Mike Stanley

This weekend’s 78th Head of Harbour Regatta at Lake Pupuke will showcase action from the upper North Island’s leading rowing schools as they do battle for a podium finishes in the various events. Westlake Boys High School will defend its 2013 title of this prestigious annual event which started in 1936 as a school race along Tamaki Drive over approximately 1800m. Rough and exposed Waitemata Harbour conditions forced the regatta to move to Lake Pupuke in the 1960’s and it proved to be a highly successful move which cemented this unique 1000 metre championship regatta into the history of Auckland schools’ sports. Once dominated by Mt Albert Grammar, Sacred Heart College and Kings College, Westlake Boys High School, under the tenure of the great Olympic coach Eric Craies, arrived as Auckland champions in their inaugural year in 1965. They remain a rowing powerhouse to this day winning many Head of Harbour Championships over the next 20 years.

1986 Rugby 1st XVOne of our school’s many successful rowers who experienced winning the Head of Harbour title in 1974 and 1975 first hand is Westlaker Mike Stanley. Mike, one of four brothers who went to Westlake, was at school from 1971-1975. He was a sporting all-rounder captaining the 1st Rugby XV for three years and he was a member of the Senior Rowing Eight in 1974 and 1975. On leaving school it was in rowing that he went on to make his mark, representing New Zealand at a number of World Championships, winning a couple of gold medals along the way as stroke of the New Zealand Men’s Eight in 1982 and 1983 and finishing fourth at the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984.

Mike has fond memories of his time at Westlake. “The 70’s were pretty laid back but we took our sport seriously. I was fortunate to play and row alongside some very talented guys and be coached by two colourful, influential men in long serving staff members Alf Butt and 1986 Senior Eight Rowingformer Olympic rowing coach Eric Craies. Thought very different in character, both men were driven and hugely committed to Westlake’s success along with a sense of humour and empathy hidden beneath pretty formidable personalities.”

Mike was formerly on the staff at Westlake from 1988-1994 and found having to enforce the hair policy a little hypocritical. “Here I am in front of a picture in the school hall, including me with hair halfway down my back, telling some poor lad that he had better get a haircut because it was touching his collar. Some of the braver ones I counselled pointed out the irony with great mirth.”

Mike thoroughly enjoyed his time on the staff and greatly admired the dedication, passion and friendship of Westlake stalwarts Peter Rea, Brett Hart, Simon Smith and many others. “They and other long serving staff members have given the school many years of excellent service and have helped create a legacy and culture that is widely admired.”

Mike in action with the WBHS rowers at the 2013 MaadiDuring his stint as Westlake’s Sports Master, Mike coached the rowing team to win the Springbok Shield in 1989 and 1991, with second placings at the Maadi Cup at Lake Karapiro in those same years. He returned to coaching at the school in 2004 and has coached the Senior Eight since 2008, which has had five podium finishes since 2009.

To date, Mike has enjoyed a wide ranging career in sports management and is currently the CEO of AUT Millennium and President of the NZ Olympic Committee as well as a Board member of High Performance Sport New Zealand. He was formerly CEO of Rowing New Zealand, a team selector for New Zealand Olympic and Commonwealth Games and was on the Board of the New Zealand Olympic Committee, the New Zealand Academy of Sport North Island and the New Zealand Rowing Association.

When time permits, Mike enjoys outdoor sports and developing a lifestyle block with his wife Jane. They have 3 children – Cameron who attended Westlake from 2001-2005, Leah who went to Westlake Girls and Jordan who was at Westlake 2005-2009 and was a member of the Senior Eight which finished a close second in the Maadi Cup in 2009.

Westlake Boys acknowledges the considerable commitment and dedication displayed by Mike as both a student, a staff member, a school parent and a key member of our rowing coaching staff. Contributions such as those displayed by Mike are what frames the school as we know it today.

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].


Grant Schofield

Recent media headlines “banning playground rules” at Swanson Primary School have attracted millions of reads, tweets, Facebook likes and have erupted in numerous global newspaper and online articles leading to some interesting discussions. The project, called “PLAY” originated close to home with Auckland University of Technology’s Professor of Public Health, Westlaker Grant Schofield, working closely on the team leading this study.

