Christmas reflections from our President

Opinion: In Marist St Pats’ 50th year, incoming President John Holden reflects on the value of sport in shaping good character and good citizens.

Marist St Pats RFC celebrated 50 years of amateur sport in 2021. For three days over Queens Birthday Weekend, past and current players and supporters came together, filling the Hataitai clubrooms to capacity.

Many recognised in various expressions that sport is an activity that adds value to human life. The joy found in sport, the beauty of physical fitness and activity is of benefit to all. Many at the celebrations, especially those selected in the club’s 50th anniversary team, commented publicly that the values and mentoring learnt at Marist St Pats were ‘game changing’ as they went on to become good citizens and contributed to their families and Aotearoa in a meaningful way.

Marist St Pats has a basic philosophy of the right of all to participate. Encouragement of sport and participation in it helps round off an individual’s complete education which is part of New Zealand’s education system. In Marist St Pats’ case, its tradition comes from Catholic education. Sport benefits and invites everyone, regardless of religion, ethnicity, nationality, gender and even ability, to take part. Moments of great joy and satisfaction sometimes take us beyond the physical into the arena of the spirit.

The source of our club’s values are the actual values often spelled out in school assemblies and classrooms and posted throughout schools and sporting institutions. They are the foundation of good citizenship: Compassion, Respect, Charity, Integrity, Perseverance, Humility, Loyalty, Honesty, Joy, Forgiveness, Justice and Courage.

These values also underpin individuals wanting to make a contribution. Club administrators, players and supporters are volunteers. They gather in a spirit of camaraderie to serve on countless committees, prepare meals, clean facilities and provide financial support. Friendships are formed and families are cared for at times of sickness and hardship.

Cardinal John Dew, in his foreword to Marist St Pat’s magnificent 50th Jubilee book, C’mon Red, reflected that the family spirit cultivated at Marist St Pats enables us to see that sport is for everyone and an important life lesson is learning how to win and lose graciously.

As it commences its next 50 years, Marist St Pats is cognisant of its rich heritage. Since its formation in 1971, Marist St Pats has been to the fore in Wellington club rugby in caring for its members. An enormous amount of work goes on at the grassroots to develop a better club and better people. Marist St Pats has programmes and strategies that are ‘game changing’ for individuals so they can go on to be good citizens and to contribute to their families and to Aotearoa in a meaningful way.

I also would like to thank you for the association you might have with the Marist St Pats family.

Can I extend my wish and hope that you get a well-deserved chance for a break over the Christmas season, this special time of year, and that the coming year be filled with happiness.

John Holden is a Life Member of Marist St Pats and our new Club President. He is a former Management Committee Chair (2008-10, 2015) and Junior Rugby Convenor. He is pictured with immediate past President Ken Ah Kuoi.

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