View this email in your browser

Westlake Girls
High School

Alumni News May 2014

Follow us on Facebook
Join our LinkedIn Group
Visit our Website


Alumni Update

Music Fundraiser

From the Archives

Alumnae Profiles
  • Fay Freeman, ONZM
  • Elizabeth Whiting
  • Maimunah Aminuddin
  • Jean (Jing Jing) Yang
  • Bodhi and Samadhi Wimalasena
  • Deborah McKinlay

Alumni Events in 2014
Forward to Friend

From the Alumni Co-ordinator


It was a successful year last year, establishing a solid base for our Alumni Association. In the course of setting up a number of different ‘arms’ of the alumni network, I had the great pleasure of meeting or re-connecting with many of our ex-students who are forging varied and fascinating careers and leading interesting lives in the community. 

Goals for the year: We are continuing to expand our networks, concentrating on connecting with different segments of our alumni community. We hope to make contact with clusters of alumni in different localities in New Zealand and around the world, for future communication and meetups.

We have contact with only a few ex-students from the co-ed group, 1957-1961, and students through the 1960s, and we hope to expand  connections with that segment, in particular. 
Cathy Roughan, Alumni Co-ordinator

Alumni Association Update

There has been steady growth throughout the past year both through our formal association and informal Facebook groups.

We now have:
  • 250 Foundation members of the Association 
  • 150 new members of the Association 2013-14
  • 1032 recipients of our e-newsletter
  • 55 former staff alumni
  • 27 members of our WGHS Alumni LinkedIn page
  • 906 likes on our Alumni Facebook page
  • A growing number of ex- students who want to be on an email list for casual updates and information.
  • An Alumni Committee – meets approx. 3 times a year
  • A Focus Group – approx. 45 on an email list for feedback from time to time.
We have Admin status or links to these Westlake Alumni Groups:
Join up with us through any of these avenues and encourage others to as well.

‘Self-managing’ Alumni Groups

It’s always great to hear of clusters of ex-students who have kept in touch, or are re-connecting through our association links, new Facebook groups, or word of mouth. Most of these are happening informally in cafes, bars and different locations around the country. Do keep us in the loop with plans you have to meet up, send us photos, and if you’d like to include a visit back to Westlake as part of any gathering, big or small, I’m always happy to assist with this or other requests.

Upcoming Fundraiser to Support Westlake Music

The Westlake Music Tour to Europe takes place in July, with 124 students taking part. Westlake Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, and  Choralation will represent New Zealand at the invitation only Summa Cum Laude festival in Vienna.

If you would like to lend support to this tour and have a fun night, there is a Quiz Night and Auction at the Westlake Boys Auditorium at 7.30  pm  on May 29th.

Tickets are $15.00 each or $120.00 for a table of 10. How about an Alumni table?

For tickets phone Moira Clarke (489-4169 ext 284)
or email the co-ordinator:

Details of the tour are not yet finalised but as well as Vienna, there is likely to be a concert in Singapore (June 28th), Munich and Salzburg. 

Westlake Choralation Choir 2014

From the Archives

Photo of 1972 netball team


We have one copy of a Yearbook covering most years, in the school library, but we have few records and few other photos or items to reflect our 55 years as a high school.

As a long term project we hope to build up the archives so that there is a history recorded in some form that will tell the continuing tale of Westlake in 25 or 50 years!

If you are having a purge any time and find some photos or yearbooks you no longer require, do email or drop anything off at the front office for the Alumni Co-ordinator.

Recent Westlake graduates have internships

Four new Westlake graduates from the Class of 2013 had a wonderful opportunity for language immersion and cultural exchange before setting out on their tertiary studies this year.

Their internship was for 6 weeks at La Source, in Paris. Madi is continuing at the school until June and planning further European travel in her gap year. Lubomira is at Auckland University in the Bachelor of Engineering Programme, and Rachel has headed to Massey University for a BSc.

(left to right) Lubomira Tzankov, Hanna Watt, Madi Macdonald and Rachel Moore

Enduring friendship from schooldays in the 60s

(Class of 1970)

A group of eight former Westlake students, including three who come over from Australia, meet up annually for fun, friendship and adventure. They have been friends since Form 3, 1966. Their destination changes each year, and this year they had a long weekend in Coromandel.

The group, pictured above at Whitiroa Beach, are (left to right) Stevie Simpson (formerly Inch), Diana Burgess (Marchant), Margaret Brookes (Wright), Louella Lines-Sherwood (Sherwood) and Vicki Crosby (Cook). Other members of the group, not pictured, are Judith Hoek, Jan Elmsly and Lesley Rainbow.

