Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 31, September 1987
IVAN HALL B.A.,DIP. TCH., DIP. SOC. SCI
A DISTINGUISHED PAEROA SCHOLAR
A Tribute by C.W. Malcolm
IVAN HALL's first sight of New Zealand was from the deck of the S.S. Nairnshire in the Waitemata Harbour in June 1911 after a seven weeks' trip from the Old Country, round the Cape of Good Hope. The first impression was favourable though he was not yet four years old.
Ivan's father, William Hall, was a carpenter and joiner, seeking a new life in a new land. With his cultured wife and young son he found his first employment at the Junction Gold Battery in Waihi. The construction of the Waihi - Paeroa Gold Extraction works soon brought them to Paeroa and the small family set up their home in a cottage with an orchard, vegetable garden, fouls, pigs and cows in the encircling curve of the Ohinemuri River, known as Pereniki's Bend. Their life here, and later on their farm on Mill Road are most interestingly told by Ivan himself with vivid details of his own early existence in Journals 13 and 19 [see Journal 13: Reminiscences of Mill Road Area; and Journal 19: From 1911 in Pereniki Bend, Paeroa - E] of our Historical Society.
Ivan commenced his schooling under the beloved Miss Minnie Shaw in September 1912 in the old Infant Room that still stands on its original site in Wood Street. At Paeroa District High School he gained his entire primary and secondary education being a contemporary of the writer in the secondary department taught by those fine teachers, Mr Frank Wilks BA and Miss W E Sutton BA.
A distinguished teaching career commenced in 1925 at Waihou School where Ivan served a practical apprenticeship as Pupil Teacher. The next two years were spent at Auckland Teachers' College followed by a year at Newmarket School as a probationary assistant. During these three years the young teacher, keen to improve his academic qualifications, attended Auckland University College, later continuing his studies extra-murally until he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree, a Diploma in Social Science and a Diploma in Teaching.
Ivan liked to be "his own man" and boldly struck out into the countryside of the Coromandel Peninsula where he took charge of two of the once common "half-time schools", three days at one, the rest of the week, including Saturdays, at the other.
This was but a relieving spell for a few months until he was appointed to the charge of the sole-teacher school at Mangaotaki in the King Country. In 1933 he was in sole-charge at Te Werenga on the Waima River, Hokianga. Then in 1935 to another sole-charge, at Ohurakura in Hawkes Bay where, in 1936, began married life with his wife, Grace.
In 1938 they moved, with Ivan as head teacher, to Herekino School near Kaitaia, and from there in 1940 to Manganui School.
Military Service claimed him as an Officer from 1942 until 1944 where he served with the 1st North Auckland Regiment stationed variously at Okaihau, Kaikohe and Kamo.
Ivan Hall resumed his teaching career in 1944 and in 1950 was promoted head teacher of Te Puna School near Tauranga. Six years later he was promoted again as headmaster of the Amisfield School in the booming town of Tokoroa. His final, well-earned move as a teacher was as headmaster of the Te Kauwhata District High School.
His University Degree had qualified him in the study of history and in all the districts where Ivan taught he made detailed research into the local history, interesting his pupils in the study of their heritage. At the same time he entered wholeheartedly into the activities and the welfare of the community.
On his retirement to Russell in the Bay of Islands Ivan Hall became involved with the historic Museum and the northern branch of the Historic Places Trust. As Chairman of the Centennial Trust Board which runs the Museum, he worked towards a new building to mark the bicentennial of Captain Cook's visit to the Bay of Islands in 1769.
But teaching was in the blood of this scholar from Paeroa and from 1969 to 1976 he did part-time work at the Bay of Islands College specialising in remedial reading and helping numerous grateful pupils handicapped by this unfortunate disability. In the township of Russell he was active in the Bowling Club, the Ratepayers' Association, and the town's Library. Well-deserved retirement of 22 years in the beautiful and historic setting of the Bay of Islands ended with his death before Christmas 1986. Well done, distinguished Paeroa scholar! Our sympathy is extended to his widow who helped considerably with this record.