Update – After abusive and threatening comments on this post I have decided to disallow comments from now. I had hoped to start a dialogue but alas it wasn’t to be…

My rant for the morning.. Why are people so surprised about yet another death of a  King’s College pupil, these kids come from the best of homes and from day one not only have they been given every opportunity and freedom, but they seem to have been imbued with an attitude that they are the golden children. What they seem not to have been given however is any perspective about their lives and hence they live in a social butterfly world of limos, parties, alcohol and drugs.

Just because rich lister hosts a pre-ball party for them and puts on a fleet of limos to get them from there to the ball itself doesn’t dispute the fact that these are 17 year old kids who are being invited to live like adults, unfortunately without the skill set to do so.

Yes it’s a tragedy, but perhaps King’s should look inwards and think about building young people of character rather than sanctioning some kind of prep school for the rich and famous.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

  • Karyn Crawley |

    I couldn’t agree more – perhaps the parents of such young people should also be looking at the way of life they pursue and the manner in which they parent and shape the lives and futures of the precious children in their care.

    • maybe you should actually have a proper look at what kings are actually teaching and the life of the students instead of making your own ridiculous assumption which is not actually true. so thanks karen real good work.

    • Take a hike karyn

  • Generally I agree, however be careful not to generalise all the students that go there. I know of at least one whos parents re-mortgaged the house to get a better education for their kids.

  • how can you even have a rant about this? king’s college has had a hard enough time over the last 18 months without someone sitting behind a computer making comments about this. yes they were only 17, but in this country that is old enough to join the army and possibly be called upon to fight and die for our flag. there is a huge diversity of students there, from those to who can easily afford the fees and those who scrimp and save every penny. as for your last comment, you have no place what so ever saying sometihng like that, as i doubt you have ever had experience with king’s

    • But that’s the problem. They’re not joining the army or being asked to die for their country. They’re dying unnecessarily and some would contend that part of he reason or this loss is that they are cloistered in a rarefied atmosphere of privilege and entitlement. But my comment was a general one and you are correct, I don’t have intimate experience with King’s

      • i agree with Steven, you dont have a clue about King’s College culture and you have no right ‘ranting’ about it, especially regarding the death of one of our brothers. You’re just making the situation worse, well done

      • the fact that you are spouting this nonsense is one thing, but the fact that you believe what you are saying is totally beyond the realms of reason. you are not trying to say that they are not being asked to join the army, you are saying the exact opposite and saying that they are not able to act like adults. one thing that we do get at king’s college is a fantastic education, which enables us to see straight through transparent people such as yourself. your comments about this whole issue are unwanted, incorrect, and plain and simply out of line to the highest degree. the worst part about this is that you will never be held accountable for what you have said here. David was an amazing sportsman, and by all accounts an incredibly nice person and who’s father writes for the herald. i hope for your sake he never has the misfortune of reading this slander against his son and the college. like the person below has already said, well done.

        • I’m sure David was a lovely person. What I do question us the seeming ongoing issues that seem to plague king’s well above statistical norms…

          • John Brewin |

            Exactly as you stated you don’t have an intimate experience with kings or with their students by the looks of it so why do you feel so knowledagable about the school, students, culture and actions? why don t you tell me,johnbrewin@windowslive.com

            • John, thanks foe the offer. I’ll take this offline and send you an email once I finish volunteering in the eastern suburbs of Christchurch

          • To your most recent reply Kepes:

            Wow a volunteer in a devastated Christchurch by day, a bully to a devastated community by night. A bit hypocritical don’t you think ?

          • Are we supposed to feel sympathy for you because you’re volunteering in Christchurch? If you were genuine and sincere about the work you’re doing then you shouldn’t parade it around as if you’re some sort of good samaritan.

            If you had any respect for people at Kings College you would take down this piece you call a blog and preserve your dignity.