The group of friends pictured in 4th Form at WGHS in 1967.


Fay Freeman, ONZM

MMgt (Dispute Resolution), BBS Massey University
Westlake 1961-4

Fay has spent a large part of her career in local government in Manukau City and North Shore City Council, including a role as Deputy Chair of the Takapuna Community Board 2006-2010, and has also had a distinguished career in sports administration. This led to the awarding of an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in 2006, for services to Netball and Sport. Her involvement is at local, regional, national, and international levels.

As a pupil of Westlake High School (co-ed) and its transition to a girls’ school, Fay finished her schooling with School Certificate, and followed a common  path of the times, working in an office, marrying at a young age, then leaving work to raise a family.

It was only after many years that she had the opportunity and confidence to undertake tertiary study. Massey University’s extra-mural learning gave her the chance to further her education and gain new skills in business, management and dispute resolution.

Her ability  in sports administration has been recognised at the highest level, with her being  a former President of Netball NZ, Director of World Netball (2007), national and international umpire for 20 years, former  manager of the NZ Women’s softball team and Chairperson of the Softball 2013 Ltd, the group that  organised the  World Softball Championship and raised $1.8 million to build a new softball stadium in Albany.

We are proud to acknowledge Fay as one of our notable alumni and recognise the many ways in which she continues to contribute to the community.

ALUMNA PROFILE, Class of 1969

Elizabeth Whiting
(Elizabeth Pomeroy-Wood)
Costume Designer

If you have had a weekend in Wellington to enjoy the World of Wearable Arts over the last 3  years you will have seen the wonderful costume designs of one of our alumni.

Elizabeth Whiting is one of New Zealand’s foremost costume designers. Her impressive line up of design credits includes New Zealand Opera, Auckland Theatre Company, The Silo, Court Theatre, Red Leap, Douglas Wright Dance, Michael Parmenter, and the New Zealand Ballet. In 2010 she won the Chapman Tripp Costume Design Award for ‘The Arrival’ (Red Leap).

On the international stage, she represented New Zealand at the Prague Design Quadrennial in 2003 with her costumes for ‘Falstaff’, and again in 2007, with a team of designers who created the exhibition ‘Blow’. She also designed costumes for Pop-Up Theatre in London, which has performed at the Edinburgh Festival.

In 2014 you can see Elizabeth’s costume designs at ‘Angels in America’, (Silo), ‘The Good Soul of Szechuan’, (ATC), ‘La Boheme’, (NZ Opera in Christchurch), and ‘Don Giovanni’ in Wellington and Auckland.

And once again, later this year, Elizabeth has a pivotal role designing the core show  in the much acclaimed World of Wearable Art. 

ALUMNA PROFILE, Class of 1966

Maimunah Aminuddin
(Marilyn Murray)


Marilyn Murray was one of the founding Form 3 students at the newly-formed Westlake Girls High School in 1962.

Known by the name, Maimunah Aminuddin, she has an MA (Hons) from the University of Auckland and a Postgraduate Diploma in Industrial Administration from the University of Aston, UK.

She moved to Malaysia in 1972 and has spent most of her academic career at the Universiti Teknologi MARA  (UiTM), as a lecturer, then professor. Maimunah has held a variety of positions and is internationally recognized for her expertise in Human Resource Management, Industrial Relations and Employment Law. She has a comprehensive list of publications with over a dozen manuals and textbooks. 

She has now retired from her university career but is still writing and working with the Ministry of Human Resources in Malaysia, editing and publishing a journal on labour-related matters and assisting with other publications.

Maimunah still has family links on the Shore and  visits from time to time.

ALUMNA PROFILE, Class of 2010

Jean (Jing Jing) Yang
Alumni Association
Committee member

Jean Yang was a Founding member of the Alumni Association and joined the committee from its set up early in 2013. She has been a great help with her input as a recent graduate, with her social media advice and her enthusiasm.

She is in her 4th year of an LLB/BCom degree at Auckland University and has just returned from Paris, representing the University in an International Commercial  Mediation Competition.

Jean is continuing with her wide range of interests on and off campus. She’s involved in SPARK Entrepreneurship Challenge at the Business School, the University of Auckland Debating Team, and the Equal Justice Project 2013. 

We are fortunate to have her on the committee and thank her for the time she volunteers to give back to current students of Westlake.

