Way back in about 1977 I started out as a first year teacher at Ashburton College. I was lucky enough back then to have one group of students who were particularly fun, friendly, smart and talented. Skilled in music, languages (I was teaching German), singing, drama and the like, that particular class was a joy to teach.
Today while skating on Oriental Parade I bumped into one of those former students, Chris. She now lives in Wellington, has children, works part time at a job she enjoys (for Radio New Zealand).
It’s scary though to visit the school’s website and see oh so many familiar names on the staff list. It’s now nearly 30 years later and some of those people had started out before I did. At least the school now has a whare wananga. I vividly remember a staff meeting at which the staff almost overwhelmingly voted against even occasionally teaching the Maori language. Only the Maori teacher (Mere Meha) and I and a couple of others were in favour. That was a vote of about 90 against and 4 or 5 for. Mere passed away a few years ago now but I’m glad the work she did back then has at last paid off. Thank heaven times change!