March 16, 2019

Take some time to read the CH stories:

  • A Game to Remember. CH versus Rolleston.

  • The Vietnam War.

  • 1968 a Vintage Year.

  • Kiwi Keith Holyoake.

  • Student Elections.

  • The Cabbage Train.

  • Clotheslines.

  • Shambles Meetings.

  • FRED.

  • The Bush Inn.

  • CCACC.

  • CH Stunts.

  • U20 Rugby.

  • The Chunder Mile and Sam Neil's Buick.

  • Motorcycles and Cars at CH.

Back Row 

Ian Fraser, Dick Walton, Russell Strachan, Stu Read, Paul Stigley, Longo Taulealo, John Quinney

Middle Row

Bill Cox, Rick Armstrong, Tim Harley, Geoff Fougere, Jon Lorentz, David Maidment, Maurie Love, Rod Crone

Front Row

Kit Wilson, Mike Baird, Dave Williams,  Dave Hamilton ( Vice Captain), Brian Knowles ( Captain), Alan Mowat, Duncan Mac Donald, Murray Rowden,  Tim Bishop

Not pictured

Tony Wood, Nic Davidson ,Dave Butcher, Chris Dawson, Angus McIntyre, Chris Ashton, Colin Fraser and Loyal linesman, Bish Baines


Silverware:Rolleston House Shield (1st time since 1962), Warwick House Cup , CRFU 3rdGrade Cup



The 1968 rugby match between CH and our main rival, Rolleston House, was a game to remember.  The CH magazine records it this way: “The game of the year was a thrill-packed R.H. match.  Knowles (our captain, Brian Knowles) kicked a penalty in the first few minutes, then R.H. equalized with a try, but before half-time we landed another penalty to make it 6-3.  R.H. came right back with a converted try, but then Read kicked a fantastic 45-yard penalty.  With the score 9-8, the tension mounted, but C.H. hung on to the final whistle with sound defence and sparkly attacking movements. Our first R.H. win since 1962.”

David Maidment writes:I remember that it was a cold, dreary day.  The field was muddy, the contest hard fought.  When the score was 6-3 in our favour, there was a maul near our goal line.  The ball came back to me as full-back and I attempted a clearing kick to the right touch. Unfortunately, the wet ball slipped off the side of my foot within the in-goal area, where a Rolleston player fell on it and scored.  They converted the try to lead 8-6 (a try was 3 points in those days).  

Back and forth the game went until late in the contest, when just on the Rolleston side of halfway, we were awarded a penalty.  It was judged too far for the range of Brian Knowles, so the ball was given to our lock forward, Stuart Read – or “SAL” Read as we called him from his initials S.A.L. Read, a man of prodigious strength, yet now tired from play at lock forward deep into the game.  He set up the kick torpedo-style, from near the center of the field, and lifted the ball out of the wet and mud.  As Winston McCarthy would have said “Wait for it, wait for it, …. it’s a goal!” A wonderful goal kick, the best I ever remember from all the years I played rugby. 

ALL THE WAY WITH LBJ (Part 3 by Simon Smith)

June 25, 2018

Vietnam War

Because of the Vietnam War there were some tensions in and around the university. There were demonstrations in downtown Christchurch complete with slogans, chanting and banners. A joke went around campus that when Air Marshall Ky was asked on TV about how often he had elections, the response was “every morning, just before bleakfast.” This answer had the virtue of annoying people with both its politics, as well as its linguistic racism. Needless to say it was widely told and equally widely enjoyed. 


1968 a Vintage Year

But that was 1968, a vintage year for being a student (I was doing Pol Sci and History). We observed or experienced: President Johnson’s career ruined by the Vietnam War, the assassination of Martin Luther King, the sinking of the “Wahine” carrying teams up to that year’s Easter Tournament, the Inangahua Earthquake which convinced Andrew Baines that his bed had been compromised and it was just a stunt, the assassination of Robert Kennedy (which prevented his failure to become the Democratic candidate that year), the Black Power salutes by Carlos and Smith at the Mexico Olympics, a successful rehearsal with Apollo X to put a man on the moon the next year, the invasion of (the former) state of Czechoslovakia by the forces of (the former) Soviet Union, riots in Paris that removed President de Gaulle, and (note the use of the Oxford comma there) riots all over the USA which elected Richard Nixon, who, as the old saying goes, “needs no introduction.”