            • You mistook my comment. No I wasn’t asking for any sort of sympathy. Merely answering some of the more rabid ad hominem comments on this post

      • whats your problem do you have a problem against kings or do you feel as if you know what has happend, kings is being exposed by the public just because of the fact that its kings, there are many schools out there that have many deaths that aint shown by the media, but but seeing its kings people feel the right to blame a number of things such as wealth, drugs and alcohol, im not saying it dosnt go on it does, however it does at all schools and you cant get away from it.

  • This is not a problem within Kings – this is a problem with society. Kids at kings are not all ‘rich and famous’ and don’t ‘live in a social butterfly world with limos, parties, alcohol and drugs’. That is a big generalization, not all of us are like that. A lot of families are STRUGGLING to keep their kids at Kings. We have media parked outside our school and for a lot of us – our home. Kings is place of support, friendship and a whole lot of love. We have lost one of our family members so you really have no right to be ‘ranting’ about someone’s son, brother and bestfriend.

  • This is not a problem within Kings, this is a problem with society. We are not all rich and famous and don’t live in a social butterfly world with limos, parties, alcohol and drugs. This is a very big generalization. Alcohol and drug problems are bound to happen at every school. A lot of families are STRUGGLING to keep their kids at kings trying to save every dime. There is media parked outside our school – and for a lot of us, our home. Kings is filled with support, friendship and a whole lot of love. We have just lost one of our family members. A father has lost his son and peers have lost their bestfriend.

  • I’m sorry Mr. Kepes but this article quite frankly disgusts me. If you have never been associated with anyone at King’s or if don’t know King’s students, who do you think you are to be able to make such claims? The students of King’s college are students with huge amounts of character, love, support, diversity, faith, humility and go to the school, whatever their background or situation, for the best all round education possible. This is not some “prep school for the rich and famous” as you may call it and this comment is irrational and simply completely inaccurate. This death has been a huge shock to everyone and was not a product of a lack of “perspective about student’s lives”. Until you yourself lose a son, until you see the crumpled look on a 17 year old’s face when they are told that they have lost their best friend, until you are standing in the King’s College great hall witnessing the deafening silence of 1000 students, until you can hear the quiver in the Senior Prefect’s voice as he stands in front of the entire school and tells them that, as a family, we will get through this, can you really have a “rant” about how this is not surprising at all.

    The King’s ball was a fantastic event with a vast majority of students conducting themselves in a extremely respectable and well behaved manner. An insignificant minority (majority of whom were not even King’s students) having to be turned away – I find it hard to believe that you would base your facts on the media who couldn’t even get the headmaster’s name correct. I hope you have a long hard think about your insensitive assumptions and realize the pain that the students and families of this “prep school for the rich and famous” are truly going through.

    • Hmmm. OK, firstly I’m sorry for any offence caused by my post. What I do question if king’s truly displays the virtues you write of is why they feature so often in the annals of tragic stories from secondary schools. Something is wrong there. . .

      • The reason that King’s College has been in the media is because the media seem to have a fascination with turning the school’s grief into a front page hot topic. You obviously have no empathy on that account, and why would you? You know nothing except the distorted portrayal of the truth in the newspapers. You know nothing about the school’s values or what they have to offer. So who are you to judge?

        King’s seems to be constantly targeted as they are a leading NZ college. Media waited outside their school ball, looking for a story, which is quite frankly unfair, no other schools were put under the spotlight like that.

        Students shouldn’t be stereotyped into “kids of rich and famous” who drive around in “limos”. That is not the reality of King’s.

        The reality of King’s is that they are grieving, as any other family would be at this time. The media coverage only worsens this, as have your ignorant views.

        So maybe next time you choose to have your “morning rant” think of the people you’re hurting along the way.

        Was this really necessary?

    • well said bro, i feel proud to be at king’s with people such as yourself. the author has made a foolish mistake which we will show him without bringing king’s into disrepute

  • Paul Spence |

    Well done Ben. Totally agree with you.

    The comments above only confirm that not only is the school and its headmaster in complete denial about the culture there, but so are the old boys.

