Aaron Snodgrass December message to Old Boy community

Kia ora fellow Old Boys.

At the end of what has been a challenging year for all of us, I wanted to take the opportunity, to thank you for your support of our school and each other.

This year, we have managed the impacts of COVID-19, made significant progress with future plans for the school, and continued to support survivors of historical sexual abuse. We have continued with our focus on ensuring the wellbeing and safety of our students while promoting with them striving for personal excellence.

In the New Year I’ll talk more about campus development, and how we are bringing our whole school community together as we grow in the future.

One such initiative is broadening the use of the Rural Campus to allow all years the opportunity to participate more regulalry in outdoor programmes.

Accordingly, we are are reviewing our building strategy to accommodate Year 9 students coming back to the senior campus full-time in 2023.

Headmaster Dan Reddiex and his team are going from strength to strength and you can be proud of the work being done at Dilworth, embodying the values of our school.

This year, we have worked extremely hard to support survivors of historical abuse as they seek justice and redress.

Our committment to openly addressing these issues remains as strong as ever.

We continue to support any Old Boy wanting to talk to the police or the Royal Commission. A number of serious criminal cases have concluded this year, including the sentencing of former chaplain Ross Browne. There are more cases to come next year.

We have and continue to acknowledge that the school's procedures for dealing with allegations of abuse did not meet the standards we have in place today, and failed our students at the time. We apologise to the Old Boy survivors especially and to you, our Old Boy community, for this.

We are initiating an independent inquiry into what happened at the school, which will include the school’s response to complaints of sexual abuse.

We have made significant progress on the development of our Redress programme, including consultation with the HRC complainants which has resulted in valuable feedback and input to the Programme to date.

You may have seen the Royal Commission of Inquiry into abuse in Care has issued its recommendations on redress, which the government has said it will adopt. This includes the establishment of a holistic government redress scheme.

This announcement does not preclude Dilworth from establishing our own redress programme. We will consult with Old Boy survivors in the new year as we consider the Royal Commission’s recommendations in this area. The views of our Old Boy survivors are paramount to inform this work.

All Old Boys will have the opportunity to participate in the redress programme consultation process in the New Year. More information on this will be provided to Old Boys prior to the consultation process commencing.

The Board remains resolute in ensuring these matters are fully and properly dealt with to give survivors the best possible opportunity to move forward.

These are complex matters, and while we are confident our approach is best-practice, we will carefully consider the recommendations of the Royal Commission, and continue to work constructively with all survivors.

We’ll have more updates on redress in the New Year. We have created a website for updates, which you can now register to join, in advance of us consulting on the redress programme next year.

Our confidential Listening Service remains available for you to access, or share with any other Old Boy you think would benefit from using it.

In closing, I want to acknowledge just how tough this year has been for all of you and particularly for suvivors.

I wish you the very best for the festive season, which I hope provides an opportunity for rest and relaxation for everyone in our community.

Merry Christmas, and I look forward to talking with you again in 2022.

Nga mihi nui.