2020 was a year like no other for Whāngarei Boys’ High School and New Zealand as a whole. We, Brock Longworth and Rueben Jones, are privileged to be the 2020 Whanau Captains of Grey. Having been proud members of Whāngarei Boys’ High School for 4 years we decided we were sick of being regular students. For our final year we wanted to step up and pursue leadership roles within the school. Taking into consideration the impressive legacy that Grey had in the school, we knew it was going to be a challenge. However, despite the difficult, frustrating, and infuriating moments, the experience as a whole taught us both so much. It was an experience which we were very honoured and thankful to have. One we would both do again in a heartbeat. However, we do not take full responsibility for Grey winning the 2020 Whanau Competition. We would like to thank the whole Whanau for its participation and a special thank you to our Grey Prefects, Thisen Panditha, Michael Krige, Aiden Hayes, Craig Hockings, Samuel Kim and Shawn Larsen. Another big thank you to the Deputy Head Boys Jack Slatter and Heath Grant, who helped us out a lot with various events.
The year began with our very first inter-whanau competition, Swimming Sports. A very well attended, high spirited day, from which Grey walked away with a narrow second place to Bledisloe. Swimming Sports was the first taste of what our Whanau Captain roles would entail. I don’t think either of us expected that coordinating 200+ young men would be so infuriating. However, with hard work, persistence, and a couple of teachers who were more than happy to yell at the kids, we managed to run the operation rather smoothly.
Following by a few weeks was our next inter-whanau competition, Athletics Day. For this, we were much more prepared to encourage and assist the boys of Grey to participate, even offering a selection of refreshments for any impressive displays of effort. We quickly ran out of these. By the end of this day, Grey was ahead by a milestone showing the other whanau how superior Grey truly is. Results for Grey were: 1st place Tai Martin, with Luke Himiona in second place in the Junior Competition as well as, 1st Brock Longworth, 2nd John Magrath-and 3rd- Ben Campbell, in the Senior competition. Overall, it was a bright, sunny day filled with banter.
With the rest of the year came many other inter-whanau competitions. Some we excelled in. Some, not so much. One of our proudest competitions being the inter-whanau haka competition where we put our limited experience, uncultured nature, and lack of prowess behind us to claim a well-earned 4th place. To anyone else, 4th place is nothing to be proud of but to us, as Grey Whanau Captains, we were so proud to not have lost abysmally as per usual. The most disappointing whanau event was inter-whanau Volleyball. On paper, our team should have reached 1st or 2nd place. Instead we walked away with 4th. This was due to either our team making a mistake in the last second of the game to lose by 1 point or controversial decisions made by the referee. That day wasn’t a good day for Grey.
Other events included basketball, football, and badminton. As a whole we did well in these, having our Grey students display excellent talent and sportsmanship. Unfortunately, cross country was cancelled which was a highly anticipated event for us Whanau Captains. This was due to the building of the new school on our cross country course. Covid – 19 resulted in a very strange time for us students having to adapt our learning to be done online. It also saw us removed from the school environment for 7 weeks which meant coming back and getting thrown straight in the deep end took us both by surprise. In the end, the students, staff and school as a whole did well to face this pandemic and find alternative methods of learning despite the circumstances.
In conclusion, Grey won the 2020 Inter-whanau Competition by a landslide. It may have been down to the amazing leadership skills of us Whanau Captains or simply to the fact that Grey students are naturally superior to any other whanau. Regardless of the outcome, 2020 was definitely a year to remember! We wish good luck to the 2021 Whanau Captains and hope they enjoy it as much as we did.
Brock Longworth and Rueben Jones
Grey Whanau Captains