Kiwi Keith Holyoake

In 1967 and 1968 six MPs died necessitating bye-elections. The one that had an effect on CH was the death of the Finance Minister, Harry Lake in April 1967. The National government had just started its 3rd term but looked a bit tired. True to form they nominated Eric Holland, son of former PM Sid Holland. Holland junior did not look that comfortable on the hustings. One evening a lot of the CH population went to the  Burnside High School assembly hall to see the PM himself (Kiwi Keith Holyoake, a man who was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but who had clearly choked on one later in life, given his plummy accent) support an awkward Eric Holland. The organisers were vaguely apprehensive about the group of students (you could tell - given their sartorial outfits) wearing black gowns and darkish clothing as well as sunglasses. Peter Gough starred in the interjection battle, and it’s fair to say that Holyoake was no slouch in dealing with interjectors; he apparently enjoyed the process. At one stage Holyoake was reeling off statistics about how life in NZ had improved under National, and after each fact he would turn to Eric Holland and rhetorically declaim, “and what do you think of that Eric?” Our response was yells of ‘bullshit’ and other extremely witty and cultured epithets. Later in the evening someone got up and berated the PM about the fact that the country’s illegitimate birth statistics had skyrocketed in the 1960s. “What do you think about that Eric?” yelled Pete Gough and brought the house down. Then a well-dressed woman hissed at us in general and Gough in particular, “Give the PM a chance, and show some respect.”  It turned out that she was one of Holyoake’s daughters; another of whom, Diane, married Ken Comber who won Wellington Central in 1971 with so few votes that he was nicknamed “landslide”.


Student Union Elections

Another slightly less important but more intriguing election was that for the Presidency of the Students’ Union. The engineers supported a guy called Beer (Tom was his first name I think), an articulate Australian (I will make no comment on that here) who apparently had the votes to win. Trouble was, as an Australian, he apparently was disbarred from running because of the Students’ Association constitution. That had to be changed. Peter Gough then ran for election as a sort of stalking horse for Beer, using as his platform, that if elected, he would resign thereby forcing a special election for the position. Polling day saw Gough win the post with general jubilation around CH. David Tennant (Not the TV Doctor Who) put his stereo speakers out of his room (3rd storey) and blasted the quad with Beethoven’s 5th Symphony (last movement). The powers-that-be around the political caste of varsity, especially Peter Rosier were unhappy about the CH interference in “their” election and expressed their lack of happiness in caustic comments printed in “Kobold” a sort of weekly news/comment magazine that one read in the StudAss café trying not to be poisoned by coffee from Burkes Caterers. The only contribution to general civilisation that “Kobold” made was its weekly serialisation of A K Grant’s history of New Zealand series which was later published as a book called “Land Uplifted High.”


The Cabbage Train

The cabbage train was a freight train that travelled over-night from Christchurch to Blenheim and was the ideal place to deposit drunk students so that they woke up the next day with little money and fewer clothes. It didn’t happen to me. Rustification was the abandoning of a houseman in the countryside near the city at night and their having to get home in whatever way possible. I was dropped near Taitapu one night (don’t know why) but luckily through the good offices of a newspaper deliverer got back to CH not long after my kidnappers; whose names will forever be secret – won’t they Eton! As it happened I got back scant hours before one of the two Wahine storms broke.



These were down the back past the motorbike parks. One night at a house meeting the construction of the new chapel was being discussed and we were assured that everything would be well designed and situated. Either Cuthbert or Gough interjected’ “Yeah, just like the clotheslines.” General hilarity ensued, mainly because they were right. In wet weather we had to dry our clothes in front of the strange electric heaters in each room which were operated from a master control, and only came on after 3pm most days.


