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Ōtaki College’s 2023 dux is off to Tauranga next year to study engineering.

The study choice is perhaps no surprise given Hayley Boyer’s dad, Glenn, has been in the construction industry most of his working life.

Dux of Ōtaki College for 2023 is Hayley Boyer, who will go on to study engineering.      

Photo Ōtaki Today

But Hayley is clearly her own person. She has her firmly sights set on completing a bachelor of engineering with honours at Waikato University, with the first year in Tauranga and then on to Hamilton. However, she’s leaving her options open for a work career.

“It’s a four-year degree so I will have time to figure out what I want to do,” she says. “I have no set goal but it will be something in engineering.”

Hayley puts her dux award down to her ability to rise to the challenge of tests – and putting in the hard work when it’s needed.

“I think I managed to do well because of how well I could execute in the tests,” Hayley says. “I also put in lots of cramming in the two days before.”

The 17-year-old says all of the students in Year 13 this year are close, but she has four particular friends who have encouraged and motivated each other.

“We had to curtail some of our social life this year, and we all work hard,” she says.

One of those friends is Karen Dai, runner-up to dux. While there was some friendly rivalry for the award, both were pleased for each other.

“We’re good friends,” Hayley says. “I think it was great that we got the two top awards.”

Five subjects are counted when assessing who gets the dux award. Hayley was a little unusual in that she did four subjects, plus a university paper.

“Fortunately they counted that.”

She finished the year first in calculus and physics, first equal in statistics and second equal in her Aims (advancing In mathematical sciences) Canterbury University math199 papers. She also had a merit award in physical education, showing she’s not just a college “swot”.

“Actually my favourite subjects are calculus and PE.”

As dux, Hayley received the Ōtaki RSA scholarship, the Fun Zone scholarship and the Andrew Philips Cup for dux. She also received the MI Turnbull Award for top Year 13 student. For her study at Waikato University she has a $30,000 Te Paewai o Te Rangi University of Waikato scholarship for academic achievement.

As runner-up to dux, Karen Dai received the Wakefield Lawyers scholarship and cup for proxime accessit, the Marjory Gordon Memorial health award and the MI Turnbull award for second in Year 13.

Karen will be studying health science at Otago University next year and has received a $15,750 university scholarship.

The Everiss Scholarship, which entitles two students to travel to England and Scotland for three in January, was jointly awarded to Hannah Thompson and Caleb Smith. They will visit Robert Gordon’s College in Aberdeen, home of the Otaki Scholar.

On their return, Hannah will begin a communications degree at Victoria University; Caleb is taking a gap year before joining the police in 2025.

Caleb, who is a national medal winner in waka ama, also received the Chairperson’s Award for all-round excellence.

The title of 2023 sportsperson of the year went to Stella Park (see page 24). Stella has attained a silver medal in the New Zealand secondary schools waka ama championships and a silver medal in the TUNZ Taekwondo NZ championships.

Equal top scholars in Year 12 were Louis Bevan and J T Byrne.

Top Year 11 scholar was Yilin Lyu and runner-up was Harriet Georgetti. All four students receive MI Turnbull awards.

Also announced at prizegiving was the 2024 ngā ringa whero – heads of school team. The ngā kākākura (heads of school) will be Maddie Simpson and Witana Cameron. Ngā kaingārahu (associate heads of school) are Wyeth Andrews, Rosie Thomsen, Louis Bevan and Ihnia Graham.






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Dux Hayley has eyes on engineering

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