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News > Collegians > From rugby fields to building sites: Jonty Rae’s journey

From rugby fields to building sites: Jonty Rae’s journey

Jonty Rae (Fitchett 2008 - 2012) has filled a lot of chapters in his book of life.
Jonty Rae
Jonty Rae

Since leaving St Paul’s Collegiate School in 2012, he has studied Quantity Surveying, played professional rugby for both Northland and Munster Ireland and started a construction business. 

The unforeseen disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 prompted Jonty’s return to New Zealand, a move initially perceived as a setback. However, seizing the opportunity to pivot, he founded MSG Construction, a Hamilton-based company built on a foundation of traditional values intertwined with forward-thinking approaches. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Jonty’s determination and adaptability propelled MSG Construction to remarkable success, now boasting a workforce of 40 individuals spanning various roles from Project Managers to apprentices.

Recently, Jonty connected with St Paul’s by extending a helping hand to the school’s Construction class. The class works on school building projects including classrooms for Tihoi, Harington residence and the Art Block. The school’s builder works closely with the students training them and preparing them for work after high school. Jonty’s business, MSG Construction, will offer expertise to the students with the long-term plan being that Jonty can help future apprentices. 

Jonty has been waiting for a chance to give back to the school that he has such fond memories of. He says, “In life, you get what you give, and I have always been grateful for what I gained at St Paul’s.” Jonty says that when he started at school, he was in a low academic band and had to work hard to maintain good grades. 

“The turning point for me was going to Tihoi, the experience there gave me new confidence and I could apply that to my learning.”

Jonty, who was head of Fitchett House in his final year, recalls that his friends he made were, “down-to-earth good people,” and he looks forward to helping students like that through his new connection with the school. 

 

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