Speech by XŌtaki College Alumni Trust chair Max Lutz
Ladies and gentlemen on behalf of the XŌtaki College Alumni Trust it gives me great pleasure in welcoming you all on this very auspicious occasion to induct Jackie Sutton and Peter Housiaux into the XŌtaki College Alumni Trust Hall of Fame.
It is with pleasure we welcome Jackie and Ralph Sutton and Peter and Ann-Marie Housiaux and their families – many of whom have travelled from all over New Zealand and a few from as far afield as New South Wales and Queensland to be present today. A special welcome also to Jacqui Pritchard, Chris and Kathy Parkin, Mayor Guru and Claire, Ray and Irene Mackle of the Philipp Family Foundation, and Dale Nahkla, chair of the Ōtaki College Board of Trustees.
I feel very privileged to be Chairman of the Alumni Trust and would like to take the opportunity to introduce my fellow trustees:
Kim Cook, Emma Henderson, Janice Brown, Peter Housiaux, Peter Northern, Scott Wylie, Kerry Walker and Andy Fraser – working as a dedicated team since the Trust’s inception in 2014. In this time the Trust has raised over $500,000 for the benefit of the students of Ōtaki College with the money spent on various infrastructure projects and funding annual financial scholarships.
Notable projects include the completion of the Te Whare Hui building, refurbishment of the swimming pool, the fitness playground, the SS Otaki Commemoration and installation of solar panels providing power savings for scholarship funding. Major funders I would like to thank are the Philipp Family Foundation, the late David Pritchard and Chris Parkin.
Covid-19 certainly stepped in the way of several of the Trust’s projects. The $9000 scholarship awarded to Parekawa Finlay to fund her attendance at the Globe Theatre in London remains in the bank waiting for the time she is able to travel to England for the rescheduled programme.
The Trust’s latest project is the new canopy structure many of you would already have sighted this evening. The request from Andy Fraser to the Trust to build an all-weather structure to protect students from the elements was always seen as a project that was in the too-hard basket.
I am not sure who, but one of the trustees suggested a pole type structure with an estimated cost of $30,000. This looked very achievable when Graham and Michelle Peter made generous seed funding available to purchase the kitset structure. However the next step involved getting consent from KCDC only to be told that excavation for the poles could not happen due to the proximity of specimen native trees. To overcome this problem the Trust involved our good friend and architect Rob Kofoed and ex-student and builder Hamish Sweetman, who together devised a lovely design and practical building plan.
Once again KCDC consent provided a stumbling block with huge compliance costs imposed on a non-profit volunteer Trust. Despite this we moved forward and were shovel-ready when along came Covid-19-related complications stopping all progress to work around a deferred exam timetable, not to mention the fact that progress was reliant on the volunteer builders and building supervisor who had their own jobs to work around.
After all of this we have managed to achieve a stunning fit-for-purpose structure but one that has gone well over budget at three times the cost of the original proposed structure. We are now seeking ex-students and supporters who would be prepared to fund the eight seats required at a cost of $1000 per seat or contribute to the $5000 needed for the finishing cladding to the walls of the structure.
Covid-19 also caused the postponement of our planned Hall of Fame event until tonight.
We are here now and it is with much pleasure that the trustees of the XŌtaki College Alumni Trust induct Jackie Sutton and Peter Housiaux into the Hall of Fame to join inaugural inductees Chris Parkin and the late David Pritchard.