Not many Wellington schools can offer their students a 50-hectare site to roam around, much less a Greek amphitheatre, native bush and a river to swim in, which is why many local parents consider sending their boys to board at Rathkeale College, 7km north of Masterton. Barrie Gordon, head of marketing at the Anglican school, says that the great outdoors is just one of the attractions. “As a small school, the relationships between staff and students, and among students themselves, are relaxed and unforced. Rathkeale boys love a good yarn and will happily chat to their teachers or visitors at the drop of a hat,” he says.
When he speaks to FishHead, Barrie is busy organising the annual open day for 12 May. Asked what makes Rathkeale students happy, he replies, “The way to a boy’s heart is through his stomach! The food at Rathkeale is cooked on site, is plentiful, and the boarders and day-boys all eat lunch together every day. The boys always speak highly of the food here, and a hearty breakfast and lunch assists them to learn.”
For many parents the thought of sending their sons away to boarding school can be a daunting prospect. (There are those who can’t wait to get them off the couch and away from the Xbox, but that’s by the by.) Rathkeale works hard to make it seem like a home away from home.