    Yes this is horrific for the school community, yes it is probably only a small section of the students that behave outrageously – but that is irrelevant. It simply must be stopped.

    Some of these model citizens will likely go on to become our future leaders in business and politics. It’s a frightening thought.

    I hope it’s not too late for them to “put Humpty back together again…”

    • you sir, have neither a heart nor a brain. to say that there is no alcohol culture at king’s would be a lie, but to say that it is as out of control as you claim is even less truthful. since james’ death king’s has gone to great lengths to educate the students on the dangers of drugs and alcohol, as if his death wasn’t enough. so before you start pointing fingers, do some research into other schools and their alcohol problems before you make critical comments about a school which you probably have absolutely no knowledge about. the issue isn’t with king’s, it is with society, so if you’re going to try and stop something, try and sort out the issues in society, for which i must say good luck, you patronizing fool.
      the truly frightening thought in all of this is that ignorant morons such as yourself have the power to choose which government leads the country, not the fact that the school which our future leaders come from has had a couple of tragedies. as for your last comment, humpty is most certainly not in pieces, you can take it from a senior king’s student that he has merely been shaken four times and each time has come out stronger and more resilient, more or less impervious to the generalized, presumptuous comments people such as yourself make in an attempt to look intelligent and opinionated.

      • my apologies, i repeated my statement, instead of “intelligent and opinionated” i meant to say “like you have something useful to say”

    • That final line is disgusting. How disrespectful and rude, who do you think you are?! Do you have any consideration for the feelings of pain and hurt that the families are going through? You should be ashamed.

  • Totally agree Ben,
    It is about time some of the insular sectors in NZ society wake up to see what is reality and appreciate what they are able to achieve. Yes a tragedy but it does not take much effort to see beyond the thin wall of ‘social class’ to see there is responsibility on those who choose to avoid an issue.

  • who are you and are why you commenting on our school when you havent done sufficient or correct research. you are basing your entire argument on a few people and a stereotype that grammar people probably creating. shot bro and as for you karen crawly stop judging us as well, no one even knows who you are.

  • Fuck off mate. You have no clue what goes on at king’s College. It’s a place of pride and dignity and faggots like you are trying destroy it. The problem is nationwide not just at King’s, but they get targeted because of their high reputation. Next time know the facts before you post bullshit. The media is wrong and people should know not to always believe what they here especially the media.

    • Classy comment my friend…

      • Despite the crass nature of the above comment, I agree whole-heartedly with the sentiments expressed. You are an uninformed and totally ignorant outsider to King’s College, attempting to ‘point the finger’ and cast blame onto a school that is trying to cope with yet another tragedy. Your vague pseudo-analysis of students being ostentatious, and irresponsibly wild partiers is totally incorrect. You have chosen to zero in on a tiny facet of college life and have blown it totally out of proportion, the negative hype created from this has eclipsed all of the positive attributes that the culture of King’s has. I find your sarcastic tone in this piece particularly offensive, as it does not do justice to the pain caused to the family and friends of David. I will endeavor to not make personal attacks on your character (a difficult task due to the anger your piece has caused me), but instead implore you to not comment on situations as sensitive as this unless you fully comprehend it, otherwise you end up spreading half-truths and damaging rumours.

        • Jono. Your control is appreciated and I apologise if my opinions have caused distress. That was not the intention….

          • well then what was your intention? to look as though you are genuinely intelligent and opinionated? you’re not fooling anyone on either account

  • Frankly, how dare you make such a pretentious, ridiculous presumption about the students of Kings. I have many friends at the school and many who went to the ball, and none of them are ‘spoiled’ or brats in any way. Yes, people in this country, including students of King’s, may have a drinking problem. But that does not mean in any way that EVERY student has a drinking problem! Perhaps you should stop looking at the rumours cast around and start empathizing with the huge loss the school and community is facing because of some silly decisions made by a boy who I am sure would have regretted his decisions. How dare you make these judgements about students from the school, you have absolutely no idea whom any of them are, and so you are in no position to make wild assumptions about their financial situations, their drinking habits or what their parents and school community are doing to influence them.

