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Peter Akester

1975-1977 / Three-Year Diploma (Henderson Campus)

In 1975 an April Fool’s day prank was held during President’s Period when Professor Blaiklock came to give a devotion to the student body. He arrived to find our Mini sitting in the room with my wife Chris and myself inside it. Without missing a beat, Prof. went to the lectern and announced, “We will sing hymn number 474”. We normally started with a pre-chosen hymn and the pianist was a little flummoxed, but switched to the hymn Prof had picked:

“Dear Lord and Father of mankind,

forgive our foolish ways;

Reclothe us in our rightful mind…”

The day began for us when Chris had gone to practise the organ early that morning. She came back and told me that she had found our car in the middle of the lecture hall with seats and desks all around it. My response was, “Very funny, Chris, I know it is April Fool’s Day, so the joke is on you. I know you are joking.” She told me to go with her and see if I did not believe her. It was true. There was our little Mini sitting in the middle of the classroom! No time to shift it, no idea who put it there. We decided the only thing to do was to sit in it when he had the Professor Blaiklock lecture. So embarrassing.

Then to make things worse some other students brought someone in on a stretcher to Professor Blaiklock. The student was wrapped in bandages. They asked him to pray for their sick friend! Professor Blaiklock was even more upset. I can’t remember what he talked about after all that. At morning tea we had to try to remove our car. Apparently, the senior students minus Chris had all been in on the plot. Another year they set off the wake-up alarm at 2 am and when we went to breakfast all the cutlery drawers had been hidden!

We had come into the College as newly-weds. It was not easy adjusting to College life as well as each other. However, the foundation we received steeped in God's word has proved invaluable ever since. We felt stretched to our limits in many ways. New challenges all the time. For me, it felt like I had moved into an alien environment. The hymns we sang, the segregation of men and women in lectures, the communal living. It seemed that everyone at least knew someone else as a connection from the past, when I had only lived in NZ for a year and a half, having come from the UK. We gained much more confidence that when we were not able, God faithfully stepped in. We reached a greater willingness to allow God to lead us, wherever. This ultimately meant that we were willing to answer God's call to work in mission overseas.

For the first year after finishing study, we went back to our former occupations. I worked as a pharmacist in Christchurch and Chris did upgrading in teaching. The following year we joined NZCMS and worked in Tanzania, East Africa. I went as a pharmacist to run a pharmacy as part of a medical centre for the Anglican church. Chris taught in an English medium primary school. Later we joined the staff of a Diocesan Bible College. We were there for 19 years before returning to NZ.

I am now retired. I was ordained in 2016 while working in Kondoa, Tanzania, and having returned to NZ am helping in a local Anglican church where I live in Rangiora.

I am grateful for God’s faithfulness and acceptance of me, and His care and protection over all these years.

Chris passed away on 4 January 2020.

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