Shield of dreams

The chants had been practised for weeks at lunchtime meetings, and now the boys barely paused. It was a pulsing cacophony. It boomed past the surrounding pohutukawa and pine trees, it drowned out the late-summer cicadas, it spread over Wellington’s southern suburbs like a squall sulking along the horizon. It was mad and magnificent. 'They mightn’t remember their maths lessons, but they’ll remember this,' bellowed St Pat’s rector Neal Swindells in the din.