As the year draws to a close and another group of great young men have flown off towards their new horizons, we reflect on the impact that many of our teachers have made on the lives and achievements of our Westlakers. Westlake is immensely lucky to have so many teachers who make a difference and whose dedication and support is inexhaustible each and every day. One of these teachers has spent almost 40 years at our school. This legendary teacher represents everything that Westlakers embody and his assembly speech to kick-off last Year’s 50th Jubilee weekend was both memorable and moving. He is Westlaker and longserving WBHS staff member Peter Rea.
Peter is one of Westlake’s former pupils who have returned to the school as a teacher. His stint at Westlake started in 1964 when his mother put her foot down for her son to attend the recently opened boys’ high school on the North Shore and from there on the rest is history. Peter was a strong rugby player who represented Westlake’s ‘A’ rugby teams during his time at school and played 1st XV rugby for two years. He was a successful oarsman in the Senior Rowing crews under coach Eric Craies and returned as a Prefect after his seventh form year in 1969 to complete the rowing season and finish off one more season with the 1st XV.
After leaving school Peter attended Auckland University and the Auckland Teachers College and continued playing his rugby for Auckland University and later on for Takapuna RFC. He started his teaching career at Westlake in 1975 teaching Geography and ever since Peter has been heavily involved with many of Westlake’s Rugby and Rowing teams.
Eight New Zealand Rowing Championships in the U15, U16 and U18 grades are testimony to his rowing coaching and mentoring skills. He also holds the honour of being the last Westlake rugby coach to win an Auckland Rugby Championship with 7A in 1984 (before the start of the North Harbour era), defeating Auckland Grammar for the win! As an assistant coach for the 1st Rugby XV, Peter enjoyed a few overseas tours with the highlight being the great Japanese tour of 1991.
More recently his former student Mike Stanley got him involved again in rowing with the winter “Learn to Row Programme”. Last year the Westlake Rowing Society built and named a rowing barge after Peter and this year the Westlake Boys High School Rowing Society honoured Peter with a Lifetime Membership at their Annual Rowing Dinner.
Many of Peter’s former students remember the flamboyant teacher for his enthusiasm and passion on the field, the water and in the classroom. They recall the illustrious Lake runs, his favourite stubbies, the confidence he instilled in his students and his passion for running rugby. Currently a third form Dean and highly valued, vastly experienced teacher in the Social Sciences faculty, Peter has seen the school evolve, expand and improve over time. Despite these changes he doesn’t feel that the students have changed one iota, as it started back in his days, the boys are still a credit to the families of the North Shore.
Westlake Boys High School and Westlakers would like to wish you a merry Christmas and a relaxing and safe holiday break. If you hear any news of Westlake Old Boys or former staff or if you are interested in supporting Westlakers events and activities, please contact Mrs Christine O’Dowd at school on 09 410 8667 or by email [email protected]