are able to express themselves.

Brothers go the extra mile.

Good evening staff, students, old boys and friends who have had the pleasure of being associated with Francis Douglas Memorial College. My name is Ross Williams and I too had the pleasure, and privilege, to be educated at the College from 1995 through to 1999. 5 of the greatest years of my life were spent at 201 Tukapa Street in the Boarding Hostel, where I grew both as a person and a citizen alongside a great group of boys, and with the advice and guidance of the wonderful staff at Francis Douglas – at the top of this list of course were the La Sallian Brothers.

Brothers go the extra mile.

Like many who attend our school, I was the second generation of my family to be influenced by the Brotherhood, founded by and through the work of St John Baptist De La Salle. My Father also has wonderfully fond memories of school and the advice, guidance and care given to him by the Brothers. Therefore it was a given that I was to attend Francis Douglas for my secondary school education.

When my parents first dropped me off at school, Br Tim Peter, who was the Principal at the time, said to my Mother, and she remembers this very vividly, he said “Thank-you for allowing us the privilege to share in your son’s upbringing”. The Brothers cared about us as individuals. They have the ability to be able to connect with the boys and their families, connect with the head and the heart. They have a Vocation and are passionate about both the ways and teachings of Christianity, and about crafting young people into constructive and positive men and women.

Brothers go the extra mile.

It is a known fact that Francis Douglas students truly love their school, current students and old boys alike. The majority of Francis Douglas boys who have left the College and headed off to University would have come under scrutiny at one time or another about their level of passion for their old school. Others around New Zealand just can’t seem to fathom the idea that boys can have such an affinity and a pride in where they were educated. Recently the school celebrated its 50th Jubilee and the talk between Old Boys invariably centred, or always returned to, tales of the Brothers, including the legendary Brother William Harnett. Amidst all of this was an overwhelming level of respect and gratitude for all that the Brothers have done for our great school.

Brothers go the extra mile.

January 27, 1997 is probably the best way for me to personally explain to you the impact the brothers had on the students at Francis Douglas. It was the day our Boarding Master Brother Anthony Hawkins was taken from us, and a day that all those associated with the great man look back on with a huge amount of sadness. Just remembering the loss of such a wonderful role model puts shivers up my spine every time I talk about the loveable Aussie. ‘Bruv’ as we knew him, epitomised the spirit and extra mile attitude that sets the Brother far apart from other educators around the world. To put it quite simply he cared totally about you and he had no problem showing you that. Above all else he taught us to “Trust in the Lord”. He could guide us, discipline us, celebrate our successes and care for us all at once. Everyone who came into contact with Bruv loved him wholeheartedly and he is the perfect example of the spirit and attitude of the La Sallian Brothers.

Brothers go the extra mile.

It is sad to be saying goodbye to the Brothers time at Francis Douglas but I have no doubt that the staff and families involved with the school are passionate about continuing the strong values that the religious order represent. Although the brothers are moving on from Taranaki, the way they have touched all that they have influenced, will live on in the hearts of many in this province.

On behalf of all present and former students of the College:
I thank-you for the care and love you have shown for students at our school.
I thank-you for the care and love you have shown to parents and caregivers of students at our school.
And I thank-you for the special memories we hold in our hearts from our time at our great school.

Thank-you finally, for being you. Taranaki is a better place for the La Sallian Brothers.

St John Baptist De La Salle
Pray for us
Live Jesus in our Hearts

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Br Steve Leatherland RIP

Sad news yesterday of the passing of Br Steve Leatherland in Auckland. Br Steve has battled with illness for some time and had recently been in a nursing home before being hospitalised.

Br Steve had several "tours of duty" at FDMC and until last year he had been a member of the Brothers community here. Many students over the last decade will recall his driving exploits as he delivered students and borders to all parts. Staff have many memories of Steve including his morning reflections and poetry readings.

The funeral for Bro Steve will take place at 10.00am in St Anthony's Church, Mangere Bridge next Saturday. His internment will follow immediately in the adjacent cemetery and he will be laid to rest next to Bro Matthew Hautus who also was on the FDMC staff in the late 70's.

May perpetual light shine upon him
And may he rest in peace.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Important Occasions

Friday's farewell to the De La Salle Brothers went very well and in the course of this week we will provide pictures and comment from that occasion.

Today's image is from the other end of the spectrum, the initial Open Day, where the public of Taranaki got to see the new college they had helped to create. Click on the image to enlarge it and see if you can spot someone you know?

Thanks to Christine Drinkwater for donating this image to our archive.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

425 Years Of service!

We have mentioned before the fact that Br Declan has collated a list of all the Brothers who have served the community at FDMC since it's founding. As we prepare to farewell the Brothers from our community it is right that we should recal all of those who have had a part to play over the years. 425 years of combined service is a fantastic contribution and deserves to be celebrated.




Alban Foley195919646RIP '75


Benignus Davis195919624RIP '85


Fabian Boundy195919591RIP '07


Francis Kelvin Sullivan 195919613RIP '09


Jerome Foley195919646RIP '75


Conrad Callinan196019667


Julian Lennon196019656RIP '67


Justinian Thompson196019656RIP '04


Julian Watson1962197110


Basil Keller196319664


Philip Canty196419696


Kieran Rush196519662RIP '97


Luke Anthony Gaul1965197410


Peter Duffy196519706RIP '83


Gerard Camillo196619661


Declan G Thompson196719726


Lawrence O'Connor196719693RIP '73


Patrick Augustine Lynch196719671


Petronius Healy196719704


William L Harnett1967200640


Stephen R Leatherland196819703


Ives de Tracey196919701RIP '81


Jarlath P Joyce196919702RIP '87


Francis Kelvin Sullivan 197019701RIP '09


Max Sculley197019745


Gonzaga Brown197119711


Kevin Neal197119799


Paul Kent197119722


Peter Bray197119755


Russell Cutfield197119711


Adrian Watson197219743


Barry Drew197219732


Raphael Bassett197219732RIP '94


Daniel Keegan197319753


Gary Wilson197319731


Jack Kidd197319731


David Hawke197419796


Osmund J Uniacke197419785RIP '99


Pascal Hagerty197419763


Adrian Mullaly197519751


Denis Loft197519784


Robert McLaughlin1975199218


Adrian Watson1976198914


Matthew Hautus197619805RIP '87


Matthew Kennedy197619816RIP '00


Declan G Thompson1977198610


John Hansen197919813


Peter Bray1979198911


Jack Iremonger198019889


Timothy G Peter198019845


Kevin Neal198119888


James Will198219821RIP


Oliver O'Leary1982200928


Michael J Neville198319875


Stephen J Hogan198519873


Christopher P Ellmers198719882


Geoffrey L Kennewell198919946


Lawrence R King198919935


Paul F Toohey198919891


Declan G Thompson199119922


Raymond J Khan199119922


Gregory P Kennedy199219976


Timothy G Peter199219976


Anthony Hawkins199419974RIP '98


Mark McKeon199519973


Joseph Bufalo199820003


Peter Smyth1998now12


Stephen R Leatherland199820036


William Firman199820025


Anselm J McCaffrey199920024


Frank Tyson199920035


Michael McCabe199920023


Fabian R Clark200120022


Bede Mackrell200220032


Benilde Tin200220076


Peter Ryan200320086


Raymond J Khan200320053


Gregory P Kennedy200420063


Stephen R Leatherland200620094


Declan G Thompson2007now3


Raymond J Khan200720071


William L Harnett200820081


68 Brothers in all.......


Info collated by Bro Declan