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Westlake is sad to note the passing of a former headmistress, Miss Helen Ryburn, who made a significant contribution to Westlake and the wider community over many years. She started teaching there in 1960 and was headmistress 1969 - 1982.
A number of former students have commented through our Facebook page, describing her as 'one of those once-in-a-lifetime teachers', and as 'a strong formative influence and role model'. There is  a tribute later in this newsletter.
We are also featuring profiles of Jan Dawson and Naomi Ballantyne, two of our notable former students. Jan Dawson was recently honoured with the Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) award for services to governance.
Naomi Ballantyne is one of New Zealand’s leading entrepreneurs and was the guest speaker at this year’s prize-giving.
From the Alumni Co-ordinator
Class of 2016 - Welcome to the Westlake alumni community
It’s great to have 250 of you connected through the alumni class Facebook Group. We wish you good luck as you await results in January and look forward to following your progress and keeping in touch in the future.

                             Our new alumni winding up their final year
Alumni networks
Facebook groups (Closed) have now been set up for all peer years. There was a great response from the last newsletter so we pressed ahead with this means of expanding our network. Some of the new groups already have a considerable number of members who have re-connected. Others, particularly through the late ‘60s and ‘70s, have just one or two members.
I hope to do some research and gradually make contact with many more of our ‘lost alumni’ so that we can build up networks from these earlier eras. Your help in spreading the word will be most helpful.
Links to all the Facebook groups are at the end of the newsletter.
Note that the Westlake Girls Class of ……….. refers to the Form 7/Year 13 year for that cohort. So the Westlake Girls Class of 1979 (for example), would be for all those who started in Form 3 in 1975.
Please let me know if there are any problems with links.

There is a separate email contact list for the co-ed Westlake High School Founders,
Any assistance with photos that would be suitable as cover photos for year groups would be  appreciated.
The Life Beyond School Programme (LBS)
This is a mentoring programme where the mentoring takes place as a series of weekly,
themed discussions between senior school students and recent school leavers. It is run by
two former Westlake Boys alumni and a former student of Rangitoto  College. Our contact is Shaun Hotchkiss who has visited Westlake to talk to senior students in the Philosophy Club and career and alumni staff.
They are hoping that some recent alumni from several North Shore Schools may be interested in helping run the programme. At this stage the sessions are run weekly at Westlake Boys after school.
Contact Shaun for further information.
Recent Events

Class of ‘91
The Westlake Class of ’91 met at Westlake Girls to celebrate their 25th year since leaving Westlake.
Thanks are due to a core committee from the 1991 alumni year; Meredith McIlroy, Jenny Wagener (Willis), and Simone Neunz (Gould), who did most of the planning and re-connecting with others from the year group. As alumni Co-ordinator I supported the organising group and helped out with arrangements.
It was a memorable gathering held late on a Saturday afternoon in October in the Westlake Girls staffroom, (with an impromptu follow up at The Commons in Takapuna)
It was most interesting to meet up with our former students 25 years on. The wine, donated by Sarah Clark, from the family vineyard in  Awatere Valley, Marlborough, was much appreciated.

Thanks too, to the teachers who were able to join the group – Gwen Wells, Michelle Larnder, and Christine Smith.
                                               The Westlake Class of '91
International Gatherings – Seoul and Tokyo
We were able to host Westlake alumni in Seoul as part of an Education Fair held there. The gathering was at the Residence of the New Zealand Ambassador in Seoul. Five former Westlake students came along and, as a follow up, we have started a Westlake Korea Alumni  FB Group which has already grown to 55 members.

(L-R) Mrs Julie Saikkonen, Acting Principal, Jee Hae (Sophia) Han, Jin Sol Shin, Ye In Shin
and Hye Soo (Hewey) Jung.

Opportunities to have alumni gatherings that fit around Westlake international marketing trips, conferences or events held in NZ or overseas, arise from time to time. Our international groups are in the UK, Australia, and now, Korea.
If there is interest in setting up other international groups, or other locations within NZ, please let me know.
Coming Events
Westlake High School 60th Reunion  - Friday March 10th 2017  

