Meet the new Dilworth Old Boys’ Association President: Gerry Smutz
Starting his Dilworth journey in 1986 as a Year 9 (Form 3) student with his younger brother (in Year 6), Dilworth Old Boys’ Association’s newly elected President, Gerry Smutz is excited to step into the role. Growing up in Papatoetoe in South Auckland, Gerry’s family were incredibly grateful for the opportunities their young men were granted during their time at Dilworth.
Aside from receiving an excellent education, it was the extracurricular opportunities at the school that Gerry is particularly thankful for.
“I really enjoyed being a member of the Chapel Choir and I got to fulfil my musical ambition of learning to play the saxophone. I also participated in the annual musical shows over the years including “The Boy Friend” with Diocesan School for Girls and “The Pirates of Penzance” with Corran School to name a few,” he said.
The other highlight for Gerry was boarding, where he made many of his life-long friends. It is this particular aspect of the overall educational experience at Dilworth that Gerry believes makes DOBA truly unique and different from other Old Boy Associations – the fact that every Dilworth Old Boy experienced boarding and they all came from different areas of Auckland or other cities around the country.
“The friendships formed while attending Dilworth School are deep and enduring. What’s unique to Dilworth is our friendships are intergenerational. I know Old Boys 5-10 years older or younger than me and I consider them really good mates – I am certain that relationships like these only exist within our Dilworth Old Boys’ Association,” he explains.
It was this intergenerational connection that motivated Gerry to initially give back to the school and eventually become the President of the Old Boys’ Association.
“When I was a young student in the mid-late 80s, I had the privilege of meeting the President (1987-1998) of DOBA, the late Mr Ben Barker (Class of 1971). He was truly a dedicated Dilworthian and a dynamic and charismatic leader and great orator. A Solicitor/Barrister by profession, he was the man chiefly responsible for challenging and inspiring me to give back to my school and the wider community,” he said.
Gerry truly believes in the importance of staying connected to Dilworth, long after leaving the green gates because Dilworth Old Boys were recipients of a wonderful gift from James and Isabella Dilworth.
“We share a special bond and this must be cultivated and nurtured. Just because you finish up your tenure at the school, doesn’t mean it’s the end of your connection with your mates or your School – far from it,” explains Gerry.
To truly make the most of the Old Boys’ network, Gerry feels the interrelationship between the School, Trust Board and DOBA is crucial.
“There are some exciting times ahead and we will be working closely with the School and Trust Board to build a framework and infrastructure to allow Old Boys to network, remain connected and give back to fellow Old Boys and the current students. This could include through fundraising initiatives, giving one’s time to assist old boys into various sectors and industries for employment/experience or even Old Boys doing business with one another or hiring Old Boys for projects. I see a lot of hidden and untapped potential within our network,” he said.
As for the future and what he hopes to achieve, Gerry would like to focus on fostering great relationships with the wider Dilworth community. His goal is to unite and bring the Association back together as one.
“The challenge from this point forward will be to ensure that we all stand together as Old Boys and work together as one.”