James Sclater and Andrew Nicoll


As Westlake Boys High School moves into its second half century, the next generation of Westlake boys follow in their dad’s footsteps to create their own Westlake memories. We currently have well over a hundred second generation boys on our roll and with legislation now assuring enrolment for sons of Old Boys this number will increase and develop into future generations becoming part of the Westlake legacy. This special tradition will be acknowledged this Wednesday (5th March) at the first Westlaker Fathers and Sons event hosted by Headmaster David Ferguson.

Two Westlaker fathers currently play a pivotal role in the school’s leadership as members of the Board of Trustees. Board Chairman James Sclater’s son Oliver left Westlake last year and son Henry is in year 12. Andrew Nicoll’s son Angus is in year 12 while younger son Lachlan is still a few years away from starting at Westlake.

James SclaterTogether with brothers Anthony and David, James attended Westlake in the mid 70’s. He played cricket and rugby and remembers coming second in the 1977 Rugby 1st XV and Cricket 1st XI competitions missing out on an ounce of luck that could have won them both titles. James, who was a prefect for two years, remembers the main sporting highlight from his Westlake days when the Senior Eight won the Maadi Cup in 1976. The highlight of his academic career was being taught Geography by current long serving staff member Peter Rea.

After leaving Westlake, James attended Auckland University and graduated in 1980 with a Bachelor of Commerce followed by his qualification as a Chartered Accountant in 1984.

James travelled overseas for three years with the highlights including travelling throughout the USA and Europe and working at Marvel Comics in the London. He returned to New Zealand to continue working as a Chartered Accountant and spent 20 years as a Partner and Director of Grant Thornton Auckland. In 2008 James pursued a career as an independent director and trustee and is currently a Board member of several private and public companies. He has been the chairman of the Westlake Board of Trustees since 2010. James is still a keen sportsman and now cycles, walks and is a member at Les Mills. He is a strong supporter of anything relating to the North Shore. Some of his best friends today are Westlakers.

Andrew Nicoll 1985Another proud Westlaker and current Board member Andrew Nicoll, whose father Warwick was also a Westlake Board of Trustees member from 1985-1991 and whose brothers Stephen and Jeremy also attended the school, was at Westlake from 1981-1985. He has many special memories and recalls the great 1982 3C rugby team with coach John Russell going on to win the Auckland competition and the U15 Rugby tour to the South Island the same year, winning both games against Shirley Boys High and Christchurch Boys. The Don Johnson guided tour of the South Island, skiing on Mt Hutt in jeans and a rugby jersey, very cold concrete block huts in Queenstown and an incident on the Haast Road were particular highlights. Andrew, a prefect in his last year at school, was part of the Senior Debating team and enjoyed debating battles with teams from Westlake Girls. One memorable victory was the debate against Wesley College when the judge, who turned out to be a boxing referee, applied boxing rules to the debate when Mark Caisley, the first speaker, became ill midway through his speech.

After finishing Westlake, Andrew gained his BA LLB at the University of Auckland and left New Zealand to study in London. He got his LLM at the London School of Economics and Political Science (London University), played village cricket and found just the right balance to enjoy plenty of theatre, rock and jazz concerts whilst getting through his exams.

From there Andrew worked at a number of Auckland law firms, developing his trade as a corporate and commercial lawyer. Today he is a Partner at technology and intellectual property specialist law firm Hudson Gavin Martin and his Westlake schoolmates continue to play a part in his daily life. Mark Gavin (Westlake 1977-81) and Simon Martin (Westlake 1980-84)are also partners at Hudson Gavin Martin. Andrew’s QUACC cricket team for which he enjoyed playing for many years included a number of Westlakers .

The dedication to Westlake Boys High School, shown by James and Andrew as school parents, Board of Trustees members and Westlakers is commendable and Westlake would like to extend their gratitude for their significant contributions.

If you are a Westlaker father with son(s) currently at Westlake and you haven’t received your invitation to the Westlaker Fathers and Sons event next Wednesday 5th March at 6pm-7pm, please contact Mrs Christine O’Dowd at school on 09 410 8667 or by email [email protected]

James with fellow Westlaker David Abercrombie at the WBHS 50th Jubilee launch event in 2011

James Sclater with fellow Westlaker David Abercrombie at the WBHS 50th Jubilee launch event in 2011

Andrew-with-Westlakers-Committee-member-Jeff-Knight-at-the 2013-Westlakers-Bevies-and-Banter Reunion

Andrew Nicoll with Westlakers Committee member Jeff Knight at the 2013 Westlakers Bevies and Banter Reunion