Welcome to WCOSA

Update from the WCOSA President

Your Executive Committee has met regularly by Zoom over the last year. Most meetings
focussed on plans for the Annual Alumni Dinner. We were unable to gain sufficient interest, as reflected by low dinner ticket sales, resulting in the dinner being cancelled.

We trust that this did not detract from offering recognition to the first three inductees into the Wesley College Hall of Fame: Judge Tinimiraka (Tini) Clarke (Public Service); Sir Richard Taylor (the Arts); and Jonah Lomu (Sport).

The cancellation suggests that the Association must look carefully at how the proposed event in 2024 to mark the 180 years since the beginnings of Wesleyan education in Aotearoa is organised and promoted. Past events may not be a good model to follow.

I wish to reflect on being invited at the eleventh hour to attend the Royal Commission on Abuse in Care during the year. My invitation to join the College and Methodist representation to the enquiry was primarily in my former role as Principal. This was a very sobering experience as I heard and watched video that reflected on historical disclosures related to events prior to my time as Principal, that until then, I had been unaware of. There was only one question during the hearing that I did not have the opportunity to prepare for. When the Commission became aware that I was the current President of the Old Students’ Association, one of the Commissioners asked whether the Old Students’ Association had discussed the disclosures that had been made to the Commission. When I responded that there had been no discussion, the Commission asked about opinions that had been expressed on an Old Students’ Facebook page that were read to either downplay or disregard the disclosures. In answer, I could only respond that any opinion that may have been expressed was not being expressed by the Association. I’m not sure that I was believed. What I’ve subsequently recognised is that there is an opportunity for postings on what may be considered a closed Facebook group to be read by wider audiences.

I acknowledge that earlier this morning the College held a service to acknowledge and recognise what has been. This karakia was to focus the community, “especially those students and their families who were affected by the historical abuse, to whakawatea – lift the tapu that has covered us all over these past years.
It was a time to acknowledge the past hurts for so many and offer this invitation to them and those who through no fault of their own were responsible for these hurts.” It would be our collective hope that this will set the groundwork for making a Wesley College experience, from this point onwards, the best it can be for all.

Once a Wesleyan always a Weslyan
Fide Litteris Labore

Ian Faulkner
Wesley College Old Students’ Association
May 2023