Wednesday, 31 August 2011

C'mon People!

You know us. We are normally not pushy. Happy to post things up and let you get on with your busy lives, but in this case we want some reaction.

We posted a request last week for some input into what the old boys tie should look like. To date we have no response. We know most old boys are not strong on fashion but we also know there will be lots of complaints if we get it wrong. Send us your ideas or leave a comment on what you would like to see around your neck.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Just A Matter Of Time

The photo right is a bit of a ropey scan from this mornings Daily News.

While there may have been other father/son shield winning combinations it is unlikely that the games took place only 15 years apart.

Beaudan and Kane are on the left of the photo and looking a bit more camera shy than either are now.

We believe Shane McDonald's boy is enrolled for FDMC in 2012 - so the story might not be over yet!

Friday, 26 August 2011


The Taranaki rugby team got a great welcome home yesterday.

The college was honoured to be asked by the TRFU to perform our haka as they got off the plane.It didn't make the final cut of most of the news bulletins but you can see a brief glimpse on the Daily News video of the arrival.

It could be an exciting week, and we hope, a summer with the shield. The FDMC boys will certainly be playing their part in that excitement.  

Thursday, 25 August 2011

A Golden Night

Congratulations and well done to Shane Cleaver, Carl Carmichael and Beaudy Barrett on winning the Ranfurly Shield. We know the other guys in the photo helped, but those FDMC boys were all key contributors - after all, Beaudy scored all the points.Bring on Hawkes Bay!

We did not have to look too hard at the game on TV to also see a number of old boys having a great time on the sidelines. We are sure Southland will know they have had a visit.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Tie Time

Blogging is essentially a passive exercise but this is one of those occasions when we would love you to do a bit more than just have a read. We are currently looking to create an FDMC Old Boys Tie and we want your input!

Have a go at designing an old boys tie using the tie template on this post. Email us your design ideas and we will see if together we can't create something with meaning, and of course a touch of class.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Among The People

The latest post from Br Bill Firman. Always a great reality check when we are moaning that the broadband is running slow.

The woman looked very worried. It was 6:30pm on a Saturday evening. I was in our outdoor kitchen – the only kitchen - of our Riimenze house preparing the evening meal when  a woman carrying her small child appeared before me. I called Sr Joana who went immediately to her ‘clinic’ to dress the wounds on the hands of this child who had fallen over. Every day, people with a wide variety of maladies come to Joana’s clinic. It is the wet season and many children are suffering the wretched illness of malaria. They seek help from Joana in the tukul that has served as her clinic. Sister Joana will soon be able to welcome patients into a new clinic funded, through the Lasallian Foundation, by a large secondary school and two private donors, in Australia.

A second section of this new building is an education centre for women where they can be assisted to have greater opportunity in a society that traditionally downplays their capabilities and stereotypes their roles. Sr Josephine has been away in Nairobi but will be back later this week. She will find the number of girls participating in the liturgical dancing she started has grown and the costumes she prepared are still in good order.  The girls have confidently continued to develop their performance in Josephine’s absence. It is a good sign. Under the guidance of Sr Josephine, practical  skills for living such as sewing and knitting can also be acquired.

Our Riimenze seminarian, Dominic, who has sometimes assisted Josephine departed for the seminary in Juba this week. Before departing, he sought some charcoal from us so that he could iron his clothes (see photos attached). I had never seen such an iron before – all part of the resilience and inventiveness of people living in a natural environment without access to electricity. Sr Joana told me they used such irons in her native Myanmar.

Regretably, in this period of post-independence adjustment,  some medicines in South Sudan are in short supply. Joana would like more liquid panadol for the children at present. Joana generally manages to keep her clinic well stocked and makes extensive use of well tested herbal remedies wherever she can. Like Sr Rosa, who is helping the people develop better crops in family gardens, Joana has learned to communicate with the people in the Azande language and teaches the people to utilise what is available in the local environment. It is a wonderful service to these people. The College leaders of a New Zealand school have raised funds for Sr Rosa, so that she is able to extend compassionate assistance and encouragement to people who will help  themselves - if only they are given some assistance in the beginning.

