September 25, 2019
NZ’S OLDEST SCHOOL SEEKS PAST STUDENTS
New Zealand’s oldest school is trying to track down former students from around New Zealand and the Pacific as it celebrates its 175th anniversary in Auckland October 26-27.
Wesley College was established by the Wesleyan Missionary Society in October 1844 in what was then the small waterfront settlement of Auckland.
The school is well-known for having produced more recent All Blacks and rugby internationals than any other school in the country…along with numerous high achieving sports women.
Many of its predominantly Maori and Pacific Island students have also achieved success in academia, the arts, business and politics at home and internationally.
But the school is asking, “Where are you now?” Over decades, many former students have moved on around the world and the school has lost touch.
Originally known as the Wesleyan Native Institution, the school began life with 10 students, but it soon attracted others from afar.
Many were young men rather than boys and some were even married. All were selected because they showed promise as leaders.
To enable the school to virtually live off the land, it moved to an 80 hectares farm at what is now the Auckland suburb of Three Kings.
From that site for the next 75 years, the Wesleyan Native Institution provided a sound Christian education for young Maori and an increasing number of needy European children. At times the school was co-educational.
In 1876 the school adopted the name Wesley College. As the twentieth century dawned and the city expanded, Three Kings was no longer an ideal site.
In 1911, the present Wesley Training College Trust Board was established and later purchased land at rural Paerata some 70km from the central city.
But the advent of the First World War delayed the new school’s opening until August 1922, with special provisions for the welfare of Maori and Pacific Island students.
During World War Two, students were dispersed as Defence authorities took over the buildings which at one stage housed an American unit of some 600 men and 120 nurses. The school eventually reopened in February 1944 and over the next two decades its roll rose from 27 to over 200 students.
In 1976 Wesley College became the first private school to integrate with the New Zealand State School System – with the advantage of being a Government funded school with a Special Character.
Now a co-educational, predominantly boarding school, Wesley is looking forward to looking back, sharing the memories of former students gathering to share a proud history.
If you’re a former Wesley student, visit https://wcosa.co.nz/ or Facebook
Wesley’s Maori Achievers.
There are too many to list here but here are just some we’ve collated for you:
- Te Paea Hinerangi (1850s)
- Rev Eruera Te Tuhi (1904)
- Rev Matarae Tauroa (1916)
- Rev Ranginohoora Rogers (1928)
- Rev Piripi Rakena (1880)
- Rev Piri Rakena (1912)
- Rev Ruawai D Rakena (1947-48)
- Koro Dewes (1944-46)
- Dr P.Te Hurinui Jones (1913)
- Temuera Morrison (1975-1977)
- Howard Morrison Jr (1975-1977)
- James Peters (1952-55)
- Ian Peters (1956-1958)
- Turoa Royal (1949-1953)
- Edward Terangihiwinui (Hiwi) Tauroa (1941 student, Principal 1968-1973)
- Rev Lane M Tauroa (1940)
- Judge Miharo Armstrong (1994-96)
- Judge Tinimiraka Clark (1988)
- Dr Bradon Te Ao (1995-2000)
- Dr Jason Turuwhenua (1986-1990)
Wesley’s extraordinary sporting achievements:
As the country’s oldest secondary school, Wesley has produced more recent All Blacks and rugby internationals than any other school in the country. Here’s a summary.
Wesley’s All Blacks
Three weeks ago 4 ex Wesley played in AB v Tonga test match:
AB- Nepo Laulala; Tonga- Siale Piutau (Captain plus try scorer), Maama Vaipulu and Sione Anga’aelangi
Two who achieved significant moments in World Cup and All Black history –
Beaver (Stephen Donald) who kicked the winning goal at the 2011 World cup at Eden Park and Jonah Lomu who took rugby to a higher level on the world stage with his sensational performances at the 1995 World Cup and in turn became a global sporting super star.
Another World Cup winner is Malakai Fekitoa who played at the 2015 World Cup in England. 2018 saw Karl Tu’inukuafe achieve cult hero status for the way he achieved All Black selection and in 2019 both Karl and Nepo Laulala made All Black appearances with Nepo selected for the 2019 World Cup campaign in Japan.
Other former Wesleyan All Blacks include Doug Rollerson 1976,1980-81, Rhys Duggan 1999, Casey Laulala 2004-06, Sitiveni Sivivatu 2005-11, Charles Piutau 2013-15, Frank Halai 2013 and Augustine Pulu 2014.
At the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, Sione Molia and Augustine Pulu were selected for the All Blacks 7’s team. Sione Molia is a senior member of the current 7’s team.
Past students playing rugby in current international teams are Uini Atonio (France), Sekope Kepu (Australia), Siale Piutau (Tonga), Maama Vaipulu (Tonga), Sione Anga’aelangi (Tonga). Sekope, Siale, Maama, Sione and Nepo will be at the 2019 World Cup in Japan playing for their respective nations.
In recent times, age grade success for Jonathon Taumateine- NZ U20’s 2016, Suetena Asomua- NZ Barbarians Schools Rugby 2016, NZU20s 2018 and Tupou Vaa’i- NZ Barbarians Schools Rugby 2016, NZ Secondary Schools 2017 & NZ U20s 2019. In 2019 Adam (Wetere) Pompey made his debut NRL premiership appearance for the NZ Warriors against the Cronulla Sharks.
Wesley College has won the NZ Barbarians 1xv ‘Top 4’ title five times and won the NZ Condor 7’s title six times. Wesley College has held the prestigious Moascar Cup on three other occasions.
Recent Dux Ledorum
2017- won by Tupou Vaa’i: who was selected for NZSS rugby team. Tupou now playing Mitre 10 Cup rugby for Taranaki and selected for NZU20s Junior World Cup squad that played in Argentina three months ago.
2018- Thor Manase: who was elected for Chiefs Schools rugby team
Female successes 2019
Ocean Tierney who left school last year is in the Counties Women’s Heat rugby team alongside a current Year 11 student Letticia Vaka which is an amazing achievement to be playing at this level with Black fern players while still at school.
Music & Performance
Demetrius Savelio AKA Savage- First NZ hip hop artist to achieve commercial success in the United States. Popular songs include Swing, Freaks & Stop, drop and Roll. Savage is also a member of Deceptikonz, Horsemen Family and Dawn Raid All-Stars.
Other notable alumni include:
Sir Richard Taylor who won Six Academy Awards for his involvement in the movies King Kong and Lord of the Rings.
Actor Temuera Morrison who starred in major films such as ‘Once Were Warriors,’ ‘Star Wars’ Episode II & III, ‘Moana’ and recently ‘Aquaman.’
Ian Mune, well-respected actor, director and screen writer associated with iconic New Zealand films like ‘Sleeping Dogs,’ ‘Came a Hot Friday,’ ‘Goodbye Pork Pie,’ ‘The Piano,’ ‘Once Were Warriors’ and ‘The Silent One.’
Roger McClay – served in politics from 1981-96. Former Minister of Youth Affairs and Associate Minister of Education & Social Welfare and former Commissioner of Children.
Judge Miharo Armstrong – appointed to the Maori Land Court in 2014 and in 2018 he was appointed judge of the High Court of Niue.
In 2018 Tinimiraka Clark was sworn in as the first Maori female District Court Judge from Waikato.
Pacific Islands – a list is available.