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The John Harris Memorial Collection


The John Harris Memorial Collection was established in 1988 and owed its start to an idea of Arnold Wall (2983) and Ormond Wilson (3570) for a collection of books written by Old Boys. The idea was strongly supported by then Headmaster, Dr M J Rosser, and Deputy Headmaster, D G Hamilton. The idea might not have come to fruition had not Arnold Wall written to every Old Boy who he knew was an author, suggesting the donation of a book for the Collection. Many were happy to oblige. The scope of the Collection was expanded to include books written by College staff and members of the Board of Governors, and books of interest, such as biographies of Old Boys.

John Harris

Arnold Wall was responsible for having the Collection named after John Harris (2767) who had inspired him, along with many other boys, to read books. John Harris was Head Prefect in 1922, a member of staff and, later, a distinguished librarian of international standing.

The Collection

The Collection may not be unique in New Zealand schools, but it is certainly a rarity. As such, it must be regarded as one of the jewels in the College crown and is worthy of every possible support from Old Boys. The aim is to have a copy of every book written by an Old Boy, unattainable though this may be. Old Boy authors are invited to donate their books to the Collection. In 1991 CCOBA became responsible for additions to the Collection and has a limited budget to fund the purchase of books, but generous benefactors are always welcome to assist in the purchase of rare books from English booksellers at English prices.


The Collection now has over 1,000 publications and is held on the first floor of the Hare Memorial Library. The books may be accessed on the premises but are not available for borrowing. Any Old Boy wanting to know if his book is in the Collection may consult the catalogue at the CCOBA Office. 

If you would like to donate a book to the John Harris Collection, please contact or send it to CCOBA, Private Bag 4900, Christchurch 8140.

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