The bulk of Grant’s work challenges beliefs and practices around the way we live our lives – especially as it relates to our health. Grant has worked on standing more and sitting less, resulting in a series of studies with standing desks. He’s turned the food pyramid upside down and is currently doing a lot of work in higher fat, lower carb diets for health and performance. The recent “PLAY” publicity has been around a broader theme of “free range kids” and the value of unstructured play – that is, risk and adventure on kids’ terms, not adults. Grant says “The frontal lobe of a child’s brain is developed when they are taking risks allowing them to calculate consequences, something they have to learn themselves. It doesn’t develop by gaming, watching TV or playing computer games – kids have to get out there.”

1986 Senior Eight RowingGrant was at Westlake from 1982-1986 and remembers not spending as much time on his schoolwork as he possibly could have done in his last two years at school. Being a keen sportsman, he represented Westlake’s 1st Rugby XV for two years and was rowing captain and member of the 1986 Senior Rowing Eight that finished 2nd in the Maadi Cup, receiving his Westlake sports colours for both codes.

After finishing school Grant attended Auckland University graduating with a PhD in Psychology and winning a University Blues Awards for both triathlon and duathlon. Grant’s first academic positions were in Queensland, Australia where he remained for nine years. It was during that time that he further developed his passion for triathlon sports and he represented New Zealand in elite duathlon and triathlon teams at a number of world championships. He also raced professionally completing 14 Ironman distance events with the highlights being the Hawaii Ironman triathlon world championships in 1995 and 1997.

Prof Grant SchofieldExercise, nutrition and health had become Grant’s field of expertise and in 2003 he moved back to New Zealand where he became Auckland AUT’s Professor of Public Health in 2006 – the youngest ever Professor to be appointed to that position. His interests are in children/youth, workplaces, built environments, sitting behaviour and redefining public health talk about social factors into a politically universal language. In his work he attempts to understand, and then change, the factors of the contributing behaviours of physical (in)activity and healthy eating. Grant is a board member on the Government’s Health Promotion Agency, the Health Research Council’s Public Health Committee and he chairs the Board of the Getin2Life Youth Development Trust. Grant is married to Louise with three boys Sam, Jackson, and Dan.

Grant likes to see plenty of unstructured play at schools. “Bring back bull rush” he says. “I ran into one of my teachers from back in the days, Mr Brett Hart. We fondly recalled the bull rush games we used to play at intervals at Westlake. We’d always try and smash Mr Hart and – as was the norm in those days – he liked to give as good as he got.”

Follow Grant and his blog ‘The Science of Human Potential’ here.

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]

1986 Rugby 1st XV

Simon Smith

Ask any current or former student to name one of his favourite teachers during their time at Westlake and you’ll find that many of them will mention longstanding staff member, captivating History and Social Science teacher and Westlaker, Simon Smith. This fact was highlighted at the end of last year when Simon was the recipient of the Westlake Boys Staff Travel Award – an award for staff members whose contribution to Westlake Boys High School is so significant that his/her efforts are considered to have enriched Westlake and make it a better place for everyone. The Staff Travel Award is intended to provide recipients with a noteworthy travel experience which will enhance their lives personally and professionally.

Simon Smith 3rd Form 1967 - top row far rightSimon started his Westlake journey as a third former, together with twin brother David in 1967, returned to join the teaching staff over 20 years later and has now taught at his school for almost a quarter of a century. He wasn’t completely sure what he wanted to do after finishing school so enrolled at the North Shore Teachers College looking for a job that would offer variety in his working day. His teaching career started off at Pakuranga Intermediate School where he taught for 3 years and for seven years travelled to Auckland University while completing his BA studies part-time.

A passionate sailor, Simon moved from dinghies to keelers whilst at Training College and sailed in many popular local ocean races of those days such as the Auckland to Suva and Whangarei to Noumea. He eventually ended up in England in 1979 and sailed in the Parmelia Race from England to Perth via the Southern Ocean taking out third place. This experience led to sailing the 1981 Whitbread Round the World Race as bowman, watch captain and helmsman on a maxi called “United Friendly”. The 81 Whitbread proved to be a tremendous 30,000 mile experience that included rounding Cape Horn and sailing amongst the icebergs of the Southern Oceans.

