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Westlake Girls
High School

Alumni News December 2013

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Alumnae Visits to WGHS
  • Ghazaleh Golbakhsh
  • Ilana Seager
  • Mina Al-Khudairi
  • Megan McIlwain
  • Emma Trendall
  • Janet Van
  • Alaimalo Mataafa
  • Jessica Miao
  • Frances Oliver
  • Anona Pak
  • Joanne Hewitt

Alumnae achievements
  • Denese Henare ONZM
  • Allison Roe MBE
  • Julia Parfitt
  • Temalisi Fakahokotau
  • Cecilia Parades
  • Hazel Phillips
  • Jessica Roets
  • Nicole Roughan
  • NZ Youth Choir members

Alumnae Profiles
  • Allison Roe MBE
  • Katie Perkins
  • Ilana Seager
  • Ghazaleh Golbakhsh
  • Jing (Jessica) Miao

Beth Beever retires

Foundation Class 1966

Alumni Events of 2013

Coming up in 2014

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From the Alumni Co-ordinator


It’s been a busy year setting up the alumni network, with encouraging progress in our first year. Thanks to all the people have contributed to this with their help and enthusiasm in engaging with our alumni community. 

In particular, thanks to these former students for their help in various forms, from Alumni Committee work and setting up Facebook pages, to production of the WGHS Alumni Newsletter – Ronelle Tomkinson, Julie Rutledge, Jenny Chu, Jean Yang, Hannah Dymond, Lilly Peng, Tasha Saunders,  Jessica Miao, and these staff members on the committee, Michele Larnder, Beth Beever, Danielle Payne, Gloria Kelly and Julie Saikkonen.

There is real interest in the alumni community from current WGHS staff and thanks to them for their support and involvement this year. 
Cathy Roughan, Alumni Co-ordinator

Westlake Girls Alumni Association Update

We now have: New Alumni Facebook Groups: 
The Westlake Alumni Community is linked in to these Facebook Alumni groups:
We look forward to your joining  these groups and pages and contributing photos and posts.

Westlake Boys High School: We have links to the Westlakers Alumni Group and Facebook page and with their Alumni Development Staff and share ideas regularly. The two schools have strong links, as do our alumni communities. 

Class of 2013

Welcome to around 300 new alumnae from Year 13, 2013.

Many of you have linked in through Facebook and I hope you will also join the Class of 2013 group.

The graduation dinner was a wonderful event for us all. Good luck now as you wait for NCEA results!

Alumnae visits to WGHS

Thanks to these Westlake Girls alumnae for visiting and sharing their skills and experiences with current students at Westlake Girls over the second half of the year:
Ghazaleh Golbakhsh (Class of 1998) - a Pacific film maker.
Ilana Seager (Class of 2007) - a researcher based in the United States.
Mina Al-Khudairi (Class of 2005) - an accountant with PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Megan McIlwain (Class of 2003) - a pharmacist studying for her PhD.
Emma Trendall (Class of 2009) - a Call Centre Co-ordinator in the insurance field who is also pursuing tertiary study.
Janet Van (Class of 2010) - studying Engineering and Commerce at university.
Alaimalo Mataafa (Class of 2010) - studying Music and Law at university. Alaimalo mentored Pasifika students during the year with Siale Mann.
Jessica Miao (Class of 2004) - a Social Media professional.
Frances Oliver (Class of 2008) - studying medicine at university. Frances shared her experience as a World Vision Ambassador in Tanzania, with Junior Social Studies Students.
Anona Pak (Class of 2011) - Anona coached school badminton teams and holds the national NZ Women’s Singles Badminton title.
Joanne Hewitt, currently Deputy Principal of Browns Bay Primary School, who assisted with badminton coaching.

Alumnae Achievements

Denese Henare ONZM became a District Court Judge in October.

Allison Roe MBE was elected onto the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board and Waitemata District Health Board in October.

Julia Parfitt was elected onto the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board. 

Temalisi Fakahokotau (Class of 2012) was selected for the Northern Mystics netball team 2014.

Cecilia Parades (Class of 2012) was selected as a World Vision Youth Ambassador.

Hazel Phillips had her book published – Sell! A History of Advertising in NZ.

Jessica Roets (Class of 2009) competed in London in the Sprint Distance Triathlon Championships.

Nicole Roughan (Class of 1999) had a book launch in London for her book, Authorities – Conflicts, Cooperation and Transnational Legal Theory

10 alumnae headed off to tour North America as members of the NZ Youth Choir – Janet Van, Rhianna Clarke, Ella Smith, Savannah Post, Julia Robinson, Alicia Cadwgan, Dilys Fong, Zailie Gillard, Grace Neale, and Luana Prictor.

Beth Beever - long-serving WGHS staff member retires



Beth Beever was recognised at both the 2013 prize giving and the Sports prize giving for her outstanding contribution of 48 years service to Westlake Girls.

Over her years at Westlake she has been involved in the introduction of several sports, such as rowing, yachting, golf, kilikiti, canoe polo and orienteering, and involved in numerous others, but her main focus has been on cricket and badminton. Former students have had success at national level in both, and Beth follows their careers with great interest. The premier team, under her management has held three consecutive national titles.

