Various committees had identified an Alumni Website as a worthwhile project to embark on; however, logistics proved difficult and it remained a single-page place-holder for some years. Following the election of new members onto the Alumni Committee in 2007, it was decided that Quentin Allan (1972 – 1979) would take over responsibility for this project, given his experience in website development with the University of Hong Kong. His first step was to survey alumni websites (within New Zealand and internationally) in order to identify desirable features and to get a sense of best practice for the development of St Peter’s Alumni Website. For the 2008 AGM, he presented an interface ‘mock-up’ with navigational suggestions, followed by a summary of proposed features.
One of the key features which he proposed was a section for alumni to share reminiscences from their school days. In order to stimulate interest, interesting articles from St Peter’s Chronicles, newsletters and the 50th Jubilee Register would be posted on the website to encourage former students and staff to share amusing stories, anecdotes, reflections, observations, and so on. Another key feature was to be a complete list of every student and staff member who had spent time at St Peter’s. This would be complemented by a collection of edited ‘profiles’ of eminent alumni and outstanding staff members.
The 2008 AGM presentation was well received and resulted in some interesting discussion and useful feedback; it also resulted in a generous offer of help from a professional website developer Raewyn Nel (1989 – 1990, nee Greenhalgh). Raewyn joined the committee in 2008 and over the following year worked with Quentin to develop a working interface with illustrative articles and graphics in each section. For content, the Management Office made available resources from the archives which meant that photographs and articles reflecting life at St Peter’s during its first decade could be included for the launch of the website. The intention was to systematically add content representing life for students under the first five headmasters to date:
• The Broadhurst Years (1936 – 1960)
• The Thornton Years (1961 - 1978)
• The Parr Years (1979 - 1987)
• The Morris Years (1988 - 1995)
• The Robb Years (1996 - Current)
The 2009 AGM saw the official launch of the Alumni Website; Raewyn and Quentin presented sample screens from each of the main areas and outlined plans for future development. The AGM minutes noted ‘…potential for expansion to include more interactivity with members and to promote alumni development & growth. Website statistics show steady viewing of the website with 146 unique visitors to date this month. An official Alumni Facebook page has been created that displays upcoming Alumni events. This page is currently being manually maintained, but will eventually be updated via RSS feed from the website. Potential future online development or initiatives to consider include more information about Alumni activities; articles of interest, especially about notable Alumni; increase electronic contact with members; online membership list; members only area and content; online advertising.’
The presentation concluded with an invitation for alumni members to explore the website and to contribute content in the form of amusing stories, anecdotes, reflections, observations, movie clips and photographs. It was noted that the nature of website development is organic and future changes in technology will allow new features and innovative interface possibilities; all suggestions and contributions gratefully received.