Reflections on my Dilworth Journey

Date: 08 Dec 2023

The end of the school year is here, the week when we say goodbye to our Year 13 leavers.

It's an exciting time for them as they move towards their chosen pathways in the New Year, but also an incredibly poignant one, as they leave Dilworth behind - the place that has been their ‘home away from home’ for many years.

Among those departing students are Prefects Harry Liu (Head Prefect), Mukai Duder-Hura and Harrison Collins.

They reflect on their unique journeys at Dilworth and what’s next for them.


Harry Liu: ‘The Dilworth Difference”

From the moment he started Dilworth in 2015, Harry Liu had a passion for academic learning. He recalls being a small kid in year 5, reading his first Dilworthian and seeing an article on Top Scholars which inspired and motivated him.  The “Senior Campus glory dazzled me," he recalls, "And I told myself, 'I want to be one of those guys”.

He has surely hit that goal. Harry has achieved academic excellence for 3 years in a row and recently was awarded a prestigious Staples Education Foundation Scholarship to attend Auckland University. While his dream was always to be a doctor - focusing on Health Sciences in Year 1 and hoping to progress to Medical School from there - an interesting twist emerged this year. Harry’s goal is now to serve as a Medical Officer in the NZ Army, aiming for a scholarship from the Ministry of Defence.

Harry lights up as he talks about this opportunity which he says would honour a long-time family tradition of service on his Mum’s side of the family, with his desire to go into medicine.  He heard about the Ministry of Defence Scholarship when he attended the Dilworth Careers Expo evening.

Becoming Head Prefect in his final year was an immense honour for Harry and a wonderful way to end his incredible Dilworth journey. But Harry notes that Year 13 has also taught him “a lot of life lessons” which he is refreshingly honest about in the hope it will help others.

“I have learned a lot and improved who I am as a leader this year,” he says. But the biggest learning for him is the realisation this year “That no one is perfect and that sometimes failing is part of the journey and helps you work out what you can do better”.

As he reflects on his time at Dilworth, Harry talks about the way the school fosters the talents of every student, helping uncover their talents and find their unique pathway – this to him is the “Dilworth difference” and he feels so fortunate to have had the experience.

Harry also cites the incredible friendships he has made at Dilworth along the way “Friendships that will go way beyond the green gates”.

His advice to the new Year 13’s for 2024 is to “Make the most of your time at Dilworth, maintain your relationships and work with the Dilworth Careers Team on your next steps. They helped me to bring the strands of my interests and passions together”.


Harrison Collins – “Service is at the heart of who I am”.

There isn’t much Harrison Collins hasn’t done at Dilworth, he has taken every opportunity that the school has offered and run with it. 

“When I started (Dilworth) I wanted to go somewhere that would set me up and harness my potential. I feel I’ve 100% done it and I don’t know any other school that would have provided the opportunities I’ve had”.

During his time at the school, his interests have taken him in many directions. Harrison loves music and the opportunities to be part of the Foundation Singers, Big Sing, and Fortissimo he says, have been amazing. The Gala night in 2022 “When we were up against the big choirs and got a standing ovation” is a memory that will stay with him for a long time.

Technology is another passion. He ran the Tech Team across the school for two years, learning so much not only about Tech but also about leadership which he says ‘Set me up so well’. But one of his biggest passions has been for Service and as a Prefect this year, he has had the opportunity, as part of his role, to lead the Service Committee. Harrison simply says “Service is a big part of who I am”.

Somewhere along the way, politics became another passion. And he had the chance this year to take that interest to the next level when he and his running mate, Mukai Duder-Hura decided to run the first-ever Dilworth Political Panel in the school hall. They captivated their audience with a double MC act and managed to draw out the opinions of four high-powered political leaders and keep it interesting for everyone – students, teachers and visitors. The panel included Minister David Seymour and Minister, Paul Goldsmith.