All of the people here in this rural community live in native tukuls – except us, for which circumstance I am grateful. We are not here to pretend we would make it better for the people by living the way they do. No, our attitude is to help where we can, using the resources we can bring to assist the people gradually to improve their lot. By western standards they may seem very poor but they regularly demonstrate human warmth and dignity, and an ability to enjoy special events as they celebrate life together.

Among these Azande people, the daily rhythm of living is established around water fetching, growing and preparing basic food and endeavouring to enjoy good health in the company of family and friends. Life is what it is, without pretense. If a child needs to be fed, even in Church, then a child is fed and there are many mothers with children in Church! No-one is concerned. It is the natural order of life. Small children help nurse even smaller children. Security and a sense of belonging abounds.

Rosa, Joana or Josephine often visit the sick or anyone needing help. Occasionally I have accompanied one of them. They know their way through the confusing, ever-changing bush tracks from family compound to family compound. They are warmly welcomed by these people. Rosa is currently in Vietnam visiting her own ailing mother but the people here continue to tend the gardens. It is a sign of hope that not all collapses when the mentors are absent. We move among a people of growing confidence that there a better future awaits their children.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Tournament Week

The winter season is coming to an end which will mean a change of pace for all those dedicated spectators out there. The image right is a classic shot from the archives of the intensity of the expert spectator.

Saturday's rugby finals saw great wins to the U15 A and U16 U63kg teams while the 2nd XV went down narrowly (15-13) to Stratford HS in the A grade final.

This week is Tournament Week with our 1st XI Hockey and Soccer teams playing in Napier and the U15 team playing in Wellington (St Pats Silverstream). Support and expert advice would be welcomed.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Well Done Lana!

Congratulations to FDMC staff member Lana Phipps who's NPOB netball team won the Taranaki premier netball final last night. Lana scored the winning goal in the last minute and we now hope she can keep her winning form tomorrow when her Under 63kg team takes on the might of Hawera in the secondary schools finals at Sanders Park.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Finals Time

This Saturday sees the end of the Secondary Schools rugby competition. They take place at Sanders Park in New Plymouth, and of course we would welcome any old boys to come along and support the 4 teams we have in the finals. The 1st XV have already won their grand final as part of the Men's Finals Day.

2011 Taranaki Secondary Schools Finals
20 August – Sanders park (Tukapa Club)

U15 U63KG B Final
FDMC Red v Hawera U15 U63 Field No.2 9.30am Kick off

U15 B Final
Waitara HS U15 v NPBHS U15 D Amber Field No.3 9.30am Kick off

B2 Division Final
NPBHS U15A v Coastal 2nd XV Field No.2 11.00am Kick off

U15 A Final
FDMC U15A v Central U15 A Field No.3

B Division Final
Waitara 1st XV v NPBHS 4th XV Field No.1 11.00am Kick off

U15 U63KG A Final
FDMC Gold v NPBHS Gold Field No.2 12.30pm Kick off

Premier Division
FDMC 2nd XV v Central 1st XV Field No.1 12.30 Kick off

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The Winter Season

While many people are shivering over the winter blast we have just had the "snow bunnies" are walking around with big smiles on their faces. They inform us the new term is that it is "pukeing" snow!

Here is a shot of the 2000 FDMC Ski Team, no snow on the ground but everyone seems to be happy in the anticipation of a good run.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

A Joyous Reunion

Thanks to Josh Hickford for this photo taken on Sunday 7th August in Wellington. The boys got together to wear their FDMC gear and have a quiet(?) beer. We believe there was a similar gathering in Dunedin on the same day.

Both gatherings got their timing right as a week later and they would not have been in shirt sleeves and jandals.

Monday, 15 August 2011

A Visitor From The East

It was great to have a visit last week from old boy and past staff member Mark Chamberlain.

Mark is currently traveling NZ on a book tour of schools. He has authored a number of books aimed at a teenage audience and was able to hold a big group of our students enthralled with excerpts from some of them. At least one of the books is set in a place inspired by FDMC and its characters, although names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Mark lives and works, both teaching and writing, in Saudi Arabia but he also has a home base in Northland and does a lot of traveling besides. He estimates he has visited at least 40 countries at various times.

As always it is great to have old boys come back and share their wider world experiences and we are hoping Mark may be a more regular visitor in the future.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

New Pathway

Not to anywhere special but just across the front of the main block.

