Interview with ex-MAGS student

Name: Douglas Pauling

Occupation: I like to classify myself as a merchant. When I left school, I went to be a technician at the post office. Then I left the post office and became a technical salesperson, I sold technical components and technical things, because I was a technician and I understood how they worked. Then I was fortunate enough to move up the corporations that I worked for, from sales, to marketing, and then to general management, and I was fortunate enough to have overseas experience with big multi national companies, and then I came back to New Zealand and started my own business, in computers and training systems.

How has MAGS changed since you were there? 
The uniform seems to be more colourful with the MAGS colours and the logos look nicer. (Of course there are now girls in attendance as well).

What is your favourite memory from MAGS?
My best memory is the people I met there, other students and teachers.

What was your favourite subject?
I suppose my favourite subject was science but because I was in a lower stream class, I wasn't given the option of taking languages, or maths after the fourth form (year 9).

How long did you attend MAGS for?
I attended MAGS for 3 and a half years. My first term of high school was at Seddon Tech, and my second term of third form to the end of second term in upper fifth I spent at MAGS. My fifth form was in 1961. I left halfway through 1962 at the age of 16.

Did you enjoy it?
Yes... I enjoyed third and fourth form, though I did not enjoy fifth form and and left the following year.

Who was your headmaster while you were at MAGS?
My headmaster was Mr Murray Nairn, who was headmaster from 1954 to 1969.

Who was your favourite teacher?
I guess my favourite teacher was the engineering/metalwork workshop teacher called Mr Davis.
My science teacher was Mr King, and our nickname for him was Weka. The deputy principal's nickname was Daddy Weir.

Did you play a sport for the school?
I did. I went in athletics and I played rugby but only at Second 15 level, mainly because the Salvation Army mostly tied me up in the weekends.

Are there any teachers still here today who were there while you were at school?
No, I don't think so.

What subjects did you take when you were at school?
Woodwork, engineering workshop, tech drawing, geography, science, english. 

What were the disciplinary measures like?
Reasonably tough, you got caned if you were naughty. Some teachers were stricter, and others more capable.

Can you tell me some stories or things you remember about your time at MAGS?
Assembly was every morning, and all the masters would walk in in their robes, and we used to sing the school song. I thought it was 'dust on the walls' the whole time I was there.
In the main quadrangle, there was a bell, and a prefect would ring the bell at 5 to 9 for assembly and at every period change, and lunch and things.

One day we stole the bell and we put it under the stage in the assembly hall, and when assembly started we rang it. They had to round up everyone, with no bell, and as soon as the headmaster got up to talk about where the bell had gone we bashed it.

In the fifth form we were aloud to bring cars, if you owned one. If you wanted to leave the school grounds you had to get an exit pass from the headmasters office. In the third form, I lived close enough I could go home for lunch, I did that in the first year I went to school there.

We used to pay the rollboy 2 and sixpence per period to mark us absent when we were away. This was in the fifth form. In the fifth form, we wrote poems for each teacher who taught us in the role book. This was quite famous throughout the school, because we had this rollbook of poetry. I can only remember one stanza from the book, about the woodwork teacher. It had several verses, but I can only remember this part:
'The run of a rafter
Is maybe this long
Bailey, get out
You blockheaded nong.'

My class was called 3 Tech, it was the second lowest class.

In the class I was in we were expected to become builders, carpenters, butchers... to take an apprenticeship since we weren't smart enough for university.

I wasn't very good at school, so I didn't enjoy it very much. My marks started to deteriorate the older I got. I wouldn't recommend to anybody, to do what I did throughout high school. I feel the most negative thing about it was the attitude they had to the lower forms, like: "You guys won't amount to much, you'll just be apprentices and stuff..." I may be wrong but that's the feeling I got.


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