Class Act 2023: John McGlashan College

Millar McElrea


Milton lad Millar McElrea has always been fast.

He has been running rings around others on the rugby field since he was a 12-year-old, which is what got him into athletics.

The 18-year-old John McGlashan College pupil loves to see himself improve when running, but admits "it’s a pretty rough sport."

"I hate it but I love it.

"I love improving myself and getting fitter — there’s some part of it that I like."

Millar recently won the Junior Young Farmer of the Year national title with his twin sister.

Despite his dreams of travelling to the United States on a sporting or academic scholarship, or at least just to travel, Millar thinks something in him will lead him back home.

He discovered a drive to be better once he moved to Dunedin and has worked tirelessly to get even faster.

He won the senior boys’ high jump at the Otago Secondary Schools Athletics competition this year and came third in the junior 400m at the New Zealand Secondary Schools.

He has also been keeping his schoolwork up to scratch, receiving NCEA level 1 and 2 endorsed with excellence.

Millar likes not being reliant on a team, which makes reaping the rewards so much better.

He says it is important for everyone to try to be the best version of themselves, but not compare themselves with others.

One of Millar’s role models is Zoe Hobbs, who’s an inspiration for him to push his running to the next level.


Achievements: Level 1, 2 excellence endorsement (2021, 2022); academic blues (2021, 2022); 1st XV rugby apprentice (2021-22); 1st XI 
hockey (2021-23); Otago U18 hockey team (2023); South Island interprovincial U16 touch series champions (2020-21); SISS silver medalists, JMC A touch team (2021);  South Island U16 octathlon silver medalist  (2020); 5th New Zealand U18 decathlon (2021); South Island U18 decathlon champion (2022); bronze medalist, New Zealand Secondary Schools junior 400m (2020); Otago U18 200m, 400m 
champion (2022); Otago U20 400m champion (2023); finalist New Zealand U20 100m  (2023); 5th New Zealand U20 400m (2023); silver medalist, South Island Secondary Schools senior 400m (2023); Otago athletics high-performance squad (2022, 2023); Otago Academy of Sport for hockey and athletics (2023); boarding house leader (2022); house captain (2023); deputy head boarder (2023); 
deputy head boy (2023); Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award (2023); Junior Young Farmer of the Year winner (2023).

Role model: Zoe Hobbs, his parents.

Hopes for the future: To study biology and chemistry in the United States on an academic or sporting scholarship.


Qwenton McKenzie


Qwenton McKenzie enjoys bagpiping and catering for much the same reason— having his creations enjoyed.

Whether that be a highland march or a portion of chicken schnitzel, creativity makes him tick.

"The feeling of someone enjoying what you’ve made — you can’t compare anything to that"

The 18-year-old John McGlashan College pupil says he has always had a liking for food.

He plans to study consumer food science and marketing at the University of Otago; two subjects he feels go hand-in-hand.

"I like to think I have the personality for marketing.

"I feel like I can get people to buy what I want to sell."

McKenzie, with his gift-of-the-gab, hopes to one day take over the family catering business.

His parents are a big reason why he is involved in so many unique hobbies.

He has been the pipe sergeant for the John McGlashan College pipe band, as well as the City of Invercargill juvenile and Grade 1 pipe bands.

In 2021, he received two national titles for bagpiping after playing with the City of Invercargill pipe band, which the grade 4A band he played with ended up winning, as well as the juvenile A band.

He was also accepted as a member of the National Youth Pipe band of New Zealand, in 2020, and has been ever since.

He will even be touring with this band to Canada, in 2024, and hopes to one day play in Scotland.

When he is not bagpiping, Qwenton is sharpening his karate skills.

He has trained with Seido Karate Club for 12 years and received his black belt in 2021.

Qwenton says both bagpiping and karate are all about dedication and practice.


Achievements: Deputy head boy (2023); art prefect (2023); black belt in karate (2021); house leader (2023); chairman of school council (2023); student council (2017-23); national title, grade 4A City of Invercargill Highland Pipe Band (2021); national title, juvenile A City of Invercargill Highland Pipe Band (2021); pipe sergeant, John McGlashan Pipe Band (2019, 2023); pipe sergeant, Juvenile A City of Invercargill Highland Pipe Band (2023); pipe sergeant, Grade 1 City of Invercargill Highland Pipe Band (2023); 4th in New Zealand, Grade 1 City of Invercargill Highland Pipe Band (2023); 1st in the Octagonal Day Band Competition, grade 1 City of Invercargill Highland Pipe Band (2023); National Youth Pipe Band member (2020-2023); Anzac national memorial service bagpiper (2021, 2023).

Role model: Bagpiping tutors Lance Turnbull and Alasdair MacKenzie, Seido Karate Club, parents

Hopes for the future: To study commercial food science and marketing at the University of Otago, play the bagpipes in Scotland one day.