Shambles Meetings

Shambles meetings were usually held in the dining hall, but on one occasion (the photo proves it but I can’t find that photo) I presided over one on the steps of the Regent Theatre in Cathedral Square. What the punishment was I don’t know;  it may have involved a race around the Cathedral. Normal shambles meetings involved a reading of a charge; the giving of evidence; a response from the victim; the ignoring of the victim’s response and the sentencing. Some punishments included honey-potting 20 times into the Ilam stream (Lloyd Falck), running through female hostels in various unusual attire, putting down raincoats in the Square for female members of the public (Sir Walter Raleigh style) and others which I can’t recall. If anyone reading this can remember please tell us and jog our memories.


FRED (By Barry Grant)

June 18, 2018

Martin Roberts occupied the room next to me on the ground floor of Watts Russell in 1967.  He was a genial man who claimed to have been booted out of his home and sent to the colonies by his father the Bishop of Ely, for a social indiscretion which he wouldn’t enlarge on. We talked a lot. I was therefore surprised when at the Leaver’s Dinner at the end of 1967, Martin produced a small eight-day-old goat as if by magic and presented it to the House. I was even more surprised when he then announced I was to be The Keeper of the House Goat.  I had no prior knowledge of the gifting of the goat or my exalted appointment, and even less about looking after goats, and as the end of term was nigh, what I was supposed to do with the animal over the four month break.  Alistair Barrett had plenty of advice for me.  Fortunately, the vicar of Rangiora (where I was living) came to the party and gave Fred a place in the church grounds, and an astonishingly rapid weight gain by the time the next term started.  

During 1968 Fred was carted off to many parties, naturally starred in Shambles events, ate poisonous rhododendron leaves (which got vomited up inside someone’s room in the course of a Shambles), consumed an interesting diet of Chocolate Chippies, toast, apple cores, matron’s cake, almost anything vegetable and especially cigarettes which he ate in one gulp, filter, tobacco, paper and all, while making goat noises which meant more, please. (Obviously cigarettes were much cheaper then.)  Fred loved people and numbered himself among them. House rugby games were a delight to Fred who needed a strong arm on his leash to stop him joining in. He once was literally kidnapped and held for ransom.

The House had Fred at least to the end of 1969 when I left and I don’t know what happened to him after that.   I do know what happened to Alistair Barrett, however, who is now Fervent Steadfast of Gloriavale fame.  Is he coming to the reunion?  

CH DAZE (Part 2 by Simon Smith)

June 26, 2019

The Bush Inn

The Bush Inn: This establishment at the corner where Waimairi Road meets Riccarton Road served as an unofficial  wing of the hospitality business. The bottle store would sell – in plain paper bags – any number of beers in quart bottles: 2, 3, 4 or 6. This meant that you could wander back to CH with a large bulge under your duffel coat; and the whole enterprise was often accompanied by what Lloyd Falck called “the ominous clink of potential refreshment.”  In the late 60’s some bright spark (ie, a politician) decided to extend drinking hours to 10pm without first organising it with the barmen’s Union. The last week of the 6 o’clock swill saw several of us (heavily disguised in suits bought the previous week for a Barbadoes Street garden party) trying to look like we were 50+ all watching a ritual that had started in WWI. Often we didn’t even recognise each other. Andrew Baines spent 10 minutes looking for me despite my sitting 2 feet away from him. Later on the Bush Inn got a huge drinking barn called the Bush Inn Courts with a large carpark so that the fights wouldn’t have to be staged indoors. Sometimes supplies would be purchased as we drifted into the city looking for parties to drink at. The beer we bought was filthy muck; the draught was Crown (by Wards, who later invented a swill called Canterbury Draught, proving that bad taste can linger for years). Other tastes were Bavarian (which was about as German as a Tennesse-assembled VW), DB Lager if you fancied your chances with the fairer sex, DB Diploma if you were on a scholarship. For the North Islanders there was the occasional chance to get some Waikato (A feed as well as a drink when the river flooded), or a (then) little known brew from the Wairarapa called Tui; and in those days it actually was genuine beer. Alas no longer! The Police also frequented the Bush Inn, though not through a sense of thirst. One night they pounced and got (from our ranks) 3 bishops’ sons, 2 lawyers’ off springs and the son of a cabinet minister. Saturday evening teas in the dining hall were often slightly noisy; say no more.



