Inaugural inductees Kelston boys high school

Proud rugby school famous for turning out All Blacks takes Triple P founder back to where it all began

A New Zealand boys high school famous for its connection to the mighty All Blacks has recognised The University of Queensland’s Professor Matt Sanders among its first distinguished alumni.

Professor Sanders is the founder of the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program, a Professor of Clinical Psychology and director of UQ’s Parenting and Family Support Centre. He has published more than 300 research papers.

However, as a very young student at Kelston Boys High School, in West Auckland, Professor Sanders says he was not one of the top academic achievers.

“The key for me was that my very early academic career wasn’t seen by the school as a limitation. I had one teacher in particular who got me aside and basically told me, ‘come on, you can do it’,’’ Professor Sanders said.

“For me it reinforces the idea that people should not make too many judgments too soon about young people and what they are capable of if they have good family and school support.’’

Professor Sanders (pictured left in picture above), who attended Kelston from 1966-70, was recognised at Keltson’s inaugural alumni for his achievements in academia alongside the chief executive of the Pascoe Group, David Norman (1962-1965, second from left), for his services to business; current New Zealand Sevens rugby union captain, DJ Forbes (1997-2000, second from right), for services to sport; and former New Zealand rugby league captain, Duane Mann (1979-1983, right), for services to the community and sport.

Kelston principal Brian Evans said the school was honoured to have someone of the calibre of Prof Sanders as one of its first distinguished alumni.

“Professor Sanders’ work and achievements speak for themselves and he is a very proud Kelstonian and an inspiration for our current students on what can be achieved with such dedication,’’ Mr Evans said.

“It was a wonderful evening for our old boys and a great celebration of what great things our ex-students go on to achieve.’’

Kelston Boys High School in West Auckland is highly regarded for the quality of its rugby program, with former All Blacks coach Graham Henry a former principal of the school, and for its support of Maori and Pacific Island families.

Professor Sanders graduated from Kelston to enrol at University of Auckland where he completed three degrees, a Bachelor of Arts, a Master of Arts and a Dip Ed in Psychology before starting his PhD thesis which was the genesis of Triple P.

He then transferred to The University of Queensland where his completed his doctorate.