In 1965 her first teaching subjects were Shorthand, Typewriting, Commercial Practice and Bookkeeping. In recent years she taught Business Studies, Accounting, Legal studies and Child Development. Her sporting roles have included HOD PE, Sports Co-ordinator, Manager, Coach and Administrator.

Three things are important to Beth - family, education and sport. She wants to see every girl educated and achieve in sport to the highest standard possible. 

When Beth retires in December this year, she hopes to have more time for family pursuits and follow an interest in helping refugees, especially children, settle in New Zealand. Westlake students will continue to benefit, however, as she has agreed to continue taking badminton.

Beth has been active on the Alumni Association Committee this year and we all look forward to continuing contact, as well as wishing her well for this next stage.


Allison Roe MBE


Allison was recently elected onto the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board and Waitemata District Health Board, bringing her many talents with her to advocate for community and health issues.

At Westlake she was passionate about sports and was also part of the Student Council. She represented NZ in the cross-country championships in Morocco in her 7th Form year, (1974). Although offered a scholarship to UCLA, Allison decided to do her studies in NZ  with a business course, while she continued to build her athletics career  here.

In 1981 she won both the Boston and New York Marathons with course records and gained world acclaim. Other titles and honours followed, including ‘Best Female Athlete in the World, (USA)’, (1982), the MBE, and admission to the NZ Hall of Fame (2010).

Alongside these accolades, Allison has pursued her passion for health and fitness, extending these skills into a wide range of personal, business and governance roles. Through the Allison Roe Trust she aims to make a difference to the health of NZ women and their families. She is also heavily involved in the Breast Health Foundation.

Allison’s contribution has been outstanding. She continues to have an interest at a personal level in Westlake, with her daughter also being an alumna, while playing a prominent role at community level in local governance and national level in health and other issues. 

We take great pride in recognising Allison as one of our distinguished alumni.

ALUMNA PROFILE, Class of 2006

Katie Perkins, Cricketer with the White Ferns

Katie was a Deputy Head Girl at Westlake and involved herself in a variety of sports and extra-curricular activities, with cricket being her number one sport. She won the cricket award for the ASB Young Sports Person of the Year, from 2004-2006.
Thanks to a Vice-Chancellor’s AUT University Scholarship, Katie completed a Sport and Recreation and Business conjoint degree. While at university, she also involved herself in charity events, raising significant funds for a women’s hospital in Ethiopia along with her sister, Johanna, also an alumna.

Katie achieved her sporting goal with her selection for the New Zealand Cricket team, the White Ferns, at the start of 2012.

She is a recent graduate of Police College and is now a Constable working in Counties - Manukau.  

The challenge for her now is to balance these two careers. Her schedule is fairly hectic, but she says that something Westlake taught her well was great time management and a work ethic.


ALUMNA PROFILE, Class of 2007

Ilana Seager, Studying Overseas


Ilana was a prefect in her final year and also represented Westlake Girls as a World Vision Travelling Scholar in India. 

She attended Yale University, majoring in Psychology and History of Science and Medicine. Her research centred on the early years of the HIV/AIDS crisis in North America, and AIDS treatment information in the 1980s and 1990s. While at Yale, Ilana authored nearly 70 articles in the Yale Daily News (for which she was also an editor) and other student publications. She has interned in London at a Gay Rights Charity and also volunteered for a summer at a LGBT youth center in Seattle.

Ilana is now working at the University of Miami as a research associate in the Psychology Department, in the field of adult and pediatric anxiety treatments. Her leisure time interests are pottery classes and the Yale AIDS Memorial Project.

She hopes to undertake a PhD program in clinical psychology in the USA or Canada. 

ALUMNA PROFILE, Class of 1998

Ghazaleh Golbakhsh, Pacific Film-maker

Ghazaleh visited the school as part of the Sir Peter Blake Trust Leadership Week to speak to a Year 13 Media Class.

Her pathway took her into film-making and she has over eight years' experience now in the film and television industries in New Zealand and the UK. She studied Screenwriting at the University of Southern California as a Fulbright Fellow in 2012, and has just completed her Masters in Documentary at the University of Auckland.

Ghazaleh is keen to assist students at the school and offered to have a student spend some time with her as an intern.

If an internship or mentoring interests you there are always keen students who would benefit from your skills and experience. Contact us any time with suggestions.

ALUMNA PROFILE, Class of 2004

Jing (Jessica) Miao, Social Media Specialist

Jessica is from Ningbo in China, and attended Westlake as an international student for her 2 senior years. 

Since graduating from Westlake she has gained qualifications from Canterbury and Auckland Universities, majoring in film and media studies, and has worked for NZ media companies.

Her passion for and expertise in social media, marketing and public relations have led to her establishing her own Media Company ‘Koyooo’ with offices in China and NZ. Her knowledge of NZ and fluency in English have enabled her to develop several business links with NZ companies that promote NZ  education, products and  tourism.

In September 2013, she was named as a Young Entrepreneur of the Year, in Ningbo, a city of 7.5 million.