To get fit for the Whitbread Simon and then girlfriend (and now wife Sue) cycled from England to Crete via Holland, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Austria and Greece over a period of five months. One of the highlights of this trip was when an elderly Crete shepherd recognised Simon as a kiwi wearing the silver fern and invited him to share his very basic lunch. The man expressed his tremendous gratitude for the efforts of the New Zealand Division during WWII, in attempting to save their vital island from the Germans. It was a very proud moment for Simon both as an historian and New Zealander to recognise how much the efforts of his father’s generation were still vividly remembered and respected by locals.

WBHS 1997 Sailing Team Auckland National and Australasian ChampsIn 1989, after having taught in Melbourne for seven years and competing in five Sydney to Hobart races, Simon and his young family returned to Auckland and he commenced his teaching years at Westlake. Currently Head of History and formerly a Dean and Deputy Headmaster, Simon has become a mainstay of the school’s Social Sciences department. As well as being a popular teacher, he has also impacted Westlake with his longstanding commitment to the school’s sailing teams. Over the past two decades Simon’s sailing teams have included several current and past New Zealand representatives such as Red Bull Youth America’s Cup sailor Jono Spurdle and 2007 Optimist World Champion Chris Steele. Simon has taught hundreds of students to love his subjects and to enjoy their time on the water. He is a well-respected member of our staff with a wicked sense of humour who helps to glue this school together.

Simon Smith 2013 Staff Travel AwardWinning the Staff Travel Award will allow Simon to explore the way History is taught in New Zealand and overseas, with a particular emphasis on Scholarship and he is likely to utilise his award to travel to Europe and, amongst other activities, visit Gallipoli, D Day beaches and the WWI Western Front. He believes that his enriched knowledge of the area will benefit his students and colleagues for many years to come.

Westlakers congratulates Simon Smith on being the recipient of the 2013 Westlake Staff Travel Award and wishes him an enjoyable trip to Europe.

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]


Peter Rea

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.

477770Peter 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.

479415Eight 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.


Peter Rea (middle) with Westlakers Graham Darlow (left) and Gavin Roberts (right).

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]

Don Johnson

During the 2013 Graduation Dinner, Westlakers President Richard Stevens presented the “Westlakers Lifetime Award”. This unique acknowledgement goes to a Westlaker whose contribution to Westlake Boys High School is so significant that their efforts are considered to have enriched Westlake and make the school a better place forever. A Westlaker can be a former student, staff member or valued friend of the Westlake community. It was therefore no surprise that this year’s Westlakers Lifetime Award was awarded to “Mr Westlake”, Don Johnson.

Don joined the Westlake staff in 1971 as Head of Geography and remained at the school for 30 years until his retirement as a Deputy Headmaster in 2000. He was a significant influence in all aspects of Westlake life and his passion for rugby saw him coach for three decades whilst establishing links with other schools, hosting fixtures against international teams and organising countless fundraising schemes for the many rugby trips, tours and tournaments. Don enjoyed two stints as 1st XV coach (1980-82 and 1991-94) and before, between and after he coached the 5A’s and 3A’s, winning the Auckland 3A title in 1978 as well as five Harbour 3A titles.

1978 WBHS 3A

1978 WBHS 3A

Don’s teams notched up many special wins in his seven seasons with the 1st XV, a 10-6 victory over Auckland Grammar in 1981 ranking high amongst these as it brought to an end a record run of 43 consecutive wins for Grammar. The 15-5 defeat of Kings in 1994 was the last success Westlake achieved over its rival. All Black and Westlaker Ron Williams who captained the 1st XV in 1981 played three seasons under Don Johnson and regarded him as an innovative coach who was ahead of his time – he recalls that Don was focused on getting the structure right as well as taking care of the basics.Don went the extra mile as both a teacher and a coach.