After a number of years of talking about it we have got around to putting a pathway in front of the school. In the wet of a Taranaki winter it is already paying dividends in the reduction to carpet cleaning bills.

Sometimes little things make a big difference.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Head Down, Follow Through

Great effort from Beaudan Barrett against Bay of Plenty last night in setting a new ITM Cup record by kicking 9 penalties in the match. All the FDMC old boys on show had a good night at the office.

The curtain raiser brought the curtain down on the 1st XV's season as they lost a tough encounter with a very strong PNBHS side 25 to 9. While it was a shame to end the season with a loss the players and coaches can look back on 2011 as a very good season and one that has continued the growth of rugby at the college and in the wider rugby community.

Well done fellas.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Winning Habits

Great to see so many past and current students meeting with success at present.

Hohepa Te Moana (seen right) is in this morning's paper celebrating the loss (but a good one) of 30kg - you can read the article by clicking on Daily News.

Also in today's paper is the news that old boy Leon Power has been contracted to play rugby for the Brumbies in next year's Super 15. well done Leon who is in town today to play for Bay Of Plenty against Taranaki.

News yesterday that Scott Barrett has been shortlisted for the NZ Sec Schools rugby team. We will be hoping he makes the final cut and gets to tour (and beat) the Aussies in October.

On the music front our Jazz and Fusion bands went north to Hamilton in the weekend and came back with gold and silver medals respectively. They are making quite a habit of winning and creating a very positive  impression in the music world.

Monday, 8 August 2011

From The Archives

Who can tell us about this group of intrepid trampers? We think it must be early 1980's and seem to recognise a young Dolan, but who are the rest and what were they up to?

Friday, 5 August 2011

Another Hostel Photo

Continuing our theme of the hostel over the years, here is a photo from 1999 showing the building of the "hostel in the hill". It is a facility that has proven a real winner with boarders and those who come and stay during the holidays - especially Aussie bowlers playing in the Taranaki Open.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

The College Haka has now become a part of college life with a large number of students having a good grasp of the words and actions. We thought old boys might like a copy of the words. The video below shows the boys giving an impromptu performance after the NPBHS game.

Kaea:       Ko te kura o Te Atawhai e ngunguru nei!
Katoa:      Hi au au aue ha!
Kaea:       Ko Hoani Papita e ngunguru nei!
Katoa:      Hi au au aue ha!
Kaea:       Ma wai e ueue te pou o te whare nei?
Katoa:      Aha ka oreore, Ka oreore e kore te pou eueue.
Kaea:       I turia
Katoa:      Ki te rangi
Kaea:       I whiria
Katoa:      Ki te kaha o te atua e haruru nei
Kaea:       E tu numia, E tu Rawea
Katoa:      E tu pakau rorohi
                Whakarere atu ra ki te rangi awatea
                Piki nei I te tuarongo o taku whare
                E kore e turakina I ahaha
Kaea:        Ahaa Purutia
Katoa:       Pururtia to mana.Ko te mana atua, ko te mana tangata
                Kia mou kia ita tuturu kia whiti, whiti whiti ora e HI!!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Catching Up With Br Steve

As our Principal, Martin Chamberlain, has been making his way home from the warmth of the Northern Hemisphere he has taken the opportunity to visit with old boy and past staff member Br Steve Hogan. The following is a brief report.

It has been good to touch base with another Lasallian institution, this time in Hong Kong.  Brother Steve Hogan (FDMC Head Boy in 1979) has completed his first year as principal of prestigious La Salle College which is regarded by many as the  premier secondary school in all of Asia.  

With 1600 Chinese English speaking male students in 7 year levels, its graduates typically move on to Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge or other similar institutions, the majority of them having studied Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics.  Located in the centre of Kowloon where the slender high rise featured beyond the row of residential buildings in the photo, was recently constructed on a fairly small patch of land costing five billion NZ dollars, the athletics track in the foreground is the envy of all other schools and along with its swimming pool and many other amenities, the school seems like something out of a fairy story.  Brother Steve has many challenges which have to be tacked within a different cultural medium.  