There were several elected positions filled at the first house meeting of the year. Some of these were: the house dog whose job was to go to Bish or Connon Hall and howl at the moon on certain times of the year. The CCACC (Chief castigator and crime crusher) ran shambles meetings where miscreants (usually innocent) were sentenced to punishments such as honey-potting into the Ilam Stream; or placing their raincoat on puddles at the campuses (campi ?)  for female students to walk upon. There was a tutorials officer whose job was to arrange interesting speakers to speak to students who felt the need to listen to interesting speakers. This did not happen too often. The guardianship of the house goat caused controversy when its keeper left and informed the BM that the goat was his now. This went down about as well as a concrete mixer at a séance. No one was able to explain what the job description of the Chief Moustache and Barbarian amounted to. The guardianship of the Chichele Spinnet seemed more obvious but no one knew (a) what a harpie was, and (b) where to find a spinet. After 1967 there seemed to be more students at CH but fewer positions. The position of Head Theolog was self-explanatory; his task was to help organise anti-theolog week each year. Peter Williams did that really well I recall.


CH Stunts

Stunts abounded; hardly surprising in a university where the mid-term holiday was called Study Week and the run-up to exams was called “Relax.” Removing the steps to Warren struck everyone as a fair idea. Who put the mini on the roof? Who stuffed the foyer and lounge with newsprint? Who filled the underneath of the new chapel with superannuated pushbikes? Who replaced all the dining hall cutlery with toothbrushes? Who sent the Head Student a message with a phone number on it with a request to ring Mr Lyon? It was the Wellington Zoo number! And then there was orientation, all choreographed with “up 2, 3 Down 2, 3” as the new students (victims) paraded through the CBD and the river doing what someone called the basement version of Swan Lake – Duck Pond. Don’t go on the greens of the Hagley Park golf course they said. And did we? You might very well think that but I couldn’t possibly comment. Lots of people did stunts so I hope if you read this and remember some of them, tell us all about it.


U20 Rugby

There was some sport played; the rugby team was an enterprising group playing as Varsity C in the U20 competition. One game (against the seminary) descended into chaos as a fight ensued. This was based around the fact that Dave White (father of gardening guru Xanthe White) felt that an opposing trainee priest felt that the outcome of the game depended on a good stout grip on the CH player’s testicles. Or so the ref was told. One game I played in was against the Wigram Air cadets who were tough, fit and demonstrated a nonchalant attitude to the actual rules. We were quite good but they were relentless and never gave up. Perhaps their bloody-mindedness derived from the fact that during Relax every October, the Harvards at Wigram practiced formation flying. The noise they made was ear-piercing, constant and long lasting; where was the concrete mixer when you needed one? Probably at a séance. We were always ringing the Wigram Base to complain.


The Chunder Mile and Sam Neil's Buick

The Ilam fields were great as a sporting venue; home of hockey, rugby and the Chunder Mile which has probably not survived attempts to metrify measurements since 1973. The Chunder Mile entailed the drinking of a jug of beer and eating a cold pie on each of the 4 circuits. Sophistication was probably not to the forefront of the organisers’ minds I’d say. Those playing fields were next to the Ilam Homestead (which played a role in the Parker-Hume murders in the late 1950s). The house was surrounded by amazing rhodo and azalea gardens and other plants that Logo Taulealo would attack to get the leaves for his Samoan-style “Umu”, a culinary adventure that happened a few times. Sam Neill used the homestead as a backdrop in his role as narrator of “Cinema of Unease” about the history of NZ film. Strangely he also had an incident on those fields in 1967; he had a 1930 something Buick (Canadian made, it had right left hand drive because back then Canada drove on our side of the road.) Sam was stopped near the university by a traffic cop who reasonably asked for his licence, car registration and Warrant of Fitness. Being unable to produce and of this documentation Sam ran across the fields having put the car onto hand throttle so that it rolled off in the opposite direction at 5mph (8kph I guess.) The cop didn’t know whether to pursue Sam or the car but finally manged to do both. That would have been the end of it but someone found out that the traffic cop had a brother in CH, Dave someone I think, so Sam set out to “have a word” with him. How that transpired I don’t know, but someone out there must know.