    • But again I reiterate that king’s does indeed seem to be a statistical outlier when it comes to these sort of situations. Perhaps those who are so fervently supportive of the school should look at that rather than attack those who point the fact out….

      • Kings only is a statistical outlier on two occasions concerning alcohol. Students from other schools have died from alcohol poisoning, just the fact that their deaths are not widely published in newspapers and the news doesn’t mean that Kings is the only school with alcohol related deaths. Maybe those who point out ‘facts’ with no solid evidence should research properly into the issue, instead of leaping into a rampage, creating assumptions about something they know nothing about.

        You are sounding like an idiot, and making comments like you are so close after the death shows you have little respect or etiquette for matters such as the grievance process the parents are going through at this moment.

  • I can not even begin to describe how unbelievably presumptious, rude and disrespectful you are. You have NO right to be saying these things. YOU REALLY JUST NEED TO FUCK OFF AYE.

  • So Ben Kepes. Im going to say this in the nicest way possible. You Back off now. You have no idea what King’s College has been through. You dont have the right to stick your smelly nose into something that doesnt involve you. Stop putting up posts, marely its just what you think. Well Ben why dont you sit your ass down, and just think to yourself of what the Kings college Boys and Girls are thinking. And what they have been through. Just Stop being so insentive and show some respect.

    • I’m not putting up posts, I’ve put up one post and have replied to comments on that one post. Given the reaction I’d already decided to let the matter drip….

      • Ben – please don’t generalise – its very dangerous. There is a very well known Media Personality at the “so called Rich Listers Pre Ball” and she has publically stated that there were no problems.
        Unfortunately for King’s it cops the brunt of what is happeneing all through society right at this very moment.
        No where in your blogg did you offer suggestions.
        I can tell you there are so many people hurting over this whole thing – none more so than the Gaynor family – spare a thought for them if your persoanlity allows you to do so. A brave College like King’s will stand up to people like you – always remember King’s will be here in another 100 years – you won’t be.

      • Well Done. You have made a good decision. Like i said maybe it would be good to think before you post up comments. In life instead of trying to be the odd one out posting up comments why dont you just be more sensitive and think about what has actually happend.

  • Front Row Man |

    Ben – please don’t generalise – its very dangerous. There is a very well known Media Personality at the “so called Rich Listers Pre Ball” and she has publically stated that there were no problems.
    Unfortunately for King’s it cops the brunt of what is happeneing all through society right at this very moment.
    No where in your blogg did you offer suggestions.
    I can tell you there are so many people hurting over this whole thing – none more so than the Gaynor family – spare a thought for them if your persoanlity allows you to do so. A brave College like King’s will stand up to people like you – always remember King’s will be here in another 100 years – you won’t be.

    • None of us will be here in 100 years my friend…

      • Obviously he is regarding Kings SCHOOL being here in another 100 years, NOT a person.

        Can you read?

      • Dont refer to him as your friend. You dont have friends. I mean you try to stimulate an unwanted debate, after something terriable has happend. I mean you must be a lonely old bastard

  • Ben – please don’t generalise – its very dangerous. There is a very well known Media Personality at the “so called Rich Listers Pre Ball” and she has publically stated that there were no problems.
    Unfortunately for King’s it cops the brunt of what is happeneing all through society right at this very moment.
    No where in your blogg did you offer suggestions.
    I can tell you there are so many people hurting over this whole thing – none more so than the Gaynor family – spare a thought for them if your persoanlity allows you to do so. A brave College like King’s will stand up to people like you – always remember King’s will be here in another 100 years – you won’t be.

  • King's Student |

    King’s is not a place of children enjoying life in ‘limos’ with ‘drugs’ and ‘alcohol’. King’s has been exposed to string of unfortunate tragedies that it plays no part in.

