Autumn Floreat Semper Lucheon
Friday, 31 March 2023

Floreat Semper Autumn Luncheon March 2023

The 2023 Autumn Floreat Semper Luncheon and AGM were held earlier this year on March 15. As part of the Luncheon, the Fellowship were delighted to welcome back to King’s College as their guest speaker, Olympian and Old Collegian Rob Waddell (School, 1988-92).

Mr. Waddell spoke about his family connections and how he was proud to have shared the experience of being part of the large Waddell family who had attended King’s through the years. He remembered how his first experiences with rowing were at King’s, but how it wasn’t always easy, and that amidst the highs there were also some epic fails. He concluded his address on the importance of aiming high and maintaining excellence as your bar as this will ultimately have a positive effect on the results of your endeavours. During the luncheon we also heard from college students Head Boy, Raniera Whiu (Year 13, Parnell) and Senior Prefect, Setai Setoga (Year 13, Taylor). In addition, Mr Waddell was presented with a Tie and Badge from Senior Prefect, Callan Ogilvie (School, Year 13).

We include Mr. Waddells address below.

Membership to the Floreat Semper Fellowship is open to Old Collegians, former King’s College staff members and their spouses or partners and former parents who are 70 years and over.
Members enjoy the twice yearly Spring and Autumn Luncheons which give them the opportunity to catch up with contemporaries across a range of year groups onsite at the College during the Term so they can continue to experience and connect with College life today.
If you would like more information on the Floreat Semper Fellowship and how to become a member please contact Stakeholder Engagement Manager Jacquelynne Lennard at:

Rob Waddell’s Floreat Address
Good afternoon, ladies and Gentlemen, headmaster, Chairman Rob Fisher and Students
Thank you very much of for the invitation to present at this lunch. Kings College has been a very formative part of my life, so I’m pleased to reflect on my time at the college.
There are many familiar faces in the Audience, lovely to see you all again. In seeing some of those connections it does remind me how much time you spend together as such a tight knit group, and then you don’t see each other for a very long time. Thankfully I do have some close friendships from my time at school that have lasted.
I do have a number of family members, which always helps to pull a crowd, you might have otherwise been struggling for numbers. My mother has heard me speak many times before and as all parents do she has offered the odd piece of feedback. Her biggest concern is that I speak too fast, so if any of you can’t hear me well today or I am speaking too fast, please feel free to raise your hand. I know my mum won’t be holding back.
It was suggested that I talk a little about my time at School today – somewhat challenging within a 7 min time frame but I do have some distinctive memories.
Firstly, we have a long and proud history at the school. Many uncles, my father, brother, sister all passed through, my late uncle, Rodger Bartely was an excellent school doctor for so many years and I’ll always be incredibly grateful for the service he gave and how he committed to staying at the school to “see me through”.
My Aunt Bryan, Rodgers Widow is here with us today, and the two of them were very kind to me. Jimmy, who is Bryan and Rogers son and dux of King’s College has kindly come along too – welcome Jimmy, and my late father was captain of the first XV at the height of the Greenbank years. Dad’s photo is immediately behind the head seat in this dining hall. My sister Rebecca is also here today was Head Girl so does reflect proudly on the family’s association.
Coming from the small rural town of piopio 3 hours away, and sometimes dropped off in the farmland rover – a 1972 series 2 with a top speed of 80km an hour, boarding and Kings College was a very different experience
School house and boarding in any school can be a tough environment. For a few years at School, life was not straight forward for me but through adversity, I came away with a high awareness of others and of simply getting on with those around me. I also found a deep resilience, determination and self-belief that have been assets throughout my life.
Sadly, I won’t be remembered as a leading academic in my time at school, neither for my Musical ability – as my mother would so dearly have loved. Come to think of it, my golf was pretty average as well – I distinctly remember playing with Aunt Bryan at Middlemore and been well out driven on most holes. But as a golfer I made a very good rower and while at Kings, founded a love of sport in general and more specifically rowing.
My first years of rowing were somewhat of a disaster, the first regatta in Ngaroto, tucked out behind the hills. I guess for me at school, The HL of my rowing career was winning the Spring Bok 4 at Maadi cup in 1992, we were winning the final of the 8’s but sadly had a medical mishap. I remember Alistair Dryden coming up afterwards and saying, don’t worry, it will only be with you for the next 50 years.
But King’s started an incredible sporting journey for me and one I will always be grateful for. Coaches, Don McKay, Gordon Trevett, Chris Klaasen have all been quite inspirational people.
Since my time I’ve had a busy time in sport, 5 Olympic Games – 2 of them as CDM, 3 Americas Cup, a season playing Rugby with a couple of games for Waikato,
Without a doubt the HL for me has been racing, winning and competing at the Sydney Olympic games. I don’t reflect on it too often, but it is true what they say the older you get, the better you are.
This was a really big crossroads in my life, first is one direction in your life, 2nd is completely different. I learnt that day it’s one thing to be in an Olympic final, it’s another thing to know you are capable of winning it.
There is a perception out there that Athletes have some amazing way of dealing with it but reality is you get every bit as nervous as what you might expect. But there were a couple of things that really helped, the first was that that race was won or lost for me by the work that I had done before, I did not hope to do well, I knew I was going to do my best.
The 2nd was that the only single thing that mattered that day was making a boat go fast, nothing else matters, there are so many distractions.
Life changes, people recognize you more, get invited to a number of things you never used to. Every child in NZ must have sent me faxes.
Since then, I’ve continued to lead a very driven and full sporting career with 3 Americas Cup Campaigns one of them been the 8-9 race on the catamaran’s in San Fran (sorry about that) through to what I do now where I have started my own company where we act as a conjoint between charities, schools and sports and Business’s. most of these organisations are heavily reliant on government, gaming and community funding. Quite simply we love to help these social good causes achieve more through sponsorship. As an example, just last week I had the privilege of visiting 8 decile one schools in the south Auckland area to distribute several thousand dollars of funding in a new sponsorship we had created.
So, I love what I do every day.
I am well aware of my 7 min time frame, so I won’t hold you much longer. I guess I reflect on what I learnt from my time at school, what I’ve done since and what I do now, and I believe one word stands out that is relevant to today and that word is “Excellence”. My understanding of the school motto was that it meant Excellence prevails. I’m pleased to still see the school striving for those high standards.
I guess if I had any advice for those younger students in the audience today it would be to make excellence a habit. The reality is that we are what we do repeatedly – mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, so making quality your default position will go a long, long way in achieving your final outcomes.
In the famous words of Sir Peter Blake “every day ask yourself the question, have I done everything I can to make this boat go faster, and that’s a great question we can ask ourselves every single day.
You’ve been a wonderful audience, I’m most pleased to see no one has fallen asleep and my mother has not told me to slow down.
Virtus Pollet