Jessica is an enthusiastic member of the Alumni Association, taking an active role in promoting Westlake, making contacts with other former students in China, and in reconnecting with Westlake friends and teachers on her business visits to NZ.

Jessica Miao and Robin Pennycook, a former Director of International Students, catching up during a recent business trip in NZ.
WGHS new uniform
The Class of 1962 - 1966, The Foundation Class

The photo shows from left (maiden names in brackets): Sue Newman (Powell), Ruth Purdy (Armstrong), Alison Cleland (Potter), Elizabeth Goodwin (Elliott), Jill Pierce, Noeline Smith (Stewart), Mary Shadbolt (Kirk), Nora Lewis (Vine), Kathryn Hicks (Green), Elizabeth Aloupis (Southon), Kaye Lally (Jones), Christine Ball (Wrigley), Alison Bird (Giblin),  Glenys Wilson (Elliott) Two of their esteemed teachers in front - Kath Cherney and Helen Ryburn (Principal)

The 1962 cohort was the first year level to start their schooling at the new Westlake Girls High School. By 1966, just 19 students remained to complete their 5th and final year, known as ‘6A’.

The small group started sponsoring a child in South Korea through the Save the Children Fund, and continued this sponsorship after leaving school, meeting each year to pay their subscriptions for the sponsorship. Meetings became more sporadic over the years but they basically knew where most were. A great achievement in the pre-internet era!

Fourteen of them met up again last year and visited the school along with Miss Helen Ryburn, their Principal. Sue Newman, one of the group, did a great job of organising a gathering and would have liked to have included others who started in 1962, the founding year.

If you started Westlake in 1962, and finished before 1966, it would be great to hear from you with a contact email or address, so we can add you to the year level list.

Alumni Events in 2013


Art Exhibition at NorthArt Gallery

The Westlake Girls High School Art Department students and educators invited our alumni to exhibit with them in the ‘3:15’ Art Exhibition held in October at NorthArt Gallery.

Two artists, Catherine Outwin and Dagmar Dyck, now an art teacher at Sylvia Park Intermediate, exhibited their works, along with several ex-students currently studying at Elam. It was an enjoyable collaboration and it is hoped to extend this further in the future.

Ex–students who would like to be informed about future collaborative art exhibitions, please email

Sue McBride (HOD Art) with Dagmar Dyck and her daughter Milania, at the '3:15' Art Exhibition, NorthArt Gallery.

Shared Afternoon Tea with former staff

Around 40 former and current staff gathered for afternoon tea in the Staffroom on 12th September 2013. We enjoyed seeing familiar faces back to meet up with friends and colleagues from their time teaching at Westlake Many of the teachers would have brought back memories for ex-students too. Great to see everyone come along, particularly those who were long-serving members of the staff and who contributed substantially to the development of the school.


Alumni Spring Meetup 20 October 

It was great to see our alumni back for this gathering for a chance to have a look around the school, meet the Principal and catch up with former teachers and each other. There were many favourable comments about the school facilities, the quartet who entertained us, and the interaction with the senior students who showed the guests around.  

Amongst the alumni at the gathering was Fay Freeman, ONZM, who attended the school when it was a co-ed in its early years, and then as a girls school. Fay had had a long career in local body politics for North Shore City.

Thanks to all who helped in the planning and to alumni and staff who joined us for the catch up.

Alumna Guest Speaker at Senior Prizegiving 2013

Thanks to alumna Dr Ngarino Ellis (Class of 1987), who was guest speaker at this year’s prize giving. Ngarino is a senior lecturer at Auckland University and Co-ordinator of the Museums and Cultural Heritage Programme. Students enjoyed her engaging delivery and presentation.

Dr Ngarino Ellis and Naomi Stuart, 2013 Dux

Alumna Guest Speaker at 2013 Graduation Dinner

Thanks to alumna Hazel Phillips (1994-1996), who was guest speaker at the 2013 Graduation Dinner held at the Spencer on Byron, in Takapuna. Hazel is an author, editor and journalist and it was a pleasure to see her reconnect with the school and students, sharing her thoughts and experiences.  


Alumnae at the 2013 Sports Prizegiving

There was a wonderful line-up of some of our notable sportswomen who have competed at national and international level, presenting awards to students and being great role models for our up-and-coming talent.

From left to right: Katie Perkins (cricket), Jo Aleh (sailing), Lynlee Smith (water polo), Kate Chilcott (cycling), Julie Carrel (badminton), Allison Roe (long-distance running)

What's coming up in 2014?

  • Your committee will continue to share ideas and make plans for the Association
  • We aim to expand our LinkedIn network
  • Alumni event - possibly a wine and cheese evening later in the year (to be confirmed)
  • Collaborative events involving alumni 
  • Focus on developing network clusters eg Korea, China, London, Australia
  • Formalise the Alumni Association  
  • Endeavour to re-connect with alumni from the early co-ed years and students from the 60s.
  • Expand opportunities to be involved in mentoring, presentations to students and internships.

Please keep posting on our Facebook page, emailing us with ideas and requests, and encouraging others to get in touch again.

Thanks to you all for supporting us this year.


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The Alumni Association thanks WGHS alumna, Hannah Dymond for her time and expertise in producing this newsletter.