Theology runs deep for Harrison, his connection with the church is something that he has grown up with and he says he always comes back to.  His choice of study reflects this, his current thinking is that he will go to Otago University to undertake a BA in Biblical Studies and Politics but not until after a gap year in 2024. And what a gap year it will be as Harrison heads to the Royal School of Dungannon as an Overseas Gap Tutor. One of three students selected, he will join fellow leavers Bailey Bramwell and Harmony Nonumalo-Ieti.  Harrison says he has known of this opportunity since Year 9 and is thrilled he has been awarded the Scholarship.

While the role is about supporting students at the Royal School, there was some mention of travel plans - across the UK and Europe with fellow Dilworthians - in the holidays of course!

Turning to the challenges he has faced at Dilworth, Harrison says that a lesson that stands out for him is that you can’t always expect to get along with everyone and sometimes he says you “Just have to suck it up”, and get on with it.

He also notes that “What makes Dilworth special, is that we run with what we want, anything I’ve wanted to do or try at Dilworth I’ve been able to, no barriers”.

His advice to next Year’s 13’s follows this theme telling them to ‘Make the most of the opportunities you get and always try’.


Mukai Duder-Hura – “He Tāngata, He Tāngata, He Tāngata

For Mukai Duder-Hura “People make the place” that is Dilworth.

From the amazing staff to the voices of other students – empathy forms the core of Mukai's journey - a deep connection with people, defining his time at Dilworth and coming together for him in Year 13 where he led the Student Council and as a Prefect, worked alongside others in the Prefect team on the goal of “Making Year 9’s feel welcome” in their first year at the Senior Campus.

But to start with his own story, Mukai came to Dilworth in 2017 as a Year 7, speaking fluent Te Reo Māori having previously attended a Kura Kaupapa Māori, full immersion school. His lineage is Ngāti Hine on his Dad’s side, from Waiomio, in the Far North and Pākeha/NZ European on his Mum’s side.

On his first night in the boarding house at Dilworth Mukai remembers thinking to himself “I love this place - I just felt like I struck something so supportive, where boys were into their education like me and the school had one goal – us – the boys”.

Once he started Dilworth, Mukai said he never looked back and has taken every opportunity. “I feel like there’s nothing more I could have done here, I've left everything out on the field”.

He credits the amazing teachers who have enabled him to grow as he has “Dilworth is lucky to have teachers prepared to go the extra step, answer emails out of hours, run Pasifika or Kapa Haka groups and provide ākonga at Dilworth with so many extracurricular activities”.

And also the boys he has met “All from different backgrounds and areas, from different socioeconomic groups – all of them make you better equipped for life, learning how to relate to different people”. He has been proud to uphold his Māori Whakapapa while championing and supporting others within Dilworth to stand behind their own cultures. He has loved the Āko groups this year which he believes have helped the students to get to know each other better and to understand each other’s cultures.

Dilworth highlights for Mukai have been co-creating the concept for the Political Panel and then making it happen -  alongside Harrison – who he said “Thinks so differently to me” was a huge success and milestone for him.

Mukai’s involvement in designing the new school jackets is also a legacy he's proud to leave behind. Not to mention his oratory skill (which he didn’t mention) which wowed the whole school during his compelling speech during the ANZAC Day Dawn Ceremony 2023, leaving a lasting impact.

Of the challenges he has faced, Mukai mentions Covid, which shadowed his school years at Senior Campus, he said the six-month-long time away from school in 2021 was particularly tough. But again he comes back to the people saying “The staff led us through everything, they reassured us, they were just there for us and got us through, deepening our bonds”.

Next year, Mukai is off to Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University to study for a Bachelor of Communications, majoring in Political Communications, aiming for a career in the Public Service, and perhaps a Minister’s Office or in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. He is also deeply interested in bridging what he sees as a gap between Government communication and Māori communities.

And his advice for Dilworth Year 13’s in 2024 is, “Try and take all the boys with you, some get left behind. You don’t want boys to end their Dilworth journey not feeling like they haven’t been seen and heard”.


Thank you to Harry, Harrison and Mukai for sharing your stories.

As you leave the “Green Gates” know you will always be welcome back.

We wish you well and every success in your chosen pathways.  

Kia kaha.