Head Prefect Conference Report

Friday 16th June 2023

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of attending the Association of Boys’ Schools in New Zealand (ASBNZ) Head Boy’s conference. Thirty-two head students from various schools across New Zealand gathered at Christ's College (hosts for the conference). This two-day event centred around the theme of "Being a Leading Man," aimed to foster leadership skills, promote gender diversity awareness, and provide a platform for personal growth. Attending the conference proved to be enlightening and transformative, leaving a lasting impact on both my personal and leadership development as well as making new friends from across the country.

The conference welcomed head students from different corners of the country, from Whangārei to Invercargill. Alongside being part of such a diverse group, representing schools specializing in boys' education, we seized the opportunity to cultivate our leadership skills and establish meaningful connections with fellow student leaders.

The conference sessions featured an array of distinguished speakers and workshop leaders who shared their expertise on leadership and personal growth. Strengths coach Jade Beaman utilised the CliftonStrengths assessment tool to empower us to recognize and harness our innate talents. Meanwhile, Chris Waugh, College Head of English, delved into topics of leadership, masculinity, and gender diversity, sparking thoughtful discussions. Additionally, Tony O'Connor, Mathematics teacher and coach of the gold medal-winning eights at the Tokyo Olympics provided invaluable insights on leadership under pressure and effective goal setting. David Newton, co-founder of Eco-Action Nursery Trust, inspired us with his perspective on leading the way toward a more nurturing environment. It was an enlightening experience that showed us how we can come together and contribute to a wider community. From these varying workshops, I have learned about myself, how I best operate, and being open-minded to diverse perceptions of the qualities of leadership.

A formal dinner was held on the last night which featured special guests: Crusaders players Willi Heinz and Zach Gallagher. These professional rugby players and role models shared their personal experiences and offered insights into the challenges and rewards of their careers. Their presence served as a testament to the importance of mentorship and the impact that inspirational figures can have on shaping leadership qualities.

Attending the ABSNZ conference was a transformative experience, leaving a lasting impression on me and all attendees. Through engaging workshops, thought-provoking discussions, and the formation of connections across the nation, the conference empowered me with the necessary tools and insights to excel in my role. The invaluable lessons learned about leadership, self-discovery, and gender diversity will undoubtedly shape the views and qualities I will develop as I embark further into life. As reflections on the conference continue to resonate, the shared experiences and newfound motivation serve as a driving force for me to make a positive impact on our school, community, and beyond.

 I would like to thank ABSNZ and Christ's College for putting together this enlightening conference. I would also like to thank John McGlashan College for supporting me to attend.