Founders' Day 2023

Date: 23 Mar 2023

Last Friday, the Dilworth Community gathered for Founders' Day 2023 – a very special day in the Dilworth calendar dedicated to celebrating and giving thanks to Founders, James and Isabella Dilworth.

It was an incredibly moving afternoon full of heart, with an inspiring performance, O le Pese fa’afetaima Le Fa’ataupati, from the Samoan group, speeches from Headmaster, Dan Reddiex and Chairman of the Dilworth Board, Mr Aaron Snodgrass and processional music performed by the Senior Brass band.  Guest speaker, Allan Bunting, Coach of the World Cup winning Black Ferns, was interviewed by departing Board Member Simon Curran, and soon had his audience captivated with the theme of building courage under adversity, a topic that resonated strongly after the many challenges Kiwis have faced across the motu this year. Asked how he built a winning culture for the Black Ferns – Allan challenged students to “just be your authentic self” and to spend time “truly getting to know yourself”.

Black Fern's coach, Allen Bunting, was interviewed by departing by Board Member, Simon Carran during our Founders' Day event

Friday’s celebration was also an opportunity to give thanks for the incredible contribution of longstanding Board Member and Dilworth Old Boy, Simon Curran, after 8 years on the Dilworth Board. A powerful and spine-chilling haka was performed as well as Hūtia, performed by Te Kapa Haka o Titikōpuke - an incredibly moving sendoff that won’t be forgotten for many years to come. 

In his speech, Headmaster, Dan Reddiex, talked about the gift of opportunity that James and Isabella Dilworth had given thousands of young men over the last 117 years and indeed, to all of those who had worked and taught at Dilworth. He noted that “collectively we reap the benefits of their generosity today” going on to ask the question of staff and students “what will you do with what you have been given to empower and help others?’

He went onto note that the Dilworths’ “focus on equality of opportunity for young men regardless of their race or financial circumstances was radical at its conception in the late 1890’s – they were visionary”.

The theme of giving back and empowering others came through in many of the bios of the stellar line up of Founders' Day 2023 Award recipients (Ella Burford, David Beattie and Roger and Julie Francis Award). In his speech on behalf of all award recipients, Elaijah Tuivaiti, a 3rd year student of medicine at Auckland University, gave a clear demonstration that the message of the Founders had been taken to heart. In his incredibly moving speech, Elaijah said he was the first in his father’s extended family to attend university and that he hoped to be a role model not only for his family, but for Māori and Pacifica. He said he ‘wanted to lift the health outcomes for his whānau and for every member of this school’s whānau for the next generation”.

Headmaster Mr. Reddiex replied by saying “I have no doubt Elaijah that you will make a splash in this country”.

Founders' Day 2023 set the Dilworth year off to a powerful and inspiring start.


Dilworth Old Boy and one of this year's awards recipients, Elaijah Tuivaiti, delivered a powerful and moving speech during Founders' Day.