    Several other schools in the Auckland region suffer from tragedies as well, though they are not picked up on by the media. Next time you make such a generalised sweeping comment, remember that there is a majority body of good people that go to King’s who have never done drugs, or touched limos.

  • Mate, if you wanted hatemail, you got it.

    Regardless of your opinion, it was completely uncalled for to insult King’s and the students . All you are basing your views on are silly preconceptions and stereotypes.
    Contrary to your beliefs about what ‘King’s Kids are’ many family’s sacrfice a lot try and give their children the best possible start to life (I myself am blessed to have a small scholarship and I have a family who need a new car and roof, but instead give me a great education).

    I don’t care what you thought of David (RIP bro), but now is not the time to disrespect him, his upbringing or his lifestlye.

  • David O'Connell |

    Dear Mr Kepes.

    You should be ashamed of yourself for using this tragedy to raise your own public profile. It is clear from the disdain, shallowness, callousness and provocative nature of your comments that they are designed to inflame response from those affected by this tragedy and simultaneously provide a platform for those New Zealanders committed to attacking anyone who sets out to better or improve themselves (with on this occasion Kings College being the target). As a Kings parent, your insinuations and generalisations are hurtful and unjustifiable and show no respect at all to the overwhelming number of honest, hardworking and highly ethical parents and staff of the college. In closing as you clearly put yourself above “the rich lister hosts” I took the trouble of “goggling you” and I wonder if anyone was so bored as to put your life, family, work colleagues and close friends under a microscope would they conclude that hypocritical need be added to the adjectives used above to describe your behaviour.

    • Paul Spence |

      @David O’Connell
      I find it interesting that the “highly ethical” parents of the college are attempting to shut down the debate and furthermore that some of the students and parents feel the need to resort to threats, flaming and spamming, because they don’t like the message.

      This is indeed a societal problem. On the eve of the Rugby Booze Cup, it is timely that we have a public discussion about these issues and especially about how the privileged and conservative sections of society are failing to demonstrate leadership on this front.

  • Any death of a student is tragic and my condolences to the family and friends.
    Back to the discussion… To the King’s clique, you are missing the point somewhat and that is part of the problem. You don’t need to go to, have gone to, or even know someone at King’s to realise there is a problem there (as in other schools of course). One would have to literally have their head in the sand to not realise there is a problem with student alcohol consumption and if things carry on the way they are going it is likely before long there will be yet another student being said goodbye to.
    Even though it was at his own house and even if it was for the parents only, it was a lapse in judgement for Craig Norgate to have alcohol served at a school related function. All it did was to reinforce that at school/social functions it is expected that you drink.
    Drastic measures need to be taken; how about King’s (and other schools) having a zero alcohol tolerance at school functions. There should be hand held alcohol sniffers (like the police use) at the entrance to the function and if any alcohol is detected, you’re not allowed in and you get suspended. I have little doubt though that there would be parents that would whinge that ‘little Johnny has a right to consume alcohol under parents supervision prior to the ball’ – and again, this is the problem. Just because there is the right to do so, doesn’t mean that it is sensible and the right thing to do – they are kids attending school for crying out loud. There is still another fifty years of there life ahead for them to consume alcohol – why not learn to pace yourselves.

    • Kings student |

      There already was a zero alcohol tolerance at the Kings Ball. To get in we had to walk past about five checkpoints where they made sure we weren’t drunk. We even got patted down, it was almost like going through airport security. Kings did all they could to stop alcohol consumption. Why should they get blamed?

      • The blame isn’t completely with king’s but the Norgate party does raise questions

        • by the Norgate party you mean the controlled event where there were almost as many parents as students, where alcohol was served by professional barmen,and from which no student left intoxicated? sorry i thought we were talking about different parties

        • Were you at norgates party?

        • King's Girl |

          Oh the Norgate Party, where girls were aparently having issues walking to the bus and stumbling? Have you heard of high heels and cobble stones. You go, put on a pair of 5 inch heels, walk on cobble stones, and tell me you dont stumble pathetically. If you were not at thhe Norgate Party, you have no right to comment.

