John Patterson

The annual Westlakers Golf Day is one of the highlights on the Westlakers calendar. It is the day that old boys, staff and Westlake supporters get together on the fairways and greens of the Waitemata Golf Course for a sporty and fun-filled round of golf in typical Westlaker spirit. On the line is the highly desirable John Patterson Memorial Trophy and on this day we remember and celebrate one of Westlake’s true characters, popular Westlake teacher and highly regarded colleague John Patterson, who passed away suddenly at Westlake in June 1996.

John Kenneth Angus “Irish” Patterson, Paddy or Irish to his Westlake mates, was born and bred in Belfast, Northern Ireland and after graduating from University took up his first teaching position in Birmingham. The Westlake Boys High School connection started when John met longserving WBHS English Head of Department Bob Overend, who was at John’s school for a one-year exchange. John’s best friend and Birmingham colleague Bev Packwood returned at the end of the year with enthusiastic stories about Westlake having thoroughly enjoyed teaching, the students and his sports coaching. Not to be outdone, John applied for a year teaching in New Zealand himself and was placed at Karamu High School in Hastings. He managed to travel to Auckland several times during the year, visiting Westlake and securing a position at the school. Immigration problems saw him head back to England and continue to press for a return to New Zealand, and in 1992 he moved with his wife Helen and commenced a mathematics position at Westlake.

WBHS 1994 1st XV Rugby team with coaches Don Johnson and John PattersonPaddy was an extremely talented and passionate teacher with a great sense of humour who loved his students, enjoyed coaching and supporting Westlake sports. He was a real rugby enthusiast and liked nothing better on a Monday morning than to “chew the fat” discussing the weekend’s rugby matches with friends and colleagues in the staffroom. He was Don Johnson’s 1st XV Rugby assistant coach in 1993 and 1994, was involved with lots of other rugby teams and organised many of the staff end of term drinks at Kitty O’Briens in the Freemans Bay area.

Once settled at Westlake, John purchased a house in Whangaparoa which fronted the 7th fairway of the Whangaparaoa Golf Club. Not long after John initiated and organised a staff golf tournament which was followed by a BBQ in his the lawn opposite the fairway. For several years Westlake’s staff, golfers and non-golfers, wives and children enjoyed this annual event. One couldn’t say that John was a very proficient golfer, but he had exceptional ability with one club the 7 iron. With this club John hit the golf ball far better than with any other clubs and he often used it for every shot on the hole, bar the putting green and his Westlake friends made sure that this special 7 iron accompanied him on his final journey.

Helen and Claire Patterson (left) with some of John's close Westlake friends at the plaque ceremony earlier this yearAfter John’s passing the golf tournament was held at Whangaparaoa for two more years before moving to Takapuna’s Thomas Park Golf Course but from there on it slowly languished. In 2008 it was revived again in John’s memory with the first Westlakers Golf Day. The tournament winner’s trophy, together with the John Patterson Memorial Trophy awarded every year to a seventh form student for “All Round Involvement, Effort and Loyalty” helps to keep Paddy’s memory alive. In February this year John’s wife Helen and daughter Claire visited the school. In the company of some of John’s close Westlake friends a plaque was laid and memories of a loving husband, father, son, teacher, colleague and friend where shared.

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]

1995 WBHS Staff