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Pioneers of the Network magazine

Tony Haycock was part of a group that started the Network magazine more than 40 years ago
16 Jun 2023
Collegians
Tony Haycock
Tony Haycock

While reading issue 103 of Network, Tony Haycock (Hamilton 1966-1970) had a moment of reflection (as you often do when you get to his age he says) and felt an immense sense of pride when he cast his mind back more than 40 years ago to when the very first issue of Network came off the production line. 

In the late ‘70s, a group of enthusiastic like-minded past students of St Paul’s Collegiate School got together to govern the Old Collegians Association.  The core group included Tony along with David Johns (Sargood 1969-1973, deceased), Kerry Kirk (Hamilton 1967-1971), George Clark (Hamilton 1968-1972), Lex de Jong (Clark 1973-1975), Tim Brears (Sargood 1960-1964) and David Eyre (Clark 1966-1969).

They looked at the Kings College Old Boys’ newsletter and thought, hey, we need to do something like that to connect with our old boys, and the Network was born. Issue No. 1 was released in October 1981. The title ‘Network’ was chosen to represent past students ‘networking’ after they left school. The first issue included articles about a rugby tour to Australia, the St Paul’s Old Boys’ Cricket Club’s first season (1977/78) Outward Bound at the newly established Tihoi Venture School and the Old Boys’ Association $3,600 donation to the school to establish a computer system. There were other snippets of news including Kit Fawcett and Geoff Hines being selected as All Blacks, Tim Brears, Jon Webb and Lex de Jong were all practising law in Hamilton, and Martin Gummer and Simon Upton being well on their way to making a name for themselves as young politicians. The stories were written by the committee members as well as other past students.

Those first issues were put together the old-fashioned way, spending hours around the kitchen table with paper and glue. Tony says, “Getting ‘copy’ ready and into a form acceptable for the off-set printer involved a lot of manual work in those early days. The copy was typed up on sheets of paper which were literally ‘cut and pasted’ onto a card which then went to the printer.” Thankfully, David Johns owned a marketing company and he knew about getting things printed and circulated. 

In those days, contact details were kept in manual card files and for many, the contact details were parents’ home addresses and many were seriously out of date. Kerry managed to get addresses onto a basic computer printout sheet which meant address labels could be printed. 

Once the Network and labels were printed, the group assembled again at Lex’s house and spent a weekend pasting address labels on copies of the Network for posting. “Some copies were returned marked ‘return to sender’ but we were not deterred and worked on improving the accuracy of the database. Locating people was much harder back then without the help of Google and Facebook.”

The Network was the first part of their strategy to encourage a greater uptake of Old Collegian Association membership and they worked hard to increase it. Collegians could choose to be an Annual Member or a Lifetime Member; the latter was encouraged as it gave capital upfront to work on projects to give back to the school.

It was the working capital from Life Memberships that gave the Association the deposit to purchase a commercial building in Victoria Street, Hamilton. He says “I will save the details of that purchase for another story.”

After leaving St Paul’s Collegiate School, Tony went to Otago University to study medicine, eventually returning to Hamilton where he spent the next 40 years (15 of those as a local GP).  He served two separate terms as a Trustee of the St Paul’s Board and his son Edwin was a student there from 2004 to 2008. Tony now enjoys his lifestyle in the beautiful Cromwell area. 

Tony is a very passionate Collegian, and whilst the early years were challenging for the school in becoming established, he is very proud of where the school is at now.

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