To those who knew her in Ōtaki, she was always Sandra Dorne, and remembered for her prodigious talents as a gymnast. Travelling back to Ōtaki for the first time in 31 years for the college reunion, she’s now Sandy Smith, gymnastics days behind her but still diminutive and living a happy life as a truckie in Brisbane. It’s a lifestyle that... Keep Reading
Inaugural XOtaki Hall Of Fame recipients announced at black-tie dinner
POSTED 4 May 2018
Two accomplished 1960s graduates were honoured at the inaugural Hall Of Fame Awards dinner on 3 May 2018. See the media release here and you can read the citation for Chris Parkin here and for David Pritchard here.
College pool a memorial to Stephen Hillas
Shelly Warwick writes about how Otaki College’s swimming pool memorialised a young student to become the Stephen Hillas Memorial Pool. Read the story here.
Where in the World is 1960’s Otaki College teacher JC (“Snow”) Burnett?
STORY POST: 13 April 2015
Ever wondered what happened to a favourite teacher? Ron Gibbard, a student from the very early years of Otaki College, wondered just that about teacher Snow Burnett. Being a curious and tenacious student, Ron tracked Snow down and recorded the visit in this article.
So where did the 2009 Reunion money go?
BLOG POST: 9 December 2014
Ron Gibbard, Reunion Treasurer and now member of the XOtaki Foundation Trust, lets us know how the excess money from the 50th Reunion has been accounted for and well used. Read Ron’s post here >
Video interview with John Saunders, Principal from 1963 to 1975
BLOG POST: 2 October 2014
This is a chance to see and hear one our founding and important staff members, but it's also an opportunity to see if you might stump up to buy the school a new video microphone? See the video here >
XOtaki College Foundation Trust faces up to photo shooting
NEWS RELEASE: 2 July 2014
With the formal establishment of the XOtaki College Foundation Trust, it was time for... you guessed it, a photo. And what use is a team photo without a news release? Read all about it and see the smiling faces here >
John Stewart Heatherwick 1947 - 2014
John Heatherwick was a founding committee member of XOtaki Alumni and about to become a Trustee of XOtaki College Foundation Trust when he tragically died on 11 April 2014 at age 67.
A past student and friend to all, John will be missed by all who knew him. Few knew him better than lifelong friend Ron Gibbard who delivered a tribute at his funeral and in an article specially prepared for this website. Read Ron’s tribute here.
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Dr. Lincoln Nicholls is passionate about getting more Maori into joining him as a doctor of medicine. He happens to also be a Captain in the New Zealand Army and... you guessed it, he's an XŌtaki alumni student. Take a look at this Maori TV report.
The future of science, the joy of learning and the importance of clean technology. Otaki College students get it all at the Otaki Centre for Clean Technology.
The 60th anniversary reunion of Ōtaki College drew well in excess of 300 former students and staff on the two days of April 26-27. Falling a week after Easter and only a day after Anzac Day, many former associates of the college from out of town and overseas took the opportunity to visit for several days. They met up with family and friends –... Keep Reading
Before the opening of Ōtaki District High School on February 2, 1959, secondary education was afforded to pupils of the southern Horowhenua district by their travelling by rail or bus to Horowhenua College. Throughout the 1950s, there was, in New Zealand as a whole, huge growth in the provision of new secondary schools to cope with... Keep Reading
After the resounding success of the 50th jubilee and the amount of positive feedback received, the XŌtaki College Alumni Trust decided it would be worthwhile celebrating the college’s 60-year anniversary. This time around, the reunion committee is lucky to have a mix of members from the 50th jubilee committee, plus some new faces... Keep Reading
Kei aku nui, kei aku rahi, kei aku whakatiketike, nei rā ngā mihi matakuikui ki a koutou, ngā ākonga o mua. Ko koutou e whakanui ana i ngā tau e 60 o te Kāreti o Ōtaki nei. Nō mātou anō te māringa nui ki te manaaki i tēnei kaupapa whakahirahira o tātou. Kāore e kore he nui ngā āhuatanga rerekē, ngā āhuatanga hou, ā, ko te... Keep Reading
The XŌtaki College Alumni Trust was established five years ago by a group of former students to help the college with projects and scholarships that help current students to realise their goals and dreams, and to help build a 21st century college – it’s about students of the past helping those of the future. The trust has undertaken... Keep Reading
It’s now 102 years since SS Otaki was sunk by the German raider SMS Moewe in the First World War. The action and heroism on that day – March 10, 1917 – is now remembered each year at Ōtaki College. A monument installed at the college for centenary commemorations is the focal point for war veterans, particularly those who served in the... Keep Reading
Two new plaques have gone up in the Ōtaki College hall foyer recognising the contribution of the Philipp Family Foundation (PFF). The foundation has made significant grants to the college in recent years. One is its support for the XŌtaki College Alumni Trust to install solar panels on the roof of the hall. PFF provided $26,000 to install... Keep Reading
Chris Parkin’s generosity-of-spirit has few boundaries and, as a result, he does nothing by half. Whether it’s founding the Parkin Drawing Prize. Whether it’s venturing into railway locomotion to relocate a 3000 tonne hotel on Wellington’s waterfront, or whether it’s riding a motorbike with his good mates around remote parts of... Keep Reading
Former Ōtaki College students Chris Parkin and David Pritchard were inducted into the new XŌtaki Hall of Fame at a black tie dinner last night (May 3). They are the first recipients of the awards, bestowed by the XŌtaki Alumni Trust to honour the achievements of former college students. More than 160 guests and dignitaries gathered for the... Keep Reading
David has lived his whole life in Otaki (in fact he’s almost considered a local now) and in that time he’s been both community-minded and a great advocate of the town, its people and the surrounding district. David and his lovely wife Jacqui have raised four children– Sam, Alice, John and Sophie. David’s put much into this town in so... Keep Reading
Are you an old girl or boy, or do you know someone who is?
Stories and images back
through the years
2000 to 2010
A new century and the new Principal John Kane arrives from Taihape College, and the winter sports tradition with that college continued. PAGE >
1990 to 1999
Principal Mel Cooper settled in for a period and the Nelson Block got a lick of paint to welcome the Governor General. PAGE >
1980 to 1989
Rex Kerr's long serving period (21 solid years) and a rugby loving Principal / Coach of the First XV. PAGE >
1970 to 1979
Continuation of the John (Jack) Saunders years, with 'Credence Clearwater Revival' school socials and UE exams in Hadfield Hall. READ >
1959 to 1969
District High School to College status under the three early Principal's, and a first overseas trip. READ >