He produced team booklets every year that recorded season statistics, game reports, performance highlights, team photos, cartoons and always, the trademark Johnson prose featured in the poems he wrote that always included mention of every team member (click here to read Don’s poem below written after the 1980 1st XV season).

With Dean Barker at WBHS Sports Dinner 2013

With Dean Barker at WBHS Sports Dinner 2013

In addition to being a legendary teacher and rugby coach, Don Johnson was well known for his terrific sense of humour and is often credited by old boys as a teacher who went the extra mile and pointed them in the right direction when they needed guidance. The school still regularly receives mail from Old Boys wanting to make contact with their school hero Mr Johnson decades after they were taught by him.Nowadays, if Don is not enjoying a round of golf at North Shore Golf Club, he can often be found around school lending a helping hand, supporting school events and embellishing proceedings with an entertaining tale or two.

He has contributed significantly to the fabric of the school and the community that we are all proud to be a part of. If you ever want to know anything about Westlake folklore and hilarity, be sure to have a chat to this special Westlaker!

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]


Winston Cowie

Saturday night the 23rd of November we celebrated our 7th form students’ final year of education at the Annual Graduation Dinner. Originated in the 1980’s, the tradition made a comeback in 2007. Since then, it’s been a special occasion that serves as the official farewell to departing students and gives Westlake staff and teachers the chance to wish the boys all the best for their futures as Westlakers. Last year’s guest speaker was 2000 Head Boy, Westlaker, Lawyer, Environmental Project Manager, Policy Analyst, Marine Scientist and Commercial Diver, Winston Cowie.

Winston & Sean Fitzpatrick

Winston & Sean Fitzpatrick

Winston was at Westlake from 1996-2000 where he thrived, working hard, playing rugby and enjoying many academic and sporting successes in what was an established winning tradition at the school. He recalls that he learned “how to win” at Westlake and remembers his third form teacher Mr Vinicombe’s “class of all stars”. He has good memories of Headmaster Mr Dale, who led from the front and Mr Glackin – the legend – through whom he never looked at history the same way again. Then there was Mr Wilson who ran 10km in bare feet on the road and the athletics trips to Nationals and winning U15 and third form rugby Championships. Winston was not only Head Boy in his last year at school, he also captained the 1st XV Rugby team that won the North Harbour Championship and came top eight in New Zealand – at the time the best rugby result in the history of the school. Winston was also captain of the 2000 Dragon Boating crew that beat St Kentigern College in the final of the New Zealand Dragon Boating Championships at Viaduct Harbour in Auckland.

After leaving Westlake Winston went to Otago University where he completed his Law degree and captained the Otago University U21 team to the Dunedin Championship. From Otago University, Winston moved back to Auckland and took up a position with Russell McVeagh in the Resource Management team. During this time, Winston worked on some high profile cases including the litigation surrounding the PakNSave supermarket in Wairau Road.

Graduation Dinner Speaker 2012

Graduation Dinner Speaker 2012

While working in Auckland, Winston applied to attend Oxford University to complete a Masters course in Nature, Society and Environmental Policy. He was accepted and was awarded a Major Stanley’s Rugby Scholarship to attend the University. He lived in Oxford for a year while working towards completing his Masters thesis on the management of Buccoo Reef Marine Park in Trinidad and Tobago. During his time in the UK Winston played rugby for Oxford, was awarded with an Oxford Blue, and played in the traditional Varsity match against Cambridge at Twickenham. 45,000 people attended the match … unfortunately, Oxford lost the game. Winston and fellow Westlake and Oxford teammate Euan Sadden donated a framed Oxford jersey to Westlake during Jubilee year last year. The jersey is on display in the Sports Pavilion.

After finishing at Oxford, Winston worked in the Middle East and is now based back in Auckland. He is a motivational speaker and the author of New Zealand historical fiction and non-fiction books “A Flame Flickers in the Darkness” and “Greenstone Trail”. He also produces documentaries and never lost his passion for rugby, giving back as a rugby coach.

To the extraordinary group of young men who has crossed the stage to receive their Graduation Certificates and Westlakers ties – and to all other 7th formers who will leave Westlake this year – well done! Challenge yourself on the road ahead and make sure to follow your dreams. Westlake Boys High School and Westlakers wish you all the best for your exciting futures ahead as Westlakers. Virtute experiamur.




