OTHC Hard! 1st XV members honoured

Seven One Tree Hill College 1st XV players have been presented with their ceremonial caps by Ockham's Will Deihl. It was a proud moment for the boys, their families – and for the wider Ockham whānau too.

Under the soaring lattice beams of the OTHC Senior Common Room, standing before a striking purpureal mural, seven young men awaited their moment. They were surrounded by their loved ones, coaches and teammates who'd assembled to witness a moment of earned glory, a ceremonial acknowledgment of hard work, dedication and sacrifice.

"Kia ora, Talofa, Malo e lelei," Will Deihl, CEO of Ockham Residential, began. "I'm privileged to be here today, repping Ockham at this special ceremony."

The room could feel the weight of history, the legacy of One Tree Hill College teams through the decades. "It is a great day," Deihl continued, his eyes sweeping across the faces of the boys. "A recognition of your efforts, your dedication… the sacrifices that you and your families have made for you to wear this jersey."

He called each name out: "Faioso Uilou. Rusiate Cava. Christian Bryce. Paea Tupou. Tevita Vakauta. Mosese Taufahema. Khobi Pekepo."

OTHC – and Ockham

Ockham has been part of the One Tree Hill College 1st XV whānau for almost a decade now. But the partnership, Deihl said, goes back much longer than that.

"Mark Todd, Ockham’s founder, was the fullback and captain of the then Penrose High School 1st XV that, nearly a hundred years ago, went all the way to the final of the Auckland 1B competition. There they lost 6-3 to Auckland Grammar, though Mark will tell you he scored the winning try that wasn’t – the winning try that was controversially, wrongly, disgracefully disallowed."

Deihl paused for a moment, letting the monumental injustice settle in. Then:

"‘I grounded it. It was a try! I was over the line... bloody ref!’" A ripple of chuckles went through the audience as it imagined Mark Todd's retelling of that fateful game.

"Mark’s very proud to be a One Tree Hill College old boy: we’re really proud to be part of your team today," Deihl continued.

The Superlative Seven

Now Deihl’s tone became solemn, and the room became still. "While there’s no ‘I’ in team: I want to acknowledge a few of the heaviest lifters. Thank you – and a huge chur – to your coaches, Nale Taukolo and Max Guptill, and to your managers, Brian ‘The Lion’ Langdon, Anne Crawford and Conor Felise."

He then moved to the heart of his speech. "Again, I want to acknowledge your families – those who you carry onto the field with you. Your parents, your grandparents, your uncles and aunties, brothers, sisters, cousins." There was an emotion that gripped the room, an understanding of the collective effort that had brought these boys to this pivotal moment.

"But most of all," he said, drawing the attention back to the seven, "I want to acknowledge you guys for grinding it out and doing the hard mahi to get here."

He then called each name out, his voice steady and clear: "Faioso Uilou. Rusiate Cava. Christian Bryce. Paea Tupou. Tevita Vakauta. Mosese Taufahema. Khobi Pekepo."

Each name was received with soft applause, a quiet yet deeply felt celebration.

"We’re all super-proud of you – as we are of the team," Deihl concluded. "Boys, you had a great win last week against Mangere… good luck today – go hard ¬ against Macleans.