The WHS Reunion committee is well underway with planning for the Reunion Day on Friday 10th March to celebrate 60 years since their co-ed school was founded. Over 80 have expressed an interest so far.
All those who attended Westlake High School in its co-ed years 1957–1961 are encouraged to come along. This includes all those who started in the later years, 1960 and 1961 and then transitioned into the single-sex school. We don’t have full rolls from the co-ed years so are very much relying on word of mouth to let others know.
More details, including registration cost, will be sent out in December. As we are basing the events at the two schools it is hoped to be able to keep the cost down, as well as having congenial and nostalgic venues.
To help in your planning here is a broad outline of the day, with details to be confirmed.
When: Friday 10th March 2017
Where: Westlake Girls and Westlake Boys
Morning: Registration at Westlake Girls 9.30–9.50 a.m. (hall foyer), followed by a special Welcome Assembly for our founders, a tour of Westlake Girls, and morning tea.
We hope to have a display of photos and memorabilia in the hall area.
Evening: A relaxing gathering in the Westlake Boys Gymnasium (upstairs). We also hope to offer a tour of the Boys’ School. The timing is to be confirmed but is likely to be from around 5.30/6.00pm

The committee (Geoff Bonham, Jan Franklin, Peter Burn, Tom Bowie, Anne White and Judy Spalding) is working on some good options for the few hours between the two events so we hope you will be able to attend both.


Thinking of a Decade Reunion in 2017?
If other alumni year groups, particularly those thinking of a decade celebration, (Classes of 2007, 1997, 1987, 1977, 1967) are thinking about a get-together in 2017, do get in touch.

Get together some ideas and a small organising group and contact the Alumni Co-ordinator, as there may be ways we can support you, whether it’s at Westlake or at another venue, a small group or a larger one. 

We are happy to work with a core group of interested people to get things underway.
We have very few contacts for our alumni from ’77 and ’67 so encourage any ex-students from those years to send through their email or join the new Facebook Groups. (The Class of ’77 is for those who started Form 3 in 1973, and for the Class of ’67, those who started Form 3 in 1963)
In the News
Lina Kim (2015), who was the student representative on the Westlake Board of Trustees for two years, has continued her interest in school representation with her election onto the Board of Trustees of her former primary school, Upper Harbour Primary.
Congratulations to a new alumna, Zara Jillings Class of 2016, who has been awarded a 4-year scholarship to Fordham University in New York, where she will combine her basketball career with study for a degree in business. She is currently in the NZ Junior Tall Ferns team.

            Emma Lane AIMES award
Emma Lane (2015) has received an AIMES Emerging Talent Award at the North Harbour Club annual awards in November 2016.

The $5000 grant she was awarded will assist her greatly with ongoing costs for her study in London. She is attending the Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music and Dance, developing her technique and creativity as a choreographer.


Congratulations to Tui Fleming (1997) who has published    
her first book, ‘Dear Mummy, You’re Important too’.

Her debut self-published book is a positive, motivational guide about reaching one’s potential as a mother and woman, offering new ways of thinking about the challenges of motherhood in the early years. It was launched earlier this year, followed by an interview on Breakfast TV.
See the interview here
Tui has founded a company, Dear Mummy Ltd, and blogs and presents at workshops and events, as well as working on contract as a Marketing Manager for the Skin Institute.
Tui was Head Girl at Westlake in 1997 and then completed a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Auckland followed by a Graduate Diploma of Communication and Public Relations at AUT. She is drawing on her 12 years’ experience in Marketing and Communication, including her specialty, digital marketing, in this new venture.

Congratulations to Cindy Eunyoung Ryu (2004) who is the new
Chairperson of the Kiwi Alumni – New Zealand  Alumni Association Korea. She met with around 80 education providers and their alumni, including staff and alumni from Westlake, at the NZ Residence in Seoul  to celebrate their NZ experiences.

After leaving Westlake in 2004, Cindy graduated from the University of Auckland, completing a B.Sc. in Food Science, followed by a Master of Engineering in Food Science and Technology at Sejong University in Korea.

Cindy worked at a combined junior and senior High School in Kyoto, Japan as an assistant teacher of English on the JET programme. She then took up her current role as a Marketing Specialist with the biggest flavour and fragrance company in Korea.