William Pike

Six years ago a young man’s life changed forever. His love for the outdoors and being active found him mountaineering on Mt. Ruapehu when it erupted on the evening of 25 September 2007. His legs were severely crushed by rocks and mud, and due to snow he became critically hypothermic. Among other life-threatening injuries, his right leg was amputated below the knee and doctors and rescue authorities noted his survival as ‘a miracle’. This extraordinary tale of survival is the story of Westlaker William Pike. Through extensive recovery and rehabilitation supported with love and friendship he adopted a positive attitude towards his new life. Nowadays he is a well-known Kiwi, a sought-after motivational speaker and an accessible role model for young people.

William was a student at Westlake from 1998 to 2002 and the school’s Outdoor Education programme helped to develop his passion for the outdoors. He was part of the Premier Waterpolo team from 2000-2002, winning the National Champs for three years in a row and dabbled in other sports such as multi-sport, triathlon and swimming. In his final year at Westlake William served as a Prefect and remembers Westlake being a major highlight of his life to date. The school taught him life skills, good morals, discipline and gave him a great start to his life.

Back at Mt Ruapehu

Back at Mt Ruapehu

In 2006 William graduated from Teachers College with a Bachelor of Education with First Class Honours. His life changing experience on Mt. Ruapehu prompted him to write an autobiography “Every Day’s A Good Day” in which he shares his story of beating the odds. He was a teacher at Murrays Bay Primary School for four years and in 2010 he launched the William Pike Challenge Award initiative, an outdoor activity based challenge programme for students aged 11 upwards.

William has never lost his passion for the outdoors. He enjoys kayaking, bush walking, mountaineering, hunting and exploring New Zealand’s beautiful backcountry, taking some amazing photos during his trips. He enjoys his motivational speaking engagements in schools and businesses and his mission is to turn the William Pike Challenge Award into New Zealand’s most popular Intermediate and Middle School outdoor education programme.

William still catches up regularly with many of his school mates, reminiscing over the good times, sport, teachers and funny moments. Keep an eye out for the Channel Magazine as William becomes a monthly columnist from December onwards. If you would like to find out more about the William Pike Challenge Award please click here.

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]




James Oram, Taylor Gunman and Mike Northey

The prestigious Tour of Southland, New Zealand’s major road cycling event – won by Westlaker Mike Northey – last year, is underway with a peloton of 146 national and international riders battling each other over seven stages. Two of the hardest stages of the tour are stage two and four. Stage two, up the legendary Bluff Hill, is probably the only New Zealand climb where seasoned pros get off their bikes and push them to the finish where stage four finishes with the road to the top of Coronet Peak, a climb of 721m in only 8.4km.

Kiwi cyclists and Westlakers James Oram (Kiwi Velo – Armstrong Prestige) and Taylor Gunman (Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers) took out these hardest days on the road. James climbed his way into the yellow jersey with a victory on Bluff Hill and Taylor powered up Coronet Peak for a stage victory, with James finishing in third place to retain the yellow jersey. Defending champ Mike (Kiwi Velo – Armstrong Prestige) is currently in 26th position on the leaderboard.

Mike Northey 2012 Tour of Southland Champion

Mike Northey 2012 Tour of Southland Champion

Mike Northey was at Westlake from 2000-2004 and as one of the top performing senior cyclists represented the school at national level, winning several individual and team competitions. After school he raced in the New Zealand Development Squad before moving to France in 2006. He raced two years in Belgium with an amateur team and three years in the USA including a spot on the PureBlack Racing team. He is currently based in the UK and rides for Britain Node 4 Giordana. Amongst his many career highlights are the victories of the 2012 Tour of Southland, the 2012 Lake Taupo Classic as well as coming first in the 2012 New Zealand Criterium Championships and second at the 2013 New Zealand Criterium Champs. A recent riding accident while out training two weeks ago means that the defending Tour of Southland Champion will be playing a support role for fellow Westlaker and teammate James Oram during this year’s event.