Those who know him well however will be aware that he is a creative thinker and a legendary hard worker driven by a faith-filled ethos.  Although it is well established, the school's facilities are a little dated so with typical sacrifice, Steve is supervising work over his summer vacation to ensure a new air conditioning system, new entrance way, outdoor performance area and new administrative offices are all constructed.  Those changes will have a marked effect on returning students who have not seen much change for some time.  

Brother Steve has had great support from his new community of parents and they seem pleased to have some Kiwi educational ideas put to work for the benefit of their sons.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Crusty Bread Rolls

No not the hostel lunch menu, rather the title of the latest missive from Br Bill in the new country of Southern Sudan. Interesting to note that currency fluctuations and inflation pressures are an issue everywhere in the world.

Life is good in South Sudan at present – and will probably remain so for the likes of me. Anyone who is receiving funds from other countries has a distinct advantage. When our first people came here, they were getting just over two sudanese pounds to the dollar. For much of last year, the rate was was 2.8 or 2.9. That is still close to the current bank rate but you can now get 3.5 from plenty of traders who buy their goods outside South Sudan and need dollars to pay for them.

So that is okay for me. Give me a dollar and I receive a lot more of the local currency. But what about the South Sudanese who trade in Sudanese pounds, get paid in pounds and purchase in pounds?  A tin of peas or beans used to cost five pounds. In the last few weeks the price has jumped to ten. One orange, the only fruit in the market today, cost 2 pounds. One very small tomato – there were none available last week – cost one pound. One sister pointed out to me recently that a ‘50kg of sugar a few month ago was under 150 SDG. Ten days ago it was 165 SDG. Yesterday the same for 230 SDG.’ The price of onions has almost trebled. It must be tough for many South Sudanese. The price of diesel and gas has doubled – but that is not a problem at present as none is available to purchase!

I am not sure if the major cause is rampant inflation or more an under-supply of goods. Well over half the shops in Malakal are closed at present. Many of the Arab traders have left town – which is a pity as this is a place where Muslim and Christian civilians co-exist very cooperatively. The Arab traders have always been very helpful and pleasant. No-one knows if they will return or not.

The new country of South Sudan has said it will grant dual citizenship to anyone from the North who wants to stay here in the south. So far, Sudan has refused to be so accommodating.  There is still a lot of negotiation to take place over such issues. Other key unresolved problems are the disputed border regions, Sudan national debt and the sharing of oil revenue. Most oil is extracted in the south and piped to the north for refining and shipped out through Port Sudan on the red sea. It will be years before South Sudan has its own refinery and, since it has no coast line, it will never have a port with an oil terminal. South Sudan is resource rich but surrounded! So it needs to build good relations with its neighbours - and seemingly has made a good beginning.

Not all traders have left town and not all prices have skyrocketed. There is plenty of fresh beef available from the Arab butchers and frozen chickens seem to be plentiful. The price increase on these items has been very minimal. There have been no eggs available for the past week but I hear some are coming, sometime! The Ethiopian baker who opened up last year and brought joy to many lives with the large, substantial bread rolls that he produced, has closed shop and we are back to dusty, crusty rolls that have very little inside that one identifies as bread. (Some photos of the top Malakal ‘hot bread shop’ are attached).

What is startling are the number of substantial homes and other building under construction. Some of the well-positioned in South Sudan are obviously prospering. For others, inflated prices are a problem. Flour is getting dearer. So will the crusty rolls get even smaller? A ‘taxi ride’ in Malakal – a seat in a four person cab following a set route – used to cost one pound. Now it costs two. So there will be no obesity here among the ‘ordinary’people. The ‘ordinary’ people will walk even more than usual and eat even more basic food.

I saw my first ten pound note of the new South Sudan currency today. It is blue and could be confused by the unwary with the blue two pound note of the old currency. I can’t begin to imagine the confusion the changeover may cause. Yet I may be surprised. South Sudan has been brought to this point far more peacefully and capably than many expected. I continue to be grateful for the crusty bread rolls that are still on the menu. Do we really need to hope for heaven on earth all the time?

Br Bill

Monday, 1 August 2011

More Boarding

We have had a lot of interest and comment over the recent boarders dorm picture. Here is another one from a little later in the hostel's development - note the small walls for that little bit of privacy.