We are delighted that Cindy has assumed this prominent role in engaging with Kiwi/Korean alumni and look forward to meeting up with her again.
Westlake Alumni Korea

Cindy is happy for Westlake alumni living in, or with links to Korea to contact her. Kiwi Alumni – New Zealand Alumni Association Korea or or

 Chanelle O’Sullivan (née Lister) Class of 2006
Based near Geraldine in Canterbury, Chanelle is making her mark as a social media marketing specialist supporting rural women. She recently appeared on Seven Sharp where she spoke about young rural women struggling with a lack of support, particularly in the area of mental health,and regularly features in  various forums and publications.
TVOne News
Her Facebook Group, Farming Mums NZ was started a few years ago and now has 8,000 members, providing a means of networking and involvement, primarily for young women living and working in the agricultural sector.  
After leaving Westlake, she gained qualifications in Agribusiness management, followed by experience as a shepherd, dairy assistant and vet nurse. Chanelle, who is involved in the deer-farming sector, blogs as Just a Farmers Wife, cares for two young children, organises regional events, works part-time for Landcare, and is studying at Lincoln University in the Kellogg Rural Leadership Programme.
Chanelle has joined the Class of 2006 Westlake Girls FB group, as its first member. If this is your alumni year (Year 9 2002) join the group to re-connect with others.
 The Westlake Girls Class of 2006
 Read more about Chanelle here.

Former students at Sports Prize giving
Former students, Kayla McAlistair, Anona Pak and Tia Tuiburelevu returned to Westlake as presenters at the annual Sports Awards. Kayla was interviewed about her recent experience at the Rio Olympics where she won a Silver Medal as a member of the NZ Women's Rugby Sevens.
Congratulations to Anona Pak (2011) who has been named Massey University Sportswoman of the Year 2016 (Manawatu).
Anona won the 2011 National Badminton Women’s Singles title and has had further wins in the 2016 championship with the Women’s Doubles and Mixed Doubles titles. She has supported Westlake badminton with coaching since she left school.
She is currently studying for a Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science and is aiming for the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane 2018.  Read more here

Congratulations to Tia Tuiburelevu (2012) on receiving the 2016 University of Auckland Sportswoman of the Year award, recognizing her success in karate.

She was a member of the NZ karate team for the XV11 Oceania karate Championships and won two silver medals at the World Go-ju Ryu Karate Championship in the senior kumite and team kumite sections.
Tia is in her fourth year of BA/LLB (Hons) degree and is continuing on the very successful academic path from her Westlake years where she was the 2012 Dux.
She is active in Student Association Groups and this year was a university delegate for the Harvard National MUN (Model United Nations) Conference which included a month-long educational tour across the United States.

Naomi Ballantyne (née Lassen)
Class of '81

Entrepreneur, Managing Director

Naomi Ballantyne was the guest speaker at the 2016 Westlake Girls prizegiving. We were delighted to welcome Naomi back to Westlake to hear her story and advice to current students.
Naomi has received numerous accolades recognizing her skills and experience in the New Zealand Life Insurance industry including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015. In 2014 she was a finalist in the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year.
In 2013 she was inducted into the prestigious NZ Hall of Fame for Women Entrepreneurs, acknowledging her success as an industry pioneer, in job creation, and making a difference.
She has founded three major insurance companies in New Zealand and led them through to success.  Currently the Managing Director of Partners Life, which she founded in 2010, she has overseen its growth from 3 employees to 155 in 2016. The company is based in Takapuna and has 130,000 clients around New Zealand. The growth and success of her latest venture was recognized when it received the Insurance Company of the Year Award last year.
When Naomi became a CEO in her early thirties, there were few other young women working as executives in financial industries. Today, she is a member of Global Women New Zealand which is a collaboration of influential women leaders promoting inclusive policies for improved societal and economic growth.
We are delighted to recognize Naomi as one of Westlake’s notable alumni.
Read more  here.
The NZ  Hall of Fame for Women Entrepreneurs Induction 

Jan Dawson (née Dillon) Class of 1971
Jan Dawson is a leading New Zealand business executive who received the Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (CNZM) in 2016 for services to governance.

She attended Westlake Girls High School from 1967 to 1970 and was a prefect, with a keen interest in sport. She graduated from the University of Auckland in 1975 with a B. Com and as Senior Scholar in Accounting.

After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, she worked overseas for 8 years, in London and then Vancouver where she began her long association with KPMG.

Back in New Zealand, Jan became a partner at KPMG in 1987 and was appointed CEO in New Zealand in 2006, thus becoming the first woman to hold the top position at one of the Big Four Australasian accountancy firms. In 2011 she was named NZ Chartered Accountant of the Year.

Jan became an independent director in 2011 and has served on the boards of several leading companies. In 2016 she is a Director of Becca Group, AIG New Zealand, Meridian Energy, Air New Zealand (Deputy Chair), and Westpac NZ, where her appointment as Chairperson in 2015 was the first time a woman has chaired a major bank in New Zealand. She is also on the University of Auckland Council.