Taylor Gunman conquered Coronet Peak - a stage victory

Taylor Gunman conquered Coronet Peak – a stage victory

Taylor Gunman was at Westlake from 2004-2008 and was a very capable student, showing maturity and leadership skills from an early age. In his first two years at school he played rugby and captained the top junior teams to North Harbour honours. He started cycling in his second year and it soon became clear that he was a talented rider, winning Most Talented Junior Rider in 2006 and Most Talented Senior Rider in 2007-2008. In his final year he was a prefect and Cycling Captain and represented the school at national level, winning several individual and team competitions. After leaving school Taylor raced both nationally and abroad as part of the Pure Black Racing team for a number of seasons before basing himself in Belgium with Teva. Taylor was recently recruited by Huon Salmon-Genesys Wealth Advisers, arguably Australia’s top team and races internationally.



James Oram at the top of Bluff Hill (Photo by Envious Photography)

James Oram at the top of Bluff Hill (Photo by Envious Photography)

James Oram, a quiet top academic achiever and sportsman, was at Westlake from 2006-2010. He represented the school in cycling, setting a great example for fellow riders never missing early morning trainings or cycling events. During his time at school he represented New Zealand for three years winning many national age-grade titles and team events. He was the undisputed U17 New Zealand champion in 2009 and gained a world ranking in Cycling in 2010. In his final year he was a prefect and Westlake’s Cycling Captain, winning the North Harbour, Auckland and North Island titles with his team. After finishing Westlake James set out to follow his dream to become a professional rider, racing all over the globe for one of the world’s leading U23 teams, American based Bontrager Cycling Team. This year he raced in the Tour of California, the hardest event in the States which is contested by the very top pros in the world. Only a handful of Kiwis have had the chance to race in this event.

Westlake is fortunate to have its old boys involved. Westlaker Chuck Buckley from Kiwivelo – long-time backer of the school’s cycling team has been involved with Westlake’s team for the last four years “It’s great to see these top cyclists spending time with the Westlake cycling squad when they are back in New Zealand. They always manage to come in and have a chat or look after the Westlake boys when they are out riding”.

Westlake Boys High School and Westlakers wish James, Mike and Taylor all the very best for the next stages of the Tour of Southland and hope to see the Westlakers on the podium on Sunday.

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].

Jeffrey Chang, Benjamin Tan and Jae Hyun Jeong

Over the years “the biggest, noisiest, small department in the school” has produced some exciting musical talent from its range of successful orchestras and bands as well as its award winning choirs. Westlakers and musical performers extraordinaire, Benjamin Tan, Jeffrey Chang and Jae Hyun Jeong are members of the New Zealand Youth Choir to tour the USA and Canada at the end of November. They will perform in some of the most prestigious musical centres in the world.

Jeffrey ChangTenor Jeffrey Chang was at Westlake in 2003-2007 and was a member of Barbershop and the Voicemale and Choralation choirs. A self-motivated, highly intelligent student, he was a Prefect and Westlake’s Music Leader in his final year at school and his integrity and talent inspired many Westlake junior “musos”. Jeffrey received his Cultural Colours and won the John Gales Award for the Most Promising Senior Musician and was made Leader of the National Secondary Schools Choir. He was the only secondary student selected for the New Zealand Youth Choir for its tour of Wales, England, Canada and Spain. Jeffrey graduated with a Bachelor of Music at Auckland University and is a member of the University of Auckland Chamber Choir and Auckland Cathedral Choir.


Benjamin TanBass Benjamin Tan achieved to an exceptionally high level in many areas of school life from 2006-2010. Ben was Head Boy in 2010 and leader of the Choralation and Voicemale choirs as well as section leader of the Symphony Orchestra, Concert Band, Camerata Orchestra, and Chamber Orchestra. He represented the New Zealand Secondary Schools’ choir at a world choral competition and was runner up in the North Shore Youth Orchestra Composer’s Competition. Ben was also an outstanding public speaker and a member of the school’s premier debating team and was Managing Director of Axiom, a Kiwi-themed maths and problem solving computer game company that won North Shore regional finals in the Young Enterprise Scheme. More recently Ben has also been singing with the Auckland Chamber Choir and besides his own singing, he has been the conductor for Westlake’s ‘Momentum’ choir, the school’s training choir for Voicemale. Occasionally Ben dabbles in playing string instruments, writing and composing, and in between NZYC commitments, he manages to study Computer Systems Engineering at the University of Auckland.