MOTORCYCLES AND CARS AT CH. (Part 1 by Simon Smith)

May 23, 2018

Some of us used the red buses (number 8 to Church corner, although those who fell asleep on it often woke up in Templeton because it was actually the number 8T express); others of us had bikes, my brother “Fred” took his to Prebbles Cycles for repairs and to date has not yet picked it up. Andrew Baines had a red racing cycle with tyres that were really thin; one night after a couple of drinks he rode it home from Nancy’s with 2 flat tyres. He remarked that the going had seemed rather slow the previous night.


Sometimes we got lifts in friends’ cars and paid petrol money; Nick Davidson was a life saver here with his Ford 100E Prefect (its vacuum driven wipers ensured total obscurity through the windscreen during a combination of heavy rain and forceful acceleration.) Mick (Mike?) Ludbrook “little hairy” was another ersatz taxi – a Morrie Minor I think. Eton Wood had a VW and I think Jim Deans had a mini-cooper; slightly more oomph perhaps. One morning as Jim backed out he was nudged by Mikki Baird (the ace badminton player from Hokitika) on his Yamaha YDS3 red/white 250cc motorbike. No damage, but Mikki hopped off the Yamaha and sprinted back to Jim; “You ok Jim? (several times).” Jim being a lawyer-in-training reserved his reply but looked fairly confused – didn’t realise that he’d actually hit anything/anyone. Tony “Ringer” Hardingham had an open Morris of some sort with a Union Flag painted over the spare.


The motorcycles were an eclectic bunch. Three of us had Yamaha YDS3’s: Logo Taulealo, Chris Laurenson and Mikki Baird whose bike (Reg 3RG) I bought in 1968. Often we would do circuits of the square on busy Fridays. In Procesh 1969 I disguised my bike as a Traffic Cop bike with  the word TERRIFIC on the borrowed fairing; this gave many Chch motorists involuntary bowel movements until they realised the “joke”. A policeman in the square told me I had 24 hours after Procesh to cease the stunt. I led procesh with Andrew Baines on the back seat blowing a trumpet (not his own this time). I put a black shoe box on the carrier with No8 fencing wire sticking out of it. This was savaged by Haka Party leader Cam McNicol (not in CH) who sat on it destroying it, without his realising it. The whole stunt came to a delicious climax outside Ballintynes when I was rammed by a flying saucer; driven as it happens by former school mate and now Chch redeveloper Antony Gough. One year in Procesh we made a float about the Vietnam War; the two best slogans were: All the Way Up LBJ & Lady Bird is a Flying Turd; oh the wit on display.


Other bikes included Spencer Lawry’s Ariel Square 4 – one of the many British bikes that created, because of their poor quality build and reliability, a ready market for Japanese bikes. Lindsay Spilman had a couple but culminated with a Norton of some sort; similar to Tim Jackson’s which could shake your fillings out if given the chance. It was the two afore-mentioned gentlemen who told me that BSA stands for “The Bastard Stops Always.” Alastair Barrett had a Suzuki 250 which was very quick and he usually won the annual CH motorcycle Grand Prix (try anglicising the term, one cynic said). The haze of blue smoke produced by the horde as it hit Waimairi Road for the sprint home was intense but dwarfed by the usual Chch air pollution. SAG Gordon rode his bike down Riccarton Road with his arms folded; the story hints at a direct traverse through the ornamental gardens outside Nancys at the bottom of Riccarton Road. Lloyd Falk had a Jawa, a Czech bike that looked like an egg-beater, sounded like a food processor and performed like the mass of us when we were told we had to be at chapel the next morning. Dave Ludbrook had an old Honda 50 stepthrough (Steve Kay had a bright red new one) which he wanted rid of so he parked it outside on Waimairi Road, full of petrol, keys helpfully in the ignition, only for it to sit there for most of the next term.


In the next edition: the Bush Inn; house office holders; stunts and stair removals; Sam Neill and his 1936 Buick.

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