Jan’s career includes several other significant firsts. In 2010 she was the first female president of the Auckland Club, the year it celebrated its 150th anniversary. She was a Board member of Yachting NZ from 2007 – 2013, and as chairperson for 6 of those years, was the first woman in that role. This month she was elected as a Vice President of World Sailing, the governing body of sailing globally.
She has had a lifetime interest in sailing and has competed as well as having a role in governance. She has been a regular skipper in keelboat racing on both sides of the Tasman, has been recognised as a life member for her service to Yachting New Zealand and is a trustee of the Voyager National Maritime Museum in Auckland.

As a member of Global Women NZ, and the 25 Percent Club, Jan actively supports policies of diversity and inclusion, for improvements in societal and economic growth.

We are delighted to recognise Jan as one of Westlake’s notable alumni

Helen Ryburn QSO, 1925 -  2016
WGHS Principal 1969 - 1982

Here is part of the tribute delivered by Michele Larnder on behalf of Westlake Girls High School at the celebration of Helen's life.
Helen joined the staff of the co-ed Westlake High School in 1960 as HOD History and Social studies before being appointed Principal in 1968, a position she held for 14 years.
She had strong political views and was an active participant in the anti-apartheid movement. She was on the field with the other 100s of protestors (including many of the staff of WGHS) on that fateful day in Hamilton July 1981.
Helen was on the executive of the Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) and chairperson for a number of years. Many of the advances secondary teachers gained in the 1970’s could be attributed to her excellent negotiation skills.

Helen’s meeting skills were extraordinary. She had an uncanny ability of be able to gain consensus and make everyone emerge from the meeting feeling they were the winners.
She was one of the few women principals at the time – one of her male North Shore Principal colleagues, said at the Principals’ meetings, when "Helen talks, we listen” - she had us guys quivering in our boots!”
Helen was a passionate historian who loved her subject and enjoyed teaching it. She continued to teach a class- usually a Form 5 – Year 11 studying for School Certificate. These girls felt very privileged to have Helen as their teacher.
After retiring from Westlake Girls Helen went into local body politics and was on the East Coast Bay council for two terms. Helen had a road in Torbay named after her – Helen Ryburn Place- in recognition of her contribution to the local community. 
She was an active participant in U3A (University of the Third Age) whose purpose is to encourage further learning, understanding, contributing and participation in discussions about new topics and to tap the great reservoir of knowledge, skills and experience of retired men and women.
Helen instilled into our students that gender was neither a barrier nor an excuse – girls really can do anything. This mantra has continued as a core value in our school and today’s students leave with it as a central belief. After 14 years as Principal Helen left the school as one that was well respected for its myriads of achievements and was one of our leading girls' schools.
 30  years ago - 1986

Form 7 1986 
Combined Westlake productions have been a highlight for thousands of alumni over the years, from the first major production in 1961, 'The Pirates of Penzance' to 'Midsummer Night’s Dream' which won the iticket award for an outstanding play in the 2016 Secondary School Showdown Drama awards.
1986 – ‘Ours but to do’

 40 years ago - 1976
 ABC frieze drawn by students.
(There are no photos in the yearbook. Are there any about?)

Westlake is to farewell a number of staff at the end of 2016. Long-serving staff leaving are Mrs Christine Maud (22 years), Mr Rowan Johnston (14 years), Mrs Linley McCallum (10 years), and Deputy Principal, Ms Robyn Andrews who is leaving after 12 years for some new opportunities in the Manawatu.
Rowan Johnston has been at Westlake for 14 years as Head of Music and fortunately will retain a Westlake presence, as he will continue to conduct our award-winning choir, Choralation.
Christine Maud - WGHS 22 years
Christine was presented with the Services to Westlake Sport award at the 2016 Sports Prizegiving and received a similar award at the Auckland  College Sports Awards,
Christine has contributed a significant amount of her time to Westlake sport, being involved in sport in all roles - as an administrator, coach and an official. She organised and coached Volleyball for five years and was involved in Squash for over 20 years.
A highlight was winning the National Championship titles in 1999 and 2000.
She is retiring from teaching and will be greatly missed by the Westlake community.

Westlake staff and students escort the departing principal, Ms Roz Mexted  to St Cuthbert's College for a powhiri.

A scene from this year's award-winning production – Midsummer Night’s Dream’
 More on the 2016 production.


Alumni Association Update


Westlake Girls High School

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