Sisters have Careers in Medicine

Bodhi and Samadhi Wimalasena

Bodhi left Westlake in 2001 and Samadhi (pictured right) in 2002. Each student was a co-dux in her final year, and both sisters have expressed their gratitude to the Westlake teachers and classmates who helped them adjust to a new school and country and the teachers who guided them towards their academic success at Westlake. Bodhi was Top Scholar in NZ for Chemistry in her final year. 

Bodhi and Samadhi both entered Auckland Medical School directly from Westlake.

Bodhi (pictured left) graduated with MBChB degree in 2008 and completed her intern year at North Shore Hospital, just across the road from her alma mater. She decided to specialize as a geriatrician, passing her FRACP (physician training) exams in 2012. She  is currently in her second year of dual training in general and geriatric medicine.

Samadhi passed her MBChB degree in 2009 and was awarded  Distinction overall for an intern (6th Year) in 2008. Since her graduation she has been working at Auckland City Hospital and is preparing for Part 2 of her FRACP exams. She plans to become a renal physician.

Both Bodhi and Samadhi are founding members of the Alumni Association and enjoyed catching up with teachers and classmates at the Jubilee in 2012, and seeing the much changed school environment. 

In the international news!

Deborah McKinlay - writer

Photo credit: Paul Stuart

Deborah McKinlay is an ex-Westlake student who has gained international recognition for her latest novel, ‘That Part Was True’. The BBC has also purchased the film rights for a big-screen drama.

Deborah attended Westlake in the 70s, followed by a variety of jobs in New Zealand as a dancer with TVNZ and as a model. She has been based in the UK for 20 years, studying at the Open University, travelling extensively, gaining a Master’s degree in Psychology from Cambridge, and working as a writer. Her works included several non-fiction books and magazine articles for British Vogue, Esquire and Cosmopolitan, before the publication of her first novel ‘The View from Here’ in 2011. Her works have been translated into several languages.

Congratulations to Deborah on this success with her new book and we look forward to hearing more about the film venture, and from Deborah, who visits NZ every 18 months or so to keep in touch with family.

Alumni Events in 2014

‘Collaboration’ is the underlying theme for our events coming up this year - collaboration with the Westlake Boys Alumni Community, with the parent community, and with the Westlake Sports, Arts and Technology Departments.
In the planning:
  • An alumni vs students netball game in May.
  • An art exhibition in October featuring art of  alumni, staff and students from both Westlake schools.
  • Alumni involvement in  the Technology Department Showcase in October.

Was (or is) netball your thing?

Re-ignite your netball skills and enthusiasm! We are hoping to have an Alumni vs Westlake netball game this season and are keen to see what interest there is from our ex-students to take part.

Deborah Cachopa, an alumna and keen netball player and coach, is on the Westlake staff and we are working together on this.  We are aiming for the end of May, with details to be confirmed. Please email your interest through to or


Collaborative Art Exhibition

Calling alumni from Westlake Girls and Boys. For the second year, Westlake Girls Art Department is inviting ex-students to exhibit with them in a collaborative art exhibition. Great news this year is the broadening of the exhibition to include alumni from the Westlake Boys community as well as their art educators and students.

There is some impressive talent in our communities and we hope this first combined venture will be a chance to share it. 

Venue: NorthArt Gallery, Northcote
Opening night: Sunday 5th October. Exhibition through to Friday 17th October

Please email Kheang Ov, Assistant HOD Art, Westlake Girls, for expressions of interest and further details.

Technology Showcase

The Technology Department showcase their talent in October and we are hoping to extend this to involve alumni in a variety of fields. Planning is in the early stages with  details to come. The date is 22nd October.


We plan to have 3 newsletters this year. The others will be out in early August and November. Please feel free to make suggestions or send contributions (photos, short articles or news of alumni)  to


The information that you have already provided in signing up to the Alumni Association is collected by Westlake Girls High School’s Alumni Association for the purpose of keeping in contact with you about the School, its former students and staff, and about the Alumni Association and its activities. Your personal information may be stored by the Alumni Association using a cloud storage facility such as Google. Your personal information will not be used for any other purpose, or shared with any other person or organisation, without your consent. You may, at any time, request access to, and correction of, your personal information by contacting the Alumni Association at
Forward to Friend
Copyright © 2014 Westlake Girls High School Alumni Association, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp
The Alumni Association thanks WGHS alumna, Hannah Dymond for her time and expertise in producing this newsletter.