Jae Hyun JeongBass Jae Hyun Jeong was at Westlake in 2006-2010 where he excelled in both academic and cultural activities. He was a member of Voicemale, Choralation and Barbershop and played in the Symphonic Orchestra as well as the Concert Band. He was co-leader on the Korean Committee and director of two successful Young Enterprise schemes and also found time to represent Westlake in football, tennis, badminton and table tennis as well as being part of the debating and robotics team. In his last year at school Jae Hyun was a prefect and a sectional leader of two of the school choirs. He was part of the New Zealand Secondary Students choir and the Auckland University Chamber Choir and is currently studying medicine at the University of Auckland.

The New Zealand Youth Choir, conducted by Westlake’s own David Squire will perform a selection from the USA & Canada tour repertoire in a ‘Farewell’ Concert at the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Parnell on 20 November at 7.30pm. Click here to order your tickets from Iticket.

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]

2005 Barbershop with Jeffrey Chang

2008 Barbershop Virtutti with Benjamin Tan and Jae Hyun Jeong


Duncan Garner

Radio Live Drive host, co-host of TV3’s 3rd Degree and The Vote, keen boatie and Westlaker Duncan Garner has teamed up with Water Safety New Zealand to help reduce the number of Kiwi ‘blokes in boats’ drowning. It’s no surprise that Duncan has become an ambassador to the cause – as a keen fisherman and boatie himself he understands the risks on the water and will be taking a Coastguard Boating Education Day Skipper course to set an example for others to follow.

Duncan was at Westlake in 1989-1991. He was involved with the production of the school magazine and won the 1990 Kevin Leadbetter Prize for coming First in Journalism. He was part of the Under 17 Eight Rowing team and managed to get a special mention of congratulations in the 1990 yearbook for his support and humour given to the U19 Senior Eight crew throughout the year as well as his superb effort in becoming the first ever Westlake sculler to reach a sculling final at the Maadi Cup regatta. Duncan played for the Rugby 1st XV for two years and was a Prefect in his final year at school, winning the Takapuna RSA Award for Work in School and Community.

1991 1st XVAfter leaving Westlake, Duncan completed a three year degree course in Communication Studies at the Auckland University of Technology and was one of only two successful applicants out of over 300 for TVNZ in 1995. He enjoyed a year reporting on sports and news and completed three years in the Parliamentary Press Gallery as reporter for TV1 enjoying the challenging of the APEC and the election so close together. He joined the team of the current affairs show Holmes from 2000 to 2002 and moved to TV3 in 2003 as a political reporter taking on the network’s Political Editor role in 2007. Duncan’s 17 years in the gallery saw him cover the 1996, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008 and 2011 General Elections in New Zealand. In March 2010, TV3 launched the weekend current affairs program The Nation, with Garner as co-host and in December 2012 Duncan took over the Radio Live Drive slot, after a trial week earlier that year proved successful. In March this year Duncan became the host of two new current affairs shows on TV3 – 3rd Degree and The Vote.

Duncan has been repeatedly recognised for the quality of his work – winning the coveted Television Journalist of the Year at the 2007 Qantas Television Awards. He later scooped another win – in tandem with Patrick Gower – in 2012 in the Best News Reporting category for his work on the John Banks/John Key tea tapes scandal.

Duncan GarnerDuncan played a key role in Westlake’s 50th Jubilee celebrations last year as MC of the Jubilee Gala Dinner and he also took to the field during the weekend in the Westlakers Rugby match.

With Monday’s Labour Day weekend marking the start of the boating season, Duncan will swap his blazer for a lifejacket to try and get the message across to recreational boaties nationwide. On behalf of Westlake Boys’ High School and Westlakers we wish you a relaxing Labour weekend and encourage you and your families to stay safe on the water!

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].