The Connector

Date: 18 Jan 2024

Andy Gladding, Secretary, Dilworth Old Boys' Association (DOBA)


Last year Andy Gladding was appointed as secretary of the Dilworth Old Boys’ Association. It is easy to see why he was shoulder-tapped for the role – he knows everyone!

We caught up with Andy to talk to him about his life and times and why he believes active participation in the Dilworth Old Boys Association is so valuable for Old Boys.

Andy has a unique blend of professional excellence and a passion for fostering relationships. He has a genuine ‘people first’ attitude and his broad-reaching connections span Dilworth Old Boys across the world. He has a stellar career in the hospitality sector, starting as a front-of-house/sommelier and working his way up. He now has a senior business development position in the meat trade.

Andy went to Dilworth in the ’90s (1990-97). Remuera was home, close to Dilworth, where he recalls regularly hosting fellow ‘stay-back’ Dilworth boys for weekends. Food was a major attraction at his place, filled with his mother and grandmother's cooking.

 "I come from a family of foodies - from my mother and grandmother to my mother's partner - everything has always been about food," Andy recalls.

His love of food and cooking has remained a central theme throughout his life. He started working in the catering industry at 15, while he was at Dilworth, holding down a weekend job at Panda Catering at Eden Park. At the end of his school years, he went to AUT to study for a Diploma in Hospitality.

He’s upfront about his time at Dilworth saying “There was no cotton wool in those days” but they encouraged you to be successful and set you up for life after school. He also pointed out that “All of my friends from Dilworth are successful guys and the push for success becomes natural”.

He attributes this to a comprehensive education which leads to confidence - giving Dilworth students the edge.  

Andy says he wasn’t the “best of students” but he said for him the key was making friendships at the school something he says is “hard to put into words”. The friendships he made at Dilworth have lasted through the years “Out of our year, guys in years either side became part of our group and as we travelled, I spent the best part of a decade in the UK with them”.

Alongside food - friendship and family are key threads that run through Andy’s life. Talking to him, you get the feeling that he makes friends wherever he goes. He mentioned attending numerous All-Black tours, and the Munich Beer Festival (five times!) saying he was always the team cook and always surrounded by Dilworth mates wherever he was in the world.  

Andy has worked at the French Café and Sabato and has now moved into a Business Development role in the meat trade where he can combine his extensive knowledge of food with his evident talent to build relationships and find opportunities.

Appointed as the Secretary of the Dilworth Old Boys Association, his entry was facilitated by Gerry Smutz, DOBA President because he says “I know a lot of people and about the power of connections”. Recalling Gerry's leadership at school as head of Dungannon House (1990) and School Prefect (1989 & 1990), Andy says Gerry is “an amazing guy”.

Andy is focused on helping Gerry and the team grow DOBA “To see it grow and become more entrenched but more than that, I want to get involved and give back and keep the Dilworth legacy going”.

He sees enormous advantages for guys who join the Old Boys Association that go far beyond reconnecting with friends, he says there are unlimited business opportunities from building a strong network.

“I see the opportunity to help each other build networks and businesses.”