  • This is an absolutely outrageous and hurtful comment. Who do you think you are posting such rubbish, so soon after a tragedy that has rocked a school and a community to its very foundations? Clearly your brain has such miniscule an understanding of any of the grief and pain that King’s is feeling right now. Alcohol and drugs are a worldwide problem. That is undeniable. However, the media have completely focused on any negative issues surrounding only King’s College, never any other school. Did you ‘rant’ about the school that was growing ‘magic’ mushrooms, upon which a student was sent to hospital after consumption? Or the school ball that had 3 ambulances show up before it had even started? Or the after ball functions still held at many public schools, where alcohol is BYO or even provided? No, I do not believe you did. So stop being so narrow-minded and have some respect for the friends and family of David, who are struggling to come to terms with their loss. This article clearly shows you are incapable of feeling any emotions regarding others and only focus on your own opinions. King’s is one of the most prestigious and high achieving schools not only in the country but in Australasia too, and I will not sit here and listen to you slag off about something which you clearly are incapable of understanding. Have some respect and consideration and leave King’s alone. While you are entitled to your opinion, you do not have the right to cause such hurt and anger so close after what has happened.
    I wish I was as ‘adult’ as you, Kepes. You really uphold great morals and ethics that YOU should have been taught in school, ae. Think about that. Do you have any morals? I struggle to believe you do, as this post should never have been written in the first place, and most definitely should have been taken down now after the apparent pain you have caused. You say you’re sorry for any offence that this has caused, yet it’s still here. Squeeze your eyes shut and try work up some compassion and consideration. I’m sure you have it in you, somewhere.
    R.I.P David Gaynor, gone but never forgotten.

  • Brennan Huff |

    Dont try and make us feel guilty, your the one who is taking advantage and exploiting the death of our friend. I hope your happy and sleep well at night.

    P.S. We know where you live

  • Normal Person |


    Your entry is a load of nonsense. Have you ever been to Kings? Do you know any students there personally? Trust me, not everyone there are “social butterflies” who travel around in limos.

    Clearly, you have gotten every scrap of ‘information’ (if it could be called that) from the herald or some other second rate newspaper, then decided to write a three paragraph comment aimed at inflaming public opinion with mistruths and your assumption that everyone was drunk- by the way, the cause of death is UNKNOWN at this stage but the media and you have decided that because alcohol is involved that must be the reason.

    Please remove your ‘article’, and when you reply to people comments on your trash, please try to counter their arguments, rather than on their grammar/language used to prove their point.

    • Hi there

      I’m not removing my article because I believe it is important to have this discussion and, yes, the issues are far wider than just King’s itself. My intention wasn’t to inflame public opinion but rather to stimulate debate.

      I would have to question the rabid response from some students and parents – I’ve tracked IP addresses and it does seem there is a small band of the school community that responds to a challenge by making threats and hurling abuse. Not the sort of response that I would have thought King’s would have encouraged.

      • Normal Person |

        stimulate debate? on what?
        All you’ve posted here is that:

        a) King’s students are all very rich

        b) we travel in limosines

        c)we are just a prep school for rich people

        d) that we don’t build good students

      • The only thing you’ve stimulated is hate and hurt, not debate.

  • LittleMissSunshine123 |

    If the school is as terrible as you’ve made it out to be how come the prime minister of New Zealand sends his son here. Thanks.

  • ur worst nightmare |

    *redacted* commenter included my home address along with the comment “see ya later on buddy”.

  • Dont you dare even think of bringing the law into this, you insensitive wanker. Just think about the kings community and what they are going through, (if you stuck up personality allows you to do so). The Norgates pre ball was fine and untill you get some hard fucking evidence dont comment on it. New Zealand as a whole has a probablem with drinking. Just because kings has had a terrable tradgedy doesnt mean you can single them out. Honestly cant you just understand the outcomes of what you are saying. You are nothing special, therefore leave your shitty comments to yourself and back the fuck off.